Dick Butcher’s plan of action revealed in Shakespeare’s King Henry IV is no doubt ground zero for the next 500 years’ worth of lawyer jokes. He and his gang also talked about making it a felony to drink small beers after their planned revolution.
Unlike lawyers, large beers were popular at the time. Some things never change or, like our legal system, change slowly.
Many believe that we have no choice where there’s civil wrongs to be addressed. No matter your grievance, whether you’ve suffered a physical or economic injury, you simply have to deal with the legal system. Or do you?
Today’s judicial system is big and complicated. Georgia has 159 superior courts organized into 10 judicial districts throughout the state. They have general jurisdiction to hear all cases, criminal and civil. In 2011, these courts received an astounding 372,000 civil cases alone. That’s nearly one civil action for every citizen living in Columbus and Augusta, Georgia, combined.
Twenty seven counties across South Central and South West Georgia comprise the 2nd Judicial Districts which currently support 16 superior court and 16 state court judges. These are the courts most likely to affect you. Almost 24,000 civil actions were filed here in 2012, a number slightly less than the population of Griffin, Georgia.
The legal system is expensive as well. Judges require staffs that have to be paid and provided benefits. While difficult to piece the costs together given the district by district variations, it’s probably fair to say that each judgeship commands an annual average price tag of around $250,000. Multiplied out, well, that’s a lot of money. .
The other cost is in time and delay.
Next time we’ll take a look at costs, what you can expect from a legal proceeding and suggest an alternative
Gary Wisenbaker, B.A., J.D. is a native of South Georgia where he practiced law in Valdosta and Savannah for 31 years. He has lectured at seminars and written treatises on real and personal property foreclosure and the rights of creditors. His column “Law Wise” appeared in the Savannah Morning News and he hosted his own weekly radio call in program, “Ask the Expert”. He holds a general civil mediation certification is a state approved neutral with the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution. Gary recently established a mediation practice, Wiregrass Mediation Services, LLC, to provide mediation services across South Georgia.