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GA top judge: Too many lack access to lawyers

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By AP

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Updated: Wed, 05 Feb 2014 10:29:33 EST

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's top judge says too many people in the state — especially among poor and rural populations — lack adequate access to legal services.

Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Hugh Thompson made the remarks Wednesday during his first annual State of the Judiciary speech before a joint session of the Legislature.

Thompson said 70 percent of the state's lawyers work in five counties in metro Atlanta and six counties have no lawyers at all. Because of a lack of adequate legal services, Thompson said, courts statewide are seeing an increase in the number of people representing themselves.

He also said the state needs more court interpreters and stressed the importance of accountability courts.

Thompson was sworn in for a four-year term as chief justice in August.

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