DA delays news conference on Columbia County judicial split

Richmond County Courthouse
Richmond County Courthouse(WRDW)
Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 8:15 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Augusta District Attorney Jared Williams has postponed a news conference he’d planned for Monday in response to Gov. Brian Kemp’s signing of Senate Bill 9. The bill splits Columbia County from the Augusta Judicial Circuit effective July 1.

The district attorney had planned to make his first statement about the bill since it was signed into law Thursday.

However, on Monday morning, he issued this statement: “Due to unforeseen circumstances, I am not available to give my remarks this morning as planned. We will reach back out to reschedule at a later date. I do truly apologize for the late notice.”

He continued with this statement:

“The District Attorney’s Office has been preparing for the potential circuit split since the start of the year. We have a plan to ensure that this community’s needs are served. Until the split becomes official in July, the citizens of Columbia County can still expect the highest level of service from this District Attorney’s Office, and we will work with the governor’s appointee to ensure a smooth transition.”

Since its signing, the bill has raised questions about how cases will be handled as Columbia County develops its new circuit, and whether the switch will force an even further delay to cases already backlogged by the pandemic.

Williams said he’d planned at the news conference to address “the circuit split and its impact on the District Attorney’s Office.”

The change was a hotly debated issue, with proponents of the measure saying it was time for Columbia County to stand on its own. Opponents say they wanted to preserve a more than 150-year tradition.

Kemp will select Columbia County’s new district attorney.

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