The all-volunteer Athens Area Courtwatch Project is completing its fifth year of observing criminal proceedings in the Athens-Clarke County courts.
By the end of 2023, volunteers will have logged nearly 1,000 hours in courtrooms, observing hundreds of hearings, providing moral support to families of defendants and encouragement to defendants’ lawyers. More than 100 unique individuals have volunteered in 2023.
“First, it confirmed how inextricably interwoven the past is in the present, how heavily that past bears on the future; we cannot talk about Black lives mattering or police brutality without reckoning with the very foundation of this country. We must acknowledge the plantation, must unfold the white sheets, must recall the Black diaspora to understand what … Read the rest
“Your honor, it was all a misunderstanding. I love John. We’ve been together 30 years. We can live together peaceably.” The woman spoke these words in Magistrate Court this past Wednesday morning. Her husband, John T., was appearing remotely from the jail at his first appearance bond hearing. He’d been jailed 24 hours before, charged with one … Read the rest
Nancy G. – Nancy Little Gallagher – is dead. She died a horrible death sometime this past week, most likely between Tuesday and Thursday. On Thursday afternoon, her body was discovered at the Walton County (Monroe), Ga., transfer station. That is, the landfill. That is, the garbage … Read the rest
I posted a $1 – yes, one dollar! – cash bond on Friday afternoon to get Terry B. out of jail. Mr. B. had been locked up nine days. He’d been charged with misdemeanor criminal trespassing/damage to property.
Because the State tacked on “family violence” to the charge, a new Georgia law prohibits any judge from setting a non-cash bond … Read the rest
“Like Jim Crow (and slavery), mass incarceration operates as a tightly networked system of laws, policies, customs, and institutions that operate collectively to ensure the subordinate status of a group defined largely by race.”
– Michelle Alexander
By John Cole Vodicka
Friends, we must acknowledge the 400 years of injustice that haunt us.
“Corn cannot expect justice from a court composed of chickens.”
By John Cole Vodicka
Nancy G. is 54 years old. I took this photograph on this past Friday morning while she and I stood outside the Athens Homeless Day Shelter on North Avenue. Thanks to the Oconee Street United Methodist Church’s Community Bail Initiative, I was … Read the rest
Donald D. is my neighbor. I’m the one though, with a roof over my head. Donald D. is homeless. He will tell you he “sleeps on the concrete.” I sleep in a king-sized bed. Still, Donald and … Read the rest