In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the District Attorney’s Office of the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit has implemented procedures to help reduce the spread of the virus and still serve crime victims and pursue justice.
All offices will remain open but with reduced staff. Other staff will be working from home. The office remains available to assist law enforcement, attorneys, witnesses, victims, and the public. However, any communication that can be conducted by telephone, facsimile or email will be transacted in that manner.
If in-person contact is necessary, it will limited to essential contact. An on-going effort is also being made to contact victims and witnesses to explain the current limitations of court proceedings to only “essential” matters per an order issued by Chief Justice Melton of the Georgia Supreme Court.
Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit serves Walker, Catoosa, Dade and Chattooga counties.
The office has been working with our Superior Court judges, Magistrate Court judges, Juvenile Court judges, the sheriffs’ offices, the police departments, the Department of Community Supervision, the Department of Juvenile Justice, and numerous other agencies to handle essential court services.
The governing authorities of the four counties of the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit wisely funded a video conferencing system several months ago to save money by conducting remote court proceedings with inmates housed in the Georgia Department of Corrections without the necessity of long distance transport.
This system is being utilized to enable our office to conduct hearings without having to transport large numbers of local jail inmates to and from court, thereby decreasing exposure to inmates, officers, court personnel, and the public.
Such hearings were conducted in Dade County on March 19, 2020, and in Catoosa County on March 20, 2020, before judges Brian House and Ralph Van Pelt, respectively. Participating office staff were District Attorney Herbert E. (Buzz) Franklin, Chief Assistant District Attorney Chris Arnt, Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Hartline, Assistant District Attorney Megan Gaither, Assistant District Attorneys Ian Whittle, and Assistant District Attorney Meg Dietz.