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 A.O. & I.O.  
Date: September 29, 2023
Citation: 2023 VT 54
Docket Numbers: 23-AP-124, 23-AP-126

Justia Opinion Summary: Mother appealed multiple family court decisions that found her four minor children B.G., E.G., I.O., and A.O. to be children in need of care or supervision (CHINS). Mother’s husband J.O., who was the father of I.O. and…

State v. Aaron Labor
Date: September 26, 2023
Citation: 2019 VT 18
Docket Number: 23-AP-288
Jeffrey Rivard v. Brattleboro Reformer & Susan Smallheer
Date: September 22, 2023
Citation: 2019 VT 4
Docket Number: 23-AP-149
Richard LaRoche v. Darla Sterett (LaRoche)
Date: September 15, 2023
Citation: 2017 VT 58
Docket Number: 23-AP-002
James Gibbons Jr. v. Dana Gray & Caledonian Record
Date: September 15, 2023
Citation: 2019 VT 4
Docket Number: 23-AP-055
State v. Travis G. Cram
Date: September 15, 2023
Citation: 2006 VT 5
Docket Numbers: 23-AP-065, 23-AP-085
Daniel Delorm v. Town of Hancock & Norman Smith
Date: September 15, 2023
Citation: 2020 VT 24
Docket Number: 23-AP-073
Claire Cookman v. Champlain Valley Plumbing & Heating
Date: September 15, 2023
Citation: 2019 VT 74
Docket Number: 23-AP-075
Jennifer Parmelee v. Department of Labor (Bridge School, lnc.)
Date: September 15, 2023
Citation: 2014 VT 61
Docket Number: 23-AP-089
In re David Piquette
Date: September 15, 2023
Citation: 2021 VT 95
Docket Number: 23-AP-102
Mia Wells v. Jeffery Tanner
Date: September 15, 2023
Docket Number: 23-AP-107
In re A.P., Juvenile
Date: September 15, 2023
Citation: 2012 VT 100
Docket Number: 23-AP-110
Ronald Whitmore v. Department of Labor (Global Foundries US 2 LLC)
Date: September 15, 2023
Citation: 2014 VT 74
Docket Number: 23-AP-137
Town of Bennington v. M.V. Properties, Inc.
Date: September 15, 2023
Citation: 2005 VT 18
Docket Number: 23-AP-144
In re M.W., M.W., B.W., Juveniles
Date: September 15, 2023
Citation: 2004 VT 40
Docket Number: 23-AP-147
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.
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