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Episode 2 Overview

COVID-19 drastically changed the day to day operations of our courts. Episode 2 discusses the challenges Georgia courts have faced to ensure the safety of the public and staff, while ensuring access to justice is adequately maintained. This episode features a seasoned panel of court administrators throughout our state, and discusses how different jurisdictions are operating in the face of the current pandemic. Discussions include Court Operating Procedures, Budget Cuts, Court Programs, Jury Trial Preparation, Caseloads and Hearings, and the GA CARES Act.

Joining us on the panel is District Court Administrator Will Simmons-6th Judicial District, Court Administrator Robyn Rooks-Bell-Forsyth Circuit, Deputy Court Administrator Edwin Bell-DeKalb County Superior Court, and Court Administrator Tammy Hardin-Catoosa County Juvenile Court.

Meet Our Panelists

Will Simmons

District Court Administrator, 6th JAD

Will Simmons has worked in the judiciary for 20 years. He currently serves as the district court administrator for the Sixth Judicial Administrative District of Georgia, Superior Courts of Georgia. The Sixth District is comprised of 14 counties, 5 circuits, 21 active superior court judges and 10 senior judges. Will also currently serves as the interim superior and state court administrator for the Clayton Judicial Circuit, a position he previous held for four years. He is a former president of the Georgia Council of Court Administrators and the current president for the National Association for Court Management; the largest court management organization in the country. Will serves as a board member for the State Bar of Georgia’s Unlicensed Practice of Law Committee and the Georgia Supreme Court's Access to Justice Committee. Will received advanced degrees and certifications from Savannah State University, Shorter University, John Marshall Law School, Argosy University and Cornell University. In his spare time he enjoys the beach, traveling with his family and riding his Harley.

Robin Rooks

Court Administrator, Bell-Forsyth Circuit

Robin Rooks is a Court Administrator for the Bell-Forsyth Circuit managing Superior, State and Juvenile Courts.

Atticus Finch inspired early her conviction that the delivery of justice should be impartial and non-discriminatory. After receiving her juris doctorate from Temple University School of Law, she began her career with Legal Services to ensure fairness in the application of justice to low-income families in the Florida Keys. She later worked for a Florida non-profit early in the HIV/AIDS crisis developing programs that ensured the legal rights of children and adults living with the virus.

Redirecting her commitment to the fair delivery of justice, she transitioned to Court Administration working both in Key West and Fulton County courts. During her 20-year tenure in court administration, she led numerous successful court improvement projects, including caseflow management policies, backlog reduction programs, jail population reduction strategies, and evidence-based practices for pretrial release.

Edwin Bell

Deputy Court Administrator, Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit-DeKalb County Superior Court

Within the Superior Court of DeKalb County, Bell assists in the oversight of day-to-day operations of the administrative and support functions of the Superior court and its 115+ employees. This includes a $14+ million budget, procurement, human resources, policies and procedures, facilities, security, information technology, as well as strategic and long-range planning.

Bell holds a Masters of Business Administration degree from Clayton State University, a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Georgia State University, and is a Fellow if the Institute for Court Management.

Bell and his wife Tampa live in Mableton and have a daughter and son.

Tammy Hardin

Court Administrator, Catoosa County Juvenile Court

Tammy has worked in the legal profession for 37 years & the last 23 have been as Juvenile Court Administrator in Catoosa County, Ga. She has been a member of Georgia Council of Court Administrators since 1998. She earned her certification in Court Administration from GCCA in April, 2008, her Master’s Certification in Court Administration in April 2010 & her Certification in Judicial Administration from Michigan State University in March, 2011. In 2017, she was the first to receive GCCA’s Award of Merit.

Tammy is a lifelong resident of Northwest Georgia. Married for 34 years, she and her husband have two children and two granddaughters. Her hobbies include hiking, reading, attending her local church, spending time with family, and playing with her Yorkie Anna Belle.

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