Courts

Georgia awards $39.4M in grants to courts to clear up COVID-related case backlogs

(The Center Square) — The state has awarded $39.4 million in grants aimed at helping more than three dozen judicial circuits to clear case backlogs.

The Judicial Council of Georgia Ad Hoc Committee announced the grants, funded by federal American Rescue Plan money, to circuits that applied. These awards for the 2023 calendar year are part of the Judicial Council’s ARPA grant program’s second year.

“As anticipated, circuits continue to experience challenges in ramping up their local court backlog plans due to start-up and hiring challenges,” Chief Justice Michael Boggs said in an announcement. “However, we are hopeful that those challenges will subside, and we’ll see circuit plans fully implemented and an increasing number of cases moved.”

In 2022, more than $44.1 in grants were awarded to 42 judicial circuits. Most of the awardees this year — 36 of 37 — received grants in 2022, and with the latest round, 43 of the state’s 50 judicial circuits have been awarded grants since the program’s start on Jan. 1, 2022.

In October 2021, Gov. Brian Kemp announced $110 million in ARP money for the judicial branch to address a backlog of cases. The Judicial Council received $96 million, while the Georgia Public Defender Council received the remaining $14 million.

By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor

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