Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $12,041)
The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (JAG) allows states and units of local government, including tribes, to support a broad range of activities to prevent and control crime based on their own state and local needs and conditions. Grant funds can be used for state and local initiatives, technical assistance, training, personnel, equipment, supplies, contractual support, and information systems for criminal justice, including for any one or more of the following purpose areas: 1) law enforcement programs; 2) prosecution and court programs; 3) prevention and education programs; 4) corrections and community corrections programs; 5) drug treatment and enforcement programs; 6) planning, evaluation, and technology improvement programs; and 7) crime victim and witness programs (other than compensation).
The county of Polk proposes to use their Fiscal Year 2010 JAG grant funds to start a Polk County Senior Judge Program. They would like to use senior judges a few days a month to help clear the growing backlog. The senior judge would handle a criminal calendar each month. They would manage approximately 60 cases each month, taking pleas, hearing motions and trials until the cases are disposed. A second component to this program is the Law Clerk. The senior judge will need the assistance of the law clerk to help manage the cases each month. They propose to use the existing law clerk, since she already understands the system in this circuit. She will work with the senior judge and the attorneys and parties to schedule the cases and keep the wheels of justice turning.
In August of 2008, the State of Georgia stopped the funding for the Senior Judge Program, a program that has proven to save the State invaluable dollars and has kept many criminals off of the street. Since that time, the backlog in Polk County has grown to over 933 cases. Therefore, in order to resolve this growing problem their goal is to use senior judges a few days a month to help clear the growing backlog. They estimate they will be able to dispose of approximately 40 or 50 additional cases each month.