How the Georgia Supreme Court Works: A Complete Guide
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So, if your loved one or family member has been convicted of a capital offense such as murder or armed robbery by a Georgia superior court, you might feel that their fate has been sealed. But thanks to the structure of the Georgia court system, there’s still hope. The convicted person might be able to file an appeal with the Georgia Supreme Court and get the court to review their case positively.
The information provided here explains how the court works and can help you manage your expectations throughout the appeal process. Keep reading to learn more.
The Supreme Court can also decide on Georgia Court of Appeals cases that are of great public importance. The procedure for hearing such cases is via the writ of certiorari. If you want to know more, you can contact a Georgia attorney to clarify how the writ of certiorari works.
As a court of review, the Supreme Court does not conduct a new trial for the cases it hears on appeal. Instead, it evaluates the evidence already admitted by the lower court ( from written briefs submitted by the parties) and the applicable law in each case before reaching a decision.
At the end of the appellate review process, the court would affirm or reverse the lower court’s decision or make any other order that would finally dispose of the appeal.
How the Supreme Court Justices Decide Cases
The Supreme Court of Georgia has nine justices (including the chief justice) chosen by votes in nonpartisan elections to serve a term of six years each.
The decisions of the justices are far-reaching. As such, they are bound to exercise their powers only as permitted by the Constitution of Georgia, the Georgia Code, and the Supplementary Supreme Court Rules.
By the Georgia Code, each justice must participate in the appeal process by affirming or reversing the decision in review. In order for a lower court decision to be overturned or reversed, the majority (at least five) of justices must concur. The lower court’s judgment stands if there is a tie for any reason.
However, the court staff cannot help you if you have specific legal concerns about your case or if you’d like to bring an aspect of your case to the justices’ attention. In such circumstances, you’ll need to consult an attorney for help.
The Court’s Schedule
The court’s schedule is divided into three terms annually- the December, April, and August terms.
The December term begins on the first Monday in December and lasts till the end of March each year. The April term starts on the first Monday in April and lasts till July 17. The August term begins on the first Monday in August to November 18.
By the court’s rules, a case must be decided within the term that follows the one where it was scheduled for oral arguments unless the court extends the time limit.