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Grand jury recommends circuit split

  • By Sarah Fay Campbell
  • |
  • Jan. 24, 2019 - 7:51 AM

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Grand jury recommends circuit split

The circuit includes Coweta, Carroll, Heard, Meriwether and Troup counties.

Coweta’s grand jury has recommended that the five-county judicial circuit be split.

That recommendation was part of the grand jury presentments for the September 2018 term, December 2019 session.

The presentments were accepted by the Coweta County Board of Commissioners at Tuesday night’s meeting.

There was no discussion of the presentments. That’s not unusual, as presentments are often accepted without comment.

The circuit includes Coweta, Carroll, Heard, Meriwether and Troup counties.

Coweta District Attorney Herb Cranford has appeared before some commissions in the circuit to talk about his plans for the split, but has yet to speak about it at a Coweta meeting.

However, Cranford said he has been speaking to the commissioners individually about the idea. “I’ve had some preliminary discussions with them about it,” he said Wednesday.

“I look forward to continuing those discussions to explain to them why I think it’s in the best interest of all five counties in this circuit that the circuit be split,” he said.

The Coweta circuit has one of the highest populations in the state, and the fourth-largest case load, according to Cranford. The other circuits in the top five are all single-county circuits.

In 2014, a circuit split study was requested by three Carroll County legislators. The study, done by the Administrative Office of the Courts, studied five scenarios. It determined the optimum scenario would have Coweta and Meriwether counties in the Coweta circuit, and Carroll, Heard and Troup counties in a new circuit. The second place scenario would have Coweta become a single-county circuit, with the other four counties remaining together.

For a circuit split to take place, legislation will have to be passed by the Georgia General Assembly.