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Judges furlough selves
Atlantic Judicial Circuit Court Judge Paul Rose talks to Hinesville Rotary Club members Tuesday at the group’s weekly meeting. With him is attorney Billy Jones, who introduced the judge. - photo by Photo by Lauren Hunsberger
Judge Paul Rose with the Atlantic Judicial Circuit of Superior Courts visited with community leaders at Tuesday’s Rotary Club meeting and talked about his experiences on the bench. He also offered an update on the state of the local court systems.
Rose, who was appointed to the bench by Gov. Roy Barnes in 1999, said because of current judge shortages in the state, he spends a lot of time traveling between court rooms in all of the circuit’s counties — Bryan, Evans, Tattnall, Liberty, Long and McIntosh.
“I log about 2,000 miles a month,” Rose said. “We pretty much stay on the run.”
The judge said the volume of cases also keeps him busy.  Last year in Liberty County, there were 2,201 civil cases tried and 1,233 felony cases.
“There’s no shortage of litigation,” Rose said.
The judge also told Rotarians about the shortage of courtroom space the circuit is contending with.
“We simply don’t have room. We’re very much looking forward to the completion of the justice center,” he said. The building, which is under construction, will bring four new courtrooms to the area. “I promise you it will be an asset to Liberty County.”
Rose said that in the past few years the court system has struggled with budget cuts, similar to other entities funded by the state.
“Seventy percent of our budget is for our salaries,” the judge said. “The rest is gone.”
To make up for the deficit, Rose said many of the judges have voluntarily furloughed themselves.
“Basically,” he said, “we’re giving money back to the state.”
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