Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sitting and Waiting in Court

If you are ever involved in litigation, especially in Douglasville, what you will soon learn is that going to Court involves a lot of sitting and waiting.   There will be days when you go to Court, and just sit, and sit, and sit.  

When most folks watch TV or read a book or go to a movie, they always see people just walk into court and the case immediately starts.   What is never shown on the big screen or written about in the legal thrillers is the constant waiting and waiting.  These delays happen for a number of reasons.

First, the way Courts in Douglasville schedule cases is very inefficient.   No queuing techniques are ever considered.  Everybody reports at the same time and cases are just taken one at time until all cases are done or the Court day is concluded.  Imagine a doctor's office that told it's patients, "Everybody be here at 9 a.m., and we'll do our best to see everybody before the day is over."  My personal opinion is that a better scheduling system would result in less delay. 

Secondly, courts are crowded because there are simply too many cases.  You can't put seven gallons of water in a five gallon bucket.    Domestic relations cases,  divorce, custody, contempt, etc., are the main problem.   The Georgia legislature continues to make domestic relations issues more complicated, which in turn takes the court longer to hear them and  attorney's longer to prepare.   Consequently, domestic cases are clogging up the Superior Court system in Douglas County.

So, what can be done?  I have two recommendations.  First, we should add another Superior Court Judge in Douglas County.  Second, we should implement any type of scheduling system that resembles something other than a stampede.   

They scheduling system doesn't have to be elaborate; it could be as simple as what most deli counters and barber shops implement - "take a number".   If for instance a potential litigant had the choice of being #20 next week or #3 a month later,  an intelligent choice could be made. Standing orders could require numbers 1-10 to show up at 9 am, slots 10-20 at 11 am and so on and so forth.  

Finally, even if my suggestions aren't actionable, the community needs improvement.  Access to the court system is necessary for our society to function.    However, until we get improvement in Douglas County, my only suggestion to the citizens that have to appear:  "Bring a book."

If you need help, call me at 678-383-1690 or visit my website at  If for whatever reason I can't help you, I'll point you in the direction of someone who can.

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