Georgia judges: Pandemic could backlog jury trials for years

Georgia judges: Pandemic could backlog jury trials for years
The pandemic could backlog jury trials in Georgia for years. (Source: WTOC)

ATLANTA (AP) — Judges say Georgia’s court system could take years to dig out of a backlog of jury trials delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton told lawmakers during hearings Wednesday that it could take one to two years to catch up. Superior Court Judge Wade Padgett estimates it could be more like three years.

Under state law, Melton has been renewing a declaration of judicial emergency every 30 days, limiting what court cases can happen in person. He says he’s eager to resume jury trials as soon as possible.

For a period late last year, Melton allowed some jury trials to go ahead. But Melton says rising infection rates forced another shutdown.

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