Court cases could be resolved faster in Richmond County under new local rules in 2012 that make all full-time Superior Court judges eligible to hear criminal cases.
The rules were first implemented with Judge David Roper in April; Judge Danny Craig began hearing criminal cases in October and Judge Wade Padgett will be the last to start hearing criminal cases in April. This means prosecutors will be spread out among eight courtrooms instead of five, with more opportunities to expedite criminal cases.
Statewide, there are two reforms under way that will affect the court systems. A reformation of the juvenile code is nearing completion after several years and it will create new obligations for those who appear in that court. Among them, prosecutors will be responsible for drafting the charging document, a task that was originally done by the local Department of Juvenile Justice.
New rules that will align Georgia’s evidence code more closely with federal guidelines go into effect Jan. 1, 2013. But attorneys across the state will spend much of 2012 attending classes and studying the new rules.