Cordele Judges Settle: Courtrooms Must Be Open

Three Superior Court judges representing the Cordele Judicial Circuit, without admitting wrongdoing, have settled a federal case alleging that they systematically restricted public access to court proceedings in Ben Hill and Crisp Counties. The case brought by the Southern Center for Human Rights on behalf of several citizens alleged that the defendants were denying access to court proceedings unless it was a member of the public whose relative was entering a guilty plea. The settlement  requires that a sign informing the public of their rights to attend court proceedings be posted on or near the door to courtrooms, that bailiffs and court personnel promptly ensure that the public is afforded access, and it requires that the defendants pay fees in the amount of $40,000.

You can read the settlement agreement here.