Understanding the Georgia Court of Appeals: A Comprehensive Guide
Overview of the Georgia Court of Appeals
As the intermediate appellate court in Georgia, the Court of Appeals is responsible for reviewing appeals from the state’s courts.
The Georgia Court of Appeals was established in 1906 as an intermediate appeals court to relieve the Supreme Court of its overwhelmingly heavy workload. It is composed of 15 judges who serve in five divisions. Each division consists of a 3-judge panel and a presiding judge appointed by the Court’s Chief Judge.
Since its inception, the Court of Appeals has significantly impacted Georgia’s legal system, providing an avenue for reviewing decisions from lower courts and critical guidance on interpreting state laws.
Suppose you have been convicted of a crime in a lower court and wish to appeal the decision. In that case, you must hire a criminal defense lawyer to assist you in navigating the legal process, as the appeals procedure can be complex. Your lawyer will help you understand the Georgia Court of Appeals and its policies and provide critical insight into essential court cases that may have a bearing on your case.
Jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals of Georgia
All cases, except those involving constitutional questions, murder, and habeas corpus cases, fall under the Court of Appeals’ statewide appellate jurisdiction. The decisions made by the Court of Appeals are binding on all courts in Georgia (apart from the Supreme Court). Sometimes, the Court of Appeals may certify legal questions to the Supreme Court.
What Does the Georgia Court of Appeals Do?
All cases not covered by the Georgia Supreme Court’s appellate exclusive jurisdiction are heard by Georgia’s Court of Appeals.
Appeals can be brought to the Court directly by attorneys or by applying for discretionary appeal, after which the intermediate appellate court will decide whether to hear your appeal. The court will only grant an application for discretionary review if:
There’s a need for further development of the case, e.g., in divorces
There’s a need to establish precedent
There’s a conspicuous reversible error
Note that your Athens criminal defense lawyer can appeal specific rulings the trial court makes even before your Georgia appeals case is over. However, you need the approval of the trial court judge to file your particular appeal, and the Georgia Court of Appeals must agree to hear the case before you can proceed.
Basic Information About the Court
Location of the Georgia Court of Appeals
The address of the Georgia Court of Appeals is located at the following address:
Supreme Court of Georgia
Nathan Deal Judicial Center
330 Capitol Avenue, S.E.
2nd Floor, Suite 1601
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Carry a photo identification card when visiting the courtroom or Clerk’s office.
Phone and Contact Details
To contact the Georgia Court of Appeal, call (404) 656-3450.
Hours of Operation
The Court is open from Monday to Friday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM and is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
Case files are maintained and filed by the Clerk of the Court of Appeals. Email inquiries are not accepted or responded to by the Clerk’s Office. For information about pending cases, you can call the number provided or have an experienced Georgia lawyer call on your behalf.
What Are the Two Types of Appellate Courts in Georgia?
The Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court are the two types of appellate courts in Georgia. The Supreme Court is the highest. Its work is to review rulings made by other courts in criminal and civil cases, and it has exclusive jurisdiction on:
Petitions from rulings of the intermediate appellate Court of Appeals
All criminal cases linked to a death sentence
Cases revolving around the constitutionality of state statutes
Many criminal and civil cases are presented for review by the Georgia Court of Appeals following trial. The review is intended to correct any legal errors made during the trial, not to change the outcome or jury verdict.
What Are the Common Processes of This Court?
The Georgia Court of Appeals reviews the final rulings made by the state courts (limited jurisdiction trying certain civil actions and misdemeanors, but not felonies) or superior courts (trial courts with general jurisdiction).
In civil petitions, the Court considers all the appeals from the state and superior courts, including all cases involving divorce and alimony, wills, and land titles. The Court also arbitrates over cases involving extreme remedies and appeals in equity petitions. If you appeal an election contest or case involving habeas corpus, you must do so with the Supreme Court.
Most appeals heard by the Court of Appeals are requests of right. The party appealing the case has a constitutional right to appeal. There are a few instances of discretionary appeals, such as appeals of interlocutory orders and appeals in civil lawsuits brought by prisoners, which the Court of Appeals generally grants based on predetermined factors.
What Is the Court Docket or Typical Schedule?
A docket is a file of multiple cases set at the same time. Some dockets could contain a variety of cases with different issues. The docket system of the Court of Appeals of Georgia has details about cases filed at the Court, both decided and pending.
How Successful Are Appeals in Georgia?
The chances of successfully appealing an official court ruling in Georgia depend entirely on your specific situation. Generally, however, statistics indicate an overall success rate of about 7 to 20 percent.
Swingle Levin Law Can Help You With Your Appeal
Are you fearful of an unsuccessful appeal? The first and most crucial step you need to take is to contact a reputable Athens criminal lawyer. At Swingle Levin Law, we’ll go the extra mile to protect your rights and reverse any erroneous judgment.
We understand the entire process of appealing a ruling and have the necessary experience to make sure you get the results you desire. Contact us today, and let’s start working on your appeal.