Georgia Federal Courts
There are three federal judicial “Districts” within the borders of the State of Georgia: the Northern District, the Middle District and the Southern District.
Much of our work is done in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The Northern District is further divided into four separate “Divisions.” Each Division has a separate courthouse. There is a separate federal courthouse in Atlanta, one in Rome, another in Gainesville, along with another one in Newnan.
We also frequently take on federal cases in other parts of Georgia. The United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia covers a large part of the State. When we handle a case in the Middle District of Georgia, it usually means we are going to Macon, Athens, Albany or Columbus.
Federal cases involving our clients also sometimes are brought in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia. Many of the cases in the Southern District are brought in either Savannah or Augusta, although on occasion these cases take us to one of the other four courthouses in that District, which are located in Waycross, Dublin, Statesboro and Brunswick.
Although the law and the procedures are the same in each federal District and Division, there are some unique differences based on geography. For example, cases in the Gainesville Division of the Northern District often arise in some of the mountainous areas of our state. Jurors often have to drive from remote valleys, and we have seen situations where winter-time trials are delayed because of snow and ice. Handling a case in that Federal Court can be distinctly different from a similar federal criminal case in Atlanta, Savannah, or Valdosta. It is important to realize that while the law and procedures are the same in every federal court, local situations can have a big impact.
It is also important to know the differences between the various prosecutor’s offices in the three federal Districts in Georgia. Experienced federal criminal defense lawyers know that the practice in one District might be very different from another District when it comes to “discovery”, meaning the evidence or information that the prosecutor is obligated to turn over to the defense attorney prior to trial. It is well-known that in some locations the minimum information is provided to the defense lawyer, while in other Districts the federal prosecutors readily provide all of the information they have in their file.
Not only are there differences between the three Georgia federal Districts when it comes to discovery practices, the judges in each District likewise have some differing practices. Atlanta is a large city with a very busy federal District Court. However, judges only sit in the other Divisions in the Northern District on a less frequent basis. There are one or two senior judges sitting in the Rome Division of the Northern District, but Judges hear cases in the Gainesville and Newnan Divisions less frequently.
We have handled cases in every federal district in Georgia. Feel free to call us today at (404) 588-3991, or contact us online to schedule an appointment for a consultation.