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Chief Justice Harold Melton just announced that he will be issuing an Order that cancels all jury trials in the State until at least the middle of February.

Both Newton and Walton had been preparing for jury trials for the week of January 11th. This included regular meetings with the judges, DA's Office, defense attorneys, law enforcement, health departments, and others to ensure they would be conducted in a manner that was safe for everyone. However, the rise in numbers of positive cases of Covid-19 was on our radar and something that we were all watching closely.

Anyone that received a notice to appear or a subpoena for jury trials to begin on January 11th does not need to appear in court that day. Our offices are working to make sure everyone knows of this cancellation. Further updates will be shared when there is relevant news.

Currently, only jury trials have been cancelled. Jury trials vary greatly from other court matters because a much larger number of individuals must be summoned to the courthouse so that jury selection can be conducted. Therefore, other criminal and civil court is still moving forward with an emphasis on handling matters using video conferencing when possible.

The DA's Office will continue to be a part of this process in ensuring that the justice system can still function but does so in a safe manner. - District Attorney Randy McGinley

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On Thursday, December 3, Newton County held its 2020 Service Awards Ceremony at the Turner Lake Banquet Hall. This ceremony was to congratulate those that have served as county employees for at least 5 years and then in 5 year increments after that. Three employees with the District Attorney's Office were honored. Chief Investigator Jill Lumpkin (far left in picture), Legal Assistant Anita Carroll (far right in picture), and Victim Advocate Shay Payne (not pictured) were honored for their 15 years of service to Newton County. Legal Assistant Cami Odum (middle in picture) was honored for her 10 years of service to Newton County. Please join me in congratulating these three wonderful ladies and their dedication to the people of Newton County. - Randy McGinley

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From Randy McGinley: Criminal Court schedule for the week of September 28:

Superior Court:

- Monday, September 28, Walton County criminal court with Judge Zon presiding.

- Tuesday, September 29: Newton County criminal court with Judge Ott presiding.

- Wednesday, September 30: Walton County criminal court with Judge Ott presiding.

- Thursday, October 1: Newton County criminal court with Judge Zon presiding.

Magistrate Court: - Wednesday, September 20: Newton County preliminary hearings with Judge Bell presiding.

- Thursday, October 1: Walton County preliminary hearings with Judge Burke presiding.

- For the Superior Court calendars: in custody defendant matters will be handled via video conference with the jail in the morning. - Defense attorneys: Please contact the ADA assigned to your case by noon the day before court to let them know if you will be attending court remotely. Our ADAs will provide you the login credentials for the video conference link.

- For Magistrate Court calendars: in custody defendant matters may be handle via video conference or in person, please contact the assigned ADA or the Court for more information.

Both courthouses require masks and a health screening to enter. The IT departments may be streaming court into additional courtrooms so that the public may observe court while maintaining appropriate social distancing. If there are any questions, please contact the Court or the District Attorney's Office.

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