Columbia County swears in new district attorney after launch of new court system

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 7:03 PM EDT
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EVANS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Columbia County now has its own district attorney.

Friday was the swearing-in ceremony for Bobby Christine. He took over on the second day of the county’s own court system. we talked to Christine about the future of Columbia County’s court system.

The split became official Thursday. But on Friday, Christine officially became the new DA. He says throughout this whole process, collaboration between him and Augusta DA Jared Williams is what’s made things go smoothly and that’s also what will keep it smooth.

“I’m excited to get started. It’s an awesome responsibility,” said Christine.

After signing the bill allowing Columbia County’s split from the Augusta Judicial Circuit, Gov. Brian Kemp appointed former U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine as district attorney.

“We’re building our staff. It’s like being in an airplane in flight but you you’re still building the wings, we’re working on this craft as we fly,” said Christine.

As the circuit’s plane takes flight the first task is handling around 1,000 case files handed over from Richmond County.

When the pandemic hit more than 24,000 case files were put on hold in the Augusta Circuit. But as courtroom doors opened again, judges made way through the cases. The split will divide those files between the now two circuits.

“I will tell you that I don’t think the backlog is overwhelming and again with these aggressive, judges, we’re gonna have a lot of court and we’re gonna get after it,” said Christine.

With the collaboration from Augusta District Attorney Jared Williams and former Augusta DA Natalie Paine joining Christine’s staff as the chief assistant DA, Christine says he’s not starting from zero.

We asked what his main priorities are.

“Justice for the accused. If you do justice for the accused, everything else falls into place,” said Christine.

So what does this split mean to you? Since three judges are hopping over to Columbia County, they have to divide up the caseloads. So if you have a pending case, it means that the judge presiding over your case could change.

Court cases won’t pick up in the new circuit right away. Next week all the judges will be out of town for a recertification conference. But after they return, you should expect Columbia County’s new circuit to be active.

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