Support is gathering around the creation of a juvenile court judgeship in the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit, which includes Effingham County.
The four-county circuit is the only one of the state’s 49 superior court circuits that does not have a juvenile court. Instead, the three judges of the Superior Courts also handle juvenile cases.
Gov. Nathan Deal cannot create a juvenile court in the circuit. That would be a decision for the Superior Court judges, or their chief judge, working with the county governments. But with Chief Judge William E. Woodrum Jr. retiring from the Superior Court bench July 31, supporters are asking Deal to appoint a new Superior Court judge favorable to creating a juvenile court judgeship.
“Of the 159 counties in the State of Georgia, only four – Bulloch, Jenkins, Screven and Effingham – do not have a designated Juvenile Court judge to adjudicate their juvenile law caseload,” states a letter to the governor from the city council in Statesboro.
“Instead, in this Ogeechee Judicial Circuit, the three Superior Court justices sit in judgment of juveniles, in addition to their normal civil and criminal lawsuits,” the letter continues. “We are asking that with the pending retirement of Judge Woodrum on July 31, 2018, that you use this discretionary appointment to right this wrong and ensure the children of this district receive the special attention their cases deserve.”
See the July 11 edition of the Effingham Herald for more details.