Virtual court hearings held in Appling County

Virtual court hearings held in Appling County

APPLING COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Court officials in Appling County and other rural communities face the challenge of getting suspects their proverbial day in court, while also keeping the socially distanced from judges, clerks and others in the courtroom.

The camera and giant monitor will connect suspects to judges in the courtroom. Appling County's sheriff says this will allow them to hold hearings again without hauling them here in person.

“On a calendar day, we would normally bring 20-25 inmates over here and have to bring them in shifts and it's an all-day affair,” Sheriff Mark Melton said.

During COVID-19, Georgia's Supreme Court has opened the door to hold certain kinds of hearings through virtual technology.

“Mainly, matters where there isn't any confrontation, guilty pleas, hearings for a bond,” Brunswick Judicial Circuit Judge Stephen Kelley said.

Jury trials must still be face-to-face with a defendant in court. The technology saves time, money, and labor, especially from bringing inmates back from prison for appeals.

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