In a unanimous vote, the county commission voted to oppose the creation of a separate judicial circuit for Fayette County.
Fayette is currently part of the four county Griffin Judicial Circuit, covering Pike, Spalding, and Upson counties. There has been discussion in years’s past to pull Fayette from that group.
In 2003, a bill was presented to the Georgia House of Representatives for that purpose, but it didn’t move forward. In 2008, the county ordered a financial feasibility study to determine if that would be in the county’s best interest. The ultimate determination: no, for a lot of reasons, and only one would be the fact that it would create a one-judge circuit, which could cause problems by not providing flexibility, especially in conflict-of-interest cases. The case load, the study noted, would be overwhelming and slow.
According to county commission chairman Steve Brown:
“This has been something that has ebbed and flowed. This year the environment might have been right for trying to split us off our judicial circuit. We do not see that as in our best interests. The county did a study that shows that this would increase our costs significantly and to the state.”
More than that, said Brown, it would create a one-Superior Court judge circuit and with the current busy court calendar, due process would have taken too long.
“And if you had a situation where the judge had a conflict in the case, you’re bringing in other judges and looking at a really long delay.”