Legalese — Fun Court Facts

photo courtesy of MorgueFile
photo courtesy of MorgueFile

Every year, the Judicial Council of Georgia and the Administrative Office of the Courts puts out an Annual Report.  This report puts forth a strategic plan to improve the court system, reviews the actions taken over the past year, and gives a summary of statutes that directly affect the operation of the Courts. There is budgetary information as well as specific reports from the different committees and organizations within the Council and AOC.

While much of it can be dry, I found a lot of information that is interesting. For example, $2,260,737.00 was given to various agencies and programs that support victims of family violence. This money helped nearly 7,000 low income victims obtain protective orders and help protect their safety.

A total of 3,310,049 cases were filed in Georgia courts last year, with more than half of those (1,728,664) being traffic cases.  Interestingly, despite the fact that Municipal Courts handle 38% of all cases filed, the Council of Municipal Court Judges’ budget is approximately one fourth that of the Council of State Court Judges.  State Court Judges handle only 21% of the total cases filed.

There is some interesting demographic information as well.  In total, 882,141 cases were heard in Georgia with a self-represented litigant.  16,307 cases were heard with litigants with a limited proficiency in English, requiring an interpreter.

Demographic information about judges is also available. The judiciary is 87% Caucasian, despite the fact that Georgia’s population is only 62% Caucasian.  Likewise, the judiciary is 67% male, despite the fact that Georgia’s population is only 48% male.  The Magistrate Court Judges seem to be the most diverse, with 235 being white males, 158 white females, 40 black females, 27 black males, 2 Asian females, 2 male Native Americans, 1 female Native American, 1 male judge of mixed race, 4 ‘other’, and 34 unknown. The Supreme Court was the least diverse, with 4 out of 7 judges being white males, 2 being black males, and 1 white female.

Alternative Dispute Resolution, that is, the use of mediation and arbitration and other forms of assisted negotiations, are also tracked.  Superior Courts and Magistrate Courts make the most use of these services.  92% of all cases referred to Alternative Dispute Resolution are from those Courts.

The Judicial Councils and Administrative Office of the Courts have a website with this information and more if you are interested.  You can find it at http://www.georgiacourts.gov .

 

About Lori Duff 352 Articles
Lori is the author of the bestselling collection of humor essays, "Mismatched Shoes and Upside Down Pizza" currently available exclusively on Amazon. In order to finance her writing habit, she is a practicing lawyer with Jones & Duff, LLC. She is married to Mike Duff, who is a retired DeKalb County Public Safety Officer, and has two amazing children who make cameo embarrassing appearances in her blog posts and who attend Walton County Public Schools. Her legal column, "Legalese", is meant to de-mystify and humanize the Court system. When asked about her writing, Lori says, "Life is too short not to laugh at every available opportunity. My goal is to make myself laugh -- and hopefully you will laugh along with me."

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