Although reserve funds are scheduled to run out Thursday, federal courts in Middle Georgia will remain open if Congress hasnt struck a deal to fund the government.
C. Ashley Royal, chief U.S. District Court judge for the Middle District of Georgia, has issued an order declaring all court and probation staff members are essential, said Gregory Leonard, court clerk.
We will continue to handle cases and jury trials, Leonard said. If we have juries coming in after the 17th, well be giving them an IOU.
Jurors typically are paid $40 and receive reimbursement for driving to the districts courthouses in Macon, Albany, Athens, Columbus and Valdosta, Leonard said.
No jury trials are scheduled until Monday.
Employees essential to court operations will be working without the guarantee of receiving a full check on their next payday, Leonard said.
In his Oct. 10 administrative order, Royal cited the geographic diversity of the courts in the district, distances between courthouses and minimal staffing levels at the individual courthouses as explanation for why he deemed court staffers essential.
U.S. marshals will continue to provide courthouse security and General Services Administration employees will still perform building maintenance and other duties, according to the order.
About half the staff at the U.S. Attorneys Office based in Macon has been furloughed since the Oct. 1 government shutdown, said U.S. Attorney Michael Moore.
While most assistant U.S. attorneys handling criminal cases still are working, lawyers handling civil cases have been sent home along with the offices support staff, he said.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.