Atlanta – The Judicial Council of Georgia Ad Hoc Committee on American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funding (“Committee”) has awarded grants totaling $24,806,522 to 26 judicial circuits from around the state who submitted applications for ARPA funds allocated to the judicial branch. The Committee accepted applications from November 10 through November 30 for the award period beginning January 1, 2022.
In October, Supreme Court of Georgia Chief Justice David E. Nahmias, also Chair of the Judicial Council, announced the allocation of up to $110 million of ARPA funds by Gov. Brian P. Kemp to address backlogs of court cases, particularly cases involving serious violent felonies. The Judicial Council is administering up to $96 million of that total for eligible courts, prosecutors, and related agencies. The remaining $14 million in ARPA funds is allocated to the Georgia Public Defender Council for grants to public defenders.
Requests from judicial circuits included funding for temporary personnel to respond to the case backlog, including senior judges and judges to serve by designation, assistant district attorneys, security personnel, victim support, and court reporters, funding for rental costs for temporary space to hold court, supplies and materials, and administrative staff to support grant administration.
Georgia’s judiciary operated under a Statewide Judicial Emergency Order from March 2020 through June 2021. The order placed necessary limitations on court operations to protect the health of those working in and coming to courthouses during this time but also resulted in a backlog of criminal and civil cases, particularly those requiring jury trials to resolve. Since the order expired on June 30, 2021, courts have increased efforts to resolve cases, but the ongoing pandemic continues to limit the pace and scale of court operations as public health measures remain in place.
The Committee, chaired by Presiding Justice Michael P. Boggs, is overseeing the application process for the grants and the Judicial Council’s Administrative Office of the Courts is facilitating the grant application, awarding, compliance, and reporting processes. The funds will be awarded on a calendar year basis, and all funds allocated to the judicial branch must be spent by December 31, 2024.
“As soon as we received word of the Governor’s allocation of these funds to the judicial branch, we began working to establish a process for awarding grants to courts statewide,” said Presiding Justice Boggs. “These 26 circuits represent over half of the judicial circuits in our state–encompassing rural, urban, and suburban areas–and they will soon have the much-needed resources to assist in their efforts to resolve their backlogs and return to pre-pandemic operations. We look forward to supporting these circuits, and all future applicants, in their work.”
A complete list of grantees and award amounts is attached. The Committee will next accept applications from January 1 to January 15, 2022. More information on grant requirements, application timelines, and contact information is available at https://jcaoc.georgiacourts.gov/arpa/.
A table with a breakdown of funds received per judicial circuit can be found at the end of the press release here.
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