Judge Bill Bass earns state award
Judicial programs enable judges to meet their mandated training requirements established by the Supreme Court of Georgia.
These programs provide the judges with information about new legal issues making their way through the courts, as well as dozens of new laws and the hundreds of cases issued each month on the interpretation of these laws. These classes allow the judges to identify and find appropriate solutions to problems that may interfere with the court’s ability to be fair and unbiased when deciding cases. Additionally, many discussions allow the judges to share ways that create more efficient and effective ways of processing cases from filing to final disposition.
“The focus of this type of judicial training is to improve the quality of justice that these extraordinary courts are able to provide to the citizens of their communities,” said Rich Reaves, executive director for the Institute of Continuing Judicial Education located at the University of Georgia.
State Courts have countywide jurisdiction in 70 counties in Georgia. For the past three years, there were more than one million cases filed in State Courts, making them the busiest courts of record in Georgia. State Courts have jurisdiction over misdemeanor criminal cases including traffic cases, and all civil cases except domestic relations and equity cases.
This year’s program included sessions on civil case law updates; new laws pertaining to county fees, rules of evidence, jury composition reform, criminal justice reform, as well as license suspension, revocation and reinstatement by the Department of Driver Services; special issues relating to joint and several liability in civil actions; confronting sexual harassment, strengthening public trust and confidence in the courts as related to judicial conduct and deportment; authority and scope of HIPAA limitations in civil and criminal litigation; case assistance exchange; judicial ethics and discipline; approving settlement claims involving minors; immigration consequences of court involvements; evidence law discussions by Prof. Ron Carlson of the School of Law of the University of Georgia; and more, to name a few. In addition, three computer lab sessions were provided giving the judges hands-on access to updated online legal research improvements and capabilities.
This past year, Judge Bass served as the president of the Council of State Court judges. He said, “Continuing judicial education is required by law. Having this training in Athens saved the state approximately $15,000. Our deep appreciation goes to Judge Kent Lawrence and Judge Ethelyn Simpson for making this training conference possible.”
During his term as president, Judge Bass represented all state courts on the Judicial Council, chaired by Chief Justice Carol W. Hunstein of the Supreme Court of Georgia. The Judicial Council is the policy making body of the Judicial Branch of state government and comprised of leaders from all classes of courts in Georgia.
Judge Bass was instrumental in creating a new policy regarding how certain legislation affecting more than one class of court is promoted by the Judicial Council. He worked tirelessly all year, collaborating on projects with the Council of Superior Court Judges, Council of Probate Court Judges and Council of Magistrate Court Judges to improve the relationship between the various courts. In addition, Judge Bass worked closely with officials of the Association of County Commissioners to improve the administration of justice statewide.
This year, Judge Bass will serve as Past President on the Executive Committee of the Council of State Court Judges and continue its mission to further the improvement of the state court and the quality and expertise of its judges, to maintain the impartiality of judiciary and to ensure the fair and efficient administration of justice.