Athens, Georgia -- the home of Bulldogs, bands, and beer.
Why do you need a music writer? The entertainment scene is commented on in many places already. However, here is an area you could fill a need in Athens; as local court observers.Several participants of Athens World are already lawyers, including Adrian and one, Professor Brussack is a retired law professor. Most citizens of Athens never see the inside of a local courtroom unless they happened to be chosen for jury duty or are at a remodeling ceremony of the courthouse. The Magistrate's court is the "inferior" court of Athens Clarke County. It is not a court of record since no transcripts are made for its proceedings. But it is a very important court; initial bonds for a number of criminal cases are set there, various disputes of all kinds are first brought in this court, often with no attorneys at all. In fact, this court is sometimes referred to as a "people's court". Tenants who have failed to pay rent or damaged property or lied to landlords or violated rules of landlords are evicted by this court and, if they happened to be served "personally" by the Sheriff, a judgement against them is awarded for the money charges which accumulated during their "stay" on the premises until formal eviction by the Sheriff. Yet, despite all this and more, there is virtually no reporting in any local newspaper of the proceedings of this court to the public. For example, are these proceedings fair to all parties? Do the judges honor the previously agreed to contracts by the parties or do they impose their own agenda or the "state" agenda in enforcing the contracts? Are the rights of all parties being honored when often neither party has a lawyer present? Many other questions could be asked and addressed. Those of you on this blog with detailed knowledge of the law, like Adrian, Professor Brussack, and others, could provide a very valuable contribution to the citizens of Athens by evaluating the operations of this court and reporting it to others in an objective way that would not be available if non lawyers sought to do the job. Even if others did the actual recording of events at the trials, there would be no substitute for your "legal eyes" telling the truth to the public if you could do it without prejudice and bias and fear of reprisals yourselves. Many lawyers are apparently uncomfortable with these courts and encourage clients to appear themselves there; this seems odd since normally lawyers seek to represent and look out for the interests of clients, rather than "throwing them to the wolves" so to speak, only to represent them later in Superior Court, should an (often expensive) appeal be necessary to satisfy their interests.A blog on this subject could also greatly aid the community at large later at election time, when it becomes necessary for citizens to vote for these judges based on some facts, rather than salesmanship and empty talk or popularity contests. I urge you to consider this new court blog.I have asked the editors of the local newspaper to send reporters into the local courtrooms for the production of such reports to no avail. Evidently this is too controversal a subject for them; possibly it is for you too, but I hope not!Winfield J. Abbe150 Raintree Ct.Athens, GA 30607
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