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Magistrate Court: COVID-19 Updates

Message from Chief Judge Brendan F. Murphy

Greetings! During this difficult time, the Magistrate Court remains open 24/7 to carry out essential judicial functions concerning public safety and our most basic Constitutional rights. On this page, you will find updates about our adjusted operations. If you have any questions, please call our Clerk’s Office at (770) 528-8900. A real person will answer the phone to assist.

When this pandemic has passed, we will work hard to set additional calendars to ensure each matter is efficiently and fairly heard in a timely manner.  You, your case, and everyone’s good health matter to the People’s Court: Please stay put, and stay healthy!

Judge Brendan F. Murphy, Chief Magistrate of Cobb County

Clerk’s Office Information

Limited Operations Procedures

Please read this Notice before entering the Clerk’s Office

You, your case, and everyone’s good health matter to the Magistrate Court of Cobb County!

  • Please DO NOT ENTER the Clerk’s Office if you are sick or have been exposed to someone showing symptoms of the corona virus/COVID-19 such as fever, cough, or trouble breathing.  Everyone coming to the courthouse shall have a mask or face covering on to enter the building.
  • Please call (770) 528-8900 if your question or matter can be resolved with a phone call.
  • If you have internet access, please consider e-filing on-line at efile.cobbcounty.org for civil cases, including Small Claims, Garnishments, and Dispossessories (Evictions).

Chief Justice Harold D. Melton of the Supreme Court of Georgia issued an amended Order Declaring Statewide Judicial Emergency until June 12, 2020. The Order “suspends, tolls, extends, and otherwise grants relief from any deadlines or other time schedules or filing requirements imposed by otherwise applicable statutes, rules, regulations, or court orders, whether in civil or criminal cases or administrative matters.” All deadlines—including for initial filing, service, answers, and fine payments—are suspended during the judicial emergency. 

The Clerk’s Office remains open to the public with minimal staff. However, for the below cases, all hearings have been cancelled.  You will be sent a new court date when the judicial emergency ends.

CANCELLED

  • Small Claims Hearings
  • Dispossessory Hearings (Landlord/Tenant Evictions)
  • Noncustodial Bond Revocation Motions that do not present an immediate safety concern
  • Noncustodial Probable Cause Hearings
  • Noncustodial Ordinance Matters
  • TPO Compliance Calendar

Please Stay Put and Stay Healthy! Thank you for your cooperation!

Public Hearings – Social Distancing Notice

Please read this Notice before entering the courtroom

You, your case, and everyone’s good health matter to the Magistrate Court!

  • This is an open courtroom. The public’s access to court proceedings is a bedrock principle of our Constitutional system of justice.
  • Chief Justice Melton of the Supreme Court of Georgia issued an amended Order Declaring Statewide Judicial Emergency until June 12, 2020. The Order states, “To the extent court proceedings are held, they should be done in a manner to limit the risk of exposure...”
  • Please DO NOT ENTER the courtroom if you are sick or have been exposed to someone showing symptoms of the corona virus/COVID-19 such as fever, cough, or trouble breathing.
  • If are requesting a continuance for any reason, please call (770) 528-8915.
  • Before each case starts, it will be announced in the lobby. If you are only interested in a particular case, you can wait safely outside without fear of missing the hearing.
  • In the courtroom, please maintain a safe “social distance” of six (6) feet apart from others.
  • Counsel and parties should limit their movement in the courtroom and present from the podium and counsel table, unless directed by the Court.
  • The Court has “authority to control decorum in the courtroom...” UMCR 18. The Court will exercise its authority on a case-by-case basis in the best interest of public health while respecting its fundamental duty to maintain an open courtroom.

Please Stay Put and Stay Healthy! Thank you for your cooperation!

Frequently Asked Questions about Evictions during the Judicial Emergency

What is the judiciary’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

On March 14, 2020, Chief Justice Harold D. Melton of the Georgia Supreme Court issued an amended Order Declaring Statewide Judicial Emergency (“Order”). This Order declared that “courts should remain open to address essential functions.” 

This is not intended to be used as legal advice.  Please consult an attorney for legal advice about your individual case.

Are evictions an essential function?

Chief Magistrate Judge Brendan F. Murphy has determined that Dispossessory matters (landlord/tenant evictions) are NOT an essential function of the Magistrate Court of Cobb County as defined by the Chief Justice’s Order. During the statewide judicial emergency—which lasts until June 12, 2020 but may be extended by the Chief Justice—all eviction matters are on hold.

This is not intended to be used as legal advice.  Please consult an attorney for legal advice about your individual case.

Do I have to come to court during the judicial emergency for an eviction hearing?

No. All eviction hearings are cancelled. No court dates are being set. No orders are being signed nor writs of possession being granted. After the judicial emergency ends, all affected parties will be provided with notice of a new court date.

This is not intended to be used as legal advice.  Please consult an attorney for legal advice about your individual case.

I am a landlord. Can I still file a new eviction case?

A landlord cannot file a new eviction case concerning any property covered by the federal CARES Act’s nationwide eviction moratorium. If a property is NOT covered by the CARES Act, the Chief Justice’s Order does not prevent parties from filing civil actions. By law, the Magistrate Court Clerk’s Office must continue to accept civil filings. However, the Magistrate Court will not send civil cases out for service or hold hearings until after the judicial emergency ends. To determine whether your property is covered by the CARES Act, please consult an attorney.

This is not intended to be used as legal advice.  Please consult an attorney for legal advice about your individual case.

Are new eviction actions still being served?

Magistrate Court is not directly releasing service copies to the Sheriff’s Office or private process servers. However, some process servers continue to serve new filings. Being served with a new eviction action does not mean you have to immediately move out. You are entitled to a hearing which will occur after the judicial emergency ends.

This is not intended to be used as legal advice.  Please consult an attorney for legal advice about your individual case.

If I’m served with a new eviction during the judicial emergency, do I have to file an Answer within seven (7) days?

No. The Chief Justice’s Order “suspends, tolls, extends, and otherwise grants relief from any deadlines or other time schedules or filing requirements.” An Answer may be filed during the judicial emergency, but it does not have to be.

This is not intended to be used as legal advice.  Please consult an attorney for legal advice about your individual case.

When do I need to file an Answer?

If you were served during the judicial emergency, you must answer within seven (7) days of the judicial emergency ending. If you were served before the judicial emergency was declared, your time to answer will be shorter based on the date of actual service. If you have questions about your deadline to respond, please contact an attorney or call Magistrate Court at (770) 528-8900.

This is not intended to be used as legal advice.  Please consult an attorney for legal advice about your individual case.

Is the Sheriff’s Office assisting in evictions during the judicial emergency?

No. The Sheriff’s Office does not currently possess any eviction cases that may be acted on during the judicial emergency.  Magistrate Court is not releasing any “blue slips” or writs of possession.

This is not intended to be used as legal advice.  Please consult an attorney for legal advice about your individual case.

I am worried that I will be evicted. What should I do?

Contact a lawyer and stay in contact with your landlord or management company to determine what options may be available to you during this difficult time.

This is not intended to be used as legal advice.  Please consult an attorney for legal advice about your individual case.

Can I make partial rent payments?

Each situation is unique. Contact an attorney, review your lease, or discuss partial payments with your landlord or management company directly.

This is not intended to be used as legal advice.  Please consult an attorney for legal advice about your individual case.

What about foreclosures?

Magistrate Court does not handle residential property foreclosures. Please speak with an attorney or your mortgage company.

This is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please consult an attorney for legal advice about your individual case.

How can I get an attorney to help me?

Please call Cobb Legal Aid at (770) 528-2565 or the Cobb County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service at (770) 424-2947 for help finding legal representation. No or low cost options may be available.

This is not intended to be used as legal advice.  Please consult an attorney for legal advice about your individual case.

What should I do if I have a question about an eviction case?

Please call Magistrate Court at (770) 528-8900. An actual person will answer the phone during normal business hours: Mon - Fri, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

This is not intended to be used as legal advice.  Please consult an attorney for legal advice about your individual case.

Pretrial Court Services

Pretrial Information

During the statewide judicial emergency, the Pretrial Services Division will operate with minimal staff Monday-Thursday and be closed on Fridays. Pretrial will primarily supervise Defendants via phone, e-mail, fax, ankle monitor, and other electronic communications but may require a Defendant to appear in-person if necessary. All previously scheduled in-person meetings (intake, drug screens, check-ins, address changes, etc.) are cancelled. Please e-mail or fax in any required documentation or address changes. Pretrial may seek an ACR warrant if an alleged bond violation presents an immediate safety concern.

INTAKE: Upon release, Defendants should NOT report in-person for intake. Rather, within 24 hours of release, the Defendant shall call (770) 528-8950 to conduct intake via telephone and e-mail. If you do not reach an officer immediately, please leave a voicemail message with your name and contact information. A pretrial officer will return your call.

REPORTING: Please call the report-in line at (770) 528-8957 to report by phone.

Pretrial Officer Contact information

Matty Armbruster 770-852-3543 [email protected]
Anita Baker 770-528-8922 [email protected]
Stacy Davenport (Nanoff) 770-528-8930 [email protected]
Adriene Glasper 770-528-8958 [email protected]
Selina Jacobs 770-852-3263 [email protected]
Sonjetta Tiller 770-528-8956 [email protected]
Karen VanBlarcom 770-528-8955 [email protected]
Lauren Watson 770-528-3076 [email protected]

Court Program Updates

Mediation

All mediations suspended through June 12, 2020 OR through expiration of  judicial emergency order.

Cancellations/Postponements/Limitations

Please note: The Magistrate Court will conduct limited daily wedding ceremonies BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. Please call 770-528-8900 to make an appointment. Due to social distancing requirements and in the best interest of public health, each couple will only be able to have up to five (5) additional guests attend the courtroom ceremony. All in attendance must wear masks, though the marrying couple will be allowed to remove their masks during the ceremony. Thank you for your understanding, and we look forward to celebrating with you.

Other Court Updates

For info on other Cobb Courts (Probate, State, Superior, etc.) visit the main Cobb County COVID-19 page, and refer to the COURT SYSTEM Information section.