Court system operating smoothly through crisis

Court system operating smoothly through crisis

Fayette County Clerk of Court Sheila Studdard is familiar with working in a crisis. For years as an officer with the Atlanta Police Department and now as the county’s clerk, Studdard confronts a crisis and finds a way to make it better.

While COVID 19 may have sidelined many businesses, Studdard says the clerk’s office is operating just fine and still conducting the business of the county.

“People still need to record things, and we’re here for them,” she said.

The doors may be locked, but a new Ring doorbell will be installed this week, and many of the clerk’s office’s functions are done electronically.

The website fayetteclerk.com is updated frequently, and here is the latest update:

“The staff of the Clerk is working and processing electronic documents and those received by the U.S. Mail. Research to the Clerk’s Office is available on the website.

Real estate instruments and UCCs may be recorded at the website. If you need copies, call the main number 770-716-4290 and we will arrange getting them to you.”

State Court:

Jury trials for the week of March 23-27 and March 30-April 3 have been cancelled. Bench trials for March 31  have been cancelled. Probation revocation hearings for April 2 have been cancelled. Traffic citations and some fines can be paid on the website. Check daily for information on State Court. 

Magistrate Court:

All preliminary hearings, pre-issuance hearings, civil hearings and civil processes are stayed through April 13 at 11:59 p.m. unless otherwise extended. Magistrate Court will be available for arrest warrants, search warrants, bond hearings and all Temporary Protective Orders.

Studdard also said the court docket is online, and if copies of documents are needed, they can be requested over the phone. Traffic citations can be paid online, and late fees have been waived, she added.

Studdard feels fortunate to work in Fayette, where people work together and has a long list of people to thank for the seamless transition.

“So many people to thank behind the scenes that made this possible. Huge shout out to the Fayette County IT Department and, of course, those deputies at the jail under the leadership of our Sheriff Barry Babb. Also shout out to our Magistrate Judges Bob Ruppenthal, Kathy Brown Valencia, James White, and Christy A. Dunkelberger, who have been doing video bond hearings on the weekend for quite awhile. Thanks for letting the rest of us jump in. Now the Fayette County State Court and Superior Courts have options! You can count this entire judicial team to pull together for the citizens they serve. I was so proud as together, we made history in our county ….yet again!” she said.

The first successful trial run of video conference inmate hearings with multiple parties