thomastontimes.com

Summer is over

Scott Ballard District Attorney

September 12, 2013

Remember summer?


Waves crashing at the beach? Lightning bugs flashing at dusk? That kicked-back feeling of leisure?


It’s over.


Court is back with a vengeance.


We start jury trials is Fayette next week. The preliminary skirmishes are already underway.


This week had a big-city feel to it. Especially Wednesday.


That was the day that Judge Sams had drug court in the morning and calendar call in the afternoon. The parking lot was packed. The courtroom was too small for the crowd.


That created a clash of authorities. The Supreme Court won’t let judges exclude the public from court except in a handful of instances. Court is supposed to be open for all to see.


On the other hand, the fire marshal won’t allow a crowd the size we had to cram into a single courtroom.


Ever the innovator, Judge Sams moved all of us into the jury assembly room. Then he rolled up his sleeves and went to work. When the smoke cleared around 6:30 that evening, we had resolved dozens of cases. A calendar of 64 cases had dwindled to 26 possible trials on that docket.


The next day, while Judge Sams turned his attention to divorce cases, we had other judges here to prepare for the criminal trials they will have later this month. Throw grand jury into the mix and September should be a hoot.


Meanwhile, in Griffin, little school children have started showing up at school with weapons. One four-year-old brought a loaded gun to elementary school. About three others brought knives.


How does that happen? Law enforcement is trying to get to the bottom of the matter. We’ll help them and the schools in every way that we can. There is no priority higher than protecting school children.


So, put away the sun screen and the sandals.


We’ve got criminals to prosecute.