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Fulton, Ga., State Court has brought in outside experts to take a look at its processing of misdemeanor cases. Chief Judge Albert L. Thompson has brought in Professor Charles J. Ogletree Jr. and others from Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Institute to study how misdemeanors move through Fulton’s system. The team, Thompson said, will work on “modeling an ideal misdemeanor court.” Ogletree, reached by telephone between appointments with court officials and court sessions, said he had had a “terrific series of meetings” with judges, prosecutors and court personnel. He had some preliminary thoughts on what he had seen. A key problem, he said, is the “multiple ways people come into the system” from various jurisdictions. Developing one route, he said, will be “a challenge, but it also creates an opportunity.” He said he should have a full-blown plan within a year, but in the meantime will be making recommendations that can be implemented before then. “You can be tough on crime and still find a way to process people quickly through the system,” he said. Ogletree is the director of the Criminal Justice Institute, a curriculum-based clinical program in criminal law that combines classroom instruction and hands-on experience in representing indigent defendants. The institute also conducts research into various criminal justice issues.

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