The Basics Like other metro-Atlanta counties, Cobb has both a Superior Court (felonies) and a State Court (misdemeanors and traffic violations). The two court systems are entirely separate and are even located in different buildings. State Court is located directly on the Marietta Square, while Superior Court is one block to the East and directly behind State Court (if you're looking from the Square). Misdemeanor Charges & Traffic Violations If you're charged with a misdemeanor or traffic violation in the county's jurisdiction, you will find yourself in State Court. You will be prosecuted by the Cobb County Solicitor General's Office under the supervision of Barry E. Morgan, the Solicitor General of Cobb County. There are 12 elected State Court judges located across all four floors of the State Court Complex. Felony Charges If you're charged with a felony (any crime punishable by more than 12 months in custody), your case will be in Superior Court. You will be prosecuted by the Cobb County District Attorney's Office under the supervision of D. Victor Reynolds, the District Attorney of Cobb County. There are 10 elected Superior Court judges located on the 5th, 6th, and 7th floors of the Superior Court Complex. Parking Parking is free along all four sides of the Square for up to two hours. There are also two large pay parking decks within close walking distance to all of the judicial buildings on the Square. Security Both courthouse complexes have security checkpoints with metal detectors, so take that into account before arriving for your court appearance. Depending on the particular calendar that day, there may be long lines so try to arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled appearance. If there is rain or other inclement weather, arrive even earlier. Court Dates During the life of your criminal case, you will have various court dates. Arraignments are typically your first court appearance and the sole purpose is for the government to officially inform you of the charges. You will either enter a not guilty plea and receive a new court date or enter a guilty plea and complete your case. All cases that are not completed at an arraignment are typically placed on a Jury Trial Calendar Call. This will be a list of all cases that are tentatively set for a jury trial and this will be an opportunity for your attorney to speak with the prosecutor and determine additional information about your case, as well as making announcements to the judge about the case itself.
If you have a jury trial date and you, after speaking with your attorney, have decided it is best to resolve your case this way, you will receive a jury trial. A judge will oversee the proceedings and a jury of 12 (for felonies) or six (for misdemeanors) will determine whether you are guilty or not guilty. If you opt for a non-jury trial, the judge will determine whether you are guilty or not guilty, instead of a jury. Additionally, there may be cases where the prosecutor works out a negotiation with your attorney where the charges are modified/reduced/dismissed in exchange for community service, certain classes, drug screens, etc - these cases are placed on a Compliance Calendar. Now that you have some basic information, what should you do? I always encourage anyone charged with a crime to at least contact an attorney and discuss their options. The sooner you speak with an attorney, the more time he or she will have to get a favorable outcome on your case. At the Durrence Law Firm, we always offer free consultations and we will be more than happy to schedule time in our office, on the phone, or via email to discuss your case.