About the Seventh Judicial Administrative District,
The Seventh Judicial Administrative District (JAD) is one of ten such districts created by the Judicial Administration Act of 1976 to provide regional court administration to the Superior Courts of Georgia (O.C.G.A. 15-5-2). Created along congressional district lines, the JAD's have primarily retained their original boundaries through subsequent congressional district changes. The Seventh JAD consists of 14 counties divided in to eight judicial circuits. The 35 active and 9 senior (retired) judges in the JAD make up the District Council of Superior Court Judges, which governs district court administration. Every two years, the council elects one of its members as an Administrative Judge, who directs district activities and supervises its staff. Traditionally, the Seventh JAD has elected the next judge most senior in time of service as its Administrative Judge. In addition to duties within the district the Administrative Judge serves as a member of the Judicial Council of Georgia, as well as the Executive Committee of the Council of Superior Court Judges.
The Seventh District is a very active district. In 2001, we began a district-wide Alternative Dispute Resolution program. This program has allowed civil cases to settle amicable, freeing up valuable time so judges can handle more complex and criminal cases in a more timely manner. There are currently four traditional Drug Court programs (Cherokee, Cobb, Conasauga, and Tallapoosa Circuits) and one non-traditional drug treatment program (Douglas Circuit) in the Seventh District. These programs are helping addicts live productive, clean lives. Courthouse security is a huge issue in many counties. We have worked with the Sheriff's Offices to provide equipment and security surveys. The district also works to secure and educate qualified interpreters and guardian ad litems and offers a Divorcing Parents Seminar for several circuits. The Seventh District Office applies for and manages many grants each year to fund these and other programs.
The JAD is staffed by a District Court Administrator and a District Secretary. The district's Office of Dispute Resolution provides to courts within the district alternative methods of case disposition, including mediation, arbitration and case evaluation. Since 1777, the Superior Court has served as the state's general jurisdiction trial court. Superior Court is responsible for handling cases involving serious crimes (felonies), civil disputes, real estate matters and family and domestic relations issues. Your Superior Court Judges also handle adoptions, supervise the local law library and hear appeals from other courts within their circuit, among other duties. Each county has its own Superior Court located at the county seat. Single or multiple (up to eight) counties form the State's 49 judicial circuits. Each circuit is headed by the Chief Judge who supervises the administration of the court. Superior Court operations are supported by trial court administrators at the circuit level and district court administrators at the district level, as well as, by the state Judicial branch office know as the Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia.
Ralph Van Pelt, Jr., Administrative Judge
Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit
District Court Administrator
Services are provided and admissions/referrals are made without regard to race, color, religious creed, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age or national origin. Complaints of discrimination may be filed with the Seventh Administrative Districe Office.