Vermont Supreme Court Decisions

Dating from 1777, the Vermont Supreme Court holds the authority to make final decisions in appeals arising from any case in a Vermont court. The Supreme Court also supervises the legal profession in the state, including disciplinary matters for judges and attorneys. It issues rules of procedure for civil, criminal, and family cases, as well as the appellate process. Five justices serve on the Supreme Court, which was ranked as the seventh-most liberal state supreme court in the U.S. in a Stanford University study in 2012.

To serve on the Vermont Supreme Court, a prospective justice must have practiced law in Vermont for more than five of the last 10 years. Vermont imposes a mandatory retirement age of 70 on its justices, so no candidate can be 70 or older. Each justice serves a six-year term. Vermont uses the assisted appointment process to choose justices. This means that the Governor of Vermont reviews a list of candidates and chooses one of them to serve on the Court. Vermont differs from most states with regard to the process of retaining justices. Rather than holding a retention election or a general election, the state requires the legislature to vote on whether a justice should be retained at the end of their term.

A controversial decision by the Supreme Court involved the right to a speedy trial in a criminal case. It overturned a conviction of a defendant who was not tried for nearly three years after he was arrested. The delay resulted from the withdrawals and replacements of several public defenders, often at the defendant’s request. The Supreme Court ruled that the state had violated the defendant’s right to a speedy trial because it had not provided a public defender to represent him in a timely manner. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed this decision, ruling that public defenders work for their clients rather than the state. Delays or gaps in representation caused by the public defender or the defendant do not infringe on the right to a speedy trial.

Browse Opinions From the Vermont Supreme Court

Recent Decisions From the Vermont Supreme Court
In re Frederick Sheldon
Date: October 15, 2021
Citation: 2012 VT 72
Docket Number: 2020-186
The Bank of New York Mellon v. Marjorie Johnston & Kamberleigh Johnston
Date: October 15, 2021
Citation: 2017 VT 120
Docket Number: 2020-244
Masiello Real Estate, Inc. v. Matteo, et al.  
Date: October 15, 2021
Citation: 2021 VT 81
Docket Number: 2020-257

Justia Opinion Summary: Masiello Real Estate, Inc. appealed a superior court’s conclusions of law on its breach-of-contract, quantum-meruit, and negligent-misrepresentation claims following a bench trial. Masiello’s claims stemmed from seller D...

In Wright & Boester Conditional Use Application (Patterson and Showers, Appellants)  
Date: October 15, 2021
Citation: 2021 VT 80
Docket Number: 2020-261

Justia Opinion Summary: Applicants Marian Wright and Greg Boester and their neighbors, Day Patterson and Janet Showers, owned abutting parcels of land on the shore of Caspian Lake in Greensboro, Vermont. Neighbors appealed an Environmental Divi...

In re A.G. & O.G., Juveniles
Date: October 15, 2021
Citation: 2016 VT 130
Docket Number: 2020-264
State v. Richard M. Lee
Date: October 15, 2021
Citation: 2019 VT 17
Docket Number: 2020-305
George E. Woods v. State of Vermont, et al.
Date: October 15, 2021
Citation: 2011 VT 122
Docket Number: 2021-011
In re Joshua J. Gould
Date: October 15, 2021
Citation: 2018 VT 50
Docket Number: 2021-015
Progressive Northern Insurance Company v. McGrath  
Date: October 15, 2021
Citation: 2021 VT 79
Docket Number: 2021-026

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff-appellant Kevin McGrath challenged a superior court’s decision granting summary judgment to appellee Progressive Northern Insurance Company. Specifically, he argued the court erred in concluding that he was not...

Ashley Metcalfe v. Chad Brennan
Date: October 15, 2021
Citation: 2019 VT 85
Docket Number: 2021-030
Daniel Sidman v. State of Vermont
Date: October 15, 2021
Citation: 2018 VT 47
Docket Number: 2021-037
Cindy Campney v. Department of Labor (HBH Holdings, LLC)
Date: October 15, 2021
Citation: 2014 VT 74
Docket Number: 2021-038
Pagani Enterprises LLC v. Department of Labor (Amber Wilson)
Date: October 15, 2021
Docket Number: 2021-046
Austin Burnett v. Matthew Christian
Date: October 15, 2021
Citation: 2019 VT 76
Docket Number: 2021-104
In re K.S., Juvenile
Date: October 15, 2021
Citation: 2014 VT 37
Docket Number: 2021-140
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.