- What is the Augusta Judicial Circuit?
The Augusta Judicial Circuit comprises Burke and Richmond Counties. There are 5 Superior Court Judges who hold court in both counties. The DA’s Office prosecutes felony cases, while misdemeanor cases are handled by the respective Solicitors General for each county.
A Grand Jury is convened regularly by the District Attorney. There are additional court days each month for arraignment and non-jury hearings. The DA’s Office also handles preliminary hearings in Magistrate Court, juvenile proceedings in Juvenile Court, and alternative sentencing in the Accountability Courts. The District Attorney’s Office also regularly appears before the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Georgia.
The District Attorney’s Office represents the people of the State of Georgia in the prosecution of criminal cases. The District Attorney’s Office does not and cannot represent individuals in civil matters of any kind and cannot give legal advice on any matter to any citizen.
- What is the relationship between the local law enforcement agencies and the District Attorney’s Office?
The working relationship between local law enforcement agencies and the District Attorney’s Office is independent and cooperative. Local law enforcement agencies investigate reports of crimes, make arrests and send evidence to the District Attorney’s Office for an independent review and determination of what, if any, charges will go forward for prosecution. Attorneys will review the evidence provided in each case, apply the appropriate law and decide if and how to seek justice. The case may be presented to a Grand Jury for indictment or filed directly in the Superior Court Clerk’s Office on an accusation.
- What is the purpose of a Grand Jury in criminal cases?
The Grand Jury is comprised of local citizens selected randomly from the county. The Grand Jury is tasked with determining if there is sufficient evidence under the law to move forward with an indictment in a criminal matter. The evidence before a Grand Jury will be presented by the District Attorney’s Office through witnesses, usually the officer who investigated the case from a local law enforcement agency such as the sheriff’s office or a municipal police department and other witnesses determined to be critical to the case. In these cases, the ultimate decision as to whether the case goes forward is determined solely by the Grand Jury.
- What happens at arraignment?
An arraignment is a public hearing in which a defendant is formally notified of the charges against them. Generally, the defendant enters a plea of not guilty and is given ten days to file any motions.