Supreme Court of Georgia Decisions

Nine justices serve on the Georgia Supreme Court, which expanded from seven justices in 2017. Under the Georgia Constitution, the Court has exclusive jurisdiction over appeals involving issues of constitutional law or cases contesting elections. It has general jurisdiction over appeals in cases certified for its review, as well as cases involving divorce or alimony, title to real estate, wills or equity, the death penalty, and writs of habeas corpus or certiorari. More broadly, if the Court finds that a case before a Georgia Court of Appeals involves a matter of great public importance, it may assert jurisdiction over that case.

A candidate for a seat on the Court needs only to be a resident of Georgia who has been licensed to practice law in the state for at least the last seven years. Each new justice is selected through a non-partisan election, which means that the candidates are listed on the ballot without their party affiliation. Once they are elected, a justice serves a six-year term. If a seat becomes vacant before the end of a term, the Governor of Georgia will appoint an interim replacement by using the assisted appointment method. This means that the Georgia Judicial Nominating Commission compiles a list of candidates, and the Governor likely will select the interim justice from that list, although this is not technically required. The Governor appoints the 18 members of the Commission. Their list generally will consist of at least five candidates. The justices elect the Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court from among their members, and the position rotates among them.

A justice may face removal, retirement, or other forms of discipline if the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission determines that discipline is appropriate. However, the Georgia Supreme Court makes the final decision on removal or retirement. A justice also may be removed if they are impeached by the Georgia House of Representatives and convicted by the Georgia State Senate in a two-thirds vote.

Browse Opinions From the Supreme Court of Georgia

Recent Decisions From the Supreme Court of Georgia
GeorgiaCarry.org, Inc. et al. v. Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Inc.  
Date: October 7, 2019
Docket Number: S18G1149

Justia Opinion Summary: The Atlanta Botanical Garden, Inc. (the “Garden”) leased land from the City of Atlanta. The Garden wished to enforce a policy precluding the possession of firearms by visitors to, and guests of, the Garden, like Phillip...

Rockdale Hospital, LLC v. Evans  
Date: October 7, 2019
Docket Numbers: S18G1189, S18G1190

Justia Opinion Summary: The Georgia Supreme Court granted certiorari review in Case Number S18G1189 to consider whether: (1) the standard that appellate courts should apply when reviewing a trial court’s ruling on a claim under OCGA 51-12-12; a...

Pennington v. Georgia  
Date: October 7, 2019
Docket Number: S18G1495

Justia Opinion Summary: Charles Pennington and Jay Briele were found guilty By jury of possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of an elementary school. At trial, Pennington and Briele requested that the jury be in...

McClure v. Georgia  
Date: October 7, 2019
Docket Number: S18G1599

Justia Opinion Summary: Following a jury trial, Carlos McClure was found guilty of two counts of aggravated assault based on an indictment that charged him with assaulting Armando Cuevas and Jamie Thun with a lever-action BB rifle by aiming the...

Rodrigues v. Georgia  
Date: October 7, 2019
Docket Number: S19A0530

Justia Opinion Summary: Leonard Rodrigues tried by jury and found guilty of malice murder and other crimes in connection with the stabbing death of Nathaniel Reynolds. He appealed, contending the trial court erred in letting improper testimony...

Franklin v. Georgia  
Date: October 7, 2019
Docket Number: S19A0533

Justia Opinion Summary: Cleandre Franklin was tried by jury and convicted of murder and other crimes in connection with the fatal shooting of Marvin Wiley. Franklin appealed, contending (1) the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictio...

Mitchum v. Georgia  
Date: October 7, 2019
Docket Number: S19A0554

Justia Opinion Summary: Robert Mitchum was convicted by jury in 1999 of felony murder. Fifteen years later, he filed a pro se extraordinary motion for a new trial based on improper communications with the jury. The issue this case presented for...

Velasco v. Georgia  
Date: October 7, 2019
Docket Number: S19A0590

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Urihaan Velasco was convicted of malice murder in connection with the beating death of Quang Popham. Appellant contended: (1) the evidence presented at his trial was legally insufficient to support his convicti...

Myrick v. Georgia  
Date: October 7, 2019
Docket Number: S19A0616

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Andre Myrick was convicted of felony murder and a firearm offense in connection with the shooting death of Kenneth Bevis. On appeal, he argued the trial court erred by denying his Batson challenge as to three p...

Bentley v. Georgia  
Date: October 7, 2019
Docket Number: S19A0696

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Maurice Bentley was convicted of malice murder and other crimes in connection with a shooting that killed Michael Polite and injured Angela Johnson. Appellant contended on appeal that his trial counsel provided...

Howard v. Georgia  
Date: October 7, 2019
Docket Number: S19A0785

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Bahir Ramiz Howard was convicted of murder and related crimes for the 2010 shooting death of Jerode Paige. He appealed, arguing the trial court erred in several jury instructions, and violated his constitutiona...

Brown v. Georgia  
Date: October 7, 2019
Docket Number: S19A0820

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant LaQuan Brown appeals her convictions for the murder of Ivory Carter, the armed robbery and aggravated assault of George Jackson, and the attempted murder and attempted armed robbery of Frederick Knight. Appella...

Smith v. Georgia  
Date: October 7, 2019
Docket Number: S19A0936

Justia Opinion Summary: Rodney Smith and Javon Jackson appealed the denial of their motions for new trial after a jury found them guilty of malice murder and other crimes in connection with the shooting death of Stephanie Smith and the shooting...

Scott v. Georgia  
Date: October 7, 2019
Docket Number: S19A1042

Justia Opinion Summary: Corduray Scott appealed after he was convicted of felony murder and second-degree cruelty to children in connection with the death of his three-month-old son. Scott challenged the sufficiency of the evidence supporting h...

Colquitt v. Georgia  
Date: October 7, 2019
Docket Number: S19A1204

Justia Opinion Summary: Johnny Colquitt pled guilty in 1993 to malice murder, armed robbery, and kidnapping with bodily injury in connection with the shooting death of Shelton Chappell. Colquitt received three life sentences for these crimes, w...

The opinions published on Justia State Caselaw are sourced from individual state court sites. These court opinions may not be the official published versions, and you should check your local court rules before citing to them. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site, or the information linked to on the state site.