“It’s a 366-game season, and I’m not sure even our World Series champions could handle that,” he said. “This is the situation that some of our courts are currently facing with their overall workload.”
Nahmias commended the judges for coming up with innovative ways through remote procedures to move cases forward.
The Chief Justice noted that when the son of Cobb County Superior Court Judge Tain Kell contracted COVID-19, Kell conducted hearings remotely from a makeshift courtroom in his bedroom during that his family was quarantined. Kell even took an American flag from his porch so it could be displayed during the hearings.
Nahmias, who caught COVID-19 when the omicron wave peaked last month, presided over oral argument sessions remotely while isolating at home. “There’s no way I could have done that in January 2020,” he said.
The pandemic has also amplified the challenges of how to deal with offenders with behavioral health issues, Nahmias told lawmakers.
One way to address them is through liability courts, such as those that deal with cases involving nonviolent drug offenders, veterans and drunk drivers, he said. They have been successful in reducing recidivism rates and saving the state money by allowing offenders to reintegrate into society and the workforce rather than being incarcerated.
“But beyond accountability courts, communities across Georgia need more resources to serve our fellow citizens with mental health issues,” Nahmias said. “Tackling this problem is not only good for our justice system and our economy, it’s a moral imperative.”