Introduction to Bulloch County State Court
Bulloch County State Court is a court of limited jurisdiction that handles misdemeanor (criminal cases) and most civil claims. Its key participants include both the Judge and the Solicitor-General. Both positions are elected with four-year terms and no specifications of term limits. In order to be eligible to run for either position, the candidate must have practiced law for a certain number of years – seven years for Judge and three years for Solicitor-General.
History of Bulloch County State Court
In 1903, the Georgia General Assembly enacted local legislation to create the “City Court of Statesboro”. Its jurisdiction included certain civil actions in Bulloch County (those not exclusively reserved to Superior Court) and criminal offenses below the grade of a felony. In 1968, the Court’s name was changed to the Civil and Criminal Court of Bulloch County. However, statewide legislation for uniformity renamed the court as the State Court of Bulloch County in 1983. By 1994, a full-time Court Administrator was hired to assist the part-time Judge and part-time Solicitor-General. The Solicitor-General’s position moved from part-time to full-time under local legislation on January 1, 1999, which also allowed for the hiring of a full-time administrative assistant. In October 2000, the Bulloch County Probation Department began operation, followed by the State Court Judge’s position moving from part-time to full-time under local legislation on January 1, 2001.
Until 1997, Bulloch County State Court shared a courtroom with Superior Court in the Courthouse. As a part-time court, State Court held arraignment on the third Monday of each month and trials during the third week of January, April, July, and October. From November 1997 until August 2000, Bulloch County State Court used the Jury Assembly Room in the Bulloch County Judicial Annex while the Bulloch County Courthouse was being restored. From August 2000 until the present, the State Court has been housed in the restored Bulloch County Courthouse where court is held in the second floor courtroom.
From 1994 until 1997, the Court Administrator had an office in the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office on U.S. Highway 301 North. Sometime after the Bulloch County Judicial Annex was opened, the Court Administrator moved to an office where the reception for the Bulloch County Clerk’s Office is now situated. On January 1, 1997, the Solicitor-General and his administrative assistant occupied offices next to the Court Administrator in the Bulloch County Judicial Annex. In August 2000, the Solicitor-General and his administrative assistant moved to offices on the third floor of the restored Bulloch County Courthouse. The Court Administrator maintained an office on the first floor of the restored Courthouse until January 1, 2001, at which time the first full-time judge and the Court Administrator occupied the judge’s suite on the third floor of the restored Courthouse.