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 E.S., Juvenile  
Date: September 30, 2022
Citation: 2022 VT 47
Docket Number: 21-AP-250

Justia Opinion Summary: The State appealed a family division’s order granting juvenile E.S.’s motion to suppress a statement given to law enforcement in this delinquency proceeding. In July 2021, the state’s attorney filed a delinquency…

Worrall v. Department of Labor (Snowfire Ltd., Employer)  
Date: September 23, 2022
Citation: 2022 VT 46
Docket Number: 2021-164

Justia Opinion Summary: Claimant Joseph Worrall challenged an Employment Security Board decision finding him ineligible for unemployment compensation and liable to the Vermont Department of Labor for an overpayment. In November 2020, a claims…

Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. et al. v. Ace American Insurance Company et al.  
Date: September 23, 2022
Citation: 2022 VT 45
Docket Number: 2021-173

Justia Opinion Summary: Insured Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. and insurer Huntington Ingalls Industries Risk Management LLC seek a declaratory judgment stating there is coverage under a property insurance policy for certain losses…

State v. Bradley J. Robtoy
Date: September 16, 2022
Citation: 2022 VT 25
Docket Number: 21-AP-293
In re Castine Mountain Road LLC CU (Michael Seaberg, Appellant)
Date: September 16, 2022
Citation: 2009 VT 76
Docket Number: 22-AP-028
Hale Resources, LLC v. Peter Levin et al.
Date: September 16, 2022
Citation: 2015 VT 108
Docket Number: 22-AP-036
James H. Hart et al.* v. Town of Bradford et al.
Date: September 16, 2022
Citation: 2008 VT 20
Docket Number: 22-AP-073
In re C.H. & A.H., Juveniles
Date: September 16, 2022
Citation: 2013 VT 79
Docket Number: 22-AP-101
Karen L. Babcock v. Richard N. Babcock, Sr.
Date: September 16, 2022
Citation: 2018 VT 96
Docket Number: 22-AP-103
Samantha R. Angstman v. Department of Labor
Date: September 16, 2022
Docket Number: 22-AP-107
State v. Justin Gamache
Date: September 16, 2022
Citation: 2012 VT 58
Docket Number: 22-AP-123
In re S.D.  
Date: September 9, 2022
Citation: 2022 VT 44
Docket Number: 2021-094

Justia Opinion Summary: The State of Vermont appealed a family division court's dismissal of three juvenile delinquency petitions against S.D. for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. The State argued the family division retained jurisdiction…

In re Katzenbach A250 Permit #7R1374-1  
Date: September 9, 2022
Citation: 2022 VT 42
Docket Number: 21-AP-189

Justia Opinion Summary: Applicants Christian and Clark Katzenbach appealed the Environmental Division’s decision granting but imposing certain conditions on an Act 250 permit for operating their sand- and gravel-extraction project. Applicants…

Beatty v. Keough  
Date: September 2, 2022
Citation: 2022 VT 41
Docket Number: 21-AP-263

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff and defendant worked in the same location. Defendant was the wife of plaintiff’s employer. In late July 2021, plaintiff sought relief under 12 V.S.A. § 5133 following a workplace confrontation with defendant.…

Bacigalupo v. Bacigalupo  
Date: September 2, 2022
Citation: 2022 VT 43
Docket Number: 21-AP-284

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue this case presented for the Vermont Supreme Court's review centered on whether a non-resident plaintiff could obtain a relief-from-abuse (RFA) order under Vermont’s Abuse Prevention Act. Mother and father were…

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.