Your Guide to the Georgia Court of Appeals

Do you want to learn more about the Georgia Court of Appeals? Get a detailed guide from Conklin Law today. Call us for more information.

What Is the Georgia Court of Appeals?

The Georgia Court of Appeals has statewide appellate jurisdiction to review decisions made by lower courts, except those involving constitutional questions, the death penalty, and habeas corpus. 

The Georgia Court of Appeals does not hear new evidence or witnesses. It merely determines whether the trial court’s decision is correct or erroneous. Generally, the Court of Appeals will affirm a decision – if it is correct, reverse a decision – if it is legally incorrect, or return the case to the trial judge for more information.

If you received an unfavorable judgment on your civil or criminal case and you want to appeal it, your appeal must be filed with the Court of Appeals. This guide will explain everything you need to know about the Georgia Court of Appeals, the cases it handles, and the appeals process.

However, working with a reputable appellate lawyer is indispensable. Our attorney at Conklin Law has a proven track record in successful appeals and can increase your chances for a favorable outcome. We handle both civil and criminal appeals. Call us today for a free consultation, or visit our law firm.

Jurisdiction of the Georgia Court of Appeals

The GA Court of Appeals is the intermediate appellate court in Georgia. It handles all appeals except those involving constitutional questions, the death penalty, and habeas corpus cases where original appellate jurisdiction lies with the Supreme Court. If necessary, the Court of Appeals can certify legal questions to the Supreme Court.

Appeals reach the Court of Appeals in two ways: through direct appeals, which are appeals that are made as a matter of right, or through discretionary appeals, which are appeals that the Court of Appeals grants. Discretionary review is generally only granted if there appears to be a reversible error, if precedent needs to be established, or if the law needs to be further developed.

Georgia Court of Appeals judges

The Georgia Court of Appeals has fifteen judges headed by a chief judge.. The position of the chief judgerotates among the fifteen judges for a two-year term. The chief judge appoints a presiding judge for each of the five divisions of the court.

Types of Appeals Handled by Georgia Court of Appeals

The Georgia Court of Appeals has jurisdiction to hear appeals of decisions from Georgia’s different trial courts, including:

Civil appeals:

These cases involve disagreements between people, businesses, or organizations, such as contract disputes, personal injury lawsuits, property conflicts, and commercial litigation.

Criminal appeals:

Except for cases where the death penalty could be imposed (murder cases), the Court of Appeals hears almost all criminal appeals. It has the power to uphold, reverse, or remand a conviction or parts thereof.

Family Law Appeals:

The Court of Appeals hears several appeals on domestic matters. These include divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, and other family law matters.

Administrative Appeals:

Individuals and entities can appeal decisions made by state agencies, boards, or commissions to the Court of Appeals. These cases may involve issues related to professional licenses, permits, or regulatory matters.

Probate and Estate Appeals:

The Court of Appeals has jurisdiction to hear appeals from Article 6 probate courts, including cases of wills and estates disputes, guardianships, and conservatorships.

Georgia Court of Appeals Contact Information

The Georgia Court of Appeals can be found at 330 Capitol Ave., S.E., 1st Floor, Suite 1601, Atlanta, Georgia, 30334. You can contact the court through the following means:

  • Primary Phone Number: You can reach the Court of Appeals at (404) 656-3450.
  • Email: Contact the court via email through the Georgia Courts’ official website. The site provides contact forms or email addresses for various departments.
  • Website: The Georgia Court of Appeals official website is a valuable information resource. You will get contact details, forms, and additional information about the court.

The Appeals Process and Timeline in the Georgia Court of Appeals:

The following is a typical timeline for the appeals process at the court:

  • Notice of Appeal:

The procedure starts when a party files a Notice of Appeal. One has to state their desire to challenge a judgment from a lower court. The Notice of Appeal must be submitted within 30 days of the lower court’s decision or order.

  • Docketing and Assignment:

The appeal is docketed with the Court of Appeals as soon as the Notice of Appeal, record, and transcripts are submitted by the lower court clerk.

  • Filing of Briefs:

The appellant’s brief must be filed within 20 days after a case is docketed. The appellee’s brief must be filed within 20 days from the date the appellant’s brief is filed. If the appellant wants to file a reply brief, they must do so within 20 days of the appellee’s brief filing.

  • Oral Arguments:

The Court of Appeals may order or grant oral arguments in some situations. If a party wants to request an oral argument, they must do so within 20 days of the date the case is docketed. Lawyers for both parties will argue their cases in front of the judging panel.

  • Decisions and judgments:

At the end of their review, the panel of judges will make their decision on the case. The judgment will be detailed in the decision, showing the vote of each judge. The Court of Appeals usually makes a decision within 10-12 months of receipt of the case.

  • Publication of Opinion:

The Court of Appeals usually publishes and makes public its opinions. Lower courts must use these opinions for future cases.

Appeal vs. Trial: Are They the Same?

A trial is the initial stage of a case where the facts and evidence of the case are presented. It can be either criminal or civil. A judge or a jury will hear the case and make a verdict.

An appeal is a request submitted to a higher court to review the case and reconsider the decision made by the trial court.

In an appeal, the court looks for any errors of law, procedure, or fact that may have affected the decision of the trial court. Also, as a general matter, no new evidence or witnesses are allowed in an appeal. Any new evidence that arises after a verdict or judgment must be presented in the lower court prior to the appeal process.

Contact Conklin Law Today

Whether you are a criminal defendant, civil defendant, or a plaintiff, you have the right to appeal an adverse decision to the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Tyler Conklin from Conklin Law has unique experience in appealing to Georgia’s two appellate courts. He has represented hundreds of defendants and secured significant victories. If you need legal representation to appeal your case to the Georgia Court of Appeals, Conklin Law is who you should call. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Represent Myself in an Appeal?

Yes, you can represent yourself in an Appeal. However, the court does not give anyone special treatment regardless of whether they represent themselves or hire an attorney. Employing the services of an attorney is essential to navigating this complex process.

Can the Court of Appeals Appoint an Attorney to Represent Me?

A criminal defendant is entitled to representation on appeal even if they cannot afford it. If you are in this situation, contact the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council.

Does a Jury Decide a Court of Appeals Case?  

Appeals are never heard by a jury. An appeal is assigned to a panel of three judges once it is docketed in the Court of Appeals. Depending on the outcome, the panel will affirm, reverse, or remand (return the case to the trial court for further proceedings) the trial court’s decision.

How Many Appellate Courts Are in Georgia?

In Georgia, there are two appellate courts: The Georgia Court of Appeals, the intermediate court, and the Supreme Court of Georgia, the court of last resort. Both are located in Atlanta and hear appeals from cases arising across Georgia.

In addition, a federal court of appeals, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, is located in Atlanta. The Eleventh Circuit has jurisdiction over federal cases in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.

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