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Episode 4 Overview

Last year Jury Trials were suspended due to the pandemic, many Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted and Courts have resumed jury trials as a result. Before, the pandemic courts would seat as many jurors in their jury assembly rooms as possible and try as many jury trials as possible. Now courts are restricting the number of jurors reporting to ensure they are following the CDC guidelines. Jurors are vital to the function of the court system and help courts resolve many cases each year. To help us understand how courts are reimplementing jury trials the episode features, the Bell-Forstyh Judicial Circuit Chief Judge, Jeffery S. Bagley, and Cobb Judicial Circuit Jury Administrator, Wendy Portwood.

Judge Jeffrey S. Bagley is currently serving as Chief Judge of the Superior Court of the Bell-Forsyth Judicial Circuit. He has been the presiding Judge of Forsyth County Drug Court for 16 years. Judge Bagley graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1983, and graduated from Emory University School of Law in 1987. He serves as the 9th District Administrative Judge for the Judicial Council of Georgia, and Judge Bagley is on council for Accountability Courts of Georgia Executive Committee. He is the former chairman of the Judicial Council of Georgia Standing committee on Drug Courts, and Judge Bagley is serving as board member and Vice Chairman for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.

Key points we focus on for resuming jury trials during Covid-19:

  • Using different venues are jury rooms
  • Amount of trials the courts are holding
  • Assuring social distance in the jury box
  • Plexiglass in the courtrooms
  • Headsets, clear masks, dedicated restrooms and break rooms
Wendy Portwood is the current Jury Administrator for the Superior Court of Cobb County. She also serves as the Jury Clerk for the Cobb Judicial Circuit. She has worked for the Cobb Judicial Circuit for 14 ½ years. Prior to working as the Jury Administrator, she was the Executive Director for the Cobb County Bar Association. Mrs. Portwood is a past recipient of Cobb County Bar Association’s “Administrator of the Year” Award; She is a Past President of the Cobb Legal Professionals Association and is current a member of the GCCA. Wendy and her husband currently reside in Paulding County, GA.

Have a question about this episode or a specific question for our guest? Email us using the link below.