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Talk turns 'lively' in Jordan's first meeting
Judicial Council avoids showdown with governor
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Forsyth County News
Forsyth County's probate judge said a potentially devastating move for Georgia's courts was avoided during his first meeting on the state Judicial Council.

Lynwood D. "Woody" Jordan Jr.’s two-year term on the council, the state level judiciary agency charged with developing policies for administering and improving the state’s court, began in April.

Friday's meeting was called to discuss the possibility of taking legal action against Gov. Sonny Perdue after his demand that the state’s judiciary offices cut 25 percent from their June budgets.

Jordan said Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, who chairs the council, and Perdue reached an agreement just before the meeting.

According to a letter from Sears to Perdue, the governor withdrew his demand and the state’s judicial branch agreed to withhold 25 percent of the June budget allotment.

The withholding was made possible by deferring “some current obligations and expenses until fiscal year 2010 and, in some instances, we will have to make a request for those funds during the fiscal year 2010 amended budget process,” the letter said.

The fiscal year begins July 1.

“We spent two and a half hours, but basically the discussion was whether or not we were going to go along with it,” Jordan said. “In the end, we decided that we’d let it stand for now since it was only one month.

"But it looks like we’re going to be back facing the same issue next month or shortly after the new fiscal year begins.”

Jordan said the discussion was “lively.”

“We jumped right into it,” he said. “Of course, I already knew a lot of the people there, but we skipped all the niceties. We didn’t introduce each other like they usually do.”

Had Perdue not backed off, his demand could have had a devastating effect on the state judiciary.

Jordan said in superior court judge’s offices, for example, it could have meant a 10-day span in June when nobody except the judge would be there.

“And if the judge were on the bench conducting court and somebody had a family violence petition or some emergency order they needed to get signed, they couldn’t because there would be nobody in the office,” he said.

Jordan said district attorney’s office employees would had to have been furloughed.

“Some of the judges have made comments that the courts would have to be closed for two weeks in June," he said. "I don’t know if that would’ve happened or not because we didn’t have to face that problem.

“Some of the courts, especially some of the smaller courts in south Georgia, they very well may have had to close for two weeks.”

In addition to the Judicial Council, Jordan is the president-elect of the Council of Probate Court Judges of Georgia. He will serve in this capacity until the probate council’s annual meeting in 2010, when he will become president.

He has served as Forsyth’s probate judge since 2004.

E-mail Julie Arrington at