Judiciary

Ignore COVID-19 guidelines at your disciplinary peril, Georgia judges told

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Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton warned state judges Monday that they could face judicial discipline if they continue to ignore COVID-19 health guidelines.

Melton plans to extend an emergency order this week, and this time he plans to include “stronger, more mandatory language” about the need to follow health directives, he said.

The Daily Report covered his remarks, made during an emergency meeting of the state judicial council.

The order will also make clear that the Judicial Qualifications Commission has jurisdiction to investigate judges who don’t comply with Melton’s emergency declaration.

Melton has heard of several practices that raised concerns. They include:

• Some courts have reinstated mass calendar calls.

• Some courthouse staff members are not quarantining after they are exposed to or possibly ill with the coronavirus.

• Some court workers taking visitors’ temperatures are not wearing face masks.

• Some judges are requiring in-person appearances by lawyers who fear complications if they acquire COVID-19.

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