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South Georgia judicial circuits receive federal grant funding to address old cases

Funding from American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
Posted at 4:41 PM, Mar 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 16:41:50-04

ATLANTA, Ga. (WTXL) — Two judicial circuits in south Georgia received federal grant funding to combat pending cases.

The Judicial Council of Georgia announced Friday the Alapaha Judicial circuit received $325,332 and the South Georgia Judicial circuit received $183,348 in funding.

Alapha Judicial circuit oversees Berrien, Clinch, Cook, Lanier and Atkinson counties.

South Georgia Judicial circuit encompasses Baker, Mitchell, Decatur, Grady and Calhoun counties.

Alapaha Judicial circuit received its funding during the first award cycle, while the South Georgia Judicial circuit received funding during the second cycle of award disbursement.

According to statistics provided by the Judicial Council of Georgia, during the first two rounds of award disbursement, the Southern Judicial circuit, which includes Brooks, Colquitt, Lowndes, Echols and Thomas counties, and the Pataula Judicial circuit, which oversees Seminole, Miller, Early, Clay, Quitman, Randolph and Terrell counties, were not awarded funding.

The Southern Judicial circuit and the Pataula Judicial circuit were two of nine circuits from across the state that have not been awarded funding so far.

The Judicial Council of Georgia Ad Hoc Committee announced October 2021 that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp planned to allocate up to $110 million in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to address the state’s issue with backlogged cases.

Many of the cases are felonies, which are the most serious offenses in the state court system.

The news release notes the funding from the American Rescue Plan will provide an opportunity for courts, prosecutors, public defenders and related agencies to hire additional staff and acquire temporary workspace and facilities to address the backlog of cases.

Conclusion of serious violent felony cases in superior courts are high priority.

The Judicial Council of Georgia Ad Hoc Committee will monitor the use of around $96 million in funding to non-municipal trial courts, appellate courts, prosecutors, and related agencies.

The Georgia Public Defender Council will oversee more than $14 million for state public defenders.

As of Friday's announcement, $40,936,017 had been distributed to 40 of the 49 judicial circuits across the state.

State disbursement statistics from Georgia Public Defender Council was not available by Friday afternoon.

Applications for the next round of funding for judicial circuits will be held April 1 through April 15.