We hope that you are as well as is possible in these tumultuous times. We need your help today as we learn about what is happening right now in Georgia’s courts and jails.
As you may know, Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton announced a statewide Judicial Emergency last Saturday. The order – which followed Governor Kemp’s declaration of a State of Emergency – ordered courts and clerk’s offices to “suspend all but essential court functions” amid growing concerns about the spread of COVID-19. Courts should continue to address issues “necessary to protect health, safety and liberty of individuals,” the order said, but otherwise limit operations. To the extent possible, court proceedings should be completed with minimal risk of exposure (e.g. the use of video conferencing.) Current best practices for jails should be to de-prioritize pretrial detention and quality of life arrests, and immediately release any elderly and infirm people.
SCHR is deeply concerned about the role that courts and jails will play in furthering the spread of COVID-19, both to incarcerated people and the general public. To that end, we would like to give the Georgia public an opportunity to share information about their experiences with courts and jails amidst the pandemic.
Please use this survey to share information about judges who are not complying with Justice Melton’s order.
Please use this survey to share information about people and populations in need of relief from incarceration in Georgia jails.
Your input will help us mitigate harm by facilitating releases that will promote public health, and they will help us to better advocate for people harmed by judges who are choosing to not comply with Judge Melton’s order.
You may submit information anonymously if you choose. You may also share your contact information with us. Relevant documents (such as standing orders) may be emailed to [email protected].
Thank you for joining concerned community members across the state who want to ensure the health and safety of ALL Georgians in this crisis. We are stronger together.