Fulton County Solicitor's restorative justice program continues via zoom

Fulton County Solicitor’s Office representatives say restorative justice doesn’t stop just because of a crippling virus and that's why the Misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion program will continue through Zoom proceedings.

Life isn’t always full of second chances, but those working for Solicitor Keith Gammage say his office runs on them.

For two years, the solicitor has offered the Misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion program.

"It's an alternative to a traditional prosecutorial path," representative Nancy Mau said.

It allows those with no prior criminal background who are charged with nonviolent misdemeanors to take a four-hour-long class in exchange for a clean slate.

There are two partnering programs.

"Both offer a class on Georgia law, and victim impact so people can learn to make better choices," she said.

The idea, solicitor representatives say, is to keep charges for small amounts of marijuana from preventing offenders from getting jobs or buying homes.

Likewise, those representatives say it saves tax dollars.

When courts closed, like most everything else, because of COVID-19, questions rose about what would happen to eligible offenders.

The solicitor just announced an online proceeding.

It’s happening in July, despite the fact that many court cases are on hold during the pandemic.

"We want public to know that we are still working hard on these cases." Mau said.

"This will be the first one we’re officering through a Zoom platform," she said.

Gammage released a statement about the change saying quote:

“Especially now, with high rates of unemployment, it is more important than ever that people are not held back by simple mistakes. To date, we have resolved hundreds of marijuana possession cases through diversion and as a result those citizens can seek employment and even military service,”

Representatives say you’ll receive notice of that session in coming days, if you’re eligible for the program.

That zoom proceeding, which will allow eligible offenders to say whether or not they plan to participate in the program, is scheduled for July 17.