Fulton County tempers court budget cuts
ATLANTA - The state's biggest court system will soon grapple with budget cuts that could top $2 million.
But Fulton County judicial leaders said Wednesday they are grateful that the county commission didn't cut the system deeper. They worried cuts that could have exceeded $4 million would have forced major reductions in pretrial programs that focused on defendants with problems with drugs and mental health.
The county's judicial leaders have launched an unusually aggressive effort to sway lawmakers, including posting fliers around the courthouse with signs announcing the courts are closed below a caption that reads "Think It Can't Happen Here?"
Senate confirms Martin as new appeals judge in Ga.
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta will soon be getting a new judge.
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday unanimously confirmed Beverly Martin for a seat on the court.
Martin is a fourth-generation lawyer from Macon who in 1998 was named the U.S. attorney in Macon and two years later appointed as a federal judge in Atlanta.
She was nominated to the 12-member appeals court by President Barack Obama last year. The busy appellate court hears cases out of Georgia, Florida and Alabama.
1 killed, 2 injured when Ga. driver hits students
STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. - Police say a 14-year-old girl has died and two other teens are in serious condition after being hit by a vehicle near Stone Mountain High School.
Officials said the two other victims are in serious condition after being hit Wednesday afternoon by a 17-year-old driver.
DeKalb County police spokeswoman Mekka Parish says that one of the victims, Tanesha Williams, was transported to Grady Hospital where she later died.
The students were walking when the driver apparently lost control of his vehicle and went onto the sidewalk and hit the teens.
Authorities said the driver suffered minor injuries. It is unclear whether he is also a student.
Ga. Corrections has lost 1,500-plus jobs
ATLANTA - Georgia's prison system has shed more than 1,500 jobs over the last two years.
State Department of Corrections Commissioner Brian Owens said Wednesday that the bulk of those jobs have been eliminated through attrition.
Owens told a joint legislative appropriations committee hearing that after decades of skyrocketing growth, the state's prison population has been leveling out. Owens said about 60,000 inmates are currently behind bars.
The state is shutting down three more prisons this year. It already shuttered Scott State Prison in Milledgeville in August. Those four prisons combined had 3,500 beds.
The state is transferring those prisoners to private prisons and so-called fast-track expansions at existing prisons.
Ga. fire chief says budget cuts could cost grants
DECATUR, Ga. - DeKalb County fire chief David Foster says proposed budget cuts could cost the county a federal grant that funds 64 firefighters.
County CEO Burrell Ellis' proposed budget calls for a $1.3 million cut to the fire department as part of a countywide budget-tightening to make up for a $50 million decline in revenue.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded the fire department a $6.9 million grant to pay for 64 firefighters for five years. Foster says the grant requires the department to maintain its staffing and budget level as it was in 2008.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Keith Barker, the county's chief operating officer, said he would check to see if any changes can be made in the budget.
Former Atlanta NAACP official arrested
ATLANTA - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that a former executive director of the NAACP's Atlanta chapter has been arrested on charges that she and an assistant embezzled $275,000 from the civil rights organization.
The newspaper says 67-year-old Judith Hanson was arrested on Monday on charges of felony theft.
Tracy Flanagan, a spokeswoman for the Fulton County Sheriff's Office, says the charges were later upgraded to theft by deception, theft by conversion, credit card fraud and unauthorized use of a credit card.
The Rev. Amos Brown, the chapter's new administrator, says the arrest came after warrants were issued for Hanson and her former assistant, Saundra Douglass.
The newspaper says police are still looking for Douglass.