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Hall court asks commission to use North Hall Community Center for State Court trials
North Hall Community Center - photo by Tom Reed | The Times

If you build it, they will come to order.

Hall County courthouse officials are asking the county’s board of commissioners to approve a resolution that would allow Hall County State Court to operate at the North Hall Community Center.

“The only really significant modification is the construction of a bench for the judge,” Court administrator Jason Stephenson said. “Thankfully, our county construction team has had a little practice building those after the renovations at the courthouse annex for Juvenile and Probate (courts).“

Stephenson said they will also need to move mostly technology equipment and other items for any State Court sessions.

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In the documents submitted to the board, officials said the “COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an inability to conduct jury trials due to social distancing requirements, and our judges wish to reduce the backlog of cases during 2021.”

The board moved the resolution Monday, Dec. 7, to the consent agenda for the Thursday, Dec. 10, voting meeting.

Stephenson said they plan to use the community center’s banquet room, which is located at 4175 Nopone Road. Stephenson said the banquet room is designed for a larger crowd than will be expected for any State Court sessions.

“It really was among the best county-owned spaces we could have asked for when we were looking some place that we could have court that was secure, safe and, as much as possible, is convenient for those that were going to be required to attend,” he said.

If signed, the resolution claims the board of commissioners “has determined that it is impracticable to substantially reduce the backlog of cases by conducting sessions or sittings of the Hall County Superior and State Courts exclusively at the Hall County courthouse.”

Stephenson previously told The Times in November that Superior Court has closed out roughly 1,400 fewer cases compared to the same time last year. 

The resolution also allows for the Gainesville Municipal Court to be used in 2021. Grand jury sessions began last month and have used the Municipal Court as an alternate location.

Stephenson said they hope to have the space ready to go for Jan. 25, which is the first date on the calendar for State Court. Summons usually go out roughly 30 days prior.