Governor Brian Kemp announced that he will dedicate up to $110 million to combat violent crime and help support the Georgia judiciary’s recovery from COVID-19.
“No one benefits when there is a delay in justice,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “My administration collaborated with leaders from the judicial branch and law enforcement to identify innovative solutions which will help crack down on violent crime in high-need areas, ensure our courts are operating efficiently, and help quickly reduce case backlogs caused by the pandemic. Keeping Georgia communities safe is my top priority, and we look forward to the positive impact this will have on our justice system.”
The State of Georgia will be utilizing funds made available by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to create this opportunity. In addition to other measures, Governor Kemp plans to establish a Violent Crime Task Force that will assist district attorneys’ with their violent crime casework. Governor Kemp has placed an emphasis on ensuring the prosecution of serious violent felonies, including murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, rape, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, and aggravated sexual battery. Funds will also be used in the following ways:
- To provide additional, temporary court staff such as senior judges, bailiffs, court reporters, judicial officers, court staff, and other necessary persons to address the case backlog created by COVID-19.
- To contract with third party locations to conduct court proceedings in larger facilities.
- To pay for additional, temporary prosecutors, investigators, legal administrative positions, and contract legal services.
- To provide additional circuit and conflict attorneys for the Georgia Public Defenders Council.
“Georgia’s judges appreciate the Governor’s allocation of these funds so that our courts may hire additional staff and secure additional space to continue working through the case backlogs caused by the pandemic,” said Supreme Court of Georgia Chief Justice and Chair of the Judicial Council of Georgia David E. Nahmias. “Courts in Georgia have worked hard to continue operating during the pandemic while adhering to public health guidelines. Still, many cases were unable to move forward in a safe manner, especially those that require a jury trial. These cases must be resolved as courts also handle new cases being filed.”
“The courts play an important role in public safety,” said Supreme Court of Georgia Presiding Justice Michael P. Boggs. “The Judicial Council’s Committee on ARPA Funding will work diligently to distribute these funds so that courts receive the necessary resources to help resolve cases involving serious violent felonies efficiently and expeditiously.”
The available grant funding for the judicial system and the prosecuting attorneys will be administered by the Judicial Council of Georgia and its Administrative Office of the Courts. The available grant funding for the Georgia Public Defenders Council will be administered through the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget. For more information on grant requirements, application timelines, and contact information, please visit the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget or the Judicial Council of Georgia’s Administrative Office of the Courts.