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During the week, misdemeanor first appearance hearings are held a. Felony first appearance hearings are held a. On weekends, felony and misdemeanor first appearance hearings are held at a. On county holidays, first appearance hearings are held at the Fulton County jail at a time set by the judge holding the hearing.

Contact the jail at to obtain hearing times on holidays. The purpose of a first appearance hearing is to notify arrested persons of the charge s being brought against them. When a case is closed by conviction, plea or dismissal, the case comes off of the active docket and goes to the closed docket. Sometimes, a case is not closed, but there is a need to have it off of the active docket.

Out of that need, there arose the dead docket. Once dead docketed, the case will not appear on the active trial calendar unless the judge orders it placed back on the active trial calendar.


The first Georgia law authorizing such a docket was in It is the duty of the clerk of superior court When a case is thus dead docketed, all witnesses who may have been subpoenaed therein shall be released from further attendance until resubpoenaed;. The dead docket is a list of inactive criminal cases which have not actually been terminated. However, many cases placed on the dead docket die there without any further action. The courts have clearly stated that dead docketing is not a dismissal or a termination of the prosecution in the defendant's favor.

The case is still pending. It can be called for trial upon the judge ordering it back onto the active trial calendar. Since it is still pending, the defendant can still make a demand for trial. Typically, when a person is arrested on a criminal charge, they are required to post bond. This is usually accomplished by the pledge of a surety to make sure that the defendant comes to court and to pay a certain sum of money if the defendant does not appear in court.

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The principal shall When the legislature passes an act, the terms of the act are then placed into the code. When complete, the act is said to have been codified. Other than the examples above, there are no statutes, or laws, that set out how the dead docket operates. Instead, these rules have been set out by courts in case law. An indictment or accusation is the method by which a criminal case is formally placed on the active criminal docket. It makes sense that the case needs to have been indicted or accused in order for it to be moved from the active docket to the dead docket.

Both superior and state courts have active criminal dockets maintained by the Clerk of Court and therefore have authority to manage their case load by placing cases onto the dead docket.

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The Superior Court Judge or the State Court Judge presiding over a particular case can order it placed onto the dead docket. Either the prosecutor or the defense attorney can move for dead docketing.

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As with any other court action, notice to the opposing side is required. A defendant has a right to object to the entry of a dead docket, and it is an abuse of discretion for a judge to order a case dead docketed over the objection. The prosecution might also be expected to object in certain circumstances to a defendant's motion to dead docket.

It is not clear that grant of the motion over a prosecution objection would be an abuse of discretion. For instance, if a defendant is incarcerated in another state, the prosecution might not be willing to dismiss the case but also might not be willing to go to the effort and expense in obtaining an interstate transfer of a prisoner. In such a situation, a detainer would be placed on the person and the case would be dead docketed until the person comes into custody upon release by the other state.

A case might be dead docketed because the victim does not wish for the case to be prosecuted and the prosecution is willing to give the defendant a chance to show that there will not be future offenses.

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The statute of limitations applies to the initiation of a case. It sets a time limit during which prosecution must begin.

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Since a dead docketed case has already been indicted or accused, the case has already been initiated and the statute of limitations has been satisfied. The time that a case is on the dead docket can be considered adversely to the state on a constitutional speedy trial motion if prosecution of the case is reactivated. The prosecution or defense can move the court for a return of the case to the active docket. Notice should be given to the other party.

First and foremost, dead docketing releases a defendant from the requirement of appearing in court for calendar calls and other hearings related to active cases. Second, dead docketing releases the bond. So, your surety is no longer on the hook for ensuring the defendant's appearance. If there is a cash bond, it should be returned. Third, in a DUI case, a dead docket is likely enough to cause the set aside of a pending administrative suspension.

Fourth, and perhaps most important, if a case remains on the dead docket for at least twelve months, the defendant can request records restriction under Georgia law. Fifth, many cases placed on the dead docket never return to life. So, in many cases, the defendant will not face future prosecution for this charge. However, since the case is not over, the defendant cannot initiate an action to recover damages for malicious prosecution or malicious arrest arising out of that criminal case.

Such actions require dismissal or acquittal before they can be initiated. Sean A. Black is a graduate of the Emory University School of Law. He has been in private practice in Toccoa, Georgia since June 1, Thank you for posting this blog, Attorney Black. Great job. Any sexual assault case, but child sexual assault cases especially, are very challenging. There is a natural willingness to accept such accusations at face value.

People think, why would a child lie about such a thing? But, it can and does happen. From your description, the prosecutor decided, with your child recanting his statement, that the case was not strong enough to take to court. Notwithstanding that, the prosecutor did not dismiss the charges against you. Instead, the prosecutor placed the case on a dead docket. The case is still pending, but it is off of the active trial calendar, and the prosecutor has no intention to proceed with your prosecution. This could change if other evidence develops. With a public defender, there is not much else that they can do to assist you beyond seeing the case dead docketed and securing your release from jail.

In truth, that is a lot and they consider that they have done a good job for you. They have. The fact that the case can be brought back onto the active trial calendar puts you in a very difficult situation relative to your children. You should sit down with a domestic lawyer in your area to explore your options. You likely need the involvement of not only a lawyer but mental health professionals to assist your children and to evaluate both you and your ex. Contact with your children without those protections in place to monitor your contact and to insulate against additional accusations would be dangerous.

I was arrested for burglary for pawn 2 videos games. That were in a burglary I had no part of.

I have been out on bail for 2 years now. I have not went to court. What should I do? What is really going on? The statute of limitations is four years. Waiting out the statute of limitations may be your best choice. I am sorry that his lawyer is not communicating with him.

Were there bond restrictions which limited him in him movements and prevented him from leaving the state?