Judge delivers final verdict in old court

James Blanchard: Superior Court judge congratulated a jury Thursday as the last for the old municipal building.

The final verdict at the Augusta-Richmond County Municipal Building's courtrooms was given about 10:30 a.m. Thursday.


Jurors found Adrian Pressley guilty of two counts of cruelty to children in the second degree; he had been indicted on the charges in the first degree.

Superior Court Judge James Blanchard immediately followed the verdict with a sentence of 10 years in prison for each count, to be served consecutively.

According to his indictment, Pressley bit a child on the face, buttocks and arms on Nov. 10, 2009. He was also accused of shaking the child, causing severe injuries that have left the child in a wheelchair.

"I wish there was more time I could give you," Blanchard said. "You gave this child a life sentence (because of her injuries)."

Before the jurors left, Blanchard congratulated them for sitting as the last jury in the municipal building. Court operations will move to the new justice center starting next week.

In a short, informal speech, Blanchard talked about how a citizen should always expect justice at the courthouse, regardless of his or her background.

Apart from criminal and civil complaints, the courthouse is a repository for documents that track a person's life from "cradle to grave," Blanchard said.

He recognized how difficult it can be to determine a verdict, based on his experience with bench trials. Blanchard ended his talk with a pledge to mail the jurors a memento or certificate commemorating their status as the municipal building's last jurors.

"You've become the judges this week ... thank you for bringing your wisdom and justice," Blanchard said.