SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A major milestone for judicial processes here in Chatham County.
Tuesday will mark the first time a regular grand jury will convene since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down those proceedings state-wide last March.
Normally those selected for grand jury would meet at the Chatham County Courthouse.
But to make sure social distancing is observed, they’ll actually be meeting at the Savannah’s Cultural Arts Center just down the street.
There will also be two grand juries running at the same time, twice a week, to help put a dent in the hundreds of backlogged cases.
Michael Edwards, Chief Assistant District Attorney, said “We’re looking at a number of different mechanisms for prioritizing cases. Our chief concern are people who are incarcerated facing major felony offenses.”
Edwards added other cases they’ll be prioritizing are those that may be approaching a statute of limitations.
The Chatham DA’s office also recently announced an initiative to make sure not only their employees and prosecutors are COVID-free, but also anyone selected for grand jury by making COVID testing available on site through a local company.
“What we’re asking grand jurors who with to avail themselves of this, is for each group to go by a certain date prior to their session, which would then give them the opportunity to have the test, get the test results back and then report to us if they have any issues that they need to bring to our attention,” said Edwards.
The COVID testing comes at no cost to the county, as it’s either covered by CARES Act funding or insurance.