• STATESBORO, GEORGIA – Today, the Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) and Hunton & Williams LLP, filed Davison v.

  • For the 16th year in a row, SCHR was a daily presence at the Georgia General Assembly. There were major victories this year, including the comprehensive Criminal Justice Reform Bill, an increased budget for Georgia’s public defender system, and reforms on grand jury procedures in police use of force cases. There were setbacks, the gutting of Georgia’s judicial watchdog agency. We helped stop several dangerous pieces of legislation, including a bill that would have mandated collection of DNA from every person arrested for “certain serious felonies” before their innocence or guilt was determined.

  • The Southern Center for Human Rights applauds the latest step by the Department of Justice to address inequality in the nation’s busiest courts.

  • Cuts totaling $13.5 million to Fulton County’s justice agencies have created a crisis as they brace for the fallout from the elimination of Fulton Pretrial Services.

  • The Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) filed Luse, et al. v. Sentinel Offender Services, LLC, et al. on behalf of people in White County, Georgia, who are placed on probation for traffic offenses and forced to submit to illegal urine tests at their own expense by one of the country’s largest for-profit probation companies.

  • The right to a lawyer for poor people accused of crime is on life support in the 15th Judicial Circuit of Louisiana. Plagued by devastating budget cuts, the Lafayette Public Defender Office that serves the 15th Judicial Circuit will effectively shut down in the next week if the State of Louisiana does not act to keep the office afloat.

  • A federal judge in Rome has barred the city of Calhoun from detaining indigent defendants in misdemeanor or minor traffic cases in jail for as long as a week simply because they cannot afford a cash bond.

  • In an order that will have far-reaching effects throughout Georgia, a federal judge yesterday condemned the City of Calhoun’s money bail system – a system that permitted the wealthy to purchase their release from jail, while detaining the indigent for up to one week. The order came in a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of indigent people charged with minor crimes in Calhoun, where city and court practices resulted in days of jail for people unable to afford to pay a monetary bond. The case, Walker v. City of Calhoun, is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

  • The United States Supreme Court heard arguments on November 2, 2015, on whether prosecutors engaged in race discrimination at Timothy Foster’s 1987 capital trial in Rome, Georgia, when prosecutors used their peremptory strikes to exclude black prospective jurors from jury service and then argued to the all-white jury that Foster should be sentenced to death for the murder of a white victim to “deter other people out there in the projects.” At the time, ninety percent of the families in the projects were black, including the Fosters. The jury sentenced Foster to death.

  • The Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) applauds Governor Deal’s historic recognition of the rights of Georgia’s children. In his FY 2017 budget, the Governor has recommended funding the Georgia Public Defender Council (GPDC) for 20 juvenile public defenders to represent poor children in juvenile court.