Tuesday, July 28, 2020 1:26 PM EST
By The Associated Press, AP
AUGUSTA, Ga. — A judge in Augusta has issued an emergency order directing local leaders to renovate a former jail for court hearings, citing Georgia’s judicial state of emergency because of COVID-19 as his authority. Commissioners in the consolidated city-county tell The Augusta Chronicle they were “blindsided” by Richmond County Superior Court Judge Carl C. Brown’s Friday order. They question whether Brown is overstepping his authority by ordering renovations that could cost millions. Augusta commissioners had been looking to lease the former jail and law enforcement center for movie productions. It has four courtrooms in addition to a jail tower. Brown has pressed for years to convert the former law enforcement center into a juvenile justice center.