by Robin Kemp

Georgia Chief Justice Harold Melton has extended the COVID-19 judicial emergency to Aug. 11 in the Clayton County Judicial Circuit.

As of July 13, Clayton County Chief Superior Court Judge Geronda Carter has ordered that civil litigants and witnesses may use a “pod” set up last month for criminal defendants to appear before the court “in a virtual capacity where said person does not have the technological resources” to appear without coming to court in person.

According to the latest order, “the Clayton Judicial Circuit has expanded the use of the pod, effective July 13, 2020, to afford civil litigants or witnesses in all levels of court the opportunity to appear before the court in a virtual capacity where said litigant or witness does not have the technological resources to appear virtually without having to appear in court in court in some instances may be a room, other than a courtroom, used by the court to provide virtual technology to a witness or litigant).”

The pod can only be used in the following ways by the following people:

  • “defendants or litigants who do not elect to appear virtually without having to appear in court or who do not have the technological resources necessary for virtual appearance”
  • “only the defendant in criminal cases, one party to a civil matter or one witness in either a criminal or civil matter…all other participants must appear via video-conferencing, except as determined by the judge in hearings related to a death penalty case”
  • “defendants, litigants, and witnesses who are noticed to appear before the court via the pod must be given options to appear virtually on or before his/her noticed pod appearance date and time”

Read the full order from Judge Carter:

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