In the early days of the 2023 legislative session, state Sens. Max Burns, R-Sylvania, and Harold Jones II, D-Augusta, approached the Senate Judiciary Committee with a simple request: The Augusta circuit is overworked and needs another superior court judge.

In 2021 the Columbia County judicial circuit separated from the Augusta circuit, which originally consisted of Augusta-Richmond, Burke and Columbia counties. This created a 25.5-year cumulative experience gap between the Columbia circuit’s three superior court judges and the Augusta circuit’s five. This was a big deal, as Augusta’s less-experienced judges are faced with a much higher volume of felony cases and is reflected in their overall workload. Data collected by the Judiciary Council of Georgia shows that Augusta’s superior court judges carry an average workload of 1.5 judges, while Columbia’s have an average workload of 0.9 judges.

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