Review Georgia Court System
The state of Georgia’s court system is divided into three levels: the trial courts, the appellate courts, and the Supreme Court of Georgia. The trial courts are where criminal and civil cases are first heard. These courts include the Superior Courts, the State Courts, and the Magistrate Courts. The appellate courts hear appeals from the decisions made in the trial courts. The Supreme Court of Georgia is the highest in the state and hears appeals from both the trial and appellate courts.
Georgia’s judicial branch interprets state laws and administers justice through the legal system. The court system is responsible for hearing all kinds of cases, including criminal, civil, and juvenile cases. The role of the judicial branch is to determine the outcomes of cases and uphold rule of law, ensuring that laws or policy decisions do not violate the Georgia state Constitution.
The Georgia Judicial Branch website provides more information on the state court system, including links to each level of court. You can also find contact information for each court on this website. If you need help finding a specific court or case, you can contact the Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts. This office can also provide general information about the state court system.
What Public Records Do Georgia Courts Contain?
Public records held by the Georgia courts include a wide variety of information, ranging from court records and case files to attorney Admission and Membership records. The type of information available varies depending on the court, but all public records are open to inspection by any member of the public unless specifically exempt from disclosure.
Some of the most commonly requested types of public records from the Georgia courts include:
- Court records and case files
- Attorney Admission and Membership records
- Judicial opinions
- Public calendars and schedules
- Records of court proceedings
- Transcripts of court proceedings
These types of records are typically available for inspection during regular business hours, although some courts may require advance notice or have special procedures for accessing certain types of information. For more information on accessing public records from the Georgia courts, please contact the specific court where the records are located.
Georgia Supreme Court is the highest court in the U.S. state of Georgia. Founded in 1845, the Georgia Supreme Court is the state’s court of last resort and has nine judgeships. Judges of the Supreme Court serve for terms of six years. Judges of other courts serve terms of four years. The Court has sole appellate jurisdiction over all cases decided by Georgia’s lower courts, and also has original jurisdiction over a small number of cases. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides over the Court, but only votes in the event of a tie.
The Georgia Supreme Court is headquartered in Atlanta, and its members travel around the state to hear oral arguments in different venues. In addition to hearing cases, the Supreme Court also is responsible for supervising the Georgia judicial system and disciplining attorneys.
It has appellate jurisdiction in
- cases involving title to land;
- equity cases;
- cases involving wills;
- habeas corpus cases;
- cases involving extraordinary remedies (mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto);
- divorce and alimony cases;
- cases certified to it by the Court of Appeals; and
- cases in which a sentence of death was imposed or could be imposed.
You can visit the courthouse in person at:
Nathan Deal Judicial Center
330 Capitol Avenue, S.E.
1st Floor, Suite 1100
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Phone: (404) 656-3470
Fax: (404) 656-2253
Court of Appeals
The Georgia Court of Appeals is the intermediate appellate court for the state of Georgia. It was created in 1970 as part of a general reorganization of the state’s judicial system. The court hears appeals from the trial courts, as well as certain administrative agencies. Its decisions are final unless appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court.
The Court of Appeals is composed of 12 judges, who are elected to four-year terms in statewide nonpartisan elections. The chief judge is selected by the other judges on the court and serves a two-year term. The chief judge presides over the court and supervises its administration, but does not have any additional decision-making authority.
The Court of Appeals hears oral arguments at its Atlanta headquarters and locations around the state. It also issues written opinions in cases, which are posted on its website. In addition to its judicial duties, the Court of Appeals also performs certain administrative functions for the Georgia judiciary as a whole.
330 Capitol Avenue S.E.
Suite 1601 Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone: (404) 656-3450
Superior Court is Georgia’s trial court of general jurisdiction. Georgia state Superior Court has exclusive original jurisdiction in all matters except those delegated to the Georgia Court of Appeals or Georgia Supreme Court.
There are 159 counties in Georgia, each with its own Superior Court. Each county has at least one Judge, and some counties have more than one.
The caseload for Georgia state Superior Courts is very heavy. In 2016, the average caseload per judge was 5,813 cases. This includes both criminal and civil cases.
Some of the most common types of cases handled by Georgia state Superior Courts include:
- DUI / DWI
- traffic violations
- drug offenses
- juvenile crimes
- family law matters
- probate matters
- small claims cases
- civil lawsuits Superior Court Judges are elected to four-year terms by the voters in their circuit. Georgia is divided into 49 judicial circuits, each with its own Superior Court.
There are some specialized Superior Courts in Georgia, such as the Business Court and the Drug Court. The Business Court hears cases involving complex business disputes, while the Drug Court provides an alternative sentencing option for non-violent offenders with drug addiction problems. The Georgia Superior Courts are part of the Georgia court system.
State Courts in Georgia
The Georgia State Courts have original jurisdiction over misdemeanor criminal cases, traffic cases, and some types of civil cases. The State Courts provide an impartial forum for the resolution of disputes and protect the rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of Georgia. The mission of the Georgia State Courts is to provide fair and accessible justice services that instill public trust and confidence in our legal system.
Juvenile Courts in Georgia
Georgia Juvenile Courts are specialized courts that handle cases involving minors who are accused of committing crimes. These courts are designed to provide a more rehabilitation-focused approach to juvenile offenders, as opposed to the punitive approach taken in adult criminal courts.
In Georgia, Juvenile Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over cases involving minors under the age of 17 who are accused of committing certain felonies, such as murder, rape, armed robbery, dependency cases, and adoption cases. The court also has jurisdiction over cases involving minors who are accused of violating state laws, such as curfew violations and truancy. 43 juvenile court judges in Georgia are appointed by the governor.
Georgia Juvenile Courts use a variety of rehabilitative measures to address juvenile crime, including probation, community service, and restitution, and help them reintegrate into society as productive, law-abiding citizens. In some cases, judges may also order juveniles to be placed in detention centers or group homes. By diverting juveniles from the adult criminal justice system, these courts aim to reduce recidivism rates and promote public safety.
- Judicial Branch: Overview, New Georgia Encyclopedia
- Georgia Superior Courts
- Georgia Court of Appeals
- Georgia Supreme Court
- Prosecuting Attorneys Council (PAC)
- Ballotpedia: Courts in Georgia
- Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice
- Judicial Council of Georgia
- Georgia Judicial Gateway
- NOLO: Types of Crime Classifications