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State Court Modified Dates and Processes due to the COVID -19 Judical Emergency

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia has extended the statewide Judicial Emergency through September 10, 2020; however, deadlines for litigants were re-imposed on July 14, 2020.  Additionally, courts are encouraged to conduct proceedings remotely or in-person, if compliant with the Georgia Court Reopening Guide and guidance from the CDC and the Georgia Department of Health.

The State Court of Bibb County remains open. Electronic filling is available in civil and criminal cases. Jury trials will not be held the weeks of August 17, 2020 or October 19, 2020.

  1. All in-person proceedings in the State Court of Bibb County are subject to the “Guidelines for Court Proceedings for Courts in the Macon Judicial Circuit” and the Restatement of Guidelines for In-Person Proceedings for the State Court of Bibb County. (See links on the State Court webpage.)
  2. The Court is willing and able to conduct criminal proceedings by video.  All defendants are encouraged to contact the Solicitor General’s Office and make arrangements to appear by video rather than in-person. You may call the Solicitor General’s Office (478-621-6572) or email (Solicitor-General@maconbibb.us) at least seventy-two (72) hours before the scheduled Court date. Any defendant who is in a high-risk category (including over the age of 65) or has a COVID-19 related basis to be excused from Court should contact the chambers of Judge Sharell Lewis (478-621-6183), at least seventy-two (72) hours before the scheduled Court date.  Leaving a voice mail does not relieve a defendant of the requirement to appear on the scheduled Court date.  Failure to appear for a scheduled Court date may result in a warrant for the defendant’s arrest.
  3. Criminal arraignments that were reset from July 17, July 24, July 31, and August 7, will be held on August 17, August 18, August 19, and August 20. All defendants are encouraged to contact Solicitor General’s office by calling (478) 621- 6572 or emailing (Solicitor-General@maconbibb.us) at least 72 hours before the scheduled court appearance to arrange remote participation rather than in-person attendance.  Nonjury trials set for these dates are also being reset.  Defendants should contact their lawyer about the new nonjury trial dates.
  4. Criminal pleas may be done remotely by video.  Contact the Assistant Solicitor assigned to the case to discuss the terms and to coordinate for the exchange of paperwork for a video plea.  The Judge will take video pleas in the courtroom, which is open to the public.
  5. Civil and Criminal Jury Trials for the weeks of August 17 and October 19 are cancelled.
  6. Civil hearings may be held by teleconference or video conference. If by video conference, the Judge will be present in the courtroom, and the hearing may be observed in the courtroom.
  7. The Court is presently handling all inmate cases (arraignments, pleas, probation revocations) by video on Tuesdays and Fridays at 8:15 AM.  These may be observed in the courtroom at the J. Taylor Phillips Courthouse.
  8. Criminal case e-filing is available. Pleadings may be filed through PeachCourt.  (Click on the link on the website to register and file.  There is presently no cost to e-file in criminal cases.)  All lawyers and parties are encouraged to file pleadings electronically rather than in person; however, e-filing is not mandatory in criminal cases.  If you have questions or issues related to PeachCourt, go to https://peachcourt.com.   There is a “Need Help” prompt for you to click on their website.
  9. Civil case e-filing is mandatory in most civil cases. Even in older cases in which e-filing may not be mandatory, lawyers and parties are encouraged to file pleadings electronically rather than in person.  Pleadings may be filed through PeachCourt. (Click on the link on the website to register and file.  There is a cost for civil e-filing.)  If you have questions or issues related to PeachCourt, go to https://peachcourt.com.   There is a “Need Help” prompt for you to click on their website.

We thank you in advance for your flexibility and cooperation in the present circumstances.

-Jeff Hanson

Chief Judge, State Court of Bibb County

 

August 13, 2020

 

 

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Contacts

Jeff Hanson Chief Judge
Sharell F. Lewis Judge
Patti Graves State Court Clerk (478) 621-6200
Amy Hartley Chief Probation Officer (478) 621-6679
Pam Forbes Administrative Assistant to Judge Hanson (478) 621-6189
Savannah Camp Administrative Assistant to Judge Lewis (478) 621-6183

Office Address:
J. Taylor Phillips Courthouse
601 Mulberry Street, Room 500
Macon, GA 31201

Mailing Address:
PO Box 5086
Macon, GA 31213-7199

Telephone: (478) 621-6200
Fax: (478) 621-6008

Office Hours:
Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.