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Southern Center for Human Rights

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A legal battle out of Calhoun, Ga. over the constitutionality of jailing people too poor to afford bond is on its way back into the hands of a lower court.

About a year ago, a district court judge enjoined the city of Calhoun from detaining indigent defendants for misdemeanors or minor traffic cases. Last week, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the injunction, saying it was too light on detail.

 

David Goldman / Associated Press

Among several ballot measures next month, Georgia voters will be asked whether they want to change the agency that polices judges in the state, known as the Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC). If passed, the constitutional amendment would allow state lawmakers to recreate the commission.

Supporters say the changes are needed because the watchdog agency needs more oversight, but critics say the move would strip the agency of its political independence and effectiveness.

What Does the JQC Do?

Dario Lopez-Mills / Associated Press

A woman is suing a Columbus judge and court officers for fining and jailing her when she refused to testify against a boyfriend who had allegedly abused her. According to the lawsuit, the incident is part of a larger policy of penalizing domestic violence victims in Columbus.

Back in June, Cleopatra Harrison appeared in court a few days after her boyfriend had been arrested for assaulting her.

Dario Lopez-Mills / Associated Press

Lawyers for a group of people suing DeKalb County over its old court system are seeking class-action status, saying the court could have potentially mishandled thousands of other traffic cases.  

The lawsuit, which includes 17 plaintiffs, alleges DeKalb County’s Recorders Court reported mistakes about people’s traffic cases to the state Department of Driver Services. That led, the suit says, to the wrongful suspension of people’s driver’s licenses or the failure to reinstate a license.

David Goldman / associated press file

Two Georgia prisons are on lockdown.

One, Telfair State Prison, is locked down because of "rising inmate tensions" after weapons and cellphones were founds in the prison. At Macon State Prison, Georgia's Department of Correction said inmate Kendrick Hicks was killed on Monday, and another inmate was injured in a separate violent incident.

In each case, corrections officials say gangs are responsible.

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