Cross references.

- Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, § 35-6A-1 et seq.

Establishment of county law libraries, § 36-15-1 et seq.

Court-martial jurisdiction, § 38-2-370 et seq.

Designation of courts which possess jurisdiction over traffic offenses, and procedure in such courts, § 40-13-1 et seq.

Indictment and punishment of judge of probate court for malpractice, partiality, conduct unbecoming office, and other offenses, § 45-11-4.

Law reviews.

- For article, "The Majority That Wasn't: Stare Decisis, Majority Rule, and the Mischief of Quorum Requirements," see 58 Emory L. J. 831 (2009). For article, "'Clientless' Prosecutors," see 51 Ga. L. Rev. 693 (2017). For article, "Reconstructing Professionalism," see 51 Ga. L. Rev. 807 (2017).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Judicial Technology in the Courts, 44 Am. Jur. Trials 1.

CHAPTER 1 GENERAL PROVISIONS

15-1-1. Where judicial power vested.

The judicial power is vested in such tribunals as are created by the Constitution of this state, such other inferior courts as are or may be established by law, and such persons as are or may be specially invested with powers of a judicial nature.

(Orig. Code 1863, § 197; Code 1868, § 191; Code 1873, § 203; Code 1882, § 203; Civil Code 1895, § 4043; Civil Code 1910, § 4640; Code 1933, § 24-101.)

Cross references.

- Judicial power of the state, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. I, Para. I.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Cited in Kitson v. Hawke, 136 Ga. App. 92, 220 S.E.2d 28 (1975).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 20 Am. Jur. 2d, Courts, § 1 et seq.

C.J.S.

- 21 C.J.S., Courts, § 106 et seq.

15-1-2. No jurisdiction by consent; waiver of personal jurisdiction.

Parties may not give jurisdiction to a court by consent, express or implied, as to the person or subject matter of an action. However, lack of jurisdiction of the person may be waived, insofar as the rights of the parties are concerned, but not so as to prejudice third persons.

(Orig. Code 1863, § 3389; Code 1868, § 3408; Code 1873, § 3460; Code 1882, § 3460; Civil Code 1895, § 5079; Civil Code 1910, § 5663; Code 1933, § 24-112.)

Law reviews.

- For article discussing aspects of third party practice (impleader) under the Georgia Civil Practice Act, see 4 Ga. St. B. J. 355 (1968). For article, "Current Problems with Venue in Georgia," see 12 Ga. St. B. J. 71 (1975). For comment on Musgrove v. Musgrove, 213 Ga. 610, 100 S.E.2d 577 (1957), upholding the validity of divorce decree granted in county other than residence of defendant when defendant now plaintiff, admittedly waived process and consented to trial elsewhere, see 20 Ga. B. J. 548 (1958).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

General Consideration

This Code section is a codification of preexisting law. Central Bank v. Gibson, 11 Ga. 453 (1852).

Language in the latter part of this Code section does not mean that parties can confer upon a court, by agreement or waiver, jurisdiction as to a subject matter. The statute was a codification of the preexisting law, and it has been declared that it was the same in effect after the adoption of the Code as before that time. Rosenthal v. Langley, 180 Ga. 253, 179 S.E. 383, appeal dismissed, 295 U.S. 720, 55 S. Ct. 916, 79 L. Ed. 1674 (1935).

Code section does not mean that parties can confer subject matter jurisdiction on court.

- Last sentence of this Code section does not mean that parties, by agreement or waiver, can confer jurisdiction of subject matter on the court, and as to the subject matter the court is limited by the power conferred upon the court by law. Champion v. Rakes, 155 Ga. App. 134, 270 S.E.2d 272 (1980).

Extent of relief against nonresident not served in this state.

- Extent of available judicial relief in reference to alimony against a nonresident defendant, who is not personally served in this state, or does not acknowledge service, or who does not voluntarily submit to the jurisdiction of the court by appearing and pleading, is confined to the seizure and utilization of such property as the defendant may own, situated within the jurisdiction of the court. Hicks v. Hicks, 193 Ga. 446, 18 S.E.2d 754 (1942).

Suit brought in county where neither defendant resided.

- Suit to remove from the record a certain year's support proceeding as a cloud upon the title of described land in plaintiff's possession was one in equity and not one respecting title to land, and should have been brought in the county of a defendant against whom substantial relief was sought; since the suit was brought in a county where neither defendant resided, the court was without jurisdiction of the subject matter and such jurisdiction could not be conferred by consent or waived by the parties. Sweatman v. Roberts, 213 Ga. 112, 97 S.E.2d 320 (1957).

Forum selection clause cannot confer subject matter jurisdiction.

- Trial court erred in entering an order enjoining the appellants from the appellants alleged continuing trespass on the appellee's premises because the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction as the premises were located in South Carolina; and the forum selection clause could not confer subject matter jurisdiction to the trial court as forum selection clauses did not address subject matter jurisdiction, but rather personal jurisdiction. MSM Poly, LLC v. Textile Rubber & Chem. Co., 353 Ga. App. 538, 839 S.E.2d 4 (2020).

Attachment proceedings.

- If a defendant in an attachment, at the time the attachment was issued and levied, resided in the county where it was returnable, but prior to the filing of the declaration changed the defendant's domicile to another county, the court wherein the attachment was pending did not have jurisdiction to render a general judgment against the defendant since the defendant had not appeared and made a defense, nor replevied the property levied upon. Varn v. Chapman, 137 Ga. 300, 73 S.E. 507 (1912).

Appeals.

- Without proper and timely filing of a notice of appeal, dismissal is required in spite of the fact of consent given by opposing counsel to the late appeal as parties may not give jurisdiction to a court by consent, express or implied, as to the person or subject matter of an action. Clark v. State, 182 Ga. App. 752, 357 S.E.2d 109 (1987).

Appellate court needs to assess jurisdiction before proceeding.

- Appellate court was unable to address the merits of the business owner's appeal because the court was unable to determine whether the court had subject matter jurisdiction as it was necessary to determine if the power company properly filed a motion for contempt or impermissibly attempted to initiate a new civil action. Cowart v. Georgia Power Company, Ga. App. , 841 S.E.2d 426 (2020).

Cited in Walker v. Grand Int'l Bhd. of Locomotive Eng'rs, 186 Ga. 811, 199 S.E. 146 (1938); Calhoun ex rel. Chapman v. Gulf Oil Corp., 189 Ga. 414, 5 S.E.2d 902 (1939); Toler v. Goodin, 74 Ga. App. 468, 40 S.E.2d 214 (1946); Tatum v. Tatum, 203 Ga. 406, 46 S.E.2d 915 (1948); Berger v. Noble, 81 Ga. App. 34, 57 S.E.2d 844 (1950); Porter v. Employers Liab. Ins. Co., 85 Ga. App. 497, 69 S.E.2d 384 (1952); Curtis v. Curtis, 215 Ga. 367, 110 S.E.2d 668 (1959); Biddinger v. Fletcher, 224 Ga. 501, 162 S.E.2d 414 (1968); Louisville & Nashville R.R. v. Bush, 131 Ga. App. 405, 206 S.E.2d 58 (1974); Vector Co. v. Star Enters., Inc., 131 Ga. App. 569, 206 S.E.2d 636 (1974); National Serv. Indus., Inc. v. Vafla Corp., 694 F.2d 246 (11th Cir. 1982); Newell v. Brown, 187 Ga. App. 9, 369 S.E.2d 499 (1988); Mitchell v. Mitchell, 220 Ga. App. 682, 469 S.E.2d 540 (1996); Merritt v. City of Warner Robins, 243 Ga. App. 693, 534 S.E.2d 149 (2000); Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Ga., Inc. v. Deal, 244 Ga. App. 700, 536 S.E.2d 590 (2000); Gallagher v. Fiderion Group, LLC, 300 Ga. App. 434, 685 S.E.2d 387 (2009); State v. Baxter, 300 Ga. 268, 794 S.E.2d 49 (2016); Ultra Group of Companies, Inc. v. Alli, 352 Ga. App. 71, 833 S.E.2d 751 (2019).

Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Agreement of parties.

- Jurisdiction cannot be conferred upon a court or administrative body, such as the Department of Industrial Relations (now State Board of Workers' Compensation), by the agreement or consent, past or present, of the parties if jurisdiction over the subject matter of the claim or controversy does not actually exist. City Council v. Reynolds, 50 Ga. App. 482, 178 S.E. 485 (1935).

Jurisdiction of subject matter of suit cannot be conferred by agreement or consent, or be waived or "based on an estoppel of a party to deny that it exists." Langston v. Nash, 192 Ga. 427, 15 S.E.2d 481 (1941).

Consent of parties cannot give court jurisdiction of subject matter when the court has none by law, and if the court discovers from the record that a judgment has been rendered by a court having no jurisdiction of the subject matter, and the case is brought to the Georgia Supreme Court for review upon writ of error (see now O.C.G.A. §§ 5-6-49 and5-6-50), the Supreme Court will of the court's own motion reverse the judgment. Sweatman v. Roberts, 213 Ga. 112, 97 S.E.2d 320 (1957).

Waiver.

- As to the subject matter, the jurisdiction of a court is limited by the power conferred upon the court by law, and cannot be given additional jurisdiction by waiver. Thomas v. Calhoun Nat'l Bank, 157 Ga. 475, 121 S.E. 808 (1924).

Subject matter jurisdiction is not amenable to waiver. In re C.F., 199 Ga. App. 858, 406 S.E.2d 279 (1991).

Equity jurisdiction.

- Although an agreement by parties is entitled to consideration, the parties cannot by waiver or consent confer equity jurisdiction on a court when the court is otherwise without jurisdiction. Sherrer v. Hale, 248 Ga. 793, 285 S.E.2d 714 (1982).

Waiver as to rights of parties.

- Parties, by consent, express or implied, cannot give jurisdiction to court as to the person or the subject matter. It may be waived, however, as to the person, so far as the rights of the parties themselves are concerned. Lott v. City of Waycross, 152 Ga. 237, 110 S.E. 217 (1921).

Provision in agreement ineffective to confer jurisdiction.

- Provision in an agreement to submit to arbitration for an appeal to the superior court is ineffective to confer on the superior court jurisdiction to entertain the appeal. Jurisdiction as to the subject matter cannot be conferred by consent. Georgia Power Co. v. Friar, 47 Ga. App. 675, 171 S.E. 210 (1933), aff'd, 179 Ga. 470, 175 S.E. 807 (1934).

Jurisdiction held not conferred by implied consent.

- When the City of Augusta and claimant, a member of the city's fire department, made a written agreement for the payment of a stipulated weekly compensation to the claimant as an "employee" for the claimant's temporary total disability, and the Department of Industrial Relations (now State Board of Workers' Compensation) made an award confirming the agreement, without any question being presented as to whether the claimant was actually an employee or an officer of the city, and the claimant, after the conclusion of the payments under such agreement and award, filed a new application to the department for additional compensation to cover a permanent partial loss of use of the claimant's left hand resulting from the original injury, and when under the undisputed facts presented at the hearing of the second claim, and the foregoing rulings, the claimant was actually a public officer and not an employee of the city within the intent of the Workers' Compensation Act (O.C.G.A. T. 34, C. 9), it was error for the department to take jurisdiction of the new and additional claim since jurisdiction could not be thus imposed by implied consent any more than by the express consent of the city. City Council v. Reynolds, 50 Ga. App. 482, 178 S.E. 485 (1935).

No jurisdiction by consent after time for exercising such has expired.

- If jurisdiction may not be given by consent before the time is ripe for jurisdiction to attach, jurisdiction may not be given by consent after the time for exercising jurisdiction has expired. Pal Theatre, Inc. v. Tarver, 60 Ga. App. 817, 5 S.E.2d 277 (1939).

Effect of Lack of Jurisdiction

Power of court over subject matter is sine qua non to valid judgment, and may not be waived by consent of the parties. Champion v. Rakes, 155 Ga. App. 134, 270 S.E.2d 272 (1980).

Judgment is nullity absent jurisdiction.

- Suit in a court having no jurisdiction of the subject matter resulting in a judgment for the defendant is a nullity. Western Union Tel. Co. v. Taylor, 84 Ga. 408, 11 S.E. 396, 8 L.R.A. 189 (1890).

Void judgment will be reversed on review.

- When, in consideration of a case, it is discovered from the record that a judgment has been rendered by a court having no jurisdiction of the subject matter, that judgment will be reversed. Cutts v. Scandrett, 108 Ga. 620, 34 S.E. 186 (1899).

Invalid decision is not res judicata.

- If a court is wholly without jurisdiction of a given subject matter, an attempted decision of issues on that subject is invalid, and will not operate as res judicata in a subsequent suit concerning the subject matter in a court of competent jurisdiction. Dix v. Dix, 132 Ga. 630, 64 S.E. 790 (1909).

No consent or waiver of parties can make void judgment legal.

- If the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of a suit, parties cannot confer jurisdiction by agreement. The judgment in a case where the court is without jurisdiction is void, and no consent or waiver of the parties litigant can make it a legal judgment of a court of law or equity. O'Brien v. Harris, 105 Ga. 732, 31 S.E. 745 (1898).

Appellate court could not address the merits of the defendant's enumerations of errors as the power company did not properly invoke the jurisdiction of the trial court when the company attempted to initiate a new civil action by filing a contempt proceeding because an action for contempt was ancillary to the primary action and, as such, was not a pleading but a motion; thus, it was improper for the power company to initiate a new civil action to enforce contempt of an order from a prior case, and the trial court was without jurisdiction to consider the power company's improperly filed contempt proceeding. Cowart v. Georgia Power Company, Ga. App. , S.E.2d (Feb. 20, 2020).

Waiver

Jurisdiction of person may be waived.

- This section has been construed to permit a party to waive lack of jurisdiction over the party's person. McGahee v. Hilton & Dodge Lumber Co., 112 Ga. 513, 37 S.E. 708 (1900); Sanford v. Tanner, 114 Ga. 1005, 41 S.E. 668 (1902).

It is permissible to waive jurisdiction over the person provided the court has jurisdiction of the subject matter of the suit. Southern Express Co. v. Bankr. Elec. Co., 126 Ga. 472, 55 S.E. 254 (1906).

Jurisdiction of a person may be waived. Harper v. Allen, 41 Ga. App. 736, 154 S.E. 651 (1930).

Jurisdiction of a person may be waived in connection with acknowledgement of service. Georgia Creosoting Co. v. Moody, 41 Ga. App. 701, 154 S.E. 294 (1930).

Consent to jurisdiction through forum selection clause.

- O.C.G.A. § 15-1-2 did not prohibit a party from waiving the defense of lack of personal jurisdiction by consensually subjecting itself to jurisdiction of the court through a forum selection clause in a contract. Apparel Resources Int'l, Ltd. v. Amersig S.E., Inc., 215 Ga. App. 483, 451 S.E.2d 113 (1994).

Filing of general demurrer (now motion to dismiss) is equivalent to plea to merits within this rule. Harper v. Allen, 41 Ga. App. 736, 154 S.E. 651 (1930).

Failure to plead jurisdiction waives irregularities.

- If a defendant appears and pleads to the merits, without pleading to the jurisdiction and without any protestation as to process or service, the defendant thereby admits the jurisdiction of the court and waives all irregularities of the process, or of the absence of process and the service thereof. Harper v. Allen, 41 Ga. App. 736, 154 S.E. 651 (1930).

Defendant's appearance in support of motion.

- In case of a judgment void for want of personal service of process, the defendant does not waive the question of jurisdiction or validate the void judgment by an appearance after judgment in support of a motion to set the judgment aside. Hicks v. Hicks, 193 Ga. 446, 18 S.E.2d 754 (1942).

Rights of Third Persons

Language refers to interferences with legal rights of third persons.

- The language "but not so as to prejudice third persons" does not refer to mere inconvenience and expense in defending an action properly brought, but to interferences with legal rights of third persons. Odgen Equip. Co. v. Talmadge Farms, Inc., 132 Ga. App. 834, 209 S.E.2d 260 (1974).

Parties may not waive jurisdiction to prejudice of third parties.

- Parties defendant to an equitable action who appear and plead to the merits without excepting to the jurisdiction thereby waive any objection to the jurisdiction of the person so far as those defendants are concerned; but parties cannot waive jurisdiction to the prejudice of third parties. White v. North Ga. Elec. Co., 139 Ga. 587, 77 S.E. 789 (1913).

Purchasers from defendant are bound by defendant's waiver.

- Though a defendant may not so waive a want of jurisdiction as to defendant's person as to affect third persons, yet purchasers from defendant whose rights originate after the judgment against defendant's rendered after such waiver by defendant are bound by defendant's waiver on the principle of estoppel. Glennville Bank v. Deal, 146 Ga. 127, 90 S.E. 958 (1916).

Error to join another party when no jurisdiction.

- When, to an action at law brought by a resident of Polk County against a defendant residing in Fulton County, an answer in the nature of a cross action (now counterclaim) was filed, in which substantial equitable relief was prayed against the plaintiff and a third party who was also a resident of Polk County, it was erroneous to make the latter, over defendant's objection, a party, and to refuse on defendant's motion to dismiss the cross action as to defendant, the ground of such objection and motion being that the court had no jurisdiction to grant as to defendant the relief sought. Terhune v. Pettit, 195 Ga. 793, 25 S.E.2d 660 (1943).

Section on point where third parties involved.

- Since former Code 1933, § 3-202 (see now O.C.G.A. § 9-10-30) can be reconciled with Ga. Const. 1976, Art. VI, Sec. XIV, Para. III (see now Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. II, Para. III), as to venue of equity cases only on the ground of waiver, then former Code 1933, § 24-112 (see now O.C.G.A. § 15-1-2), and particularly the latter portion thereof, was directly on point in a case involving third parties. Terhune v. Pettit, 195 Ga. 793, 25 S.E.2d 660 (1943).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 20 Am. Jur. 2d, Courts, § 90 et seq.

C.J.S.

- 21 C.J.S., Courts, § 71 et seq.

ALR.

- Discretion of court to refuse to entertain action for nonstatutory tort occurring in another state or country, 32 A.L.R. 6; 48 A.L.R.2d 800.

Necessity as justifying action by judicial or administrative officer otherwise disqualified to act in particular case, 39 A.L.R. 1476.

Litigant's participation on merits, after objection to jurisdiction of person made under special appearance or the like has been overruled, as waiver of objection, 93 A.L.R. 1302; 62 A.L.R.2d 937.

Decree of divorce or separation as subject to attack because suit was brought in wrong county or judicial district, 130 A.L.R. 94.

Consent decree as affecting title to real estate in another state, 2 A.L.R.2d 1188.

Objection before judgment to jurisdiction of court over subject matter as constituting general appearance, 25 A.L.R.2d 833.

Validity of contractual provision limiting place or court in which action may be brought, 31 A.L.R.4th 404.

15-1-3. Powers of courts generally.

Every court has power:

  1. To preserve and enforce order in its immediate presence and, as near thereto as is necessary, to prevent interruption, disturbance, or hindrance to its proceedings;
  2. To enforce order before a person or body empowered to conduct a judicial investigation under its authority;
  3. To compel obedience to its judgments, orders, and process and to the orders of a judge out of court in an action or proceeding therein;
  4. To control, in the furtherance of justice, the conduct of its officers and all other persons connected with a judicial proceeding before it, in every matter appertaining thereto;
  5. To administer oaths in an action or proceeding pending therein and in all other cases when it may be necessary in the exercise of its powers and duties;
  6. To amend and control its processes and orders, so as to make them conformable to law and justice, and to amend its own records, so as to make them conform to the truth; and
  7. To correct its own proceedings before final judgment.

(Orig. Code 1863, §§ 200, 3428; Code 1868, §§ 194, 3448; Code 1873, §§ 206, 3499; Code 1882, §§ 206, 3499; Civil Code 1895, §§ 4047, 5118; Civil Code 1910, §§ 4644, 5702; Code 1933, §§ 24-104, 81-1202.)

Cross references.

- Powers of courts with regard to management of churches, § 14-5-45.

Law reviews.

- For article comparing sections of the Georgia Civil Practice Act with preexisting provisions of the Georgia Code, see 3 Ga. St. B. J. 295 (1967). For article, "The Civil Jurisdiction of State and Magistrate Courts," see 24 Ga. St. B. J. 29 (1987). For annual survey of domestic relations law, see 58 Mercer L. Rev. 133 (2006).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

General Consideration

Inherent powers.

- Every court possesses inherent powers not specifically granted. Johnson v. State, 177 Ga. 881, 171 S.E. 699 (1933).

Inherent power of courts should never be impaired or destroyed to such an extent that the court cannot exercise a power necessary to the court's proper functioning. Evans v. State, 69 Ga. App. 178, 24 S.E.2d 861 (1943).

Transfer of cause to another court.

- Unless expressly authorized, a court has no authority to transfer a case from itself to another court, and thereby give the other court possession of the case to hear and determine the case, although the other court would have had jurisdiction of the cause if the case had come to the court by due process. Burgess v. Nabers, 122 Ga. App. 445, 177 S.E.2d 266 (1970), but see Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. I, Para. VIII.

Appointment of foreperson of grand jury.

- In the absence of a statute to the contrary, the judge of the superior court has inherent power as the presiding officer of the court to appoint the foreperson of a grand jury from the number of those duly selected and required to serve. This authority vested in the judge by law is not affected by the custom of permitting the members of the grand jury to elect a foreperson. Peeples v. State, 178 Ga. 675, 173 S.E. 850 (1934).

Refusal to accept pro se filings.

- Trial court properly refused to accept plaintiff's pro se filings since plaintiff was represented by counsel at the time of the filings. Jacobsen v. Haldi, 210 Ga. App. 817, 437 S.E.2d 819 (1993).

Expert evaluation of criminal defendant.

- Superior court of the county in which defendant was convicted of murder had authority, on defendant's motion for new trial, to order an expert evaluation of defendant, who was incarcerated beyond the boundaries of the county in which the court sat. Zant v. Brantley, 261 Ga. 817, 411 S.E.2d 869 (1992).

Board of Workers' Compensation does not have same powers or jurisdiction as courts.

- Georgia Industrial Commission (now State Board of Workers' Compensation) is not a court of general jurisdiction, nor even of limited common-law jurisdiction, but is an industrial commission made so by express terms of the act of the legislature to administer the act's provisions as provided therein. As such, the administrative commission possesses only such jurisdiction, powers, and authority as are conferred upon the commission by the legislature, or such as arise therefrom by necessary implication to carry out the full and complete exercise of the powers granted. No power of reopening or rehearing a case on the case's merits, in which a decree has been entered, and of determining anew the liability or nonliability of the employer, is granted, except as provided by former Code 1933, § 114-709 (see now O.C.G.A. § 34-9-104). Dempsey v. Chevrolet Div., 102 Ga. App. 408, 116 S.E.2d 509 (1960). (See also Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. I, Para. I specifically empowering General Assembly to confer quasi-judicial powers on agencies).

Magistrate's power in dispossessory proceeding.

- Magistrate court had the authority to enter an order in a dispossessory action directing the landlord to perform repairs to the tenant's apartment since a magistrate court was entitled to exercise such powers as were necessary in aid of the court's jurisdiction, or to protect or effectuate the court's judgments. H. J. Russell & Co. v. Manuel, 264 Ga. App. 273, 590 S.E.2d 250 (2003).

Clarification of new trial order in criminal action.

- In an action in which a superior court granted defendant's motion for a new trial, as amended, based on a finding that a jury charge was erroneous and harmful, a second order which clarified that the new trial was to be held on only one of the multiple offenses of which defendant had been convicted was a proper clarification order under O.C.G.A. § 15-1-3(6), rather than an improper reconsideration order; the content and context of the second order indicated that the order was clearly for clarification purposes, based on the state's request for clarification, and the superior court had previously denied reconsideration of the new trial order because reconsideration was requested out of term. Barlow v. State, 279 Ga. 870, 621 S.E.2d 438 (2005).

Cited in Nichols v. State, 17 Ga. App. 593, 87 S.E. 817 (1916); Smith v. State, 36 Ga. App. 37, 135 S.E. 102 (1926); Barge v. Ownby, 170 Ga. 440, 153 S.E. 49 (1930); Grand Chapter, OES v. Wolfe, 175 Ga. 867, 166 S.E. 755 (1932); Spence v. Miller, 176 Ga. 96, 167 S.E. 188 (1932); Fielding v. M. Rich & Bros. Co., 46 Ga. App. 785, 169 S.E. 383 (1933); Brooks v. Sturdivant, 177 Ga. 514, 170 S.E. 369 (1933); Georgia Power Co. v. Ozburn, 53 Ga. App. 797, 187 S.E. 154 (1936); Benton v. State, 58 Ga. App. 633, 199 S.E. 561 (1938); Bradley v. Simpson, 59 Ga. App. 844, 2 S.E.2d 238 (1939); Bankers Health & Life Ins. Co. v. Kimberly, 60 Ga. App. 128, 3 S.E.2d 148 (1939); Loomis v. State, 78 Ga. App. 153, 51 S.E.2d 13 (1948); Alred v. Celanese Corp. of Am., 205 Ga. 371, 54 S.E.2d 240 (1949); Banister v. Hubbard, 82 Ga. App. 813, 62 S.E.2d 761 (1950); McCartney v. McCartney, 217 Ga. 200, 121 S.E.2d 785 (1961); White v. State, 105 Ga. App. 616, 125 S.E.2d 239 (1962); Smith v. Hartrampf, 106 Ga. App. 603, 127 S.E.2d 814 (1962); Crudup v. State, 106 Ga. App. 833, 129 S.E.2d 183 (1962); Crudup v. State, 218 Ga. 819, 130 S.E.2d 733 (1963); Boatright v. Sosebee, 108 Ga. App. 19, 132 S.E.2d 155 (1963); A.A. Parker Produce, Inc. v. Mercer, 221 Ga. 449, 145 S.E.2d 237 (1965); Boockholdt v. Brown, 224 Ga. 737, 164 S.E.2d 836 (1968); Davis v. State, 127 Ga. App. 76, 192 S.E.2d 538 (1972); Van Keuren v. Loomis, 128 Ga. App. 136, 195 S.E.2d 776 (1973); Camp v. Fidelity Bankers Life Ins. Co., 129 Ga. App. 590, 200 S.E.2d 332 (1973); Welch v. State, 130 Ga. App. 18, 202 S.E.2d 223 (1973); Camera Shop, Inc. v. GAF Corp., 130 Ga. App. 88, 202 S.E.2d 241 (1973); Emmett v. State, 232 Ga. 110, 205 S.E.2d 231 (1974); Murphy v. State, 132 Ga. App. 654, 209 S.E.2d 101 (1974); Nations v. State, 234 Ga. 709, 217 S.E.2d 287 (1975); Speagle v. Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 138 Ga. App. 384, 226 S.E.2d 459 (1976); Lowe v. State, 141 Ga. App. 433, 233 S.E.2d 807 (1977); McClain v. McClain, 241 Ga. 162, 243 S.E.2d 879 (1978); Gresham v. Rogers, 147 Ga. App. 189, 248 S.E.2d 225 (1978); Kelly v. State, 149 Ga. App. 222, 253 S.E.2d 860 (1979); Dennis v. State, 170 Ga. App. 630, 317 S.E.2d 874 (1984); Muff v. State, 254 Ga. 45, 326 S.E.2d 454 (1985); Smith v. State, 174 Ga. App. 647, 331 S.E.2d 14 (1985); Urban Medical Hosp. v. Seay, 179 Ga. App. 874, 348 S.E.2d 315 (1986); In re K.B., 188 Ga. App. 199, 372 S.E.2d 476 (1988); Chan v. W-East Trading Corp., 199 Ga. App. 76, 403 S.E.2d 840 (1991); Sunbelt Specialties v. Keith, 201 Ga. App. 167, 410 S.E.2d 364 (1991); Zeitman v. McBrayer, 201 Ga. App. 767, 412 S.E.2d 287 (1991); Rollins v. Southern Mtg. Co., 207 Ga. App. 215, 427 S.E.2d 581 (1993); Walton v. State, 207 Ga. App. 787, 429 S.E.2d 158 (1993); Marlowe v. Lott, 212 Ga. App. 679, 442 S.E.2d 487 (1994); In re Siemon, 264 Ga. 641, 449 S.E.2d 832 (1994); State v. Hall, 229 Ga. App. 194, 493 S.E.2d 718 (1997); Smith v. State, 245 Ga. App. 743, 538 S.E.2d 825 (2000); Blanton v. Duru, 247 Ga. App. 175, 543 S.E.2d 448 (2000); Harvey v. Lindsey, 251 Ga. App. 387, 554 S.E.2d 523 (2001); Wingate Land & Dev., LLC v. Robert C. Walker, Inc., 252 Ga. App. 818, 558 S.E.2d 13 (2001); Johnson v. State, 258 Ga. App. 33, 572 S.E.2d 669 (2002); Cheek v. State, 265 Ga. App. 15, 593 S.E.2d 55 (2003); Whitley v. Piedmont Hosp., Inc., 284 Ga. App. 649, 644 S.E.2d 514 (2007); Gary v. Gowins, 283 Ga. 433, 658 S.E.2d 575 (2008); In re Hadaway, 290 Ga. App. 453, 659 S.E.2d 863 (2008); McAlister v. Abam-Samson, 318 Ga. App. 1, 733 S.E.2d 58 (2012); Devlin v. Devlin, 339 Ga. App. 520, 791 S.E.2d 840 (2016).

Discretion of Court

Discretion in regulating and controlling business of court is necessarily confided to judge. Simpkins v. State, 149 Ga. App. 763, 256 S.E.2d 63 (1979).

Pursuant to the court's inherent power under O.C.G.A. § 15-1-3(3) and (4), the superior court did not abuse the court's discretion, or usurp the authority of the county sheriff by ordering the sheriff to transport county jail inmates represented by the county public defender to the county courthouse for pre-arraignment meetings as those actions helped to ensure that the inmates received effective assistance of counsel. Brown v. Incarcerated Pub. Defender Clients Div. 3, 288 Ga. App. 859, 655 S.E.2d 704 (2007), cert. denied, 2008 Ga. LEXIS 406 (Ga. 2008).

Requiring party to submit to physical examination.

- It is within the discretion of the court to require the plaintiff, suing for a physical injury alleged to be permanent, to submit to an examination by competent physicians. Richmond & D.R.R. v. Childress, 82 Ga. 719, 9 S.E. 602, 14 Am. St. R. 189, 3 L.R.A. 808 (1889).

Physical exam not required.

- No abuse of discretion arises when an examination is not ordered. City of Cedartown v. Brooks, 2 Ga. App. 583, 59 S.E. 836 (1907).

Decision to retain jury.

- Decision of retaining jury in session lies within discretion of court. Simpkins v. State, 149 Ga. App. 763, 256 S.E.2d 63 (1979).

Requiring a jury to deliberate until the hour of 4 A.M. is not such an abuse of discretion requiring reversal if the jury already reached an agreement on two of three counts and indicated the jury was making progress toward reaching agreement on the third and last count. Simpkins v. State, 149 Ga. App. 763, 256 S.E.2d 63 (1979).

Denial of mistrial.

- Since the defendant contended the trial court erred in refusing to grant a mistrial based on plaintiff's behavior in that while plaintiff testified plaintiff was unresponsive, sobbed constantly, and made direct emotional speeches to the jury, but the record indicated that the trial court was monitoring plaintiff's testimony and instructed plaintiff on several occasions to be more responsive, no manifest abuse of discretion by the trial court in denying the motion for mistrial was found. Southern Ry. v. Lawson, 256 Ga. 798, 353 S.E.2d 491 (1987).

Denial of sanctions for defense counsel's improper remarks informing the jury that opposing counsel was representing plaintiffs on a contingent-fee basis was not an abuse of discretion since issues as to the amount of damages, addressed by the improper remarks, were not reached by the jury, and therefore no harm resulted. Stoner v. Eden, 199 Ga. App. 135, 404 S.E.2d 283, cert. denied, 199 Ga. App. 907, 404 S.E.2d 283 (1991).

Appellate review of discretion.

- Discretion of the judges in all matters pertaining to contempt of their authority and mandates will never be controlled unless grossly abused. Crute v. Crute, 86 Ga. App. 96, 70 S.E.2d 727 (1952).

Discretion in regulating and controlling the business of the court is necessarily confided to the judge, who is invested with wide discretion in the exercise of which a reviewing court should never interfere unless it is made to appear that wrong or oppression has resulted from an abuse of discretion. Atlanta Newspapers, Inc. v. Grimes, 216 Ga. 74, 114 S.E.2d 421, appeal dismissed, 364 U.S. 290, 81 S. Ct. 63, 5 L. Ed. 2d 39 (1960); Barkett v. Jones, 142 Ga. App. 835, 237 S.E.2d 400 (1977).

If the legal rights of the parties are not prejudiced or denied, a reviewing court will not interfere with the discretion of the trial court in matters of practice in the hearing and disposition of causes before the court unless this discretionary power has been exercised in an illegal, unjust, or arbitrary manner. Bradford v. Parrish, 111 Ga. App. 167, 141 S.E.2d 125 (1965); Grossman v. Glass, 143 Ga. App. 464, 238 S.E.2d 569 (1977).

Reviewing court will not undertake to control the wide discretion vested in the trial court in the exercise of this fundamental power unless it is made to appear that wrong or oppression has resulted from an abuse of such discretion reposed in the court. Young v. Champion, 142 Ga. App. 687, 236 S.E.2d 783 (1977).

Denial of motion to correct judgment proper.

- Trial court properly denied a motion to correct a judgment entered against two debtors and the debtors' guarantors, five years and eight months after the expiration of the term of court in which the judgment was entered, as the debtors failed to show any entitlement to relief or exception as to why the debtors could not have timely sought the relief requested, and O.C.G.A. § 15-1-3(6) was unavailing because that section did not enable a court to change a judgment in substance or in any material respect. De La Reza v. Osprey Capital, LLC, 287 Ga. App. 196, 651 S.E.2d 97 (2007), cert. denied, No. S07C1928, 2007 Ga. LEXIS 819 (Ga. 2007).

Preserving and Enforcing Order

Duty of administering justice and maintaining dignity and authority of court.

- Every court's judges are charged with the duty of administering justice and with maintaining the dignity and authority of the court. Johnson v. State, 177 Ga. 881, 171 S.E. 699 (1933).

Power to control proceeding of court is subject to proviso that in so doing a judge does not take away or abridge any right of a party under the law. State v. Colquitt, 147 Ga. App. 627, 249 S.E.2d 680 (1978).

Inherent power to preserve and enforce order.

- Every court has power to preserve and enforce order in the court's immediate presence, and as near thereto as is necessary to prevent interruption, disturbance, or hindrance to the court's proceedings. Atlanta Newspapers, Inc. v. Grimes, 216 Ga. 74, 114 S.E.2d 421, appeal dismissed, 364 U.S. 290, 81 S. Ct. 63, 5 L. Ed. 2d 39 (1960).

It is fundamental that every court possesses inherent power to preserve and enforce order and compel obedience to the court's judgments and orders, to control the conduct of the court's officers and all other persons connected with the judicial proceedings before the court, and to inflict summary punishment for contempt upon any person failing and refusing to obey any lawful order. Jackson v. State, 225 Ga. 553, 170 S.E.2d 281 (1969); Farmer v. Holton, 146 Ga. App. 102, 245 S.E.2d 457 (1978), overruled on other grounds, In re Crane, 253 Ga. 667, 324 S.E.2d 443 (1985), cert. denied, 440 U.S. 958, 99 S. Ct. 1499, 59 L. Ed. 2d 771 (1979).

Court may control conduct of press.

- Courts have the power to determine the manner in which the courts shall operate in order to administer justice with dignity and decorum, and in such manner as shall be conducive to fair and impartial trials, and ascertainment of the truth uninfluenced by extraneous matters or distractions, and may stop conduct of representatives of the press in any field of activity interfering with the orderly conduct of court procedure or creating distractions interfering therewith. Atlanta Newspapers, Inc. v. Grimes, 216 Ga. 74, 114 S.E.2d 421, appeal dismissed, 364 U.S. 290, 81 S. Ct. 63, 5 L. Ed. 2d 39 (1960).

Spoliation of evidence.

- Trial court did not err by precluding the testimony of defendant's expert regarding possible causes of an accident deduced from an examination of the wrecked car as a sanction for the spoliation of the vehicle against an order of the court directing preservation. R.A. Siegel Co. v. Bowen, 246 Ga. App. 177, 539 S.E.2d 873 (2000).

Trial court erred in attributing bad faith to the plaintiff based upon the wrecker service's destruction of the truck because there was no way to construe the evidence so as to conclude that the wrecker service was acting as the plaintiff's agent when the service disregarded counsel's repeated requests to preserve the truck, and the striking of the plaintiff's complaint as a sanction was an abuse of discretion. Wilkins v. City of Conyers, 47 Ga. App. 469, 819 S.E.2d 885 (2018).

Power to punish for contempt.

- All courts are clothed with the inherent power to punish for contempt. West v. Field, 181 Ga. 152, 181 S.E. 661 (1935).

Discretion as to contempt power.

- Question whether contempt has been committed is for trial court, and that court's adjudication will not be interfered with unless there has been an abuse of discretion. Berman v. Berman, 232 Ga. 342, 206 S.E.2d 447 (1974); Rutledge v. State, 151 Ga. App. 615, 260 S.E.2d 743 (1979).

Disobedience to lawful court order.

- Disobedience to lawful order of court is obstruction of justice, and for such a violation the court, in order to compel respect or compliance, may punish for contempt. Griggers v. Bryant, 239 Ga. 244, 236 S.E.2d 599 (1977).

Summary contempt power.

- Although summary punishment is always and rightly regarded with disfavor, there is no doubt that the summary contempt power is still available to courts, under the appropriate circumstances, to control judicial proceedings. Farmer v. Strickland, 652 F.2d 427 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 944, 102 S. Ct. 1440, 71 L. Ed. 2d 656 (1982).

Court may apply less harsh sanctions.

- Under certain circumstances, the court may decide the sanctions provided by statute are too severe and apply less harsh measures under the court's inherent power to enforce obedience. Millholland v. Oglesby, 223 Ga. 230, 154 S.E.2d 194 (1967).

Notice and hearing on constructive contempt.

- In cases of constructive contempt of court if the alleged contumacious conduct is disobedience to a mandate of the court, not an act in the presence of the court or so near thereto as to obstruct the administration of justice, the law requires that a rule nisi issue and be served upon the accused, giving the accused notice of the charges against the accused, and that the accused be given an opportunity to be heard. Anthony v. Anthony, 240 Ga. 155, 240 S.E.2d 45 (1977).

Purpose of notice to accused.

- Notice given by the rule nisi is to afford the accused a reasonable time in which to prepare the accused's defense to the charge that the accused has violated the court's order. Anthony v. Anthony, 240 Ga. 155, 240 S.E.2d 45 (1977).

Contempt of order when actual notice exists.

- Person may be held in contempt of a court order entered in a proceeding in which the person was not a party, if it is shown that the person sought to be held in contempt had actual notice of the order. Anthony v. Anthony, 240 Ga. 155, 240 S.E.2d 45 (1977).

Probate court may punish for contempt.

- Court of ordinary (now probate court) has jurisdiction of matters pertaining to the estates of deceased persons, jurisdiction over administrators, jurisdiction to compel administrators to account for the assets of an estate in their possession or custody, and jurisdiction in such cases to attach and punish for contempt. Melton v. Jenkins, 50 Ga. App. 615, 178 S.E. 754 (1935).

Order containing contempt of court provision valid.

- Judge of superior court, upon a finding that the administrator had in the administrator's possession, custody, and control, money which belonged to the estate of the deceased, and which the administrator failed and refused to pay into court for distribution among the heirs at law, as directed by a valid judgment of the court of ordinary (now probate court), acted within the judge's powers, not only in rendering a judgment ordering that the administrator pay the amount which the administrator held to the several heirs at law, to be applied against the judgment rendered in the court of ordinary (now probate court), but also in ordering that upon the administrator's failure to do so within seven days the administrator be adjudged in contempt of court and be committed to the common jail of the county. Lewis v. Grovas, 62 Ga. App. 625, 9 S.E.2d 282 (1940).

Whether undisputed conduct amounts to contempt is question of law.

- It is a question of law for the court to decide whether the courtroom conduct which is factually undisputed amounts to criminal contempt of court. Farmer v. Strickland, 652 F.2d 427 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 944, 102 S. Ct. 1440, 71 L. Ed. 2d 656 (1982).

Evidence not required for contempt in judge's presence.

- When the contempt occurs totally in the presence of the judge, there is no necessity for the production of evidence. Indeed, there is no burden of persuading the trier of fact as there is no fact finding process to be conducted. Farmer v. Strickland, 652 F.2d 427 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 944, 102 S. Ct. 1440, 71 L. Ed. 2d 656 (1982).

No evidentiary standard of proof required for conduct in judge's presence.

- If the contumacious conduct is committed in the presence of the court in the immediate view of the judge, it is unnecessary for the court to apply any evidentiary standard of proof in order to summarily hold the contemnor in contempt of court. Farmer v. Strickland, 652 F.2d 427 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 944, 102 S. Ct. 1440, 71 L. Ed. 2d 656 (1982).

Protection of client's rights no excuse.

- Once an objection has been made by an attorney and the court has made the court's considered ruling, subsequent contumacious conduct will not be excused merely for the fact that the conduct was committed by an officer of the court during court proceedings in an attempt to protect the rights of the attorney's client. Farmer v. Strickland, 652 F.2d 427 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 944, 102 S. Ct. 1440, 71 L. Ed. 2d 656 (1982).

Shackling of defendant.

- Because the record did not reveal any specific actions of the appellant justifying the use of restraints, the shackling of the appellant, which continued throughout the trial, injected partiality into the trial, infringed upon the appellant's presumption of innocence and prevented the fundamental fairness which attends a trial by jury. Pace v. State, 212 Ga. App. 489, 442 S.E.2d 307 (1994).

Use of an electronic prisoner restraint device shielded from the jury's view was permissible. Young v. State, 269 Ga. 478, 499 S.E.2d 60 (1998), overruled on other grounds, 287 Ga. 242, 695 S.E.2d 255 (2010).

Trial court did not abuse the court's discretion by ordering the defendant to wear a restraint belt during trial as the defendant pointed to no assertions that the defendant made during the trial that wearing the restraint belt had an adverse effect on the defendant or that the belt prevented the defendant from assisting the defendant's attorney. Campbell v. State, 333 Ga. App. 829, 777 S.E.2d 507 (2015).

Compelling Obedience to Judgments, Orders, and Process

Judgment or decree to enforce prior judgment.

- If it is brought to the attention of the judge that the judge's judgment upon the same issue in granting an interlocutory injunction against the enforcement of certain tax assessments by the mayor and council is being set at naught and disregarded, the judge can entertain an ancillary proceeding and render such judgment or decree as would enforce the judge's prior judgment until it should be reversed; and an objection based on lack of jurisdiction of the judge to issue an injunction upon the amendment is without merit. City of Macon v. Ries, 180 Ga. 371, 179 S.E. 529 (1935).

Power of Court of Appeals to enforce judgments.

- Court of Appeals has the power to entertain a petition for mandamus or prohibition in order to enforce the court's judgments. Raybestos-Manhattan, Inc. v. Moran, 248 Ga. 461, 284 S.E.2d 256 (1981).

Change in venue does not eliminate court's power.

- When the venue is changed, the first court does not lose power to enforce the court's judgment changing the venue. Ruffin v. State, 28 Ga. App. 40, 110 S.E. 311 (1921).

Superior court rendering the final order placing the custody of the parties' minor child in the appellant retains jurisdiction to enforce the court's order by attachment for contempt, notwithstanding the fact that subsequent to the rendition of the order the appellant may have removed the appellant's residence to another county. Ogletree v. Watson, 223 Ga. 618, 157 S.E.2d 464 (1967).

Jurisdiction to enforce retained despite change of residence.

- Superior court, awarding alimony in virtue of the court's jurisdiction originally invoked by plaintiff in divorce suit, had jurisdiction to enforce the court's payment by attachment for contempt against the plaintiff after the plaintiff changed the plaintiff's residence to another county. Curtright v. Curtright, 187 Ga. 122, 200 S.E. 711 (1938).

Trial court retained jurisdiction to enforce stock levy order and to compel judgment debtor to reconvey corporate assets.

- Trial court that ordered a judgment debtor to convey shares of stock to the court for levy and execution retained jurisdiction for the purpose of enforcing the levy orders, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15-1-3(3) and Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. I, Para. IV, and compelling the debtor to reconvey assets of the corporation to the judgment creditor, the new shareholder. Clark v. Chapman, 301 Ga. App. 117, 687 S.E.2d 146 (2009).

Action should not be dismissed because of witness' disobedience to court order.

- Action by a father for the loss of the services of his minor child should not be dismissed because the child, after reaching majority, refused to obey an order of the court in which the action was pending requiring the child to submit to a physical examination. Bagwell v. Atlanta Consol. S. Ry., 109 Ga. 611, 34 S.E. 1018, 47 L.R.A. 486 (1900).

Interference with receiver's possession of property.

- One who dispossesses the receiver of property consigned to that person by the court dispossesses the court, and of course becomes in contempt of court; and one may be punished for contempt and the property may be restored. A contempt of court being complete by dispossessing the receiver, the fact that no injunctive order has been passed does not affect the case. Coker v. Norman, 162 Ga. 351, 133 S.E. 740 (1926).

Refusal to answer writ of certiorari.

- When a person has been tried and convicted in the county court, and has petitioned the judge of the superior court for a writ of certiorari, and the petition is sanctioned, and the writ issued, and the judge of the county court refuses to answer as required by the writ, the judge of the superior court, in term time, has power to attach the county court judge for contempt. Pittman v. Hagans, 91 Ga. 107, 16 S.E. 659 (1892).

Party late for trial.

- Public housing tenant's answer was struck since the tenant was five minutes late for trial after having been warned not to be late. Truitt v. Housing Auth., 235 Ga. App. 92, 507 S.E.2d 781 (1998).

Enforcement of custody provisions of Georgia divorce judgment.

- Georgia court which issued a divorce judgment that has not been modified by a court of another state with jurisdiction to do so may hear a Georgia-resident, non-custodial parent's allegations of contumacious conduct leveled against the nonresident custodial parent; a Georgia court has the statutory power to compel obedience to the court's judgments, as well as the inherent power to enforce the court's orders through contempt proceedings, and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act, O.C.G.A. § 19-9-81 et seq., does not provide the exclusive means by which a party may seek enforcement of the custody provisions of a Georgia judgment. Dyer v. Surratt, 266 Ga. 220, 466 S.E.2d 584 (1996).

Authority to strike wife's pleadings in divorce for nonappearance.

- It was not an abuse of discretion for a trial court to strike a wife's pleadings in a divorce after the wife failed to appear at a final custody hearing because: (1) O.C.G.A. § 15-1-3 gave the trial court such authority for the wife's wilful refusal to participate; (2) the wife was warned to check for notices of upcoming hearing dates; and (3) despite proper notice, the wife chose not to participate or state why. Pennington v. Pennington, 291 Ga. 165, 728 S.E.2d 230 (2012).

Revocation of bail bond for violations.

- Since the defendant was charged with battery against a specific female victim, the trial court had authority to revoke defendant's bail bond following defendant's violation of conditions thereof that forbade the defendant to threaten, harass, stalk, or abuse the victim. Clarke v. State, 228 Ga. App. 219, 491 S.E.2d 450 (1997).

Refusal of order to testify.

- Defendant's criminal contempt conviction was reversed as the trial court relied on another court's ex parte immunity grant in ordering the defendant to testify and neither court made a finding that defendant's testimony was "necessary to the public interest" as required by former O.C.G.A. § 24-9-28 (see now O.C.G.A. § 24-5-507); the state had to grant a valid immunity as broad in scope as the privilege the state replaced and show the applicability of that state immunity to the witness. In re Long, 276 Ga. App. 306, 623 S.E.2d 181 (2005).

Trial court's failure to use proper Fifth Amendment analysis.

- Trial court did not engage in the required analysis for a witness asserting a Fifth Amendment privilege, but merely declared that answering the questions concerning knowledge of the court's order regarding removing a child from a father's home would not incriminate the witness; at a minimum, such knowledge would establish a link in the chain of evidence needed to prove the witness was in contempt of that order and the trial court's finding of contempt based on the witness's refusal to answer the question was improper. In re Tidwell, 279 Ga. App. 734, 632 S.E.2d 690 (2006).

Conduct of Officers and Other Persons

Paragraph (4) codifies ancient right.

- Paragraph (4) is a codification of a right which has inhered in courts from ancient times. Lowe v. Taylor, 180 Ga. 654, 180 S.E. 223 (1935).

Order for deposit into court registry authorized.

- In a trespass action against a sign leasing corporation for unauthorized placement of a sign, the trial court did not abuse the court's discretion in ordering the corporation to deposit income from operation of the sign into the court's registry. Courtesy Leasing, Inc. v. Christian, 266 Ga. 187, 465 S.E.2d 443 (1996).

Broad powers given to trial courts by paragraph (4) of O.C.G.A. § 15-1-3 to manage the cases over which the courts preside authorized the trial court to order the deposit into the registry of funds. Such funds were due by the plaintiffs to the defendants under a prior settlement agreement which the plaintiffs alleged was breached by the defendants since the action made entitlement to the funds an issue and, under the allegations of the complaint, the plaintiffs may have been excused from further performance under the agreement by the defendants' breach. Eichelkraut v. Camp, 236 Ga. App. 721, 513 S.E.2d 267 (1999).

Inherent power.

- Courts have the inherent power to adequately control, in furtherance of justice, officers, parties, jurors, witnesses, and others connected with a pending case. Crosby v. Potts, 8 Ga. App. 463, 69 S.E. 582 (1910).

Control is essential.

- It is essential that control of persons referred to in paragraph (4) be exercised in a matter which is before the court. Lowe v. Taylor, 180 Ga. 654, 180 S.E. 223 (1935).

Attorney conduct.

- Attorney at law admitted to practice in the courts of this state is an officer of the courts, and as such, is as much subject to the power of the court to control the conduct of persons present in the courtroom as others are subject thereto. Kellar v. State, 226 Ga. 432, 175 S.E.2d 654 (1970).

Contempt against a lawyer was affirmed when the lawyer failed to appear at the call of the client's case, failed to file a conflict letter, failed to notify the trial court of the lawyer's unavailability, failed to notify the client that the lawyer would not be in court, and, after being haled into court to explain the lawyer's conduct, the lawyer failed to acknowledge that the lawyer had not complied with Ga. Unif. Super. Ct. R. 17.1(B) regarding notification of conflicts and had, thus, inconvenienced both the court and the lawyer's client, and lastly, displayed contumacious behavior at the contempt hearing. In re Herring, 268 Ga. App. 390, 601 S.E.2d 839 (2004).

Contempt against lawyer without consideration of evidence erroneous.

- Juvenile court erred by summarily holding an attorney in contempt based on a per se rule. The juvenile court determined that a per se rule existed that an attorney was in contempt when the attorney claimed ineffectiveness against themselves, but no such per se rule existed and, therefore, it was error to have adjudicated the attorney in contempt. Morris v. State, 295 Ga. App. 579, 672 S.E.2d 531 (2009).

Self-representation.

- As the right to represent oneself does not evaporate when an attorney is hired, a court errs in barring a party from representing oneself because an appearance has been made for the attorney by other attorneys; however, the court is not required to accept random appearances and filings by both the client and attorneys. If a party and the party's attorneys are unable to coordinate their efforts so that they speak with one voice, the court is empowered to appoint a leading counsel who shall be the spokesperson. Cherry v. Coast House, Ltd., 257 Ga. 403, 359 S.E.2d 904 (1987), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 1060, 108 S. Ct. 1015, 98 L. Ed. 2d 981 (1988).

Disclosure by plaintiff applying for relief.

- Court has inherent power to enforce disclosure by plaintiff applying to the court's forum for relief. Millholland v. Oglesby, 223 Ga. 230, 154 S.E.2d 194 (1967).

Court can compel attendance of witness under the court's power to control all persons connected with a judicial proceeding before the court. Western & Atl. R.R. v. Denmead, 83 Ga. 351, 9 S.E. 683 (1889).

Bail or jail of witness to secure presence.

- Court, in order to secure the presence of a witness in a criminal case, and to prevent the witness leaving the jurisdiction of the court prior to the trial, may require that the witness give bail for the witness's appearance, and, in default of the witness's giving bail, cause the witness to be held in confinement. Crosby v. Potts, 8 Ga. App. 463, 69 S.E. 582 (1910).

If it is necessary in order to secure the attendance of a witness at court to make the witness testify, the court has ample authority to secure the witness's attendance by requiring the witness to give bail, or in default thereof, to go to jail. Pullen v. Cleckler, 162 Ga. 111, 132 S.E. 761 (1926).

Imprisonment of witness defaulting on bond.

- No court should order a witness to be imprisoned in default of bond, except from grave necessity; unless the witness's testimony is material and important, and unless there is strong likelihood that, if the witness is not restrained by confinement or bond, the witness will violate the mandates of the subpoena and flee the limits of the state, the power should not be exercised. Lowe v. Taylor, 180 Ga. 654, 180 S.E. 223 (1935).

"Extraordinary service" not illegal such that witness could refuse to testify.

- In a contempt proceeding against a witness for refusing to testify, arising in a proceeding by a solicitor general (now district attorney) to revoke a previous order of the court admitting certain persons to practice law, which main proceeding was not a technical motion in arrest or motion to set aside, but was an independent proceeding quasi in rem at law, and invoked control by the court over the court's own officers, "extraordinary service" ordered by the court was not illegal so as to permit the witness to refuse to testify. Simpson v. Bradley, 189 Ga. 316, 5 S.E.2d 893 (1939), cert. denied, 310 U.S. 643, 60 S. Ct. 1105, 84 L. Ed. 1410 (1940).

Payment for court reporting services.

- O.C.G.A. § 15-1-3 gives no authority, by in personam order, to compel the payment of private contractual obligations incurred by an attorney for court reporting services. Augustine v. Clifton, 248 Ga. 553, 284 S.E.2d 432 (1981).

Claim for money in attorney's hands by person other than client.

- When, as the result of a lawsuit instituted by an attorney for a client, money has come into the hands of the attorney, the defendant in that suit who claims title to the money, but who is not the client of the attorney, cannot enforce the client's claim by rule against the attorney. Blanch v. Roberson, 69 Ga. App. 423, 25 S.E.2d 720 (1943).

Money in hands of attorney.

- Right to rule an attorney, for money alleged to be in the attorney's hands as such, depends upon the existence of the relation of attorney and client and is limited to the client. Haygood v. Haden, 119 Ga. 463, 46 S.E. 625 (1904); Blanch v. Roberson, 69 Ga. App. 423, 25 S.E.2d 720 (1943).

Party sanctioned.

- Trial court was within the court's authority to strike the party's answer and counterclaim and to bar the presentation of evidence after the party failed to personally appear throughout the litigation and disregarded multiple orders. Bayless v. Bayless, 280 Ga. 153, 625 S.E.2d 741 (2006).

No intimidation of defendant.

- There was no merit to the defendant's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel in that the trial court intimidated the defendant by admonishing the defendant about making objections during the trial; since the defendant was represented by counsel, the defendant had no right to personally make evidentiary objections or otherwise assume the role of co-counsel. Phillips v. State, 278 Ga. App. 439, 629 S.E.2d 130 (2006).

Oaths

Authority of commissioners to administer oaths.

- If a court is composed of commissioners, any one of the commissioners may administer oaths. Broadwater v. State, 10 Ga. App. 458, 73 S.E. 691 (1912).

Competency of reader of oath immaterial when in presence of court.

- When the reading of the oath by another person is in the presence of the court, the competency of the person reading the oath is immaterial. Richards v. State, 131 Ga. App. 362, 206 S.E.2d 93 (1974).

Court's job to swear witnesses.

- With regard to a defendant's convictions for incest and child molestation, the trial judge did not exhibit undue bias against the defense by reminding defense counsel that the swearing of witnesses fell within the dominion of the court. Hubert v. State, 297 Ga. App. 71, 676 S.E.2d 436 (2009).

Amendments

1. In General

Power to amend is broad and liberal.

- Power to amend process given under the authority of paragraph (6) of this section is fully as broad and liberal as that allowed for the amendment of other pleadings. Everett v. McCary, 93 Ga. App. 474, 92 S.E.2d 112 (1956).

Death of party.

- Fact that the husband died prior to the entry of the judgment nunc pro tunc would not alter the power of the court to complete and amend the court's records so as to make the records speak the truth. Moore v. Moore, 229 Ga. 600, 193 S.E.2d 608 (1972).

Effect of correction on nonparties.

- Judgment cannot be corrected so as to bind person not party to suit. Thompson v. American Mtg. Co., 122 Ga. 39, 49 S.E. 751 (1905).

Application for discretionary appeal from probation revocation.

- Defendant's filing of an application for discretionary appeal from a revocation of probation acted as a supersedeas to the same extent as a notice of appeal and thereby deprived the trial court of jurisdiction to enter an amended revocation order. Bryson v. State, 228 Ga. App. 84, 491 S.E.2d 184 (1997).

2. Scope of Power to Amend

Power to render records truthful.

- All courts have inherent power to amend their records to speak the truth. Vaughn v. Fitzgerald, 112 Ga. 517, 37 S.E. 752 (1900).

Every court has the power to amend and control the court's processes and orders so as to make the orders conform to law and justice, and to amend the court's records to conform to the truth. Cox v. LeRoy, 130 Ga. App. 388, 203 S.E.2d 863 (1973).

Every court has the inherent power and duty to correct the court's own records to make the records speak truth. Willis v. Jackson, 148 Ga. App. 432, 251 S.E.2d 341 (1978).

Court may correct court's own records.

- If based solely on the record, and without the necessity for the introduction of extrinsic evidence, the court may, on the court's own motion and without notice, enter a judgment and decree correcting the court's own records nunc pro tunc at a later date; and since such entry simply perfects the record as between the parties the entry relates back to the time when the entry should have been entered, although a different rule would apply to sureties, intervening bona fide purchasers, or innocent third parties. Swindell v. Swindell, 208 Ga. 727, 69 S.E.2d 197 (1952); Moore v. Moore, 229 Ga. 600, 193 S.E.2d 608 (1972).

Correction of errors and mistakes.

- Every court, whether the court exercises exclusive or concurrent jurisdiction, is vested with inherent power to control and amend the court's records, judgments, and processes, and to correct errors and mistakes in those records, judgments, and processes. Ellis v. Clarke, 173 Ga. 618, 160 S.E. 780 (1931).

Court whose sole purpose is to deal fairly and do justice to all parties can accomplish this purpose only by acting upon true and correct records; and if errors or mistakes are found in the court's records, whether they be honest mistakes or deliberate alterations, the court in the exercise of the court's inherent power can and should correct all such records. Beecher v. Carter, 189 Ga. 234, 5 S.E.2d 648 (1939).

Motion to vacate order must be based on meritorious reason.

- While a motion to vacate an order or judgment is one addressed to the court's sound discretion, such a motion should not be granted unless founded upon a meritorious reason. Drain Tile Mach., Inc. v. McCannon, 80 Ga. App. 373, 56 S.E.2d 165 (1949).

3. Timing of Changes and Relation Back

Control during term over orders and judgments.

- Court of record has plenary control of the court's orders and judgments during term rendered, and may amend, correct, modify, supplement, or vacate the orders and judgments; the exercise of this power during the term will not be disturbed unless there is an abuse thereof. Drain Tile Mach., Inc. v. McCannon, 80 Ga. App. 373, 56 S.E.2d 165 (1949).

During the term at which a judgment or ruling is made, the judge, in the exercise of the judge's own discretion to correct errors and to promote justice, has plenary power to amend, modify, revise, supplement, or even supersede, revoke, or vacate such previous judgment or ruling. Shockley v. Henselee, 114 Ga. App. 227, 150 S.E.2d 689 (1966).

Final order must be set aside during same term entered.

- Trial judge can set aside a final order entered provided that the order is set aside during the same term in which the order is entered. Donnelly v. Stynchcombe, 246 Ga. 118, 269 S.E.2d 10 (1980).

Power to correct at subsequent term.

- Judge had power at the subsequent term, in the direct proceeding against the defendant, after due notice and a hearing, to correct the paper inadvertently signed as a sentence and entered upon the minutes of the court, so that the paper conforms to the actual sentence orally pronounced. Pulliam v. Jenkins, 157 Ga. 18, 121 S.E. 679 (1923).

Revising judgment at subsequent term.

- Judgment may be revised or amended, or entered of record, nunc pro tunc, on proper motion, at a term subsequent to that at which the judgment was rendered so as to make the judgment speak the truth of the decision that was actually rendered, or to make the judgment conform to the verdict; but the judgment must be amended by an inspection of the record, including the pleadings and the verdict, without resort to extraneous evidence. Allen v. Community Loan & Inv. Corp., 78 Ga. App. 611, 51 S.E.2d 872 (1949).

Amendment of judgment after term and after affirmation on appeal.

- Court may amend a judgment to make the judgment conform to the verdict, not only after the term in which the judgment was rendered, but after the case has been affirmed by an appellate court. Kerr v. Noble, 124 Ga. App. 722, 185 S.E.2d 807 (1971).

Notice of change made at subsequent term.

- If done at same term, court may make correction without notice to anyone; if at a subsequent term, the correction must be upon notice to the parties at interest. Ellis v. Clarke, 173 Ga. 618, 160 S.E. 780 (1931).

Material amendments at subsequent term require notice.

- Judgment regular on the judgment's face cannot at a subsequent term be amended in a material respect, even though the amendment makes the judgment conform to the original judgment as orally rendered if there has been no proceeding brought for that purpose, with due notice to parties whose rights are to be affected. Crowell v. Crowell, 191 Ga. 36, 11 S.E.2d 190 (1940).

Amendment to assert statute of limitations defense.

- Trial court did not abuse the court's discretion by permitting the insurance company to amend the company's answer to raise a statute- of-limitations defense to the tree service company owner's (owner's) personal injury claims after the entry of the pre-trial order because the owner failed to show any prejudice since the other defendants had raised the statute-of-limitations defense by the time the insurance company did, so the owner was on notice that the defense would be considered by the trial court. Popham v. Landmark Am. Ins. Co., 340 Ga. App. 603, 798 S.E.2d 257 (2017).

Disposition of motion to revise or vacate.

- Motion to revise or vacate an order or judgment not founded on a verdict made during the term at which rendered cannot be determined by any fixed rule, but the disposition thereof by the court depends on the circumstances of the case. Drain Tile Mach., Inc. v. McCannon, 80 Ga. App. 373, 56 S.E.2d 165 (1949).

Incorrect docket entry that case is settled.

- Entry on the issue docket of a superior court that a case is settled is prima facie true and cannot be collaterally attacked; but, in the absence of a signed order entered on the minutes of the court, such docket entry does not constitute a dismissal of the case, and may be set aside in a direct proceeding for that purpose in the exercise of the authority of the court to correct the court's records to make the records speak the truth. Head v. Yeomans, 189 Ga. 335, 6 S.E.2d 704 (1939).

Relation back of amendment to judgment.

- Based solely on the record, and without the necessity for the introduction of extrinsic evidence, the court may, on the court's own motion and without notice, enter such judgment and decree nunc pro tunc at a later date; and since such entry simply perfects the record, as between the parties the entry relates back to the time when the entry should have been entered. Swindell v. Swindell, 208 Ga. 727, 69 S.E.2d 197 (1952); Moore v. Moore, 229 Ga. 600, 193 S.E.2d 608 (1972).

Amendment to judgment to make the judgment conform to the verdict relates back to that which was amended. Further, the court may act on the court's own motion if a nunc pro tunc judgment is based solely on the record. Kerr v. Noble, 124 Ga. App. 722, 185 S.E.2d 807 (1971).

Judgment nunc pro tunc.

- Generally, a judgment entered nunc pro tunc relates back to the time when the judgment should have been entered and completes the record. If there are no intervening equities, the judgment so entered will sustain a plea of res judicata between the parties as to the matter involved in the litigation. Walden v. Walden, 128 Ga. 126, 57 S.E. 323 (1907).

Trial court did not err in entering a final divorce decree nunc pro tunc and ordering monthly installments of lump-sum alimony to begin almost five months before entry of the judgment because entry of the judgment nunc pro tunc and commencement of lump-sum alimony soon after the verdict was advantageous to a common law husband as the monthly payments thereof were $500 less than the monthly amount of temporary alimony. Norman v. Ault, 287 Ga. 324, 695 S.E.2d 633 (2010).

Trial court's entry of a divorce decree nunc pro tunc under O.C.G.A. § 15-1-3(6), which eliminated a "transition period" from supervised to unsupervised visitation between the husband and the children, was error as the court had orally announced that the court was providing the transition period for the welfare of the parties' two children. Sigal v. Sigal, 289 Ga. 814, 716 S.E.2d 206 (2011).

4. Restrictions on Substantive Changes

Substantive or material changes in judgment barred.

- This section does not enable a court to change a judgment in substance or in any material respect. Crowell v. Crowell, 191 Ga. 36, 11 S.E.2d 190 (1940).

No power to include what was not actually decided.

- Power to amend and revise does not include power to supply judicial omissions so as to include what a court might or should have decided, but did not actually so decide. Allen v. Community Loan & Inv. Corp., 78 Ga. App. 611, 51 S.E.2d 872 (1949).

Amendment of judgment so as not to follow verdict of jury not allowed.

- When founded on verdicts of a jury, and not the acts of the judge, the court may not amend the judgment so as not to follow the verdict. Cox v. LeRoy, 130 Ga. App. 388, 203 S.E.2d 863 (1973); Wimberly v. Medaris, 143 Ga. App. 805, 240 S.E.2d 200 (1977).

Additional pleadings with material changes not allowed after judgment.

- While the superior court has the power and duty of correcting errors in the court's records, this rule does not authorize the court to allow, filed subsequent to judgment, additional pleadings which will materially change the pleadings on which the judgment was rendered; hence, if the plaintiff's amended motion for a new trial was heard and overruled, the trial judge did not err in disallowing a second amendment to the motion, offered several weeks after the date of the judgment overruling the original motion for the purpose of perfecting the assignments of error contained in the first amendment to the motion for a new trial. Nickerson v. Porter, 189 Ga. 671, 7 S.E.2d 231 (1940).

Modification of order denying attorney's fees not authorized.

- If the trial court determined as a matter of law that there was no claim under an insurance policy, there could be no recovery of attorney's fees under O.C.G.A. § 33-4-6, and the court was without power to modify the court's order denying an attorney's fees award to plaintiff after the term of court expired in which that order was made. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Johnson, 242 Ga. App. 591, 530 S.E.2d 492 (2000).

5. Clerical Corrections

Court may order clerk to correct clerical error.

- If the clerk of the superior court, in issuing the writ of certiorari, made a clerical error in dating the writ, the judge of that court may pass an order authorizing the clerk to correct such error so as to make the writ bear the true date of issuance. Neal v. Neal, 122 Ga. 804, 50 S.E. 929 (1905).

Substantive changes not allowed.

- Power of courts to correct clerical errors and misprints and to make the record speak the truth by nunc pro tunc amendments after the term does not enable the courts to change their judgments in substance or in any material respect. Rogers v. Rigell, 183 Ga. 455, 188 S.E. 704 (1936).

Clerical omission or irregularity may be cured by amendment.

- If the process contains a command to the defendant to appear in court at a certain time for a specified purpose, and if this process is actually executed by the proper officer, the mere fact that the formal direction to the officer to execute the process is omitted therefrom would be at most a mere clerical omission or irregularity, which could be cured by amendment. Gay v. Sylvania Cent. Ry., 79 Ga. App. 362, 53 S.E.2d 713 (1949).

6. Illustrative Cases

Process is amendable so as to be made to "conform to law and justice." Minsk v. Cook, 48 Ga. App. 567, 173 S.E. 446 (1934).

Process properly served its purpose despite defect.

- If, by virtue of a process, although defective, a defendant has been properly served by one lawfully authorized to effect the service, although the process was not so directed to the officer, and if that process has properly put the defendant on notice of the proceeding, and when defendant's appearance will be required, such process has properly served its purpose. Gay v. Sylvania Cent. Ry., 79 Ga. App. 362, 53 S.E.2d 713 (1949).

Continuing jurisdiction to enter judgment on jury verdict.

- Court of record, in the exercise of the court's inherent power, has continuing jurisdiction to enter judgment on a jury verdict at any time. Jefferson v. Ross, 250 Ga. 817, 301 S.E.2d 268 (1983), (overruling Maroska v. Williams, 146 Ga. App. 130, 245 S.E.2d 470 (1978)).

Failure to state length of sentence.

- Record which fails to state length of sentence may be corrected. Tyler v. State, 125 Ga. 46, 53 S.E. 818 (1906).

Transcript of charge to jury may be corrected. Georgia Ry. & Elec. Co. v. Carroll, 143 Ga. 93, 84 S.E. 434 (1915).

Failure to instruct jury to pronounce determinate sentence.

- Since the jury pronounced an indeterminate sentence of three to five years, when in fact the jury should have been instructed to pronounce a determinate sentence, and the court, evidently convinced of the error, changed the sentence to three years, any errors involved were trifling and were harmless. Powell v. State, 115 Ga. App. 791, 156 S.E.2d 188 (1967).

Record of judgment is amendable to show true relation of parties as disclosed by execution. Safford v. Banks, 69 Ga. 289 (1882).

Record of illegal judgment.

- Judge of a court of record may of the judge's own motion, when approving the minutes at the close of the term, expunge therefrom a judgment which the court is, as to the subject matter, without jurisdiction to render. Scott v. Hughes, 124 Ga. 1000, 53 S.E. 453 (1906).

Setting aside judgment.

- Failure of a defendant to appear and plead, in consequence of a misunderstanding between defendant and defense counsel, does not afford a meritorious reason for granting a motion to set aside a judgment, even though made during the term when the judgment was yet in the breast of the court. Drain Tile Mach., Inc. v. McCannon, 80 Ga. App. 373, 56 S.E.2d 165 (1949).

Laches not grounds for vacating dismissal.

- Laches of plaintiff is not a sufficient reason for the court to exercise the court's plenary power and vacate an order dismissing a case for want of prosecution since neither the plaintiff nor plaintiff's counsel are present on the call of the case for trial. Drain Tile Mach., Inc. v. McCannon, 80 Ga. App. 373, 56 S.E.2d 165 (1949).

Power of court to enter order accurately reflecting trial of case.

- Trial court, if no adverse rights have intervened, has jurisdiction nunc pro tunc to enter an order of dismissal accurately reflecting what occurred upon the trial of the case. Israel v. Joe Redwine Ins. Agency, 120 Ga. App. 14, 169 S.E.2d 347 (1969).

Power to require clerk to recall incorrect execution.

- It was within the power of the court to compel obedience to the court's judgments, orders, and process in an action or proceeding therein. This general power conferred by the law upon the courts and the specific power providing for rule nisi against officers contained in former Code 1933, § 24-209 (see now O.C.G.A. § 15-13-4) authorized a proceeding when an execution was issued by the clerk contrary to the terms of the judgment and was paid by the defendant in fi. fa. and marked satisfied by the clerk. The court had the power to have the clerk recall such an execution and offer to refund the money paid to the clerk by the defendant in fi. fa. Miller Serv., Inc. v. Miller, 77 Ga. App. 413, 48 S.E.2d 761 (1948).

Corrections of mistake in minutes must not prejudice rights of third person. Barefield v. Bryan, 8 Ga. 463 (1850).

Entry of order 24 years after issuance.

- If an order granted 24 years previously had not been placed upon the minutes of the court by the clerk, the judge ordered it done in order to make the minutes speak the truth. Ellis v. Clarke, 173 Ga. 618, 160 S.E. 780 (1931).

Reducing oral order to writing.

- Language "amend its own records" includes amending the record by reducing to writing an order which had previously existed only as an oral statement and was, therefore, not properly a part of the record at all, although it had been recognized as such during the trial of the case. Maloy v. Planter's Whse. & Lumber Co., 142 Ga. App. 69, 234 S.E.2d 807 (1977).

If the plaintiff files an amendment to the plaintiff's complaint and a motion to add parties, a proposed (unsigned) order granting the motion is placed in the file at the same time as the motion, a hearing on the motion is held, and the trial court, in the exercise of the court's discretion, orally grants the motion, all within the limitations period, but, through oversight, the court omits the actual signing of the order, the trial court does not err in later entering a nunc pro tunc order so as to correct the court's own oversight and to make the record speak the truth. Savannah Iron & Fence Corp. v. Mitchell, 168 Ga. App. 252, 308 S.E.2d 569 (1983).

Motion to revoke or set aside order of incorporation.

- Motion to revoke and set aside an order of incorporation on the grounds that the movant had acquired prior use to the name used by the corporation, that its use would cause confusion and cloud titles of petitioners' property, and that it was improvidently granted because the movant was not given notice before the order of incorporation, and praying that it be set aside, is not an equity case within the meaning of that term as used in Ga. Const. 1976, Art. VI, Sec. II, Para. IV (see now Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. VI, Paras. II, III), defining the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. The grounds of the motion are not relievable only in equity. On the contrary, the motion is one to set aside an order of the court on an alleged legal ground and a court has jurisdiction with rule nisi or process to grant the relief prayed. Methodist Episcopal Church S., Inc. v. Decell, 60 Ga. App. 843, 5 S.E.2d 66 (1939).

Coerced compliance with settlement agreement outside term.

- If county and jail inmates entered a settlement agreement whereby the county would take steps over an 18-month period to improve health services, but the county was held in contempt and given the opportunity to purge itself of contempt, the mere fact that the trial court's later order was beyond the original 18 month settlement terms did not prevent the trial court from finding the county had not purged the contempt; the expiration of the term did not halt the trial court's lawful efforts to coerce compliance, particularly when those efforts began long before the agreement was due to expire. DeKalb County v. Adams, 262 Ga. App. 243, 585 S.E.2d 178 (2003).

Error to deny motion to set aside consent order when one party did not consent.

- Because both a wife and her counsel read and signed a settlement agreement reached during a divorce hearing, the agreement was enforceable even though some details remained to be decided, and it could not be rescinded based on a claimed error in the award of a home to the husband. However, a consent order based on the agreement should have been set aside under O.C.G.A. § 15-1-3(6) because the wife did not consent to the order and the trial court had the duty to determine whether the agreement was equitable. Buckner v. Buckner, 294 Ga. 705, 755 S.E.2d 722 (2014).

Revival of dormant judgment in workers' compensation cases.

- In an action wherein a workers' compensation claimant revived a lump-sum judgment of $37,747.08 plus accrued interest, which had become dormant against an employer, the trial court properly refused to amend the 2006 judgment that revived the judgment to provide for weekly disability payments as the term of court ended and, therefore, the trial court had no authority to amend or alter that 2006 judgment. However, the trial court should have issued a writ of execution for the payments that became due after July 27, 2000, as those payments had not become dormant. Taylor v. Peachbelt Props., 293 Ga. App. 335, 667 S.E.2d 117 (2008).

Disqualification of counsel.

- Trial court did not err by granting the wife's motion to disqualify counsel in a wrongful death action after finding that the lawyers repeatedly and intentionally contacted the wife's expert with the objective of interfering with the expert's appearance as a witness; the natural and foreseeable result of co-counsel's phone calls to the witness's employer was to have the expert pressured into withdrawing from the case. WellStar Health Sys. v. Kemp, 324 Ga. App. 629, 751 S.E.2d 445 (2013).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Choice of forum.

- Courts of Georgia may not restrict the suitor's choice of forum when jurisdiction of a cause of action is vested in more than one court. 1983 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U83-50.

Reduction of sentence to writing.

- Trial judge is ultimately responsible for reducing sentence to writing, even though this duty may be delegated to another officer; in any event, the judge must sign the sentence. 1970 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U70-85.

Ensuring safety during habeas corpus proceeding.

- Court, assisted by the sheriff of the county, is responsible for undertaking measures necessary to ensure the safety of the court during a habeas corpus proceeding; however, this does not relieve the Board of Corrections from any of the Board's constitutional duties for the custody of inmates. 1973 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 73-57.

Dismissal of arrest warrant.

- Arrest warrant may be dismissed by the issuing judicial officer at the request of the prosecutor prior to the warrant's execution and need not be dismissed by the court having jurisdiction over the trial of the case. 1985 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U85-27.

Magistrate may prevent interference with constable.

- Justice of peace (now magistrate) may prevent interference with a constable in making levy through contempt processes. 1965-66 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 65-63.

Magistrate court may, sua sponte, order the release of arrestees who have been arrested without a warrant if no warrant has been procured as required by O.C.G.A. § 17-4-62, and if an individual has been arrested with a warrant, but has not been afforded a first appearance hearing within 72 hours of the individual's arrest as required by O.C.G.A. § 17-4-26. 1988 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U88-14.

Control of courtroom.

- Department of Public Safety officers are permitted to carry their service weapons and handguns into courthouses, but O.C.G.A. § 16-11-30 does not authorize the officers' entry into courtrooms where the courthouse's security plan and/or judges of that court have directed otherwise. 2017 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 17-5.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 20 Am. Jur. 2d, Courts, § 36 et seq.

C.J.S.

- 21 C.J.S., Courts, § 41 et seq.

ALR.

- Power of court to amend indictment, 7 A.L.R. 1516; 68 A.L.R. 928.

Power of court to issue or to honor letters rogatory, 9 A.L.R. 966; 108 A.L.R. 384.

Forcing party or prosecuting witness to withdraw or not to institute action or proceeding as contempt of court, 23 A.L.R. 187.

Contempt for disobedience of mandamus, 30 A.L.R. 148.

Formality in authentication of judicial acts, 30 A.L.R. 700.

Procuring or attempting to procure witness to leave jurisdiction as contempt, 33 A.L.R. 607.

Inability to comply with judgment or order as defense to charge of contempt, 40 A.L.R. 546; 76 A.L.R. 390, 120 A.L.R. 703.

Power of judiciary to compel legislature to make apportionment of representatives or election districts as required by Constitution, 46 A.L.R. 964.

Judicial power in respect to consolidation or merger of railroads, 51 A.L.R. 1249.

What courts or officers have power to punish for contempt, 54 A.L.R. 318; 73 A.L.R. 1185.

Assaulting, threatening, or intimidating witness as contempt of court, 55 A.L.R. 1230; 52 A.L.R.2d 1297.

Authority of judge in respect of unfinished business of another judge, 58 A.L.R. 848.

Discretion of court to refuse jurisdiction of action against ancillary executor of administrator, 79 A.L.R. 1324.

Disciplinary power of court in respect of suretyship in judicial proceedings, 91 A.L.R. 889.

Power and duty of court as to continuation of action or prosecution upon refusal of city, county, or district attorney to proceed therewith, 103 A.L.R. 1253.

Power and duty of court to keep its files and records free from scandalous matter, 111 A.L.R. 879.

Discretion of trial court in criminal case as to permitting or denying view of premises where crime was committed, 124 A.L.R. 841.

Failure or refusal to surrender possession or disclose whereabouts of property in replevin as contempt, 130 A.L.R. 632.

Power to include separate acts of contempt in a single contempt proceeding, 160 A.L.R. 1104.

Dismissal of action for failure or refusal of plaintiff to obey court order, 4 A.L.R.2d 348; 56 A.L.R.3d 1109; 27 A.L.R.4th 61; 32 A.L.R.4th 212; 3 A.L.R.5th 237.

Right to punish for contempt for failure to obey court order or decree either beyond power or jurisdiction of court or merely erroneous, 12 A.L.R.2d 1059.

Blood grouping tests, 46 A.L.R.2d 1000.

Pleading and burden of proof, in contempt proceedings, as to ability to comply with order for payment of alimony or child support, 53 A.L.R.2d 591.

Prejudicial effect of trial judges remarks, during civil jury trial, disparaging the litigants, the witnesses, or the subject matter of the litigation, 83 A.L.R.2d 1128, 35 A.L.R.5th 1.

Trial court's appointment, in civil case, of expert witness, 95 A.L.R.2d 390.

Prejudicial effect, in argument or summation in civil case, of attacks upon opposing counsel, 96 A.L.R.2d 9.

Power of courts or other public agencies, in the absence of statutory authority, to order compulsory medical care for adult, 9 A.L.R.3d 1391.

Attorney's inaction as excuse for failure to timely prosecute action, 15 A.L.R.3d 674.

Power of court to make or permit amendment of indictment with respect to allegations as to property, objects, or instruments, other than money, 15 A.L.R.3d 1357.

Inherent power of court to compel appropriation or expenditure of funds for judicial purposes, 59 A.L.R.3d 569.

Power of court to impose standard of personal appearance or attire, 73 A.L.R.3d 353.

Power of trial court to dismiss prosecution or direct acquittal on basis of prosecutor's opening statement, 75 A.L.R.3d 649.

Right of injured party to award of compensatory damages or fine in contempt proceedings, 85 A.L.R.3d 895.

Disruptive conduct of accused in presence of jury as ground for mistrial or discharge of jury, 89 A.L.R.3d 960.

Attorney's failure to attend court, or tardiness, as contempt, 13 A.L.R.4th 122.

Validity, propriety, and effect of allowing or prohibiting media's broadcasting, recording, or photographing court proceedings, 14 A.L.R.4th 121.

Court's witnesses (other than expert) in state criminal prosecution, 16 A.L.R.4th 352.

Power of court, in absence of statute, to order psychiatric examination of accused for purpose of determining mental condition at time of alleged offense, 17 A.L.R.4th 1274.

Emotional manifestations by victim or family of victim during criminal trial as ground for reversal, new trial, or mistrial, 31 A.L.R.4th 229.

Calling and interrogation of witnesses by court under Rule 614 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, 53 A.L.R. Fed. 498.

15-1-4. Extent of contempt power.

  1. The powers of the several courts to issue attachments and inflict summary punishment for contempt of court shall extend only to cases of:
    1. Misbehavior of any person or persons in the presence of such courts or so near thereto as to obstruct the administration of justice;
    2. Misbehavior of any of the officers of the courts in their official transactions;
    3. Disobedience or resistance by any officer of the courts, party, juror, witness, or other person or persons to any lawful writ, process, order, rule, decree, or command of the courts;
    4. Violation of subsection (a) of Code Section 34-1-3, relating to prohibited conduct of employers with respect to employees who are required to attend judicial proceedings; and
    5. Violation of a court order relating to the televising, videotaping, or motion picture filming of judicial proceedings.
  2. No person shall be imprisoned for contempt for failing or refusing to pay over money under any order, decree, or judgment of any court of law or any other court of this state when he denies that the money ordered or decreed to be paid over is in his power, custody, or control until he has a trial by jury in accordance with the following provisions:
    1. The allegation of the plaintiff, receiver, referee, or any other person or persons that the defendant accused of contempt has a certain sum of money within his power, custody, or control, which he is withholding or refuses or fails to pay over, and the denial of the defendant that he has the power, custody, or control of the money shall form the issue to be tried by the jury, and the jury shall decide the issue of fact;
    2. The issue being made, a bond may be required in the discretion of the court for the appearance of the defendant for trial, which bond shall be of sufficient size to ensure the attendance of the defendant to appear and answer the final judgment or decree in the case and shall be approved by the judge. On failure of the defendant to appear, the bond shall be forfeited as in criminal cases. If bond is required but not posted the defendant may be committed to jail for safekeeping until trial; and
    3. The judge presiding shall cause questions to be propounded in writing to the jury and every question propounded shall be answered by the jury in its verdict. Upon the answers made, the judge shall adjudge or decree whether the defendant is in contempt. Either party shall have the right to move for a new trial and to appeal as in other civil cases.
  3. When a person who is gainfully employed violates an order of the court granting temporary or permanent alimony or child support and the judge finds the person in contempt of court, the sentencing judge may sentence the respondent to a term of confinement in a diversion center and participation in a diversion program if such a program has been established by a county pursuant to the provisions of Article 5 of Chapter 3 of Title 42.

(Orig. Code 1863, § 4593; Code 1868, § 4614; Code 1873, § 4711; Code 1882, § 4711; Ga. L. 1892, p. 65, § 1; Civil Code 1895, § 4046; Civil Code 1910, § 4643; Code 1933, § 24-105; Ga. L. 1987, p. 1156, § 2; Ga. L. 1990, p. 590, § 1; Ga. L. 1996, p. 649, § 2; Ga. L. 1996, p. 734, § 1; Ga. L. 2015, p. 422, § 5-1/HB 310.)

Cross references.

- Contempt generally, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. I, Sec. II, Para. IV.

Code Commission notes.

- Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1987, subsection (b), as enacted by Ga. L. 1987, p. 1156, § 2, was redesignated as subsection (c).

Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1996, the (1) designation was deleted from subsection (c).

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2015, p. 422, § 6-1/HB 310, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part, that the amendment by this Act shall apply to sentences entered on or after July 1, 2015.

Law reviews.

- For article, "The Appellate Judiciary of Georgia and Contempt Out of Court," see 2 Ga. L. Rev. 341 (1968). For article discussing the validity of contempt of court sanctions based upon a party's disobedience of an injunction constituting a void prior restraint of constitutionally-protected activity, see 7 Ga. L. Rev. 246 (1973). For article, "Contempt of Court in Georgia," see 23 Ga. St. B. J. 66 (1987). For article on the 2015 amendment of this Code section, see 32 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 231 (2015). For article, "How Not to Get Thrown in Jail," see 22 Ga. Bar. J. 17 (June 2017). For comment on Atlanta Newspapers, Inc. v. State, 101 Ga. App. 105, 113 S.E.2d 148 (1960), see 12 Mercer L. Rev. 284 (1960). For comment on Renfroe v. State, 104 Ga. App. 362, 121 S.E.2d 811 (1961), see 24 Ga. B. J. 544 (1962). For comment, "Civil Contempt and Child Sexual Abuse Allegations: A Modern Solomon's Choice?," see 40 Emory L. J. 203 (1991).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

General Consideration

Use of contumacious language in court.

- Fact that the court has made a ruling which seems completely unjustified or beyond the authority of the court does not give the aggrieved party the license to use contumacious language in the presence of the court concerning such a ruling. White v. State, 105 Ga. App. 616, 125 S.E.2d 239, rev'd on other grounds, 218 Ga. 290, 127 S.E.2d 668 (1962).

Acts occurring before domestication of foreign judgment.

- Trial court's contempt power is not limited to contempt acts occurring after date of domestication of foreign judgment. Martin v. Martin, 244 Ga. 68, 257 S.E.2d 903 (1979).

Presenting motion in good faith.

- Attorney may not be held in contempt of court merely for presenting in good faith a motion which the attorney has a right to make, nor may an attorney be held in contempt merely because, having filed such a motion, the attorney fails to prevail on the motion. In re McLarty, 152 Ga. App. 399, 263 S.E.2d 194 (1979).

Lack of intent to violate order.

- Contemnor's testimony that contemnor had no intent to violate an order is not binding on the court. Schiselman v. Trust Co. Bank, 246 Ga. 274, 271 S.E.2d 183 (1980).

Cited in Smith v. State, 36 Ga. App. 37, 135 S.E. 102 (1926); Evans v. White, 178 Ga. 262, 172 S.E. 913 (1934); Wilkins v. Jordan, 50 Ga. App. 119, 177 S.E. 344 (1934); Benton v. State, 58 Ga. App. 633, 199 S.E. 561 (1938); Poss v. Norris, 197 Ga. 513, 29 S.E.2d 705 (1944); Alred v. Celanese Corp. of Am., 205 Ga. 371, 54 S.E.2d 240 (1949); Thomas v. Hubert, 84 Ga. App. 710, 66 S.E.2d 924 (1951); City of Macon v. Massey, 214 Ga. 589, 106 S.E.2d 23 (1958); Palmer v. Bunn, 218 Ga. 244, 127 S.E.2d 372 (1962); Crudup v. State, 218 Ga. 819, 130 S.E.2d 733 (1963); Henderson v. State Bd. of Exmrs., 221 Ga. 536, 145 S.E.2d 559 (1965); Aetna Life Ins. Co. v. Greene, 116 Ga. App. 783, 159 S.E.2d 87 (1967); Brown v. State, 226 Ga. 114, 172 S.E.2d 666 (1970); Haire v. Branch, 129 Ga. App. 164, 199 S.E.2d 127 (1973); Zimmerman v. Zimmerman, 131 Ga. App. 567, 206 S.E.2d 583 (1974); Murphy v. State, 132 Ga. App. 654, 209 S.E.2d 101 (1974); Jones v. State, 134 Ga. App. 611, 215 S.E.2d 483 (1975); Hall v. Hall, 242 Ga. 15, 247 S.E.2d 754 (1978); In re Pruitt, 249 Ga. 190, 288 S.E.2d 208 (1982); Carter v. Data Gen. Corp., 162 Ga. App. 379, 291 S.E.2d 99 (1982); In re Henritze, 181 Ga. App. 560, 353 S.E.2d 58 (1987); In re Victorine, 230 Ga. App. 209, 495 S.E.2d 864 (1998); Affatato v. Considine, 305 Ga. App. 755, 700 S.E.2d 717 (2010).

Powers of Courts

1. In General

Disobeying or resisting lawful order.

- Several courts of this state have power to attach and punish for contempt any party who disobeys or resists any lawful order granted by such courts. Crawford v. Manning, 12 Ga. App. 54, 76 S.E. 771 (1912).

Compliance with intent and spirit of decrees.

- Trial court has power to see that there be compliance with the intent and spirit of the court's decrees and no party should be permitted to take advantage of the letter of a decree to the detriment of the other party. Davis v. Davis, 243 Ga. 421, 254 S.E.2d 370 (1979); Kaufmann v. Kaufmann, 246 Ga. 266, 271 S.E.2d 175 (1980).

Trial judge best qualified to determine contempt.

- Trial judge is the one best qualified to determine whether or not the plaintiff, as a witness, placed oneself in contempt. Crute v. Crute, 86 Ga. App. 96, 70 S.E.2d 727 (1952).

Misbehavior of officer of court.

- Powers of court are applicable to misbehavior of any officer of the court in the officers' official transactions. West v. Field, 181 Ga. 152, 181 S.E. 661 (1935).

O.C.G.A. § 15-1-4(a)(2) is intended to impose upon officers of the courts engaged in the officers' official transactions a higher duty to the court than is demanded of the broader group of individuals listed in § 15-1-4(a)(3) who are arguably subject to the contempt powers only for failure to comply with those commands of the court spread upon the record in written form. In re Smith, 211 Ga. App. 493, 439 S.E.2d 725 (1993).

Indictable act may be treated as contempt.

- That given act may be indictable does not deprive court of power of dealing with the act as contempt of court. Bradley v. State, 111 Ga. 168, 36 S.E. 630, 78 Am. St. R. 157, 50 L.R.A. 691 (1900).

Court may handle contempt at any time.

- Court has jurisdiction and is empowered to deal with the matter of contempt at any time during the progress of the litigation before the court. West v. Field, 181 Ga. 152, 181 S.E. 661 (1935).

Court may not modify previous decree in contempt order; however, a court may always interpret and clarify the court's own orders. The test to determine whether an order is clarified or modified is whether the clarification is reasonable or whether the clarification is so contrary to the apparent intention of the original order as to amount to a modification. Kaufmann v. Kaufmann, 246 Ga. 266, 271 S.E.2d 175 (1980).

Confinement for contempt was abuse of discretion since father demonstrated inability to pay child support.

- Despite the fact that sufficient evidence supported a civil contempt finding, the trial court erred in continuing a father's incarceration after the father established an inability to pay the child support arrearage and the court lacked any authority to confine the father in a diversion center or to place the father in a work release program pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15-1-4(c). Gallaher v. Breaux, 286 Ga. App. 375, 650 S.E.2d 313 (2007).

Civil contempt for failing to pay child support and alimony.

- Supreme Court of Georgia has long held that a person is not entitled to a jury trial on the issue of ability to pay or contempt for failure to pay alimony and child support and while none of the opinions appear to address the plain meaning of O.C.G.A. § 15-1-4(b) or its similarly worded predecessor statutes, this is ultimately of no consequence as the Georgia Court of Appeals is bound by these decisions and must apply them. Bernard v. Bernard, 347 Ga. App. 429, 819 S.E.2d 688 (2018).

2. Limits Imposed by Legislature

Limits on exercise of power.

- This Code section is designed to limit courts in exercise of contempt power. Wood v. Georgia, 370 U.S. 375, 82 S. Ct. 1364, 8 L. Ed. 2d 569 (1962).

Power to define, classify, and punish contempt.

- All constitutional courts have the inherent power to define and punish contempt and this right was not denied or limited by this section. Jones v. State, 39 Ga. App. 1, 145 S.E. 914 (1928); Evans v. State, 69 Ga. App. 178, 24 S.E.2d 861 (1943); Vines v. State, 69 Ga. App. 175, 24 S.E.2d 864 (1943).

Power of constitutional court to define and classify contempt of court was not limited by this section. Cobb v. State, 187 Ga. 448, 200 S.E. 796, answer conformed to, 59 Ga. App. 695, 2 S.E.2d 116 (1939).

Power to define may not be abridged or taken away by legislature.

- As to courts created by the Constitution, the right to define contempt cannot be abridged or taken away by legislative action. In re Fite, 11 Ga. App. 665, 76 S.E. 397 (1912).

If the court is created by the Constitution, the legislature cannot, without express constitutional authority, define what is contempt, and declare that the court shall have jurisdiction over no acts except those specified. Cobb v. State, 187 Ga. 448, 200 S.E. 796, answer conformed to, 59 Ga. App. 695, 2 S.E.2d 116 (1939).

Georgia Const. 1976, Art. I, Sec. II, Para. VI (see now Ga. Const. 1983, Art. I, Sec. II, Para. IV) does not confer authority upon the legislature to define what is contempt, and to declare that the court shall have jurisdiction over no acts except those specified, because the power to punish contempt is inherent in every court of record. Wood v. State, 103 Ga. App. 305, 119 S.E.2d 261 (1961), rev'd on other grounds, 370 U.S. 375, 82 S. Ct. 1364, 8 L. Ed. 2d 569 (1962).

Legislature has power to prescribe punishment.

- Georgia Const. 1976, Art. I, Sec. II, Para. VI (see now Ga. Const. 1983, Art. I, Sec. II, Para. IV) does not confer authority to define contempt, but only the power to prescribe the punishment after conviction. Cobb v. State, 187 Ga. 448, 200 S.E. 796, answer conformed to, 59 Ga. App. 695, 2 S.E.2d 116 (1939).

Limits on power of judges to punish contempt.

- Whatever may have been the power of judges at common law to adjudge, as for a contempt of court, any person for an act done or writing published calculated to bring the court or the judge into contempt and lower the person's authority, the power of the judges in Georgia to punish for a criminal contempt of court was limited by law as provided in this section. Townsend v. State, 54 Ga. App. 627, 188 S.E. 560 (1936).

This Code section, insofar as the statute sought to limit the jurisdiction of a constitutional court to punish contempts to certain specified acts, is not binding upon such courts; the courts may go beyond the provisions of the statute in order to preserve and enforce the court's constitutional powers by treating as contempt acts which clearly invade the court's powers. Cobb v. State, 187 Ga. 448, 200 S.E. 796, answer conformed to, 59 Ga. App. 695, 2 S.E.2d 116 (1939); Atlanta Newspapers, Inc. v. State, 216 Ga. 399, 116 S.E.2d 580 (1960); Wood v. State, 103 Ga. App. 305, 119 S.E.2d 261 (1961), rev'd on other grounds, 370 U.S. 375, 82 S. Ct. 1364, 8 L. Ed. 2d 569 (1962).

3. Inherent Powers

Power to punish contempt is inherent in every court of record. Cobb v. State, 187 Ga. 448, 200 S.E. 796, answer conformed to, 59 Ga. App. 695, 2 S.E.2d 116 (1939).

Inherent power of courts should never be impaired or destroyed to such an extent that the courts cannot exercise a power necessary to the court's proper functioning. Evans v. State, 69 Ga. App. 178, 24 S.E.2d 861 (1943).

This Code section did not restrict the inherent power of the court to punish for contempt, but criminal contempt involves some disrespectful or contumacious conduct towards the court. In re Brookins, 153 Ga. App. 82, 264 S.E.2d 560 (1980).

Power to punish direct criminal contempt.

- Courts have inherent power to punish direct criminal contempts committed in the court's presence summarily and without hearing, the judge being aware by use of the judge's own senses of what has transpired. Martin v. Waters, 151 Ga. App. 149, 259 S.E.2d 153 (1979).

Summary contempt power available although disfavored.

- Although summary punishment is always and rightly regarded with disfavor, there is no doubt that the summary contempt power is still available to courts, under appropriate circumstances, to control judicial proceedings. Farmer v. Strickland, 652 F.2d 427 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 944, 102 S. Ct. 1440, 71 L. Ed. 2d 656 (1982).

Inherent and legislative authority to punish for contempt.

- Constitutional courts of Georgia have inherent and legislative authority to punish for contempt any person in disobedience of the court's judgments, orders, and processes. In re Boswell, 148 Ga. App. 519, 251 S.E.2d 596 (1978).

Courts have inherent power to preserve and enforce order.

- It is fundamental that every court possesses the inherent power to preserve and enforce order and compel obedience to the court's judgments and orders, to control the conduct of the court's officers and all other persons connected with the judicial proceedings before the court and to inflict summary punishment for contempt upon any person failing and refusing to obey any unlawful order of such court. Farmer v. Holton, 146 Ga. App. 102, 245 S.E.2d 457 (1978), cert. denied, 440 U.S. 958, 99 S. Ct. 1499, 59 L. Ed. 2d 771 (1979), overruled on other grounds, In re Crane, 253 Ga. 667, 324 S.E.2d 443 (1985).

Contempt

1. In General

Removal, concealment, or destruction of documents.

- It is contempt of court to remove, conceal, or destroy, for the purpose of defeating the court's jurisdiction, documents which are known to be the subject matter of proceedings pending before the court. Crute v. Crute, 86 Ga. App. 96, 70 S.E.2d 727 (1952).

Contempt will lie for failure to pay alimony award even though the decree contains no specific command to pay. Martin v. Martin, 244 Ga. 68, 257 S.E.2d 903 (1979).

Motion which contains false accusations and filed to denigrate court.

- Motion which contains knowingly false accusations against the court and which is filed for the purpose of denigrating the court or impugning the court's integrity must certainly be characterized as contumacious. In re McLarty, 152 Ga. App. 399, 263 S.E.2d 194 (1979).

Contempt of grand jury.

- Whether the contempt be regarded as one of the court or of the grand jury, the result is the same since if there is a contempt of the grand jury, this is also a contempt of the court, as the grand jury is a constituent part of the court, and anyone whose conduct interferes with or has a tendency to obstruct the grand jury may be found to be in contempt. Wood v. State, 103 Ga. App. 305, 119 S.E.2d 261 (1961), rev'd on other grounds, 370 U.S. 375, 82 S. Ct. 1364, 8 L. Ed. 2d 569 (1962).

Intimidation of witnesses.

- It is contempt of court to threaten or to endeavor to intimidate a witness in a pending action. Renfroe v. State, 104 Ga. App. 362, 121 S.E.2d 811 (1961), for comment, see 24 Ga. B. J. 544 (1962), overruled on other grounds, In re Crane, 253 Ga. 667, 324 S.E.2d 443 (1985).

Any interference or attempt to interfere with witnesses by means of bribery, intimidation, inducements, or other unlawful means, in order to induce the witnesses to testify falsely, or to change or modify the witnesses' testimony, or to suppress facts, constitutes contempt, which it is the duty of the courts to guard against zealously and to punish. Renfroe v. State, 104 Ga. App. 362, 121 S.E.2d 811 (1961), for comment, see 24 Ga. B. J. 544 (1962), overruled on other grounds, In re Crane, 253 Ga. 667, 324 S.E.2d 443 (1985).

Procuring witness to testify in case contrary to previous testimony.

- It is contempt of court to attempt by unlawful means to procure a witness to testify in a case contrary to the witness's previous testimony, even though the testimony so sought is the truth. Renfroe v. State, 104 Ga. App. 362, 121 S.E.2d 811 (1961), for comment, see 24 Ga. B. J. 544 (1962), overruled on other grounds, In re Crane, 253 Ga. 667, 324 S.E.2d 443 (1985).

Statements intended to coerce witness.

- It was contempt of court for the accused to make to the father and brother of the witness statements intending that the statements should be communicated to the witness since such statements naturally tended to coerce and were expected to coerce the witness. Herring v. State, 165 Ga. 254, 140 S.E. 491 (1927); Herring v. State, 37 Ga. App. 594, 141 S.E. 89 (1928).

Refusal of appointed counsel to represent defendant.

- Having invoked the judicial powers of the court in relation to a motion for new trial, an attorney appointed to represent an indigent defendant has the responsibility to resolve the issues presented thereby within the parameters of time established by the court. By utterly ignoring the scheduled date and thereafter stating categorically that the attorney would no longer represent the defendant, the attorney exposes oneself to a contempt action. Jordan v. State, 166 Ga. App. 627, 305 S.E.2d 165 (1983).

Offering proof in jury's absence.

- Summary punishment for contempt was authorized since counsel insisted on making a tender of proof after the jury was excused for the night and without the judge's approval instead of waiting for the jury to begin the jury's deliberations the next day. Heilman v. DOT, 162 Ga. App. 547, 290 S.E.2d 189 (1982), overruled on other grounds, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Auth. v. Funk, 263 Ga. 385, 435 S.E.2d 196 (1993).

What contempt order regarding child support must contain.

- Words "willful refusal" and "ability to pay" are not words of art which must appear in every contempt order regarding child support. Rather, it is only necessary that the order specify sufficient facts to show that the respondent was in contempt of court. Floyd v. Floyd, 247 Ga. 551, 277 S.E.2d 658 (1981).

Confinement for failure to pay child support.

- When, on motion for contempt, an order is entered requiring payment of sums for child support which are past due, a person can be ordered to jail by a subsequent order, entered after a hearing finding that the prior order has been disobeyed. Floyd v. Floyd, 247 Ga. 551, 277 S.E.2d 658 (1981).

Suspension of sheriff not authorized punishment.

- Superior court was authorized to inflict summary punishment for contempt predicated upon the wilful failure of a sheriff, an officer of the court, to obey an oral direction by the court to transfer a defendant to a jail in another county, but was not authorized to temporarily suspend the sheriff, an elected officer, from the sheriff's position. In re Irvin, 171 Ga. App. 794, 321 S.E.2d 119 (1984), modified on other grounds, 254 Ga. 251, 328 S.E.2d 215 (1985).

Sheriff's failure to obey unfiled order.

- Sheriff, as an officer of the court, could be held in contempt for failure to produce documents pursuant to a court order which, although not filed, was reduced to writing and delivered into the hands of sworn deputies for service on the sheriff. In re Smith, 211 Ga. App. 493, 439 S.E.2d 725 (1993).

Protection of client's rights no excuse.

- Once an objection has been made by an attorney and the court has made the court's considered ruling, subsequent contumacious conduct will not be excused merely for the fact that the conduct was committed by an officer of the court during court proceedings in an attempt to protect the rights of the attorney's client. Farmer v. Strickland, 652 F.2d 427 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 944, 102 S. Ct. 1440, 71 L. Ed. 2d 656 (1982).

Failure to answer calendar calls.

- Evidence that the attorney failed to answer two calendar calls was sufficient to support a judgment of contempt. In re Brant, 230 Ga. App. 283, 496 S.E.2d 321 (1998).

Failure to pay wife car insurance proceeds.

- In a civil contempt order in a divorce case, the husband was properly ordered to pay $1,500 for each day that passed without him paying the wife insurance proceeds after he had disregarded a consent order to title a car in the wife's name and an oral order to pay her the insurance proceeds after the car was totalled, and he could avoid the daily payments simply by paying the proceeds; furthermore, the fact that the order to pay the proceeds was oral did not mean that the order was ineffective as a matter of law. Chatfield v. Adkins-Chatfield, 282 Ga. 190, 646 S.E.2d 247 (2007).

Evidence sufficient for contempt.

- Evidence was clearly sufficient under the reasonable doubt standard to find the appellants in willful contempt for disobedience or resistance by an officer of the court to a lawful command of the court. In re Farmer, 212 Ga. App. 372, 442 S.E.2d 251 (1994).

Trial court properly held a corporation in civil contempt after the corporation ordered services from a credit bureau pursuant to a temporary restraining order (TRO), yet the corporation refused to pay for the services since the TRO did not require that the corporation order services, the corporation ordered services after the credit bureau refused to provide the corporation with the new select service, the corporation failed to meet the corporation's burden of proof to show that the corporation was unable to pay for the services, no balance sheets or lists of assets and liabilities were presented, and there was no showing that the corporation made an effort to borrow the money or to make partial payments. Hamilton Capital Group, Inc. v. Equifax Credit Info. Servs., 266 Ga. App. 1, 596 S.E.2d 656 (2004).

Landowners were properly held in civil contempt for violating subdivision's restrictive covenants; using one of their two lots for ingress and egress to their other lot and maintaining a road between the lots were violations of the covenants, and the trial court's judgment provided that the landowners refrain from further covenant violations. Korowotny v. Outback Prop. Owners Ass'n, 291 Ga. App. 236, 661 S.E.2d 857 (2008).

Criminal contempt finding against an attorney and an order disallowing the attorney from seeking payment from the county for legal services to two indigent defendants under a theory of quantum meruit was upheld as the attorney failed to appear in court as commanded, provided no notice of a scheduling conflict, and failed to show that the attorney made any attempt to comply with Ga. Unif. St. Ct. R. 17.1. In re Otuonye, 279 Ga. App. 468, 631 S.E.2d 500 (2006).

Attorneys were properly held in criminal contempt under O.C.G.A. § 15-1-4(a)(3). To the extent that the attorneys believed that the trial court erred by ordering the attorneys to proceed based on an alleged conflict of interest, the attorney's remedy was to appeal, not to disobey the trial court's direct order. Britt v. State, 282 Ga. 746, 653 S.E.2d 713 (2007).

Attorney was properly found in direct criminal contempt under O.C.G.A. § 15-1-4 for failure to appear at trial because while the attorney claimed that the attorney did not receive seven days' notice of the trial date under Ga. Unif. Super. Ct. R. 32.1, the attorney's remedy was to seek a continuance as the attorney had received the trial court's directive to appear by fax and telephone call. In re Beckstrom, 295 Ga. App. 179, 671 S.E.2d 215 (2008).

Summary contempt finding improper against attorney.

- Juvenile court erred by summarily holding an attorney in contempt based on a per se rule. The juvenile court determined that a per se rule existed that an attorney was in contempt when the attorney claimed ineffectiveness against themselves, but no such per se rule existed and, therefore, it was error to have adjudicated the attorney in contempt. Morris v. State, 295 Ga. App. 579, 672 S.E.2d 531 (2009).

Order holding an attorney in contempt pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15-11-5 and otherwise was improper because, inter alia, the trial court immediately imposed punishment and did not provide the attorney the opportunity to speak in the attorney's own behalf, the attorney was not put on notice that a continuation of the offending conduct would have constituted contempt, it was highly unlikely that the attorney's allegedly offending conduct should have had any impact on the deliberations of the factfinder, a juvenile judge, and the trial court acted without warning and had obviously lost the court's patience with the attorney and the attorney's client and imposed sanctions for contempt when other actions might have achieved the same result without the disruption to the case that these contempt citations had caused. In re Hughes, 299 Ga. App. 66, 681 S.E.2d 745 (2009).

2. Civil and Criminal Contempt

Civil and criminal contempt compared.

- Contempt may be civil or criminal; in the former, the proceeding in attachment is to enforce compliance with an order of court made for the protection of some right of the complaining party, while in criminal contempt, the proceeding is to punish the offender for disrespect to or contumacious conduct towards the court. Wagner v. Commercial Printers, Inc., 203 Ga. 1, 45 S.E.2d 205 (1947).

Contempt of court may be either civil or criminal, and criminal contempt, either direct or indirect. A direct criminal contempt relates to contumacious conduct, whether by word or deed, committed in the actual presence of the court. An indirect, or constructive contempt, consists of contumacious conduct outside the presence of the court which amounts to an obstruction of the administration of justice. Clark v. State, 90 Ga. App. 330, 83 S.E.2d 45 (1954).

Basis for contempt action.

- Basis for contempt action is "willful" refusal to comply with judgment or order of court. Griggers v. Bryant, 239 Ga. 244, 236 S.E.2d 599 (1977).

Attachment for contempt is either civil or criminal, or both; in the former, the attachment, being remedial, is merely to compel obedience to an order requiring the payment of money, or to do some act for the benefit of a party litigant, and when the party ordered fails to comply, not out of disrespect to the court, but for other causes within or outside the party's control. Evans v. White, 178 Ga. 262, 172 S.E. 913 (1934).

"Criminal contempt" defined.

- "Criminal contempt" is that which involves some disrespectful or contumacious conduct toward the court. It involves action by the court to compel respect thereto, to vindicate the court's authority, and to enforce the lawful processes and actions of the court. It is direct and punishable summarily without notice and opportunity to be heard if committed in the presence of the court, and is exempt from those due process requirements. Farmer v. Holton, 146 Ga. App. 102, 245 S.E.2d 457 (1978), cert. denied, 440 U.S. 958, 99 S. Ct. 1499, 59 L. Ed. 2d 771 (1979), overruled on other grounds, In re Crane, 253 Ga. 667, 324 S.E.2d 443 (1985).

"Direct criminal contempt" defined.

- "Direct criminal" contempt is one involving misbehavior in presence of court or so near thereto as to obstruct the administration of justice. Martin v. Waters, 151 Ga. App. 149, 259 S.E.2d 153 (1979); In re Jones, 198 Ga. App. 228, 401 S.E.2d 278 (1990), aff'd, 205 Ga. App. 166, 421 S.E.2d 538 (1992).

"Criminal contempt" with unconditional imprisonment.

- "Criminal contempt" with unconditional imprisonment may be used to preserve the court's authority and to punish disobedience of the court's orders. Hopkins v. Hopkins, 244 Ga. 66, 257 S.E.2d 900 (1979).

"Civil contempt" defined.

- "Civil contempt" is conditional punishment which coerces contemnor to comply with court order. Hopkins v. Hopkins, 244 Ga. 66, 257 S.E.2d 900 (1979).

Civil contempt for failing to pay child support and alimony.

- Trial court's orders finding an ex-husband in civil contempt for failing to pay his ex-wife child support and alimony and incarcerating him until he purged the contempt were affirmed because the evidence established he was willfully failing or refusing to pay as he was living a comfortable life, drew a significant salary per month, had cash accounts with thousands of dollars in them, and no evidence of debt or borrowing money was presented. Bernard v. Bernard, 347 Ga. App. 429, 819 S.E.2d 688 (2018).

Proceedings originating as "civil contempt" may require "criminal contempt" treatment.

- Court may find that a contempt proceeding originated and pursued by a party seeking "civil contempt" should be treated as one for "criminal contempt." Schiselman v. Trust Co. Bank, 246 Ga. 274, 271 S.E.2d 183 (1980).

No right to counsel in direct criminal contempt case against court officer.

- Trial court had the power to inflict summary punishment on the contemnor as the contemnor was, as required by statute, an officer of the court (an attorney) who committed misbehavior in representing a client in the courtroom as the contemnor refused to proceed with the client's defense once the trial court denied the contemnor's request for continuance; also, the trial court did not violate the contemnor's rights as the contemnor did not have a right to a hearing or a right to counsel in the contemnor's direct criminal contempt case. In re Willis, 259 Ga. App. 5, 576 S.E.2d 22 (2002).

Authority to enforce child support.

- Given the court's continuing, exclusive jurisdiction, a trial court possessed authority to enforce the child support provisions of a divorce decree prospectively and as to past violations. In exercising that authority, the trial court, as a matter of Georgia law, was able to impose contempt sanctions for willful violations of the court's decree. Baars v. Freeman, 288 Ga. 835, 708 S.E.2d 273 (2011).

Contempt power in divorce action.

- Trial court erred in holding that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hold the daughter in contempt of the divorce decree under O.C.G.A. § 15-1- 4(a)(3) because the daughter, acting as the ex-husband's power of attorney, had full knowledge of the order requiring the payment of the retirement benefits and aided in the non-payment of the funds in violation of the divorce decree and settlement agreement. Sullivan v. Bunnell, 340 Ga. App. 283, 797 S.E.2d 499 (2017).

Evidence of criminal contempt sufficient.

- Evidence that the defendant directed loud, threatening comments toward several of the state's witnesses, engaging in behavior that created a clear and present danger to the orderly administration of justice was sufficient to support the trial court's finding that the defendant was guilty of criminal contempt. Moton v. State, 332 Ga. App. 300, 772 S.E.2d 393 (2015).

Evidence was sufficient to support the trial court's finding of criminal contempt because the attorney voluntarily signed three petitions for scire facias without ensuring that the proper case number had been assigned to them; the attorney's actions were not merely negligent as the actions were in derogation of the attorney's responsibilities and duties as an officer of the court; although the attorney took some steps to remedy the discrepancy, the attorney did not follow through and personally ensure that the proper case number was utilized before filing the fourth petition; and the attorney did not do everything the attorney could have to ensure compliance with the trial court's orders not to file a fourth identical petition. In re Dillon, 344 Ga. App. 200, 808 S.E.2d 436 (2017), cert. denied, 2018 Ga. LEXIS 517 (Ga. 2018).

No waiver of counsel shown in contempt proceeding.

- Trial court judgment finding the defendant, an attorney, in criminal contempt was reversed because there was no evidence that the attorney waived the right to counsel. In re Thompson, 339 Ga. App. 106, 793 S.E.2d 462 (2016).

No right to jury trial for contempt in paying support.

- Ex-husband was not entitled to a jury trial because the Supreme Court of Georgia has long held that a person is not entitled to a jury trial on the issue of ability to pay or contempt for failure to pay alimony and child support. Bernard v. Bernard, 347 Ga. App. 429, 819 S.E.2d 688 (2018).

3. Acts Not Constituting Contempt

No contempt if court order violated not directed at person.

- Person cannot be held in contempt when court order violated was not directed at that person or there was no active interference with the performance of the court order. Yarbrough v. First Nat'l Bank, 143 Ga. App. 399, 238 S.E.2d 758 (1977).

Absence of judgment on jury verdict.

- While the failure to comply with a judgment of court ordering one to pay alimony as found by a jury is punishable as a contempt, if, in the trial of a divorce action, before the jury's verdict is made the judgment of the court, the defendant, in whose favor a verdict for alimony has been returned, moves for a mistrial which is granted, the plaintiff cannot subsequently be held in contempt of court for failure to pay alimony as found by the jury since no judgment was ever entered upon the verdict. Harris v. Harris, 213 Ga. 751, 101 S.E.2d 706 (1958).

Failure to pay money judgment.

- If a court of equity should render a simple decree for money on a simple money verdict, the failure to pay the decree would not be contempt, nor could compulsory process against the person of the party in default be resorted to in order to enforce payment. London v. London, 149 Ga. App. 805, 256 S.E.2d 33 (1979).

Refusal or failure to pay money judgments is in no sense a contempt of court and imprisonment for such failure would be imprisonment for debt pure and simple. London v. London, 149 Ga. App. 805, 256 S.E.2d 33 (1979).

Agreement with court by one not party to pending cause.

- Mere informal and voluntary agreement which is entered into with the court by one who is not a party to a cause pending before the court and in which there is no express command or prohibition of court directed to such volunteer may not constitute the basis for contempt proceedings predicated upon the failure of the volunteer to honor the agreement. In re Norris, 154 Ga. App. 173, 267 S.E.2d 788 (1980).

Remarks by nonparty to separation agreement that allegedly violate the agreement.

- It was error to hold a mother's friend in criminal contempt of a separation agreement on the ground that the friend had made disparaging remarks to a child about the child's father. The alleged comments did not occur in the trial court's presence, but were repeated by the child in an in camera conference, so there was no direct contempt; furthermore, there was no constructive contempt because the friend was not a party to the separation agreement and was not shown to have had notice of the provision the friend allegedly violated; moreover, the friend had not received due process in that the friend had no notice of the allegations and was not given the opportunity to defend against the allegations or even to respond to the allegations. In re Harris, 289 Ga. App. 334, 657 S.E.2d 259 (2008).

Failure to obey order of court without jurisdiction not contempt.

- While an unsuperseded order within the jurisdiction of a court must be obeyed, even though erroneous, and disobedience thereof is a contempt of court, yet if the court is without jurisdiction the order is a nullity, and a failure to obey the order is not a contempt. Campbell v. Gormley, 185 Ga. 65, 194 S.E. 177 (1937).

Failing and refusing to appear in accordance with bond.

- If one indicted for a bailable offense has been arrested and has given bond for one's appearance and fails to appear, one can be rearrested on a new warrant, but there is no law in this state authorizing one's punishment for contempt of court for failing and refusing to appear in accordance with the terms of the bond. Paseur v. State, 152 Ga. App. 599, 263 S.E.2d 500 (1979).

Publication in newspaper about pending case.

- Because the United States Supreme Court opinion construed language, "or so near thereto as to obstruct the administration of justice," in a federal statute similar to language in this section so as to refer only to geographical nearness and not to an act committed away from the courthouse, the Georgia Court of Appeals was constrained to hold that a publication made in a newspaper about a pending case cannot be contempt of court so as to be summarily punishable. Atlanta Newspapers, Inc. v. State, 101 Ga. App. 105, 113 S.E.2d 148 (1960) for comment, see 12 Mercer L. Rev. 284 (1960).

Null decree.

- Remarriage of the parties to original divorce decree nullified that decree and restored the parental rights of the parties to the same extent as if no divorce had been granted; consequently, the defendant could not be held in contempt for failing to comply with that decree. Warren v. Warren, 213 Ga. 81, 97 S.E.2d 349 (1957).

No contempt when once enjoined act now permitted.

- If the basis for an injunction no longer exists because the authority to do that which was prohibited is subsequently granted, an action for contempt will not lie. Partain v. City of Royston, 248 Ga. 420, 284 S.E.2d 15 (1981).

Refusal to obey unreasonable visitation order.

- Mother would not be held in contempt of court for denying father court-ordered child visitation rights since the order was unreasonable in that the father had been indicted for molesting the child, the child was to be a witness against the father, and the child became physically ill when told about the impending visit. Beckham v. O'Brien, 176 Ga. App. 518, 336 S.E.2d 375 (1985).

Late arrival of district attorney for court appearance.

- A 15-minute delay in county solicitor's (now district attorney) arrival for a court appearance while the solicitor was conducting business of the State Court of Coffee County, Georgia, did not constitute a sufficient predicate from which any rational trier of fact would find the essential elements of the criminal contempt charge against the solicitor without reasonable doubt. In re Hayes, 185 Ga. App. 818, 366 S.E.2d 204 (1988).

Evidence of contempt not sufficient.

- Children of the fiduciary's incompetent ward failed to show that the fiduciary was in contempt of a settlement agreement since the fiduciary, who was the ward's second wife, failed to turn over the family heirloom silver to the children, but the agreement only required that the fiduciary do so "to the extent such heirlooms can be located," and the children failed to carry the children's burden of proof that the fiduciary had the silver and would not or could not turn the silver over to the children. Head v. Head, 234 Ga. App. 469, 507 S.E.2d 214 (1998).

Order regarding custody of a child directed to natural mother, not to prospective parent and counsel.

- Trial court erred in holding a prospective adopter and the adopter's attorney in criminal contempt for purportedly willfully violating an order regarding the custody of the minor child at issue as the trial court's order regarding custody of the child was directed to the obligations of the natural mother only and no willful disobedience of the order was shown by the adopter and the attorney filing for a change of custody in another county to which the adopter had moved. In re Hadaway, 290 Ga. App. 453, 659 S.E.2d 863 (2008).

4. Contempt and Free Speech

No protection for contempt of court.

- Constitutional right of freedom of speech or of press was not intended as refuge for the contemner or slanderer or libelor. Contempt of court, slander, and libel constitute abuses of the privilege for the commission of which the offenders are justly and lawfully punishable. In re Fite, 11 Ga. App. 665, 76 S.E. 397 (1912).

Constitutional guaranties do not bar punishment for contempt.

- Due process, freedom of speech, and equal protection clauses of the Constitution of the United States do not bar punishment for contempt of court. Wood v. State, 103 Ga. App. 305, 119 S.E.2d 261 (1961), rev'd on other grounds, 370 U.S. 375, 82 S. Ct. 1364, 8 L. Ed. 2d 569 (1962).

No protection under free speech for certain acts.

- If an order of court forbidding the use of threats, violence, and intimidation for the purpose of preventing others from engaging in employment during a labor strike is violated, the violator can find no protection under the constitutional guaranty of free speech. Lassiter v. Swift & Co., 204 Ga. 561, 50 S.E.2d 359 (1948).

Contempt of court is abuse of liberty of free speech.

- Punishment for contempt of court is not prevented by the constitutional guaranty of freedom of speech since contempt of court is an abuse of the liberty of speech. Wood v. State, 103 Ga. App. 305, 119 S.E.2d 261 (1961), rev'd on other grounds, 370 U.S. 375, 82 S. Ct. 1364, 8 L. Ed. 2d 569 (1962).

Contempt not to be used to expose errors in judgment.

- Errors in judgment or unsubstantiated opinions may be exposed, but not through punishment for contempt for expression. Under our system of government, counterargument and education are the weapons available to expose these matters, not abridgment of the rights of free speech and assembly. Wood v. Georgia, 370 U.S. 375, 82 S. Ct. 1364, 8 L. Ed. 2d 569 (1962).

Procedure

1. In General

Divorce and alimony proceedings.

- Contempt applications must be filed in county where divorce and alimony decree was entered, and this is so regardless of the fact that the respondent (the alleged contemnor) may not be a resident of that county, either having moved therefrom after the decree was entered or perhaps having never resided there. Austin v. Austin, 245 Ga. 487, 265 S.E.2d 788 (1980).

Rulings on motions to dismiss.

- Contempt of court cannot be properly punished by rulings upon demurrers (now motions to dismiss) to the petition. Atlantic Ref. Co. v. Farrar, 171 Ga. 371, 155 S.E. 327 (1930).

Whether undisputed conduct amounts to contempt is question of law.

- It is a question of law for the court to decide whether the courtroom conduct which is factually undisputed amounts to criminal contempt of court. Farmer v. Strickland, 652 F.2d 427 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 944, 102 S. Ct. 1440, 71 L. Ed. 2d 656 (1982).

Knowledge of restraining order.

- An order restraining the defendant from indorsing and cashing a check fairly comprehended disposition of the proceeds in the event of the collection of the funds by the defendant; and if the defendant, having cashed the check and received the proceeds before being served and informed of the restraining order, disposed of such proceeds after knowledge of the restraining order, the court did not err in adjudging the defendant in contempt for so doing. Reid v. McRae, 190 Ga. 323, 9 S.E.2d 176 (1940).

Violator may be held in contempt until court order set aside.

- Until a court order concerning a divorce settlement is set aside for whatever reason, the party protesting the order can be held in contempt for violating the order's provisions. Paisley v. Huddlestun, 244 Ga. 418, 260 S.E.2d 478 (1979).

O.C.G.A.

§ 9-11-6(d) has no application to citation for contempt. - Ga. L. 1967, p. 226, §§ 5 and 6 (see now O.C.G.A. § 9-11-6(d)) applied to written motions in a pending case and had no application to a citation for contempt which was an independent proceeding authorized under former Code 1933, § 24-105 (see now O.C.G.A. § 15-1-4). Gibson v. Gibson, 234 Ga. 528, 216 S.E.2d 824 (1975).

When court should call upon fellow judge to adjudicate contempt charges.

- In a criminal contempt proceeding in which the trial judge has been called upon to rule on an attack on the judge's own impartiality and when marked personal feelings are manifested on both sides, the court should call upon one of the trial judge's fellow judges to adjudicate the contempt charges. In re McLarty, 152 Ga. App. 399, 263 S.E.2d 194 (1979).

Substitute judge may be preferable to handle contempt after trial.

- If a judge does not act the instant the contempt is committed, but waits until the end of the trial, on balance, it is generally wise if the marks of the unseemly conduct have left personal stings to ask a fellow judge to take the judge's place. Spruell v. State, 148 Ga. App. 99, 250 S.E.2d 807 (1978).

Summary punishment for contempt may be delayed until after trial.

- While the trial judge, upon the occurrence in the judge's presence of contempt, may immediately and summarily punish the contempt, summary punishment may be delayed until after trial if the trial judge believes that the exigencies of the trial require such action. Spruell v. State, 148 Ga. App. 99, 250 S.E.2d 807 (1978).

Award of custody of minor child to plaintiff was erroneous in proceeding for contempt as the question of custody of a child was not before the court. Warren v. Warren, 213 Ga. 81, 97 S.E.2d 349 (1957).

Contempt punishment cannot be mingled with judgment in proceeding to obtain damages and injunction.

- Court can apply the proper punishment for any contempt that exists, but that cannot be mingled with a judgment in a proceeding to obtain damages and injunction ad interim. Atlantic Ref. Co. v. Farrar, 171 Ga. 371, 155 S.E. 327 (1930).

No appeal absent final judgment.

- If the trial court issues an order finding the appellant in contempt of court but does not impose punishment, no final judgment has been entered and the case is still pending in the court below and an appeals court cannot review the lower court's decision. In re Crudup, 149 Ga. App. 214, 253 S.E.2d 802 (1979).

Compelling disclosure of attorney's knowledge as to client.

- Though, as a general rule, all communications on the part of the client to an attorney are privileged, and therefore the attorney cannot be compelled to disclose the communications, still, in a civil proceeding, if there is evidence sufficient to authorize the court to adjudge that the attorney knows the identity and residence of the client, and the injury is restricted to that question alone, the attorney may be compelled to disclose the attorney's knowledge as to the residence of the client in order that the client may be served with a copy of the petition and process since otherwise the rights of the petitioner, if any, would be denied. West v. Field, 181 Ga. 152, 181 S.E. 661 (1935).

Right to rule attorney is limited to client.

- Provision of law for a summary rule against an attorney at law is penal in its nature and must be strictly construed; consequently, the right to rule an attorney for money alleged to be in the attorney's hands as such attorney depends on the existence of the relation of attorney and client and is limited to the client. Blanch v. Roberson, 69 Ga. App. 423, 25 S.E.2d 720 (1943).

Right to rule an attorney at law and compel the attorney to pay over money which the attorney has collected is limited to the client. It follows that if, as the result of a lawsuit instituted by an attorney for the client, money has come into the hands of the attorney, the defendant in that suit who claims title to the money, but who is not the client of the attorney, cannot enforce the client's claim by rule against the attorney. Blanch v. Roberson, 69 Ga. App. 423, 25 S.E.2d 720 (1943).

2. Procedural Issues

A. Proof

Burden and standard of proof.

- Under the law, the burden is on the moving party to show the facts necessary to establish contempt. This burden must be carried by clear and convincing evidence. While proof beyond a reasonable doubt is not required, the authorities sometimes say that more than preponderance of proof is required. FTC v. Blaine, 308 F. Supp. 932 (N.D. Ga. 1970).

Burden of establishing the fact of contempt is on the party asserting contempt. Martin v. Waters, 151 Ga. App. 149, 259 S.E.2d 153 (1979).

Charge imposed additional burden on plaintiffs.

- Only burden resting on the plaintiffs was to prove that the defendants disobeyed the injunction in the manner alleged in the petition. If the charge imposed upon the plaintiffs the additional burden of establishing the right to have the plant closed, this was an additional burden of proof impossible to carry, for as this court has pointed out, under the law of contempt, such relief was not available in the proceedings to have the defendants cited for disobedience of an injunction granted in a case when no money or other property was sued for. A charge imposing a heavier or different burden than that required by the law of the case is hurtful error and requires the granting of a new trial. Bennett v. Bagwell & Stewart, Inc., 216 Ga. 290, 116 S.E.2d 288 (1960).

Burden of proof in civil contempt case.

- Defendant was charged with civil contempt in that the act complained of was one in violation of an injunctive order which was issued to protect the right of the employer to be free from violence towards the employer's property or the employer's employees and those persons seeking to work for the employer, either upon the employer's property or at any place; being a civil case a preponderance of the evidence would be sufficient to authorize a verdict against the defendant. Wagner v. Commercial Printers, Inc., 203 Ga. 1, 45 S.E.2d 205 (1947).

Order recited facts which warranted contempt finding.

- If the order holding the defendant in contempt recited that the conduct found to be contumacious occurred in open court and in the presence of the court and that the contemnee willfully refused to obey the court's orders and repeatedly attempted to argue after having been fully heard, and after the opinion of the court had been pronounced, and that the conduct of defendant was intended by the defendant to be contemptuous of the court and that the conduct interfered with the lawful administration of justice, the order recited facts which warranted the trial judge in holding the defendant in contempt of court. Boatright v. State, 106 Ga. App. 801, 128 S.E.2d 559 (1962).

Evidence that individuals had actual knowledge of court order necessary for finding of contempt.

- To sustain a judgment holding individuals who were not parties to main suit and were not named in court order forbidding the use of threats, violence, and intimidation in labor dispute in contempt, the evidence must show that those individuals acted after having actual knowledge of the court's order. Lassiter v. Swift & Co., 204 Ga. 561, 50 S.E.2d 359 (1948).

Sufficient evidence to establish contempt if defendant's purpose to influence juror.

- Evidence authorized a finding that the defendant was guilty of contempt in that there was a deliberate purpose or calculation to improperly influence a juror designate (one who had been drawn as a juror), and that that purpose or calculation was accompanied by a definite act or declaration on the part of the contemnor in an effort to carry that purpose of calculation into effect; the failure of the undertaking was immaterial except as to the punishment to be inflicted. Summers v. State ex rel. Boykin, 66 Ga. App. 648, 19 S.E.2d 28 (1942).

Violation of decree presumed deliberate.

- Without evidence to show otherwise, it is assumed that a person violates a decree deliberately. Sanborn v. Sanborn, 224 Ga. 792, 164 S.E.2d 563 (1968).

Contempt committed in judge's presence.

- If the contumacious conduct is committed in the presence of the court in the immediate view of the judge, it is unnecessary for the court to apply any evidentiary standard of proof in order to summarily hold the contemnor in contempt of court. Farmer v. Strickland, 652 F.2d 427 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 944, 102 S. Ct. 1440, 71 L. Ed. 2d 656 (1982).

When the contempt occurs totally in the presence of the judge, there is no necessity for the production of evidence. Indeed, there is no burden of persuading the trier of fact as there is no fact-finding process to be conducted. Farmer v. Strickland, 652 F.2d 427 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 944, 102 S. Ct. 1440, 71 L. Ed. 2d 656 (1982).

Elements of proof in child support cases.

- Both a parent's ability to pay child support and a parent's willful refusal to do so are essential to finding the parent in contempt for failure to pay such support in accordance with a court order. Floyd v. Floyd, 247 Ga. 551, 277 S.E.2d 658 (1981).

B. Defenses

Defenses to both civil and criminal contempt are that the order was not sufficiently definite and certain, was not violated, or that the violation was not willful (e.g., inability to pay or comply). Schiselman v. Trust Co. Bank, 246 Ga. 274, 271 S.E.2d 183 (1980).

Inability to comply with order.

- Ordinarily, one charged with contempt of court for failure to comply with a court order makes a complete defense by proving that one is unable to comply. A court will not imprison a witness for failure to produce documents which one does not have unless one is responsible for the document's unavailability, or is impeding justice by not explaining what happened to the documents. FTC v. Blaine, 308 F. Supp. 932 (N.D. Ga. 1970).

Thing ordered done must be within power against whom order directed.

- It is essential to constitute contempt that thing ordered to be done be within power of person against whom order is directed. In re Brookins, 153 Ga. App. 82, 264 S.E.2d 560 (1980).

Court's sentence in defendant's absence is void.

- Sentence of court, imposed upon defendant in defendant's absence, is absolutely void, and cannot be enforced against the defendant. Martin v. Waters, 151 Ga. App. 149, 259 S.E.2d 153 (1979).

C. Enforcement of Orders

Tardiness or failure of party or witness to appear.

- If a witness or litigant who has been ordered to appear at a given time is tardy in arrival, or does not make an appearance as ordered, the question arises whether the delay or nonappearance was a willful and contumacious flaunting of the appearance ordered by the rule nisi, whether it was accidental, or whether it was due to some unavoidable cause; the normal procedure when a party or witness who has been ordered to appear does not do so is to arrest a party or witness under a bench warrant at which time the cause of the delay can be inquired. Martin v. Waters, 151 Ga. App. 149, 259 S.E.2d 153 (1979).

Procedure when person failed to respond to rule nisi.

- Proper course to pursue is to issue an attachment for the person who has failed to respond to the rule nisi for contempt, have the person arrested and brought into court, and to deal with the person in the manner provided by law. Martin v. Waters, 151 Ga. App. 149, 259 S.E.2d 153 (1979).

Court retains jurisdiction to enforce payment of alimony by attachment for contempt.

- Superior court awarding alimony by virtue of the court's jurisdiction originally invoked by plaintiff in a divorce suit had jurisdiction to enforce payment by attachment for contempt against plaintiff after plaintiff changed plaintiff's residence to another county. Curtright v. Curtright, 187 Ga. 122, 200 S.E. 711 (1938).

Enforcement of alimony judgment through contempt for nonpayment.

- Valid judgment for alimony may be enforced by attachment for contempt for nonpayment not arising from lack of ability to pay since the judgment goes further and expressly commands the payment of support which is a duty in which society has a substantial interest. Wilson v. Chumney, 214 Ga. 120, 103 S.E.2d 552 (1958).

Attachment of county court judge by superior court.

- When a person has been tried and convicted in the county court, and has petitioned the judge of the superior court for a writ of certiorari, and the petition is sanctioned, and the writ issued, and the judge of the county court refuses to answer as required by the writ, the judge of the superior court, in term time, has power to attach the county court judge for contempt. Pittman v. Hagans, 91 Ga. 107, 16 S.E. 659 (1892).

Appropriation of funds by receiver.

- If a receiver has been directed by the court to deposit a fund arising from the sale of the property of the debtor in banks, subject to be withdrawn only on the debtor's check when the check has been countersigned by the judge presiding in the court which appointed the receiver, and in violation of the receiver's duty, and in disregard of the order of the court, the receiver obtains such fund from the banks on checks not countersigned, and appropriates the checks to the receiver's own use, then, regardless of the question whether or not the bank is liable for such wrongful payment, such receiver is in direct contempt of the court, whose officer the judge is. The receiver may be attached and punished for contempt in disregarding the orders of the court, and also for a failure or refusal, when so ordered, to pay into court the fund so misappropriated. Evans v. White, 178 Ga. 262, 172 S.E. 913 (1934).

Failure to recognize custody of receiver.

- If a receiver is appointed for goods which are stored in a warehouse, such goods are in the possession of the receiver, and the custody of the property by the receiver of the court is the custody of the court, and a failure of the warehouseman to recognize such possession by the receiver and by the court would subject the warehouseman to attachment for contempt. United Bonded Whse., Inc. v. Jackson, 208 Ga. 552, 67 S.E.2d 761 (1951).

Refusal to comply with order.

- If a judgment is passed in a habeas corpus case, awarding the custody of a minor child to the child's grandparents, and requiring the grandparents to surrender the child to the child's father at stated intervals upon the father's application therefor, and the grandparents refuse to comply with this provision in the order, the grandparents may be attached and punished for contempt. Crawford v. Manning, 12 Ga. App. 54, 76 S.E. 771 (1912).

Acts of attorneys which do not constitute misbehavior as officer of court.

- While attorneys as officers of the court are under a duty to maintain the integrity and dignity of the court and respect for the court's authority, for acts committed outside the presence of the court which do not constitute misbehavior as an officer of the court in an official transaction or disobedience or resistance of any lawful writ, etc., of the court, attorneys are no more amenable to attachment and summary punishment for contempt of court than are other persons. Townsend v. State, 54 Ga. App. 627, 188 S.E. 560 (1936).

Misbehavior of attorney as officer of court may properly be punished by attachment for contempt. West v. Field, 181 Ga. 152, 181 S.E. 661 (1935).

Enforcement of order against representative of party.

- Since a court has the authority to hold any witness in contempt for failing or refusing to appear and testify on a relevant matter, a fortiori the power lies to enforce the court's order as to a matter in furtherance of the jurisdiction of the court to one representing oneself to be counsel for a party before the court. In re Boswell, 148 Ga. App. 519, 251 S.E.2d 596 (1978).

3. Due Process

Contemnor entitled to due process requirements.

- Due process demands that the contemnor be cited, given notice, and allowed an opportunity to defend or excuse oneself. Moody v. State, 131 Ga. App. 355, 206 S.E.2d 79 (1974).

Opportunity to be heard.

- If a criminal contempt act is not in the court's immediate presence, due process requires that the accused be given an opportunity to be heard. Martin v. Waters, 151 Ga. App. 149, 259 S.E.2d 153 (1979).

Written notice of alleged indirect contempt.

- Requirement of reasonable notice in a case involving an alleged indirect contempt is not satisfied by a showing that the accused was present in court at the time of trial and adjudication and had actual notice then and there of what was going on, but rather contemplates and necessitates a written notice fairly and fully informing the accused of the specific acts of contempt with which the accused is charged, and so given as to afford a reasonable time to make a defense. Crocker v. Crocker, 132 Ga. App. 587, 208 S.E.2d 602 (1974).

Respondent entitled to notice of allegations of contempt.

- Respondent in a citation for contempt is entitled to be apprised of the acts which respondent is charged with committing in violation of the injunctive order so that the respondent may be prepared to defend against such allegations on the hearing. Hortman v. Georgia Bd. of Dental Exmrs., 214 Ga. 560, 105 S.E.2d 732 (1958).

Moving party's pleadings put contemnor on notice that proceeding is civil and criminal.

- If a person is on notice that the person is being tried for contempt and the movant seeks "such other sanctions as is appropriate to ensure the enforcement and the observance" of the court's order or seeks "such other relief as may be appropriate," the contemnor is on notice that the proceeding is both civil and criminal in nature and that criminal sanctions may be imposed in an appropriate case. Schiselman v. Trust Co. Bank, 246 Ga. 274, 271 S.E.2d 183 (1980).

Issuance and service of rule nisi required if constructive contempt alleged.

- In cases of constructive contempt of court, if the alleged contumacious conduct is disobedience to a mandate of the court, not an act in the presence of the court or so near thereto as to obstruct the administration of justice, the law requires that a rule nisi issue and be served upon the accused, giving the accused notice of the charges against the accused, and that the accused be given an opportunity to be heard. Crocker v. Crocker, 132 Ga. App. 587, 208 S.E.2d 602 (1974).

Failure to give requisite rule nisi to alleged contemner may be waived. Crocker v. Crocker, 132 Ga. App. 587, 208 S.E.2d 602 (1974).

Waiver of failure to give requisite rule nisi cannot be imputed unless it be shown that the notice was unequivocally waived. Crocker v. Crocker, 132 Ga. App. 587, 208 S.E.2d 602 (1974).

Purpose of notice given by rule nisi.

- Notice given by rule nisi is to afford accused reasonable time in which to prepare the accused's defense to the charge that the accused violated the court's order. Crocker v. Crocker, 132 Ga. App. 587, 208 S.E.2d 602 (1974).

No requirement for service of rule nisi if contemner voluntarily appears.

- If a contemner voluntarily appears and defends against the contempt proceedings, it is not required that the contemner be served with a rule nisi. Crocker v. Crocker, 132 Ga. App. 587, 208 S.E.2d 602 (1974).

Omission of word "criminal" in notice of contempt proceeding is not fatal if the notice fully described the conduct charged, there is no showing that the contemnor was prejudiced by the failure to clearly denominate the nature of the contempt proceeding, and the contemnor was accorded all rights due a defendant in a "criminal contempt" proceeding. Schiselman v. Trust Co. Bank, 246 Ga. 274, 271 S.E.2d 183 (1980).

Direct summary criminal contempt in presence of court is exempt from two due process requirements.

- There is a type of contempt of court which is exempt from the due process requirements of notice and hearing. This is the direct summary criminal contempt "arising in the presence of the court which tends to scandalize it and hinder or obstruct the orderly processes of the administration of justice, the preservation of order and decorum in the court," etc., and which is committed "in the face of" or "in the immediate presence of" the judge. Moody v. State, 131 Ga. App. 355, 206 S.E.2d 79 (1974).

Direct summary criminal contempt which arises in the presence of the court and tends to scandalize it and hinder or obstruct the orderly processes of the administration of justice, the preservation of order and decorum in the court, etc., is exempt from the due process requirements of notice and hearing. Spruell v. State, 148 Ga. App. 99, 250 S.E.2d 807 (1978); In re McLarty, 152 Ga. App. 399, 263 S.E.2d 194 (1979).

Discretion of court to allow hearing if direct contempt.

- If a direct contempt is committed in the presence of the court, the offender is not entitled as a matter of right to a hearing before the court; the court may act on the court's own knowledge of the facts and proceed to impose punishment for the contempt; or the court may in the court's discretion allow a hearing; the refusal to allow a hearing does not deprive the defendant of the due process of law guaranteed by the state and federal Constitutions. Martin v. Waters, 151 Ga. App. 149, 259 S.E.2d 153 (1979).

If contempt is direct or in presence of court, no service of any commitment is necessary. Hall v. Martin, 177 Ga. 238, 170 S.E. 41 (1933).

4. Jury Trials

No constitutional right to jury trial.

- Power to punish contempts summarily is incident to courts of record, and to try a case of contempt without the intervention of a jury violates no constitutional provision. In re Fite, 11 Ga. App. 665, 76 S.E. 397 (1912).

Defendants in a contempt case do not have a constitutional right to a jury trial even on pure questions of fact. Bennett v. Bagwell & Stewart, Inc., 216 Ga. 290, 116 S.E.2d 288 (1960).

Right to a jury trial did not extend to special summary proceedings including show cause hearings since the issue was whether a party should be held in civil contempt for violation of a previously issued injunction or order. Peacock v. Spivey, 278 Ga. App. 338, 629 S.E.2d 48 (2006).

Trial court did not err in refusing to allow for a jury trial regarding the contempt action against the ex-husband relating to a child support and attorney fee arrearage because the Georgia Supreme Court has long held that a person is not entitled to a jury trial on the issue of ability to pay or contempt for failure to pay alimony and child support. McCarthy v. Ashment, 353 Ga. App. 270, 835 S.E.2d 745 (2019).

No trial by jury except if expressly provided by statute.

- Respondent in contempt proceedings is not entitled to a trial by jury except if a jury trial is expressly provided by statute. Branch v. Branch, 219 Ga. 601, 135 S.E.2d 269 (1964).

Determination of questions of fact.

- Every court has power to compel obedience to the court's judgments, orders, and processes; and in a proceeding for contempt growing out of the alleged violation by the defendant therein of a mandamus absolute, the judge can determine all questions of fact without the intervention of a jury, except in the cases provided for in this section. Gaston v. Shunk Plow Co., 161 Ga. 287, 130 S.E. 580 (1925).

Class of contempt proceedings wherein jury trial is required.

- Respondent was not entitled to a trial by a jury in a contempt proceeding on the issue of whether or not the respondent violated an injunctive order prohibiting the respondent from practicing dentistry without a license as such case did not fall within the class of proceedings for contempt provided for in this section wherein a jury trial was required. Hortman v. Georgia Bd. of Dental Exmrs., 214 Ga. 560, 105 S.E.2d 732 (1958).

Refusal to pay alimony.

- If there is a refusal to pay alimony, a court of record may punish for contempt without a jury trial. Lee v. Lee, 97 Ga. 736, 25 S.E. 174 (1896); Briesnick v. Briesnick, 100 Ga. 57, 28 S.E. 154 (1896); Stokes v. Stokes, 126 Ga. 804, 55 S.E. 1023 (1906).

This section does not require a jury trial if the respondent was cited for refusing to pay alimony judgment. Branch v. Branch, 219 Ga. 601, 135 S.E.2d 269 (1964).

Proceedings in chancery.

- Presiding judge, if the judge deems it proper, may determine for oneself, without aid of a jury, all questions of fact arising upon the auditor's report; but inasmuch as the case upon which the contempt proceedings were founded is one in which the court is exercising chancery powers, this court sees no reason why the judge may not, if such course seems advisable to the judge, invoke the aid of a jury in arriving at a proper conclusion upon the questions of fact presented. It is a matter of discretion as to what method the judge will adopt to arrive at the actual truth to be ascertained. Bennett v. Bagwell & Stewart, Inc., 216 Ga. 290, 116 S.E.2d 288 (1960).

Interference with Administration of Justice

Misbehavior and disobedience that obstructs administration of justice.

- This section shall extend only to cases of misbehavior of any person or persons in the presence of the courts or so near thereto as to obstruct the administration of justice, the misbehavior of any of the officers of the courts in the officer's official transactions, and the disobedience or resistance by any officer of the courts, party, juror, witness, or other person or persons to any lawful writ, process, order, rule, decree, or command of the courts. Wood v. State, 103 Ga. App. 305, 119 S.E.2d 261 (1961), rev'd on other grounds, 370 U.S. 375, 82 S. Ct. 1364, 8 L. Ed. 2d 569 (1962).

Because sufficient evidence existed to support a criminal contempt finding against an attorney based on that attorney's refusal to obey the trial judge's order to continue the representation of the attorney's criminal client, the trial judge was authorized to summarily find the attorney in contempt of court for directly disobeying an order of the court, misbehaving in the presence of the court, and obstructing the administration of justice. Lee v. State, 283 Ga. App. 369, 641 S.E.2d 615 (2007).

Misbehavior not in immediate presence of court.

- Although misbehavior so as to obstruct the administration of justice is being subject to "summary punishment," that must yield to the fundamental constitutional right to due process of law if the misbehavior is not in the immediate presence of the court, so that it may "act on its own knowledge of the facts," summary punishment is not authorized, and due process demands that the contemnor be cited, given notice, and allowed an opportunity to defend or excuse the contemnor. McDaniel v. State, 202 Ga. App. 409, 414 S.E.2d 536 (1992).

Disobedience to lawful order of court is obstruction of justice, and for such a violation the court, in order to compel respect or compliance, may punish for contempt. Griggers v. Bryant, 239 Ga. 244, 236 S.E.2d 599 (1977).

Obstruction of justice is abuse of liberty of speech and press.

- Constitution of Georgia guarantees the liberty of speech and of the press but does not protect an abuse of that liberty and obstructing the administration of justice by the courts of this state is an abuse of that liberty and will subject the abuser to punishment for contempt of court. McGill v. State, 209 Ga. 500, 74 S.E.2d 78 (1953); Atlanta Newspapers, Inc. v. State, 216 Ga. 399, 116 S.E.2d 580 (1960).

Liberty of press subordinate to independence of judiciary and administration of justice.

- Inherent power of the courts to punish any publication calculated to interfere with the administration of justice is not restricted by the constitutional guaranties of liberty of the press for liberty of the press is subordinate to the independence of the judiciary and the proper administration of justice. McGill v. State, 209 Ga. 500, 74 S.E.2d 78 (1953).

No contempt if newspaper articles do not obstruct administration of justice.

- Criticisms in newspaper articles which do not obstruct the administration of justice in the court do not constitute contempt of court. Townsend v. State, 54 Ga. App. 627, 188 S.E. 560 (1936).

Defective rule for contempt when publications could not have obstructed justice.

- Rule for contempt issued by superior court judge based on a series of newspaper articles is fatally defective if the publications complained of were true, the publication related to a matter in another court and in no wise referred to the court issuing the rule and if the publication could not have obstructed or impaired the administration of justice in the court. McGill v. State, 209 Ga. 500, 74 S.E.2d 78 (1953).

Sufficient showing that alleged conduct could obstruct administration of justice needed.

- Alleged conduct of the defendant in uttering a certain phrase to the solicitor general (now district attorney) in the presence of the grand jury was not in the immediate presence or "face" of the court, but was under this section "so near thereto as to obstruct the administration of justice," provided the alleged conduct of the contemnor showed that such conduct could obstruct the administration of justice. Adams v. State, 89 Ga. App. 882, 81 S.E.2d 507 (1954).

Objectionable question by attorney.

- Attorney's question in a criminal trial that purportedly "elicited testimony that his client was not found guilty at ... previous trial" did not justify a finding of contempt. In re Healy, 241 Ga. App. 266, 526 S.E.2d 616 (1999).

Misbehavior by attorney found.

- Trial court did not err in the manner in which the court handled the defendant's summary punishment for contempt of court for misbehavior in the court's presence or so near thereto as to obstruct the administration of justice after the defendant failed to appear before the trial court with the client the defendant was representing, particularly given the defendant's representation to the trial court via telephone that the defendant would be in court in a few minutes. In re Omole, 258 Ga. App. 725, 574 S.E.2d 912 (2002).

Discretion of Court

Regulating behavior of court officers.

- Trial court has very wide discretion in regulating and controlling the behavior of court officers in the conduct of the proceedings before the court, and this discretion will not be interfered with unless flagrantly abused. In re McLarty, 152 Ga. App. 399, 263 S.E.2d 194 (1979).

Determining whether orders violated.

- In cases of contempt, the trial judge is vested with discretion in determining whether the judge's orders have been violated and how such infringements should be treated, and the Supreme Court will not disturb the judge's judgment unless it appears that the judge has abused the judge's discretion. Reid v. McRae, 190 Ga. 323, 9 S.E.2d 176 (1940).

Trial court in contempt case has wide discretion to determine whether orders have been violated. The court's determination will not be disturbed on appeal in the absence of an abuse of discretion. Kaufmann v. Kaufmann, 246 Ga. 266, 271 S.E.2d 175 (1980).

Judgment not disturbed absent abuse of discretion.

- Judgment rendered on a hearing of a contempt case will not be disturbed by the Supreme Court unless the judge has grossly abused the sound discretion vested in the judge in such a case. Wagner v. Commercial Printers, Inc., 203 Ga. 1, 45 S.E.2d 205 (1947).

Trial court's adjudication of contempt will not be interfered with unless there is a gross, enormous, or flagrant abuse of discretion. Renfroe v. State, 104 Ga. App. 362, 121 S.E.2d 811 (1961), overruled on other grounds, In re Crane, 253 Ga. 667, 324 S.E.2d 443 (1985), for comment, see 24 Ga. B. J. 544 (1962).

Discretion of the judges of the superior courts in all matters pertaining to contempt of the judges' authority and mandates will never be controlled unless grossly abused. White v. State, 105 Ga. App. 616, 125 S.E.2d 239, rev'd on other grounds, 218 Ga. 290, 127 S.E.2d 668 (1962); Miller v. Kaylor, 116 Ga. App. 668, 158 S.E.2d 260 (1967).

It is fundamental that every court possesses the inherent power to preserve and enforce order and compel obedience to the court's judgments and orders, to control the conduct of the court's officers and all other persons connected with the judicial proceedings before the court, and to inflict summary punishment for contempt upon any person failing and refusing to obey any lawful order of such court. An appellate court will not undertake to control the wide discretion vested in the trial court in the exercise of this fundamental power unless it is made to appear that wrong or oppression has resulted from an abuse of such discretion reposed in the court. Jackson v. State, 225 Ga. 553, 170 S.E.2d 281 (1969); Young v. Champion, 142 Ga. App. 687, 236 S.E.2d 783 (1977).

Questions of contempt if committed in the actual presence of the court are for the court treated with contempt, and the trial court's adjudication of contempt will not be interfered with unless there is a flagrant abuse of discretion. Farmer v. Holton, 146 Ga. App. 102, 245 S.E.2d 457 (1978), cert. denied, 440 U.S. 958, 99 S. Ct. 1499, 59 L. Ed. 2d 771 (1979), overruled on other grounds, In re Crane, 253 Ga. 667, 324 S.E.2d 443 (1985).

Denial of sanctions for defense counsel's improper remarks informing the jury that opposing counsel was representing plaintiffs on a contingent-fee basis was not an abuse of discretion since issues as to the amount of damages, addressed by the improper remarks, were not reached by the jury, and therefore no harm resulted. Stoner v. Eden, 199 Ga. App. 135, 404 S.E.2d 283, cert. denied, 199 Ga. App. 907, 404 S.E.2d 283 (1991).

Failure to establish conflict of interest.

- Trial court did not abuse the court's discretion by not disqualifying the ex-wife's attorney after an alleged conflict of interest was established because the attorney denied there was a conflict after having talked briefly to the ex-husband's mother, and filed an affidavit from the law firm's administrator to that effect. McCarthy v. Ashment, 353 Ga. App. 270, 835 S.E.2d 745 (2019).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Magistrate may prevent interference with constable.

- Justice of peace (now magistrate) may prevent interference with a constable in making a levy through contempt processes. 1965-66 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 65-63.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 17 Am. Jur. 2d, Contempt, §§ 68 et seq., 117, 123, 199, 205 et seq. 4 Am. Jur. 2d, Appellate Review, § 200 et seq.

C.J.S.

- 17 C.J.S., Contempt, §§ 7 et seq., 85. 50A C.J.S., Juries, § 147 et seq.

ALR.

- Restitution as purging contempt in violating injunction, 2 A.L.R. 169.

Necessity of affidavit or sworn statement as foundation for constructive contempt, 2 A.L.R. 225; 41 A.L.R.2d 1263.

What courts or officers have power to punish for contempt, 8 A.L.R. 1543; 54 A.L.R. 318; 73 A.L.R. 1185.

Contempt: violation of injunction by one not a party to injunction suit, 15 A.L.R. 386.

Assault as contempt of court, 18 A.L.R. 212; 55 A.L.R. 1230; 52 A.L.R.2d 1297.

Procuring or attempting to procure witness to leave jurisdiction as contempt, 21 A.L.R. 247; 33 A.L.R. 607.

Inability to comply with judgment or order as defense to charge of contempt, 22 A.L.R. 1256; 31 A.L.R. 649; 40 A.L.R. 546; 76 A.L.R. 390; 120 A.L.R. 703.

Forcing party or prosecuting witness to withdraw or not to institute action or proceeding as contempt of court, 23 A.L.R. 187.

Decree or order which merely declares rights of parties without an express command or prohibition as basis of contempt proceeding, 29 A.L.R. 134.

Communicating with grand jury as contempt, 29 A.L.R. 489.

Affidavit to disqualify judge as contempt, 29 A.L.R. 1273.

Contempt for disobedience of mandamus, 30 A.L.R. 148.

Contempt in addressing letter to court or judge with regard to a pending case, 31 A.L.R. 1239.

Conduct of juror in respect of verdict as basis of charge of contempt, 32 A.L.R. 436.

Conduct pending receivership as contempt of court, 39 A.L.R. 6; 48 A.L.R. 241.

Preventing, obstructing, or delaying service or execution of search warrant as contempt, 39 A.L.R. 1354.

Duty of attorney to call witness or to procure or aid in procuring his attendance, 56 A.L.R. 174.

Commitment for contempt in failing to obey order of court as purging one of contempt, 56 A.L.R. 701.

Necessity that hearing be allowed before imposition of punishment for contempt, 57 A.L.R. 545.

Criticism of attitude of the court or judge toward violations of liquor law as contempt, 58 A.L.R. 1001.

Shadowing, or tampering or communicating with, jurors as contempt, 63 A.L.R. 1269.

Punishment of election officers for contempt, 64 A.L.R. 1019.

Refusal to keep promise to waive privilege against self-incrimination as contempt, 69 A.L.R. 855.

Criticism of court's appointment of receiver as contempt, 97 A.L.R. 903.

Refusal or failure of clerk of court to comply with direction of court or judge upon ground of its invalidity or supposed invalidity as contempt, 119 A.L.R. 1380.

Legislative power to abridge, limit, or regulate power of courts with respect to contempt, 121 A.L.R. 215.

Misconduct by jurors as contempt, 125 A.L.R. 1274.

Impersonation or false statement by juror as to his identity as ground for new trial, 127 A.L.R. 717.

Failure or refusal to surrender possession or disclose whereabouts of property in replevin as contempt, 130 A.L.R. 632.

Reversal, modification, dismissal, dissolution, or resettlement of injunction order or judgment as affecting prior disobedience as contempt, 148 A.L.R. 1024.

Necessity and sufficiency of making and recording subsidiary or detailed findings supporting adjudication of direct contempt, 154 A.L.R. 1227.

Freedom of speech and press as limitation on power to punish for contempt, 159 A.L.R. 1379.

Power to include separate acts of contempt in a single contempt proceeding, 160 A.L.R. 1104.

Fine for contempt as provable or dischargeable in bankruptcy, 163 A.L.R. 389.

Seizure or impoundment of property in contempt cases, 167 A.L.R. 713.

Right to punish for contempt for failure to obey court order or decree either beyond power or jurisdiction of court or merely erroneous, 12 A.L.R.2d 1059.

Punishment of civil contempt in other than divorce cases by striking pleading or entering default judgment or dismissal against contemner, 14 A.L.R.2d 580.

Procuring perjury as contempt, 29 A.L.R.2d 1157.

Bail jumping after conviction, failure to surrender or to appear for sentencing, and the like, as contempt, 34 A.L.R.2d 1100.

Limitations statute applicable to criminal contempt proceedings, 38 A.L.R.2d 1131.

Contempt: acts or conduct outside of courtroom or jury room as in federal court's presence, within 18 USC § 401(1), 42 A.L.R.2d 970.

Impeachment of witness by showing conviction of contempt, 49 A.L.R.2d 845.

Pleading and burden of proof, in contempt proceedings, as to ability to comply with order for payment of alimony or child support, 53 A.L.R.2d 591.

Allowance of attorneys' fees in contempt proceedings, 55 A.L.R.2d 979; 43 A.L.R.3d 793.

Sufficiency of notice to, or service upon, contemnor's attorney in civil contempt proceedings, 60 A.L.R.2d 1244.

Who may institute civil contempt proceedings, 61 A.L.R.2d 1083.

Published article or broadcast as direct contempt of court, 69 A.L.R.2d 676.

Use of affidavits to establish contempt, 79 A.L.R.2d 657.

Admissibility, in contempt proceeding against witness, of evidence of incriminating nature of question as to which he invoked privilege against self-incrimination, 88 A.L.R.2d 463.

Perjury or false swearing as contempt, 89 A.L.R.2d 1258.

Power to base separate contempt prosecutions or punishments on successive refusals to respond to same or similar questions, 94 A.L.R.2d 1246.

False or inaccurate report of judicial proceedings as contempt, 99 A.L.R.2d 440.

Circumstances under which one court can punish a contempt against another court, 99 A.L.R.2d 1100.

Delay in adjudication of contempt committed in the actual presence of court as affecting court's power to punish contemnor, 100 A.L.R.2d 439.

Use of intoxicating liquor by jurors: civil cases, 6 A.L.R.3d 934.

Criminal liability for obstructing process as affected by invalidity or irregularity of the process, 10 A.L.R.3d 1146.

Appealability of order directing payment of money into court, 15 A.L.R.3d 568.

Prejudicial effect of holding accused in contempt of court in presence of jury, 29 A.L.R.3d 1399.

Appealability of contempt adjudication or conviction, 33 A.L.R.3d 448.

Publication or broadcast, during course of trial, of matter prejudicial to criminal defendant, as contempt, 33 A.L.R.3d 1116.

Attorney's refusal to accept appointment to defend indigent, or to proceed in such defense, as contempt, 36 A.L.R.3d 1221.

Attacks on judiciary as a whole as indirect contempt, 40 A.L.R.3d 1204.

Defense of entrapment in contempt proceedings, 41 A.L.R.3d 418.

Propriety of requiring accused to give handwriting exemplar, 43 A.L.R.3d 653.

Right to counsel in contempt proceedings, 52 A.L.R.3d 1002.

Mortgagor's interference with property subject to order of foreclosure and sale as contempt of court, 54 A.L.R.3d 1242.

Picketing of court or judge as contempt, 58 A.L.R.3d 1297.

Assault on attorney as contempt, 61 A.L.R.3d 500.

Attorney's addressing allegedly insulting remarks to court during course of trial as contempt, 68 A.L.R.3d 273.

Conduct of attorney in connection with making objections or taking exceptions as contempt of court, 68 A.L.R.3d 314.

Refusal to answer questions before state grand jury as direct contempt of court, 69 A.L.R.3d 501.

Affidavit or motion for disqualification of judge as contempt, 70 A.L.R.3d 797.

Power of court to impose standard of personal appearance or attire, 73 A.L.R.3d 353.

Contempt for violation of compromise and settlement the terms of which were approved by court not incorporated in court order, decree, or judgment, 84 A.L.R.3d 1047.

Right of injured party to award of compensatory damages or fine in contempt proceedings, 85 A.L.R.3d 895.

Acquittal of criminal charges other than contempt as precluding contempt proceedings relating to same transaction, 88 A.L.R.3d 1089.

Oral court order implementing prior written order or decree as independent basis of charge of contempt within contempt proceedings based on violation of written order, 100 A.L.R.3d 889.

Violation of state court order by one other than party as contempt, 7 A.L.R.4th 893.

Attorney's failure to attend court, or tardiness, as contempt, 13 A.L.R.4th 122.

Validity, propriety, and effect of allowing or prohibiting media's broadcasting, recording, or photographing court proceedings, 14 A.L.R.4th 121.

Oral communications insulting to particular state judge, made to third party out of judge's physical presence, as criminal contempt, 30 A.L.R.4th 155.

Attorney's use of objectionable questions in examination of witness in state judicial proceeding as contempt of court, 31 A.L.R.4th 1279.

Contempt based on violation of court order where another court has issued contrary order, 36 A.L.R.4th 978.

Intoxication of witness or attorney as contempt of court, 46 A.L.R.4th 238.

Validity and construction of state court's order precluding publicity or comment about pending civil case by counsel, parties, or witnesses, 56 A.L.R.4th 1214.

Propriety of using contempt proceeding to enforce property settlement award or order, 72 A.L.R.4th 298.

Contempt: state court's power to order indefinite coercive fine or imprisonment to exact promise of future compliance with court's order - anticipatory contempt, 81 A.L.R.4th 1008.

Profane or obscene language by party, witness, or observer during trial proceedings as basis for contempt citation, 29 A.L.R.5th 702.

Right to appointment of counsel in contempt proceedings, 32 A.L.R.5th 31.

Holding jurors in contempt under state law, 93 A.L.R.5th 493.

Media's dissemination of material in violation of injunction or restraining order as contempt - federal cases, 91 A.L.R. Fed. 270.

15-1-5. Effect of rules of court.

The rules of the respective courts, legally adopted and not in conflict with the Constitution of the United States or of this state, or the laws thereof, are binding and must be observed.

(Orig. Code 1863, § 198; Code 1868, § 192; Code 1873, § 204; Code 1882, § 204; Civil Code 1895, § 4044; Civil Code 1910, § 4641; Code 1933, § 24-106.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Rules are binding on practitioners and must be observed.

- Rules of the Court of Appeals, promulgated by the court pursuant to the court's rule-making authority, are binding on those who practice in the court and must be observed. Crider v. State, 115 Ga. App. 347, 154 S.E.2d 743 (1967).

Construction placed upon the court's own rules by court is generally conclusive. Roberts v. Kuhrt, 119 Ga. 704, 46 S.E. 856 (1904).

Common-law rule may apply to equity case. Central Bank v. Johnson & Smith, 56 Ga. 225 (1876); Fletcher v. Renfroe, 56 Ga. 674 (1876).

Superior court rules may apply in city court. Chance v. State, 97 Ga. 346, 23 S.E. 832 (1895).

Untimeliness under local rule.

- If there was no pretrial order issued in a case, an amended complaint supported by affidavit which was filed and served on the day preceding the hearing could not properly be disallowed based upon untimeliness under the local rule. Gilbert v. Decker, 165 Ga. App. 11, 299 S.E.2d 65 (1983).

Result of failure to follow rules.

- Appellants successfully argued that the record was utterly devoid of any indication that the procedure in O.C.G.A. § 15-9-13 was followed in order to authorize the superior court judge to sit over the probate of the decedent's will. No written order was entered pursuant to Uniform Probate Court Rule 3 for the appointment of the superior court judge to act in the probate judge's absence. Thus, the superior court judge was not sitting over the probate proceedings in replacement for the recused probate court judge. Because the superior court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear the probate of a will, it follows that the judgment rendered by the superior court here was a nullity and void. Carpenter v. Carpenter, 276 Ga. 746, 583 S.E.2d 852 (2003).

Cited in Hill v. State, 73 Ga. App. 293, 36 S.E.2d 191 (1945); Bearden v. Nash, 88 Ga. App. 722, 77 S.E.2d 541 (1953); Barfield v. State, 89 Ga. App. 204, 79 S.E.2d 68 (1953); King v. Skinner, 101 Ga. App. 102, 112 S.E.2d 789 (1960); Cel-Ko Bldrs. & Developers, Inc. v. BX Corp., 136 Ga. App. 777, 222 S.E.2d 94 (1975); Perdue v. Tyler, 241 Ga. 299, 245 S.E.2d 276 (1978).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

ALR.

- Power of court to prescribe rules of pleadings, practice, or procedure, 110 A.L.R. 22; 158 A.L.R. 705.

Right to counsel in contempt proceedings, 52 A.L.R.3d 1002.

15-1-6. Court's acts not invalid without clerk.

The acts of a court shall not lack validity for the want of a clerk. Whenever there is no clerk, or none to be had, or the clerk is incapable of discharging his duty, and any court performs that duty itself, its action as such is valid.

(Orig. Code 1863, § 203; Code 1868, § 197; Code 1873, § 209; Code 1882, § 209; Civil Code 1895, § 4050; Civil Code 1910, § 4647; Code 1933, § 24-109.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Justice court (now magistrate court) had no clerk created by law. Park v. Callaway, 128 Ga. 119, 57 S.E. 229 (1907).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 20 Am. Jur. 2d, Courts, § 1 et seq.

15-1-7. Grounds for impeachment.

It shall be unlawful for any Justice of the Supreme Court, Judge of the Court of Appeals, or judge of the superior courts to receive for himself or any member of his family, either directly or indirectly, any favor from any railroad company or any free railroad pass or any like favor not enjoyed by the general public from any telephone, telegraph, or express company or like quasi-public corporation. Any violation of this Code section shall be a ground for impeachment.

(Ga. L. 1904, p. 72, § 2; Civil Code 1910, § 324; Code 1933, § 24-103.)

Cross references.

- Impeachment, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. III, Sec. VII.

Law reviews.

- For article, "Judicial Retirement, Discipline and Removal," see 3 Ga. St. B. J. 197 (1966). For article discussing the inefficiency of mandamus and impeachment as remedies for judicial inaction, see 5 Ga. St. B. J. 467 (1969).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 46 Am. Jur. 2d, Judges, § 16 et seq.

C.J.S.

- 48A C.J.S., Judges, § 84.

ALR.

- Carriers: free passes to public officials or employees, 8 A.L.R. 682.

Constitutionality of statute authorizing issuance of passes by carriers, 33 A.L.R. 373.

15-1-8. When judge or judicial officer disqualified.

  1. No judge or Justice of any court, magistrate, nor presiding officer of any inferior judicature or commission shall:
    1. Sit in any case or proceeding in which he is pecuniarily interested;
    2. Preside, act, or serve in any case or matter when such judge is related by consanguinity or affinity within the third degree as computed according to the civil law to any party interested in the result of the case or matter; or
    3. Sit in any case or proceeding in which he has been of counsel, nor in which he has presided in any inferior judicature, when his ruling or decision is the subject of review, without the consent of all parties in interest. In all cases in which the presiding judge of the superior court was employed as counsel before his appointment as judge, he shall preside in such cases if the opposite party or counsel agree in writing that he may preside, unless he declines to do so.
  2. No judge or Justice of any court, magistrate, nor presiding officer of any inferior judicature or commission shall be disqualified from sitting in any case or proceeding because of the fact that he is a policyholder or is related to a policyholder of any mutual insurance company which has no capital stock.
  3. Nothing in this Code section shall be construed as applying to the qualifications of trial jurors.
  4. In all cases in which a part-time judge has a conflict because such judge or his or her partner or associate represents a governmental agency or entity, a subdivision of government, or any other client, the judge will recuse himself or herself or, with the permission of the parties, transfer the case to the state or superior court, but such judge will not otherwise be disqualified or prohibited from serving as attorney for such governmental entities.

(Laws 1801, Cobb's 1851 Digest, p. 460; Code 1863, § 199; Ga. L. 1868, p. 129, § 2; Code 1868, § 193; Code 1873, § 205; Ga. L. 1880-81, p. 58, § 1; Code 1882, § 205; Civil Code 1895, § 4045; Civil Code 1910, § 4642; Code 1933, § 24-102; Ga. L. 1935, p. 396, § 1; Ga. L. 1943, p. 322, §§ 1, 2; Ga. L. 1983, p. 884, § 4-1; Ga. L. 1984, p. 22, § 15; Ga. L. 1993, p. 981, § 1; Ga. L. 2016, p. 242, § 1/SB 262.)

Cross references.

- Mutual insurers generally, T. 33, C. 14.

Disqualified or not participating judges, Rules of the Supreme Court of Georgia, Rule 56.

Notice of cause for disqualification or recusal, Rules of the Court of Appeals of the State of Georgia, Rule 8.

Recusal, Uniform Rules for the Superior Courts, Rule 25.

Impartial and diligent performance of judicial duties, Georgia Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 3.

Law reviews.

- For article, "Wills, Trusts & Administration of Estates," see 53 Mercer L. Rev. 499 (2001).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

General Consideration

Opinions limiting grounds for disqualification to only those enumerated in O.C.G.A.

§ 15-1-8 overruled. - Because in Stephens v. Stephens, 249 Ga. 700, 292 S.E.2d 689 (1982) the Supreme Court made clear that Canon 3E of The Code of Judicial Conduct provides "a broader rule of disqualification" than that provided in O.C.G.A. § 15-1-8, and both the statute and the canon provide grounds for recusal, to the extent that the below cases follow the prior rule, the following opinions are overruled: Bevil v. State, 220 Ga. App. 1, 467 S.E.2d 586 (1996); Johnson v. State, 208 Ga. App. 453, 430 S.E.2d 821 (1993); Brannen v. Prince, 204 Ga. App. 866, 421 S.E.2d 76 (1992); Mapp v. State, 204 Ga. App. 647, 420 S.E.2d 615 (1992). Gillis v. City of Waycross, 247 Ga. App. 119, 543 S.E.2d 423 (2000).

Timing of objection relative to judge's disqualification.

- Objection relative to the disqualification of a judge by reason of relationship or interest should generally be brought to the judge's attention before petitioning for the writ of prohibition. Riner v. Flanders, 173 Ga. 43, 159 S.E. 693 (1931).

Circumstances under which justice disqualified.

- When the Constitution under consideration increased the membership of the Supreme Court from six to seven, and a justice had been appointed to fill the seventh place, and thus the very existence of the office the justice occupied was dependent upon the outcome of the case under consideration, since the justice's participation in the case would presuppose the validity of the instrument under attack the justice should not participate because the validity of the instrument should be determined by the court as constituted prior to the alleged adoption of the instrument under which the justice claimed office. Wheeler v. Board of Trustees, 200 Ga. 323, 37 S.E.2d 322 (1946).

When considering the issue of disqualification, both O.C.G.A. § 15-1-8 and Canon 3C of the Code of Judicial Conduct should be considered and applied. Kurtz v. State, 233 Ga. App. 186, 504 S.E.2d 51 (1998).

Workers' compensation.

- Since former Code 1933, § 114-101 et seq. (see now O.C.G.A. T. 34, C. 9) provided for a different judicial procedure than cases at common law, the apparent conflict between former Code 1933, § 114-708 (see now O.C.G.A. § 34-9-103), wherein provision was clearly made for the single director who made the workers' compensation award to participate with the full board in review of the award, and former Code 1933, § 24-102 (see now O.C.G.A. § 15-1-8), providing for the disqualification of a judicial officer in a case in which the officer had presided in any inferior judicature, when the officer's ruling or decision was the subject of review, must be resolved in favor of the participation of the single director with the full board in accordance with the plain intention of the General Assembly as disclosed by the language of former Code 1933, § 114-708 (see now O.C.G.A. § 34-9-103). Wiley v. Bituminous Cas. Co., 76 Ga. App. 862, 47 S.E.2d 652 (1948).

Effect of judge's disqualification.

- Granting of a motion to make a later term the appearance term and to perfect service in the meantime necessarily requires the exercise of a judicial function, facts are to be considered, and the judgment should be made accordingly, and therefore it cannot be said that the orders drawn into question in this case were mere formal or ministerial acts such as could have been performed irrespective of the judge's disqualification to preside at other stages of the proceeding. Smith v. Queen Ins. Co. of Am., 41 Ga. App. 587, 153 S.E. 785 (1930).

Disqualification does not extend to formal acts for bringing case.

- Disqualification will not extend to mere formal acts designed to bring a case before a proper tribunal for adjudication, but will prohibit the hearing of the case or the making or passing of any order in relation thereto which is justiciable in its nature including orders for the purpose of extending time for service and appearance and issuance of new process. Smith v. Queen Ins. Co. of Am., 41 Ga. App. 587, 153 S.E. 785 (1930).

Act of judicial nature by disqualified judge is voidable. Allen v. State, 102 Ga. 619, 29 S.E. 470 (1897).

Violation of basic philosophy for judge to act as own trier of fact.

- For a judicial officer to bring one's own case before oneself as a trier of fact violates the basic philosophy on which the judicial system is founded, that every phase of litigation is to be heard and decided by a disinterested magistrate. Bonds v. Powl, 140 Ga. App. 140, 230 S.E.2d 133 (1976).

Disqualification of trial judge will not cause release of prisoner on writ of habeas corpus.

- Prisoner under sentence by a court of competent jurisdiction will not be released on writ of habeas corpus because of the disqualification of the judge who presided in the trial court. Wood v. Clarke, 188 Ga. 697, 4 S.E.2d 659 (1939).

Cited in Field v. Manly, 185 Ga. 464, 195 S.E. 406 (1938); Burgess v. Simmons, 191 Ga. 322, 12 S.E.2d 323 (1940); Bryant v. Mitchell, 195 Ga. 135, 23 S.E.2d 410 (1942); Galloway v. Merrill, 213 Ga. 633, 100 S.E.2d 443 (1957); Mathews v. Mathews, 220 Ga. 247, 138 S.E.2d 382 (1964); Garland v. State, 110 Ga. App. 756, 140 S.E.2d 46 (1964); Williams v. Mayor of Athens, 122 Ga. App. 465, 177 S.E.2d 581 (1970); Edwards v. Wheaton, 227 Ga. 424, 181 S.E.2d 48 (1971); Paine v. Lowndes County Bd. of Tax Assessors, 124 Ga. App. 233, 183 S.E.2d 474 (1971); Southeastern Fid. Ins. Co. v. Fluellen, 128 Ga. App. 877, 198 S.E.2d 407 (1973); Mann v. Malone, 231 Ga. 397, 202 S.E.2d 63 (1973); Cauley v. State, 130 Ga. App. 278, 203 S.E.2d 239 (1973); Cross v. State, 136 Ga. App. 400, 221 S.E.2d 615 (1975); Dungee v. State, 237 Ga. 218, 227 S.E.2d 746 (1976); Collins v. State, 141 Ga. App. 121, 232 S.E.2d 635 (1977); Pierce v. Moore, 244 Ga. 739, 261 S.E.2d 647 (1979); Cobb County Bd. of Tax Assessors v. Sibley, 248 Ga. 383, 283 S.E.2d 452 (1981); Johnson v. State, 208 Ga. App. 453, 430 S.E.2d 821 (1993); Bevil v. State, 220 Ga. App. 1, 467 S.E.2d 586 (1996).

Construction of Statutory Language

1. In General

Language of this Code section, being remedial in nature, should be liberally construed, and the word "cause" (now "case") should not be limited to a suit or proceeding in court. Murray County v. Pickering, 195 Ga. 182, 23 S.E.2d 436 (1942).

Liberal construction of words "of counsel" intended.

- Words "of counsel" in this section cannot be so restricted as to include only representation in a suit or proceeding in court. That section must be given a liberal construction so as to effect the intent of the legislature. Scogin v. State, 138 Ga. App. 859, 227 S.E.2d 780 (1976); King v. State, 246 Ga. 386, 271 S.E.2d 630 (1980).

2. Party

"Party" construed.

- Word "party" referred to would include any one pecuniarily interested in the result of the case, and would not be limited to a person who is a party to the record. Dobbins v. City of Marietta, 148 Ga. 467, 97 S.E. 439 (1918); Parks v. Citizens Bank, 40 Ga. App. 523, 150 S.E. 438 (1929).

Word "party" will include any person who is pecuniarily interested in the result of the suit, although not a party to the record and not necessarily bound by the judgment therein. Smith v. Queen Ins. Co. of Am., 41 Ga. App. 587, 153 S.E. 785 (1930).

Proper construction to be placed upon the word "party" is the broad meaning which would include any one pecuniarily interested in the result of the case, and not the narrow and technical meaning which would limit the rule to a person who was a party to the record. Dennard v. State, 46 Ga. App. 513, 168 S.E. 311 (1933).

Word "party" as used in this section is not restricted to technical limitation of party to case, but includes those who are interested in the result of the case, although not parties to the case. Georgia Power Co. v. Watts, 184 Ga. 135, 190 S.E. 654 (1937); Gray v. Barlow, 241 Ga. 347, 245 S.E.2d 299 (1978).

Interest of person not party to record which will disqualify judge is pecuniary interest in result of litigation. Gray v. Barlow, 241 Ga. 347, 245 S.E.2d 299 (1978).

3. Pecuniary Interest

Construction of "pecuniarily interested."

- Words "pecuniarily interested," as employed in this section, should be construed to mean pecuniarily interested "in one side or the other of the case - a loss in the subject matter, or a gain dependent upon the result of the issue." Dennard v. State, 46 Ga. App. 513, 168 S.E. 311 (1933).

"Pecuniary interest" means direct pecuniary interest in result of particular case. Robinson v. State, 86 Ga. App. 375, 71 S.E.2d 677 (1952).

"Pecuniary interest" does not include interest in costs.

- History of this section confirms the view that the "pecuniary interest" in a cause or proceeding referred to does not include an interest in the costs. Dennard v. State, 46 Ga. App. 513, 168 S.E. 311 (1933).

Pecuniary interest in costs is not synonymous with "pecuniary interest" in case.

- Costs are the fees allowed officers of courts for their services in a judicial proceeding; though incidental to a suit are independent of the issue. There is no liability upon a party for costs until judgment, fixing that liability, and pecuniary interest in costs, the amount of which is fixed by law, is not synonymous with "pecuniary interest" in a case. Wellmaker v. Terrell, 3 Ga. App. 791, 60 S.E. 464 (1908).

Exhaustive Grounds for Disqualification

Statutory grounds exclusive.

- It is the general rule that statutory grounds of disqualification are exclusive. Elliott v. Hipp, 134 Ga. 844, 68 S.E. 736, 137 Am. St. R. 272, 20 Ann. Cas. 423 (1910); Luke v. Batts, 11 Ga. App. 783, 76 S.E. 165 (1912).

Statutory grounds are exhaustive.

- Statutory grounds of disqualification of judicial officer, as contained in this section, are exhaustive. York v. State, 42 Ga. App. 453, 156 S.E. 733 (1931); Scott v. State, 53 Ga. App. 61, 185 S.E. 131 (1936), aff'd, 184 Ga. 164, 190 S.E. 582 (1937); De Krasner v. Boykin, 54 Ga. App. 38, 186 S.E. 749 (1936); Blakeman v. Harwell, 198 Ga. 165, 31 S.E.2d 50 (1944); Jones v. State, 219 Ga. 848, 136 S.E.2d 358, cert. denied, 379 U.S. 935, 85 S. Ct. 330, 13 L. Ed. 2d 345 (1964); Daniel v. Yow, 226 Ga. 544, 176 S.E.2d 67 (1970).

This section sets forth the statutory grounds for disqualification of a judicial officer. Those grounds have been held to be exhaustive. J.B. v. State, 139 Ga. App. 545, 228 S.E.2d 712 (1976).

Prejudice or bias not based on pecuniary or relationship interest.

- Grounds of disqualification of a judge, set forth in this section, are exhaustive, and do not include alleged prejudice or bias that is not based on a pecuniary or relationship interest. Elder v. Camp, 193 Ga. 320, 18 S.E.2d 622 (1942); Columbian Peanut Co. v. Pope, 69 Ga. App. 26, 24 S.E.2d 710 (1943); Smith v. State, 74 Ga. App. 777, 41 S.E.2d 541, cert. denied, 332 U.S. 772, 68 S. Ct. 86, 92 L. Ed. 357 (1947); Yeargin v. Hamilton Mem. Hosp., 229 Ga. 870, 195 S.E.2d 8 (1972).

Bias or prejudice is not legal ground for disqualification.

- Circumstances in which a trial judge may be disqualified are set out in this section. These grounds are exhaustive, and bias or prejudice on the part of a judge is not legal ground for disqualification. Stevenson v. Stevenson, 222 Ga. 47, 148 S.E.2d 388 (1966).

Courts may not add other grounds of disqualification.

- In order to disqualify a judge there must exist a ground authorized by law to disqualify the judge; it is not for the courts to add other grounds of disqualification. Blakeman v. Harwell, 198 Ga. 165, 31 S.E.2d 50 (1944); Mapp v. State, 204 Ga. App. 647, 420 S.E.2d 615 (1992).

Pecuniary Interest or Relationship

1. In General

Relationship to one of defendants.

- If an injunction was granted against several defendants, and later an attachment proceeding was brought against some of the defendants for an alleged violation of such injunction, the judge of the superior court was not disqualified to hear and determine the attachment proceeding because of a relationship to one of the defendants against whom the injunction was issued, but who was not among the parties charged in the attachment proceeding, and who did not appear to have any interest therein. Tomlin v. Rome Stove & Range Co., 183 Ga. 183, 187 S.E. 879 (1936).

Relationship of defendant to wife of judge.

- Fact that the wife of the judge who entered the default was a first cousin to the wife of the defendant does not disqualify the judge. Edison Provision Co. v. Armour & Co., 51 Ga. App. 213, 179 S.E. 829 (1935).

Judge not disqualified by having worked with crime victim.

- Judge is not prohibited from presiding over a criminal case in which the alleged victim is one with whom the judge has worked by either O.C.G.A. § 15-1-8 or Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Smith v. State, 189 Ga. App. 27, 375 S.E.2d 69 (1988).

Membership in organization not per se disqualification.

- Judge is not per se disqualified to try a cause when one of the parties to which is a church, lodge, or society of which the judge is a member. Blakeman v. Harwell, 198 Ga. 165, 31 S.E.2d 50 (1944).

Son of judge prosecuting not disqualifying.

- If in a criminal prosecution, the son of the judge trying the case is assisting in the prosecution of the case but would not reap any pecuniary gain personally by reason of the conviction, such an interest is one which is not direct, certain, and immediate so as to require the judge to disqualify oneself. DeLoach v. State, 78 Ga. App. 482, 51 S.E.2d 539 (1949).

Judge erred in holding oneself qualified to preside if prohibited relationship existed.

- If the judge of the trial court was disqualified by virtue of a relationship within the prohibited degree to one of the attorneys for the plaintiff, who was the judge's brother, and who, by virtue of the nature of the attorney's employment, had a pecuniary interest in the subject matter of the litigation, the trial judge erred in holding oneself qualified to preside in the case. Western & Atl. R.R. v. Michael, 43 Ga. App. 703, 160 S.E. 93 (1931), aff'd, 175 Ga. 1, 165 S.E. 37 (1932).

No new trial when relationship to judge discovered after trial.

- If a judge presiding in the trial of a criminal case is related to the defendant within the fourth (now sixth) degree of consanguinity, and neither the defendant nor defendant's counsel has knowledge of the existence of such relationship until after the trial, the mere fact that such relationship existed will not require the grant of a new trial. Parker v. State, 146 Ga. 131, 90 S.E. 859 (1916); Dixon v. State, 26 Ga. App. 13, 105 S.E. 39 (1920).

Writ of prohibition will lie to restrain judge from proceeding in action in which the judge is disqualified by reason of interest or relationship, although the court over which the judge presides may have jurisdiction of the cause. Riner v. Flanders, 173 Ga. 43, 159 S.E. 693 (1931).

Circumstances where pecuniary interest disqualification ineffective.

- Although the justices of the Supreme Court may be disqualified on account of pecuniary interest in the subject matter of the litigation, nevertheless the Supreme Court justices must decide such a case if there is no other tribunal to do so, and none can be legally constituted. Wheeler v. Board of Trustees, 200 Ga. 323, 37 S.E.2d 322 (1946).

2. Interest of Judge

At common law, judge must have had interest in case, or the judge was not disqualified. Roberts v. Roberts, 115 Ga. 259, 41 S.E. 616, 90 Am. St. R. 108 (1902); Tibbs v. City of Atlanta, 125 Ga. 18, 53 S.E. 811 (1906).

Judge is not disqualified because judge is interested in subject to be decided if judge has no direct and immediate interest in the judgment to be pronounced. To work a disqualification, the interest must be a direct, certain, and immediate interest, and not one which is indirect, incidental, or remote. DeLoach v. State, 78 Ga. App. 482, 51 S.E.2d 539 (1949).

To work disqualification, interest must be direct, certain, and immediate interest, and not one which is indirect, incidental, or remote. A judge is not disqualified because the judge is interested in the question to be decided if the judge has no direct and immediate interest in the judgment to be pronounced. Beasley v. Burt, 201 Ga. 144, 39 S.E.2d 51 (1946).

Interest which disqualifies a judge from presiding in case is a direct pecuniary, or direct property interest, or one which involves some individual right or privilege in the subject matter of the litigation whereby a liability or pecuniary gain must occur on the event of the suit. Blakeman v. Harwell, 198 Ga. 165, 31 S.E.2d 50 (1944).

Interest which disqualifies judge from presiding in case is a direct pecuniary or property interest in the subject matter of the litigation whereby a liability or pecuniary gain would occur on the outcome of the suit. Adams v. McGehee, 211 Ga. 498, 86 S.E.2d 525 (1955).

O.C.G.A. §§ 15-1-8,15-6-4, and15-19-58 did not conflict with one another so as to be unconstitutional because O.C.G.A. § 15-1-8 provided that judges should not be disqualified from sitting in a proceeding because the judge was a policyholder of any mutual insurance company; O.C.G.A. § 15-6-4 provided for qualifications for state superior court judges, and O.C.G.A. § 15-19-58 allowed the state bar to seek injunctive relief against parties engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. Alyshah v. Georgia, F. Supp. 2d (N.D. Ga. Sept. 1, 2006), aff'd, 230 Fed. Appx. 949 (11th Cir. Ga. 2007).

Disqualifying interest may be personal one to judge, but the general rule is that the interest must be pecuniary in nature, and not remote, uncertain, speculative, or merely incidental with a distinction between a property interest and such interest as results from a feeling of sympathy or bias that would disqualify a juror. Blakeman v. Harwell, 198 Ga. 165, 31 S.E.2d 50 (1944).

To work disqualification, liability or pecuniary gain or relief to judge must occur upon event of suit, not result remotely in the future from the general operation of laws and government upon the status fixed by the decision. Beasley v. Burt, 201 Ga. 144, 39 S.E.2d 51 (1946).

Requirement of impartiality disqualifies judge from acting in case in which judge has interest. Blakeman v. Harwell, 198 Ga. 165, 31 S.E.2d 50 (1944).

Interest of judge in bank not party to proceeding does not act as disqualification.

- Fact that the judge was a stockholder in a different bank which held a lien on a portion of the land in controversy would not disqualify the judge to preside in a proceeding to enjoin trespass, such other bank not being a party, and no question as to the validity or priority of the bank's lien being involved. Manry v. First Nat'l Bank, 195 Ga. 163, 23 S.E.2d 662 (1942).

Depositor creditor relationship to bank disqualified judge to act in proceedings.

- Judge of the superior court, who is a depositor creditor of an insolvent bank in the charge of the state superintendent of banks (now commissioner of banking and finance) for purposes of liquidation, is pecuniarily interested and therefore disqualified to act in a suit for accounting, injunction, and receiver instituted by a principal against an agent and the superintendent of banks seeking to recover an interest in dividends due to an estate in control of the agent for the principal, which the superintendent of banks has wrongfully applied to the individual debt of the agent, and enjoining other similar impending misapplication of dividends due to the estate. Gaskins v. Gaskins, 181 Ga. 124, 181 S.E. 850 (1935).

Salary supplement from county did not constitute a pecuniary interest or partiality.

- Although the judges of a judicial circuit received a salary supplement from a county, the judges did not have a direct pecuniary interest in the outcome of a lawsuit, accordingly, there was no basis for recusal of the judges based on a financial interest or partiality under O.C.G.A. § 15-1-8(a)(1) and Ga. Code Jud. Conduct Canon 3(E)(1)(c)(iii). Jones County v. A Mining Group, LLC, 285 Ga. 465, 678 S.E.2d 474 (2009).

Common interest with general taxpayers not disqualification.

- Interest which a judge has in a public matter in common with other general taxpayers is not sufficient to disqualify the judge. The judge's interest must be direct and immediate before the judge will be disqualified. City of Valdosta v. Singleton, 197 Ga. 194, 28 S.E.2d 759 (1944).

Crime victim's relationship to a county commissioner did not require disqualification of superior court judges because the commission provided supplemental salaries to sitting judges. Kelly v. State, 238 Ga. App. 691, 520 S.E.2d 32 (1999).

Signing petition did not disqualify probate judge from calling and holding special election.

- Fact that the ordinary (now probate judge) was one of those who signed, as an individual, a petition requesting the call of a special election for the purpose of submitting to the qualified voters of the county the question of taxing, legalizing, and controlling alcoholic beverages and liquors did not show that the ordinary (now probate judge) was disqualified because the ordinary (now probate judge) was pecuniarily interested in the matter before the ordinary (now probate judge), or that the ordinary (now probate judge) was otherwise disqualified from calling and holding the special election. McCluney v. Stembridge, 206 Ga. 321, 57 S.E.2d 203 (1950).

Judge's ownership of stock.

- Probate court judge's ownership of stock in a bank which was a party to the proceeding disqualified the judge from hearing the matter pursuant to paragraph (a)(1) of O.C.G.A. § 15-1-8 and the judge should have granted a motion to recuse. White v. SunTrust Bank, 245 Ga. App. 828, 538 S.E.2d 889 (2000).

3. Disqualification

It is pecuniary interest of attorney in result of case which disqualifies judge when one or more of the counsel for a party in whose behalf the fees are asked is related to the judge within the degree referred to in the statute declaring when a judge should be disqualified. Roberts v. Roberts, 115 Ga. 259, 41 S.E. 616, 90 Am. St. R. 108 (1902); Chadwick v. State, 87 Ga. App. 900, 75 S.E.2d 260 (1953).

Relationship to counsel for party will disqualify judge only when counsel has pecuniary interest in case. Young v. Harris, 146 Ga. 333, 91 S.E. 37 (1916).

Judge not disqualified unless related attorney has interest in litigation.

- Judge is not disqualified to preside in a case on ground of relationship to one of the attorneys for the plaintiff within the degree of relationship that would disqualify the judge, unless the attorney related to the judge has an interest in the litigation. Atlantic Coast Line R.R. v. McDonald, 50 Ga. App. 856, 179 S.E. 185, cert. denied, 296 U.S. 621, 56 S. Ct. 143, 80 L. Ed. 441 (1935).

Disqualification required when judge's spouse an equity partner in law firm representing a party to a case.

- Supreme court justice disqualified self from any case in which lawyers from a law firm represented a party because the justice's spouse was an equity partner who normally shared the firm's profits from all cases, and O.C.G.A. § 15-1-8 and Ga. Code Jud. Conduct Canon 3(E)(1)(c)(iii) required disqualification from all cases in which the firm represented a party; disqualification is required when a judge has a spouse who is an equity partner at the law firm representing a party to a case because it is imperative that the public has faith and trust in the impartiality of the justice system, and any appearance of impropriety that may exist is enhanced when the relative at issue is the judge's spouse. Friends of the Chattahoochee, Inc. v. Longleaf Energy Assocs., LLC, 285 Ga. 859, 684 S.E.2d 632 (2009).

Close relationship of party to presiding judge will be presumed beneficial, and not prejudicial, to that party, and if waived by the opposite party affords no ground for a new trial. Guthrie v. Peninsular Naval Stores Co., 26 Ga. App. 458, 107 S.E. 260, cert. denied, 26 Ga. App. 801 (1921).

Relationship to stockholder of corporation.

- Judge is disqualified to sit in a case in which a corporation is a party, when a holder of stock of the corporation is related to the judge by consanguinity or affinity within the sixth degree, according to the civil law, whether the stockholder is a party to the case or not, and that is true of the holder of "preferred stock" which pays a fixed dividend of income out of the earned profits of the corporation. Georgia Power Co. v. Watts, 184 Ga. 135, 190 S.E. 654 (1937).

Relationship to mayor of city as party.

- Close familial relationship between the mayor, who was the judge's mother, and the judge could impede the impartiality of the judge's judgment in presiding over the adjudication of matters involving the city; such a perceived bias or prejudice suffices for disqualification. In re Judge No. 97-61, 269 Ga. 425, 499 S.E.2d 319 (1998).

Judge not disqualified if relative's interest is insufficient.

- Just as a judge is not disqualified merely because of an interest in some abstract legal question that is presently involved and which may arise in some future litigation affecting the judge or the judge's property rights, so an interest of like nature by the judge's relative would not disqualify the judge. In neither case would there be pecuniary interest in the result of the litigation within the meaning of the law. City of Valdosta v. Singleton, 197 Ga. 194, 28 S.E.2d 759 (1944).

Plaintiff unharmed by defendant's wife's relationship to judge.

- It was not an abuse of discretion to deny the plaintiff's motion to set aside the verdict and judgment on the ground that the original trial judge, as the second cousin of the defendant's wife, was disqualified because the judge was allegedly related within a prohibited degree of consanguinity since the relationship was not revealed to the parties until after the verdict, and since the plaintiff was not harmed by the alleged disqualification in that the trial judge to whom the case was assigned after the original judge disqualified oneself entered judgment for the plaintiff. Roper v. Durham, 256 Ga. 845, 353 S.E.2d 476 (1987).

Payment of bonus to judge's son.

- Mere fact that attorney representing party to pending case might give a bonus to a judge's son, the judge's new associate, at end of year is too remote and speculative to work disqualification of the judge. Stephens v. Stephens, 249 Ga. 700, 292 S.E.2d 689 (1982).

Disqualification not removed by death of family member.

- Disqualification of a judge to preside in a case in which the husband of the judge's sister is a stockholder in a corporation which is a party is not removed upon the death of the sister, if she leaves children, issue of the marriage, in life at the time of the trial. Georgia Power Co. v. Moody, 186 Ga. 343, 197 S.E. 844 (1938).

Bias or Prejudice

Bias or prejudice not disqualification.

- This section does not provide that bias or prejudice is a ground to disqualify a trial judge from presiding in the case. Jones v. State, 219 Ga. 848, 136 S.E.2d 358, cert. denied, 379 U.S. 935, 85 S. Ct. 330, 13 L. Ed. 2d 345 (1964); P.D. v. State, 151 Ga. App. 662, 261 S.E.2d 413 (1979).

Personal bias or prejudice is not ground of disqualification, and the statutory grounds of disqualification are exhaustive. Clenney v. State, 229 Ga. 561, 192 S.E.2d 907 (1972).

Prejudice, bias, or prejudgment ordinarily not ground of disqualification.

- Prejudice or bias on the part of the judge, not based on interest, nor on any other ground not named in the statute, is, as a general rule, not assignable as a ground for disqualification. Tibbs v. City of Atlanta, 125 Ga. 18, 53 S.E. 811 (1906).

This section, providing under what circumstances judges shall be disqualified, specifies only matters in which the judges have a pecuniary interest or are related within the sixth degree to any party interested in the result of the matter. The statutory grounds named in that section are exhaustive. Prejudice, bias, or prejudgment or even an exhibition or partisan feeling, when not arising from these grounds, is ordinarily not assignable as a ground of disqualification. Robinson v. State, 86 Ga. App. 375, 71 S.E.2d 677 (1952).

Prejudice or bias not based on pecuniary or relationship interest.

- Prejudice or bias, not based on interest, will not disqualify the ordinary (now probate judge) from presiding in a contest. Moore v. Dugas, 166 Ga. 493, 143 S.E. 591 (1928).

Alleged prejudice or bias of a judge, which is not based on an interest either pecuniary or relationship to a party within a prohibited degree, affords no legal ground of disqualification. Jones v. State, 219 Ga. 848, 136 S.E.2d 358, cert. denied, 379 U.S. 935, 85 S. Ct. 330, 13 L. Ed. 2d 345 (1964); McRae v. State, 116 Ga. App. 407, 157 S.E.2d 646 (1967); Daniel v. Yow, 226 Ga. 544, 176 S.E.2d 67 (1970); P.D. v. State, 151 Ga. App. 662, 261 S.E.2d 413 (1979).

Prejudice or bias against party's attorney not per se grounds for disqualification.

- Any alleged prejudice or bias against the party's attorney rather than the party personally is not, per se, grounds for disqualification. Mann v. State, 154 Ga. App. 677, 269 S.E.2d 863 (1980); Head v. State, 160 Ga. App. 4, 285 S.E.2d 735 (1981); Baxter v. State, 176 Ga. App. 154, 335 S.E.2d 607 (1985).

Requirements for alleged bias to be disqualifying.

- In order to be disqualifying, alleged bias of judge must stem from an extrajudicial source and result in an opinion on the merits on some basis other than what the judge learned from the judge's participation in the case. Carter v. State, 246 Ga. 328, 271 S.E.2d 475 (1980).

For recusal, the alleged bias or prejudice of the trial judge needed to be of such a nature and intensity to prevent the defendant from obtaining a trial uninfluenced by the court's prejudgment. Bitt Int'l Co. v. Fletcher, 259 Ga. App. 406, 577 S.E.2d 276 (2003).

Allegations of prejudice which are insufficient grounds for disqualification.

- Allegations of judicial prejudice against counsel based upon events or circumstances occurring outside the ambit of the then pending action are not sufficient grounds for disqualification of the judge. Mann v. State, 154 Ga. App. 677, 269 S.E.2d 863 (1980).

Prior knowledge of facts of case has relevance merely as to any bias or prejudice of judge. It does not make the judge an "invisible witness" or a visible witness and provides no legal ground for the judge's disqualification. Stevenson v. Stevenson, 222 Ga. 47, 148 S.E.2d 388 (1966).

Approval of order by judge does not show bias or prejudice to prevent review.

- Simply because a judge has approved the order in a case does not show bias or prejudice so as to prevent the judge from reviewing the judge's action fairly and impartially. Daniel v. Yow, 226 Ga. 544, 176 S.E.2d 67 (1970).

State of Georgia did not violate O.C.G.A. § 9-4-7 or O.C.G.A. § 15-1-8 by arresting and incarcerating plaintiff for contempt after the plaintiff willfully violated a consent order enjoining the unauthorized practice of law because such claims were barred by the Eleventh Amendment in that the state had not waived sovereign immunity. Alyshah v. Georgia, F. Supp. 2d (N.D. Ga. Sept. 1, 2006), aff'd, 230 Fed. Appx. 949 (11th Cir. Ga. 2007).

Circumstances under which judge should disqualify oneself.

- Under Canon 3C(1)(a) of the Georgia Code of Judicial Conduct, a judge should disqualify oneself in a proceeding in which the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned, including but not limited to instances when the judge has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party or the party's lawyer; consequently, if bias or prejudice of a judge has been shown concerning a party, it is error for the judge to hear and decide the case. Savage v. Savage, 234 Ga. 853, 218 S.E.2d 568 (1975); Mann v. State, 154 Ga. App. 677, 269 S.E.2d 863 (1980).

Judicial prejudice does not arise from unfavorable rulings.

- Defendant's complaints of bias and prejudice stemmed from the trial court's rulings with which the defendant did not agree, such as allowing into evidence the document defendant signed agreeing not to return to the airport and not allowing into evidence a prior judge's statements in a trial for a similar charge that resulted in an acquittal; these rulings did not show bias against the defendant simply because the rulings were favorable to the prosecution and violated neither O.C.G.A. § 15-1-8 nor Ga. Code Jud. Conduct Canon 3(E). Williams v. State, 257 Ga. App. 589, 571 S.E.2d 571 (2002).

Cases in Which Judge Has Served of Counsel

Case where judge "has been of counsel" means particular case being tried, and the fact that the judge has represented the party in another case will not disqualify the judge. Cox v. State, 85 Ga. App. 702, 70 S.E.2d 100 (1952).

Judge in case in which judge was consulted at bar.

- Trial judge should have had no part of case concerning which the judge had been consulted while at bar. Mendenhall v. Hopper, 453 F. Supp. 977 (S.D. Ga. 1978), aff'd, 591 F.2d 1342 (5th Cir. 1979).

Earlier representation of party.

- If judge participated in negotiations on plaintiff's behalf, such judge is disqualified from sitting on case to which plaintiff is a party. Smith v. Queen Ins. Co. of Am., 41 Ga. App. 587, 153 S.E. 785 (1930).

If an attorney advises a person that a certain instrument or permit or license gives the person a legal right, and afterwards a controversy arises between such person and another as to whether or not it does confer such right, and the attorney has come to the bench, the attorney cannot sit in judgment between those persons in that controversy, but is disqualified to do so by virtue of such professional relation to the former party on the subject of that controversy. Smith v. Queen Ins. Co. of Am., 41 Ga. App. 587, 153 S.E. 785 (1930).

No disqualification if representation not in same cause or matter.

- Fact that the ordinary (now probate judge) of county of administratrix's residence had as a practicing attorney represented administratrix in the application as an individual for appointment as administratrix in another county did not disqualify the ordinary (now probate judge) to approve the new bond and to issue the certificate necessary in transferring the administration of administratrix's residence since these acts were not in the same cause or matter in which the ordinary (now probate judge) had been of counsel. Head v. Waldrup, 197 Ga. 500, 29 S.E.2d 561 (1944).

"Of counsel" disqualification not applicable.

- Judge is not disqualified to preside in a given case merely because previously, as an attorney at law for one or both of the parties, the judge may have drawn the contract on which the action or defense is founded. Luke v. Batts, 11 Ga. App. 783, 76 S.E. 165 (1912); Carson v. Blair, 31 Ga. App. 60, 121 S.E. 517 (1923), cert. denied, 31 Ga. App. 811, 122 S.E. 260 (1924).

Georgia district attorney is "of counsel" in all criminal cases or matters pending in the district attorney's circuit; this includes the investigatory stages of matters preparatory to the seeking of an indictment as well as the pendency of the case. King v. State, 246 Ga. 386, 271 S.E.2d 630 (1980).

Judge who was district attorney when defendant was sentenced should not have participated in later ex parte proceedings by defendant to correct alleged clerical errors in the court's records of the judge's sentence, although the judge did not personally prosecute the defendant. Prater v. State, 222 Ga. App. 486, 474 S.E.2d 684 (1996).

Previous activities of judge would serve as grounds for disqualification.

- Investigation of criminal activities in the county, including those of the defendant, conducted by the G.B.I. under authorization from the trial court judge during the judge's former tenure as district attorney was a matter in which the judge "served as a lawyer" within the meaning of Canon 3C(1)(b) of the Georgia Code of Judicial Conduct, and "in which the judge has been of counsel" within the meaning of this section. King v. State, 246 Ga. 386, 271 S.E.2d 630 (1980).

No violation if record does not show judicial officer has been "of counsel" in proceeding.

- If the record did not show that the attorney who acted as the judicial officer in an appealed attachment proceeding ever acted as attorney for the appellee in any way which involved the subject matter of the appeal, there was no violation of this section. Kitson v. Hawke, 231 Ga. 157, 200 S.E.2d 703 (1973).

Judge may sit in cause or proceeding if agreement in writing.

- No judge or justice of any court can sit in any cause or proceeding in which the judge has been of counsel unless the opposite party or that party's counsel agrees in writing that the judge may preside. Faulkner v. Walker, 36 Ga. App. 636, 137 S.E. 909 (1927).

Order ratifying sale based on original order when judge was counsel is voidable. East Rome Town Co. v. Cochran, 81 Ga. 359, 8 S.E. 737 (1889).

Previous Judicial Contact

Presiding at earlier criminal inquiry.

- Judge of the superior court is not disqualified from presiding at the trial of an indictment merely because previously thereto the judge held a court of inquiry and bound the prisoner over. Smith v. State, 74 Ga. App. 777, 41 S.E.2d 541, cert. denied, 332 U.S. 772, 68 S. Ct. 86, 92 L. Ed. 357 (1947).

Presiding at earlier hearing on request for restraining order.

- In a prosecution for family violence aggravated assault, the fact that the trial court had issued the victim a temporary restraining order (TRO) did not require the court to recuse itself sua sponte because: 1) it did not violate O.C.G.A. § 15-1-8(a)(3) since the TRO was not the subject of review at the defendant's criminal trial; and 2) there was no showing under Ga. Code Jud. Conduct Canon 3(E)(1) that the trial court's "impartiality might reasonably be questioned." Hargrove v. State, 299 Ga. App. 27, 681 S.E.2d 707 (2009).

Trial judge not disqualified to preside over perjury charge.

- Trial judge in a charge of perjury is not disqualified for the reason that the judge presided in the trial of a case in which the alleged perjury was committed. Smith v. State, 74 Ga. App. 777, 41 S.E.2d 541, cert. denied, 332 U.S. 772, 68 S. Ct. 86, 92 L. Ed. 357 (1947).

No error in overruling motion to disqualify.

- Since the only ground in a motion to disqualify a judge in a criminal trial was that the judge's decision at the interlocutory hearing would depend on the "legality and constitutionality" of the judge's own previous order, which the movant attacked, the judge did not err in overruling the motion and in declining to have another judge pass upon the case. Elder v. Camp, 193 Ga. 320, 18 S.E.2d 622 (1942).

Court properly denied the defendant's motion for an out-of-time appeal based on the defendant's contention that, four days before the defendant entered the defendant's guilty plea in 2000, the trial judge erroneously denied the defendant's motion to recuse the trial judge because the fact that the trial judge in the judge's previous capacity as district attorney prosecuted the defendant on another charge not currently pending before the judge was not, alone, a ground for disqualification and the trial judge ensured that the judge's name was redacted as district attorney from the previous indictment. Leverette v. State, 291 Ga. 834, 732 S.E.2d 255 (2012).

Trial of case if judge drew indictment.

- Judge is not qualified to try a criminal case in which the judge personally drew the indictment and otherwise participated. Faulkner v. Walker, 36 Ga. App. 636, 137 S.E. 909 (1927).

Judge who is party to contract cannot determine if the contract has been completed. Mayor of Macon v. Huff, 60 Ga. 221 (1878).

Personal knowledge of facts in case.

- Judge is not disqualified because judge may have personal knowledge of some facts involved in case. Atlantic & Birmingham Ry. v. Mayor of Cordele, 128 Ga. 293, 57 S.E. 493 (1907).

No disqualification if judge consulted on another matter or cause.

- Judge is not disqualified to try a murder case merely because the judge was consulted as to the method of distribution of the estate before the judge's appointment. Woolfolk v. State, 85 Ga. 69, 11 S.E. 814 (1890).

Knowing waiver required to allow participation.

- By requiring the consent of the parties, paragraph (a)(3) of O.C.G.A. § 15-1-8 requires a knowing waiver; thus, an employer did not waive the employer's right to challenge the review board's decision regarding a workers' compensation award since it was not disclosed that the administrative law judge who originally issued the award would be participating in the matter as a member of the review board. Arrow Co. v. Hall, 212 Ga. App. 365, 441 S.E.2d 794 (1994).

Denial of due process if judge fails to disqualify.

- Failure by a judge to disqualify oneself which serves to deprive the defendant of an unbiased trier of fact is a denial of due process. Mendenhall v. Hopper, 453 F. Supp. 977 (S.D. Ga. 1978), aff'd, 591 F.2d 1342 (5th Cir. 1979).

Judge's former law firm's pecuniary interests in recovery as disqualification.

- While the judge might not have been required to grant a motion to recuse under the circumstances in the case, it could not be concluded that by a voluntary recusal the judge acted improperly, based on the possible appearance of impropriety resulting from the judge's former law firm's pecuniary interests in recovering against defendant hospital's insurer. Head v. Brown, 259 Ga. App. 855, 578 S.E.2d 555 (2003).

Judge's prior prosecution of defendant.

- Trial court did not err by denying defendant's motion for a new trial which asserted that the trial court erred since the county district attorney's office and the trial judge should have recused themselves from the case, sua sponte, as a result of a district attorney previously representing defendant on unrelated criminal charges, and the trial judge's prior prosecution of the defendant in 1994 as the evidence undisputedly showed that the defendant and defense counsel were aware of the potential conflicts at the onset of the prosecution and made deliberate, strategic decisions not to seek disqualification of either the county district attorney's office or the trial judge. Lemming v. State, 292 Ga. App. 138, 663 S.E.2d 375 (2008).

Recusal

Procedure when trial judge presented with motion to recuse.

- When a trial judge in a case pending in that court is presented with a motion to recuse accompanied by an affidavit, the judge's duty will be limited to passing upon the legal sufficiency of the affidavit, and if, assuming all the facts alleged in the affidavit to be true, recusal would be warranted, then another judge must be assigned to hear the motion to recuse. State v. Fleming, 245 Ga. 700, 267 S.E.2d 207 (1980); Mann v. State, 154 Ga. App. 677, 269 S.E.2d 863 (1980); Penney v. State, 157 Ga. App. 737, 278 S.E.2d 460 (1981); Riggins v. State, 159 Ga. App. 791, 285 S.E.2d 579 (1981).

Judge did not err in failing to recuse oneself.

- Trial judge did not err in refusing to recuse oneself, and in failing to refer the matter to an appropriate forum, although the defendant sued the judge in connection with this prosecution, since the defendant had shown no cause for speculation that the judge was so influenced by the filing of a lawsuit as to have infected the trial with personal bias and prejudice. Mapp v. State, 204 Ga. App. 647, 420 S.E.2d 615 (1992).

If the judge in a criminal prosecution had no knowledge during the trial of the judge's spouse's representation of the victim in a civil action against the defendant, the judge was not obligated to recuse oneself. Robertson v. State, 225 Ga. App. 389, 484 S.E.2d 18 (1997).

Juvenile court judge was not required to grant a recusal motion because of the judge's "contempt" for home schooling since the hearing transcript did not show any bias, much less contempt, but that the judge attempted to clarify the exact terms of the juvenile's probation; such did not exemplify a display of deep antagonism which made a fair trial impossible. In the Interest of A.H., 259 Ga. App. 608, 578 S.E.2d 247 (2003).

Defendant's argument on appeal that the trial judge should have been recused because the judge had previously heard the evidence during an earlier probation revocation hearing was waived because the defendant failed to make a written motion; further, there was no duty for the judge to have recused oneself sua sponte as there was no violation of a specific standard of O.C.G.A. § 15-1-8 or of Ga. Code Jud. Conduct Canon 3(E)(1)(a), which was the only possibly applicable prohibition in that Canon, as no bias or prejudice was shown. Phillips v. State, 267 Ga. App. 733, 601 S.E.2d 147 (2004).

In a drug trafficking case, the trial judge did not err in failing to sua sponte move for recusal because the judge was the district attorney when the defendant was previously convicted of drug charges and because the judge had recently presided over the defendant's probation revocation hearing. The defendant failed to present any citations to the record showing specific conduct or remarks by the trial judge that would have supported a claim that the judge harbored a bias toward the defendant to the extent that sua sponte recusal was necessary. Brown v. State, 307 Ga. App. 99, 704 S.E.2d 227 (2010).

Trial judge's refusal to sua sponte recuse oneself after being made aware that the judge was named as a defendant in a federal lawsuit the defendant filed pro se on the same day that the defendant's criminal trial commenced was not error since the defendant failed to show any cause for speculation that the judge was so influenced by the filing of a lawsuit as to have been infected with a bias of such intensity that it prevented the defendant from obtaining a fair trial. Robinson v. State, 312 Ga. App. 736, 719 S.E.2d 601 (2011).

Trial judge did not err by failing to recuse oneself because the defendant did not move for a recusal and there was no duty for a trial judge to sua sponte recuse oneself absent a violation of a specific standard of O.C.G.A. § 15-1-8 or Ga. Code Jud. Conduct Canon 3. Fitzpatrick v. State, 317 Ga. App. 873, 733 S.E.2d 46 (2012).

Judge was not related to the mother in a divorce action as it was the judge's son that was married to the mother's aunt and, thus, the judge was not required to be recused. Lacy v. Lacy, 320 Ga. App. 739, 740 S.E.2d 695 (2013).

Trial judge in a divorce case was not required to be recused because the mother's reference on a social networking website to a meeting between the judge and the mother's father did not support a conclusion that a reasonable person would have considered the judge biased and impartial in the divorce action. Lacy v. Lacy, 320 Ga. App. 739, 740 S.E.2d 695 (2013).

Trial court did not err by failing to recuse based on the trial judge's alleged extra-judicial professional contact and involvement with the county school superintendent, about whom the defendants made the false report of a crime, through the trial judge's position at a local college because the defendants cited to no evidence that the two had any actual contact or involvement, much less of the extent of such a relationship; and the defendants cited to no evidence regarding actual involvement between the trial court and the school board; thus, the defendants' allegations simply were not enough reasonably to call into question the trial judge's impartiality. Marlow v. State, 339 Ga. App. 790, 792 S.E.2d 712 (2016).

Trial judge did not err in failing to recuse based on having been previously involved in a serious automobile accident with the defendant's uncle because the defendant never filed a motion to recuse the judge despite knowing about an alleged auto accident before the trial and only waited until being tried, convicted, and sentenced to raise the issue. Shelton v. State, 350 Ga. App. 774, 830 S.E.2d 335 (2019).

Defendant could not use defendant's own misconduct, in engaging in harassing telephone calls to the judge's chambers and the judge's appropriate response thereto, as grounds to compel the judge to recuse oneself. Baptiste v. State, 229 Ga. App. 691, 494 S.E.2d 530 (1997).

Remarks which are ill-advised, but not heard by jury.

- Even though judge's remarks may be ill-advised, if the remarks are not expressed before the jury that tried the case and could not have influenced the decision of the jury, no reversible error appears. Harkey v. State, 159 Ga. App. 112, 282 S.E.2d 648 (1981).

Judge has duty to deny legally insufficient motion.

- It is as much the duty of a judge not to grant the motion to recuse when the motion is legally insufficient as it is to recuse when the motion is meritorious. The simple filing of an affidavit does not automatically disqualify a judge. Penney v. State, 157 Ga. App. 737, 278 S.E.2d 460 (1981).

Motion to recuse properly denied.

- In a buyer's action against sellers and an executor for specific performance of land purchase agreements, the trial court did not err when the court denied the buyer's motion to recuse on the ground that the presiding judge had previously sold property to the executor because the real estate transaction that formed the basis of the motion to recuse was completed on April 12, 2004, which was well before the outbreak of the dispute in January 2007; there is no Georgia authority for the proposition that a judge previously represented by counsel in an unrelated matter must be recused from a case in which the same counsel represents a party now appearing. Simprop Acquisition Co. v. L. Simpson Charitable Remainder Unitrust, 305 Ga. App. 564, 699 S.E.2d 860 (2010).

Judge should have assigned motion to recuse to another judge.

- Trial judge erred in not assigning a motion to recuse to another judge as a reasonable question about the judge's impartiality was raised by affidavits stating that: 1) the judge's nephew had represented a party in the dispute that led to the lawsuit; 2) a partner from the nephew's law firm represented that party in the litgation; and 3) the partner talked to the trial judge about the case. Mayor & Aldermen of Savannah v. Batson-Cook Co., 291 Ga. 114, 728 S.E.2d 189 (2012).

Strategic decision not to move for recusal was not ineffective assistance and did not warrant a new trial.

- Defendant's ineffective assistance of counsel claim did not warrant a new trial in a prosecution for rape, kidnapping, aggravated stalking, and two counts of stalking; because of a variety of factors including the limited nature of a state witness's trial testimony, defense counsel made a strategic decision not to seek recusal of the trial judge, who was the brother of the challenged witness, and counsel discussed with the defendant the reasons for not seeking recusal. Pirkle v. State, 289 Ga. App. 450, 657 S.E.2d 560 (2008).

Motion to recuse improperly denied.

- Decisions to deny a motion to recuse because the motion and affidavit did not meet the requirements of Ga. Unif. Super. Ct. R. 25.3 are reviewed de novo. Therefore, the following appellate decisions that employed the abuse of discretion standard were overruled: Moore v. State, 722 S.E.2d 160 (2012); Grant v. State, 695 S.E.2d 420 (2010); Ga. Kidney & Hypertension Spec. v. FreseniuUSA Marketing, 662 S.E.2d 245 (2008); Adams v. State, 659 S.E.2d 711 (2008); Keller v. State, 648 S.E.2d 714 (2007); Hill v. Clayton County Bd. of Commrs., 640 S.E.2d 38 (2006); and In re J.E.T., 604 S.E.2d 623 (2004). Mayor & Aldermen of Savannah v. Batson-Cook Co., 291 Ga. 114, 728 S.E.2d 189 (2012).

Sexual relationship with public defender meant judge should be recused.

- Trial court properly granted five defendants a new trial because the trial judge violated both O.C.G.A. § 15-1-8 and Ga. Code Jud. Conduct Canon 3 by failing to be recused for each trial as a result of a sexual relationship between the judge and the public defender who represented either the defendants or their codefendants. State v. Wakefield, 324 Ga. App. 587, 751 S.E.2d 199 (2013).

Waiver

Disqualification of judge may be waived.

- While a judge is disqualified when related to any party interested in the results of the case by consanguinity or affinity within the sixth degree, according to the civil law, whether a party to the case or not, that disqualification may be waived. Georgia Power Co. v. Watts, 184 Ga. 135, 190 S.E. 654 (1937).

Waiver may be express or implied.

- Disqualification of a presiding judge on account of relationship to a party or to one of the attorneys who has a contingent fee in the case may be waived, expressly or impliedly. Shuford v. Shuford, 141 Ga. 407, 81 S.E. 115 (1914).

Waiver of disqualification of judge may be effected expressly by agreement, or impliedly by proceeding without objection with the trial of the case with knowledge of the disqualification. Georgia Power Co. v. Watts, 184 Ga. 135, 190 S.E. 654 (1937); J.B. v. State, 139 Ga. App. 545, 228 S.E.2d 712 (1976).

Disqualification is waived by failing to make point, having knowledge of disqualification, during trial. Shuford v. Shuford, 141 Ga. 407, 81 S.E. 115 (1914); Morris v. State, 18 Ga. App. 759, 90 S.E. 729 (1916).

Consent of parties.

- No judge can preside in any case in which the judge is related to either party within the fourth (now sixth) degree of consanguinity or affinity, without the consent of all the parties at interest. Burch v. State, 18 Ga. App. 290, 89 S.E. 341 (1916); Dennard v. State, 46 Ga. App. 513, 168 S.E. 311 (1933).

This section expressly contemplates that disqualified judge may preside with consent of parties at interest; such disqualification may be waived, and it is not essential that the waiver be made expressly or in writing. Wood v. Clarke, 188 Ga. 697, 4 S.E.2d 659 (1939).

Written consent of the parties is necessary if the judge was formerly counsel, while a waiver based on relationship may be oral. Shope v. State, 106 Ga. 226, 32 S.E. 140 (1898).

Waiver of disqualification need not be in writing.

- Provision that no ordinary (now probate judge) may preside in any case or matter when the ordinary (now probate judge) is related by affinity or consanguinity to any party interested in the result of the case within the sixth degree may be waived, and such waiver need not be in writing. Byrd v. Riggs, 211 Ga. 493, 86 S.E.2d 285 (1955).

Disqualification does not absolutely rob court of jurisdiction.

- Since disqualification is a thing which may be waived, the disqualification's existence does not absolutely rob the court of jurisdiction in the particular case so that the court's action is coram non judice and may be collaterally attacked. Wood v. Clarke, 188 Ga. 697, 4 S.E.2d 659 (1939).

Judge of other circuit may act and preside in absence of waiver of disqualification.

- When the judge is disqualified because of relationship "to any party interested in the result of the case or matter," the judge's disqualification may be waived by all of the parties, and in the absence of such a waiver, the judge of any other circuit, who is qualified, may act and preside for the disqualified resident judge. Howard v. Warren, 206 Ga. 838, 59 S.E.2d 503 (1950).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 46 Am. Jur. 2d, Judges, § 80 et seq.

C.J.S.

- 48A C.J.S., Judges, § 107 et seq.

ALR.

- Constitutionality of statute making mere filing of affidavit of bias or prejudice sufficient to disqualify judge, 5 A.L.R. 1275; 46 A.L.R. 1179.

Time for asserting disqualification of judge, and waiver of disqualification, 5 A.L.R. 1588; 73 A.L.R.2d 1238.

Powers of judge who has attained constitutional age limit, 25 A.L.R. 27.

Residence or ownership of property in city or other political subdivision which is party to or interested in action as disqualifying judge, 33 A.L.R. 1322.

Necessity as justifying action by judicial or administrative officer otherwise disqualified to act in particular case, 39 A.L.R. 1476.

Necessity of including averment as to time when prejudice was discovered in affidavit contemplated by statute entitling parties to substitution of another judge upon filing affidavit of prejudice or unfairness of judge, 93 A.L.R. 239.

Right of judge not legally disqualified to decline to act in legal proceeding upon personal grounds, 96 A.L.R. 546.

What is "civil action" or "civil proceeding" within statute relating to disqualification of judge or change of venue, 102 A.L.R. 397.

Disqualifying relationship by affinity in case of judge or juror as affected by dissolution of marriage, 117 A.L.R. 800.

Disqualification of judge who presided at trial or of juror as ground of habeas corpus, 124 A.L.R. 1079.

Right to change of judges, on issues raised by petition for writ of error coram nobis, 161 A.L.R. 540.

Disqualification of judge in pending case as subject to revocation or removal, 162 A.L.R. 641.

Reviewability of action of judge in disqualifying himself, 162 A.L.R. 654.

Interest of judge in an official or representative capacity, or relationship of judge to one who is a party in an official or representative capacity, as disqualification, 10 A.L.R.2d 1307.

Relationship to attorney as disqualifying judge, 50 A.L.R.2d 143.

Disqualification of judge in proceedings to punish contempt against or involving himself or court of which he is a member, 64 A.L.R.2d 600.

Prior representation or activity as attorney or counsel as disqualifying judge, 72 A.L.R.2d 443; 16 A.L.R.4th 550.

Prohibition as appropriate remedy to prevent allegedly disqualified judge from proceeding with case, 92 A.L.R.2d 306.

Intervenor's right to disqualify judge, 92 A.L.R.2d 1110.

Propriety and prejudicial effect of suggestion or comments by judge as to compromise or settlement of civil case, 6 A.L.R.3d 1457.

Disqualification of judge for having decided different case against litigant, 21 A.L.R.3d 1369.

Disqualification of judge on ground of being a witness in the case, 22 A.L.R.3d 1198.

Disqualification of judge because of his or another's holding or owning stock in corporation involved in litigation, 25 A.L.R.3d 1331.

Disqualification of original trial judge to sit on retrial after reversal or mistrial, 60 A.L.R.3d 176.

Disqualification of judge by state, in criminal case, for bias or prejudice, 68 A.L.R.3d 509.

Affidavit or motion for disqualification of judge as contempt, 70 A.L.R.3d 797.

Disqualification of judge, justice of the peace, or similar judicial officer for pecuniary interest in fines, forfeitures, or fees payable by litigants, 72 A.L.R.3d 375.

Membership in fraternal or social club or order affected by a case as ground for disqualification of judge, 75 A.L.R.3d 1021.

Validity and application of state statute prohibiting judge from practicing law, 17 A.L.R.4th 829.

Waiver or loss of right to disqualify judge by participation in proceedings - modern state civil cases, 24 A.L.R.4th 870.

Disqualification of judge because of assault or threat against him by party or person associated with party, 25 A.L.R.4th 923.

Disqualification of judge in state proceedings to punish contempt against or involving himself in open court and in his actual presence, 37 A.L.R.4th 1004.

Disqualification of judge because of political association or relation to attorney in case, 65 A.L.R.4th 73.

Disqualification from criminal proceeding of trial judge who earlier presided over disposition of case of coparticipant, 72 A.L.R.4th 651.

Disqualification of judge for bias against counsel or litigant, 54 A.L.R.5th 575.

Disqualification of judge based on property-ownership interest in litigation which consists of more than mere stock - state cases, 56 A.L.R.5th 783.

Prior representation or activity as prosecuting attorney as disqualifying judge from sitting or acting in criminal case, 85 A.L.R.5th 471.

Disqualification of judge for having decided different case against litigant - state cases, 85 A.L.R.5th 547.

Laws governing judicial recusal or disqualification in state proceeding as violating federal or state constitution, 91 A.L.R.5th 437.

Construction of provision in Federal Criminal Procedure Rule 42(b) that if contempt charges involve disrespect to or criticism of judge, he is disqualified from presiding at trial or hearing except with defendant's consent, 3 A.L.R. Fed. 420.

Timeliness of affidavit of disqualification of trial judge under 28 USCS § 144, 141 A.L.R. Fed 311.

Propriety and prejudicial effect in civil trial of federal judge's disparaging remarks concerning party, witness or attorney, 144 A.L.R. Fed. 363.

Disqualification of judge under 28 USCA § 455(b)(4), providing for disqualification where judge has financial or other interest in proceeding, 163 A.L.R. Fed. 575.

15-1-9. When judge not disqualified.

Any judge, irrespective of his relationship to a party to the case or his interest in the case, shall be qualified to try any civil case in his court where there is no defense filed in the case, except where either party to the case objects to the related judge.

(Ga. L. 1933, p. 187, § 1; Code 1933, § 24-111.)

Cross references.

- Pleadings and motions generally, § 9-11-7 et seq.

Default judgments generally, § 9-11-55.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Cited in Georgia Power Co. v. Watts, 184 Ga. 135, 190 S.E. 654 (1937); Calhoun ex rel. Chapman v. Gulf Oil Corp., 189 Ga. 414, 5 S.E.2d 902 (1939).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

ALR.

- Affidavit to disqualify judge as contempt, 29 A.L.R. 1273.

Residence or ownership of property in city or other political subdivision which is party to or interested in action as disqualifying judge, 33 A.L.R. 1322.

Necessity as justifying action by judicial or administrative officer otherwise disqualified to act in particular case, 39 A.L.R. 1476.

Constitutionality of statute making mere filing of affidavit of bias or prejudice sufficient to disqualify judge, 46 A.L.R. 1179.

Right of judge not legally disqualified to decline to act in legal proceeding upon personal grounds, 96 A.L.R. 546.

Disqualification of judge who presided at trial or of juror as ground of habeas corpus, 124 A.L.R. 1079.

Disqualification of judge in pending case as subject to revocation or removal, 162 A.L.R. 641.

Interest of judge in an official or representative capacity, or relationship of judge to one who is a party in an official or representative capacity, as disqualification, 10 A.L.R.2d 1307.

Relationship to attorney as disqualifying judge, 50 A.L.R.2d 143.

Time for asserting disqualification of judge, and waiver of disqualification, 73 A.L.R.2d 1238.

Intervenor's right to disqualify judge, 92 A.L.R.2d 1110.

Disqualification of judge for having decided different case against litigant, 21 A.L.R.3d 1369.

Disqualification of judge because of his or another's holding or owning stock in corporation involved in litigation, 25 A.L.R.3d 1331.

Disqualification of original trial judge to sit on retrial after reversal or mistrial, 60 A.L.R.3d 176.

Disqualification of judge, justice of the peace, or similar judicial officer for pecuniary interest in fines, forfeitures, or fees payable by litigants, 72 A.L.R.3d 375.

Waiver or loss of right to disqualify judge by participation in proceedings - modern state civil cases, 24 A.L.R.4th 870.

Disqualification of judge for bias against counsel or litigant, 54 A.L.R.5th 575.

Prior representation or activity as prosecuting attorney as disqualifying judge from sitting or acting in criminal case, 85 A.L.R.5th 471.

Disqualification of judge for having decided different case against litigant - state cases, 85 A.L.R.5th 547.

15-1-9.1. Requesting judicial assistance from other courts.

  1. As used in this Code section, the term:
    1. "Administrative judge" means a superior court judge or senior judge of the superior court elected within an administrative district as provided by Code Section 15-5-4.
    2. "Chief judge" means the judge most senior in time of service or, if applicable, the judge to whom the administrative duties of a court have been assigned.
    3. "Judge" includes Justices, judges, senior judges, magistrates, and every other such judicial officer of whatever name existing or created.
    4. "Part-time judge" means a judge who serves on a continuing or periodic basis but who is permitted by law to devote time to some other profession or occupation and whose compensation for that reason is less than that of a full-time judge.
    1. If assistance is needed from a judge outside of the county, a superior court judge of this state or the chief judge of a class of courts other than an appellate court may make a request for judicial assistance in the court served by said requesting judge to the administrative judge of the judicial administrative district in which said requesting judge's court is located, if any of the following circumstances arises:
      1. A judge of the requesting court is disqualified for any cause from presiding in any matter pending before the court;
      2. A judge of the requesting court is unable to preside because of disability, illness, or absence;
      3. A judge of the requesting court is unable to preside because such judge is performing ordered military duty as such term is defined in Code Section 38-2-279; or
      4. A majority of the judges of the requesting court determines that the business of the court requires the temporary assistance of an additional judge or additional judges.
    2. If assistance is needed from a judge from the same county, the chief judge of any court within such county of this state may make a written request for assistance to the chief judge of any other court within such county, a senior judge of the superior court, a retired judge, or a judge emeritus of any court within the county. The request by the chief judge may be made if any of the following circumstances arises:
      1. A judge of the requesting court is disqualified for any cause from presiding in any matter pending before the court;
      2. A judge of the requesting court is unable to preside because of disability, illness, or absence;
      3. A judge of the requesting court is unable to preside because such judge is performing ordered military duty as such term is defined in Code Section 38-2-279;
      4. A majority of the judges of the requesting court determines that the business of the court requires the temporary assistance of an additional judge or additional judges; or
      5. A majority of the judges of the requesting court determines that the business of the court requires the permanent assistance of an additional judge or additional judges. If the requesting court is a state or superior court, the assisting judge or assisting judges may hear and decide matters otherwise in the exclusive jurisdiction of the state or superior court without regard to time, type of case, or limitations contained in the rules of such state or superior court; provided, however, that a chief magistrate or magistrate may serve as a permanent assisting judge only in counties having a population of 180,000 or more according to the United States decennial census of 1990 or any future such census.
    3. When a petition for habeas corpus is filed challenging for the first time state court proceedings resulting in a death sentence, the clerk of the superior court acting on behalf of the chief judge shall make a request for judicial assistance to the president of The Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia. Within 30 days of receipt of a request for judicial assistance, the president of The Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia shall, under guidelines promulgated by the executive committee of said council, assign the case to a judge of a circuit other than the circuit in which the conviction and sentence were imposed.
    4. In petitions under this article challenging for a second or subsequent time a state court proceeding resulting in a death sentence, the chief judge of the court where the petition is filed may make a request for judicial assistance to the president of The Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia upon certifying that the business of the court will be impaired unless assistance is obtained. Within 30 days of receipt of a request for judicial assistance, the president of The Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia shall, under guidelines promulgated by the executive committee of said council, assign the case to a judge of a circuit other than the circuit in which the conviction and sentence were imposed.
  2. A chief judge of a requesting court or assisting court shall be presumed to act with the consent of all judges of the court.However, if a judge of a court shall insist, all judges of that court shall vote upon whether to ratify the action taken by the chief judge under this Code section.
    1. If the chief judge is unable because of disability, illness, or absence to make a request for assistance, a majority of the judges of the court may make such a request for him.If a court is served by only one judge who, himself, is unable to make a request because of disability, illness, or absence, or when the judge or judges of the court fail to procure assistance in the event of the absence, illness, disability, or disqualification of one of the judges, and it is satisfactorily made to appear to the Governor that any regular or special term of any court will not be held or continued in session because of such failure to procure assistance, the Governor shall request the administrative judge of the judicial administrative district within which district the court in need of assistance lies to assign another judge to hold the regular or special term of such court.However, no judge shall be named or assigned to hold court when the time fixed by law for holding the term of court conflicts with the holding of any regular or special term already called by him in his own court.
    2. If a vacancy shall occur in the judicial office for which the Governor has had to request assistance from the administrative judge of the judicial administrative district in a situation wherein the conditions exist as provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection, the Governor may appoint a judge of a court of record as an interim judge to fill temporarily such vacancy until the vacancy is permanently filled as provided by law.
  3. The administrative judge of the district receiving a request for assistance shall designate a judge to preside as requested.The designated judge may consent to preside in the requesting court provided he is otherwise qualified to serve as a judge in the requesting court.The qualifications of residency within a particular political or geographic subdivision of the state shall not apply to a designated judge.The designation shall be made in writing and delivered to the judge requesting assistance.
  4. The written designation shall identify the court in need of assistance, the county where located, the time period covered, the specific case or cases for which assistance is sought if applicable, and the reason that assistance is needed.The written designation shall be filed and recorded on the minutes of the clerk of the court requesting assistance. Any amendment to the designation shall be written, filed, and recorded as is the original designation.
  5. A judge rendering assistance in accordance with this Code section shall discharge all the duties and shall exercise all of the powers and authority of a judge of the court in which he is presiding.
  6. The governing authority responsible for funding the operation of the requesting court shall bear the expenses of the judge rendering assistance in accordance with this Code section, except that such judges presiding in the appellate or superior courts in accordance with this Code section shall be compensated by state funds appropriated or otherwise available for the operation of these courts.
  7. Senior judges of the superior courts, senior judges appointed pursuant to Code Section 15-1-9.3, part-time judges, and retired judges or judges emeritus of the state courts shall receive the amount of compensation and payment for expenses as provided by Code Section 15-1-9.2. All other judges rendering assistance in accordance with this Code section shall be entitled to actual travel and lodging expenses but shall not be entitled to any additional compensation for this assistance.
  8. The court reporter, support personnel, facilities, equipment, and supplies necessary to perform the duties requested shall be provided to any judge rendering assistance in accordance with this Code section by the requesting court, unless otherwise agreed.
  9. In the event that the judge requesting assistance is a superior court judge other than a chief judge, then a copy of the assignment shall also be filed with the chief judge of the court to be assisted.
  10. As an alternative to the other provisions of this Code section, any judge other than a superior court judge may, under the circumstances described in subparagraph (b)(1)(B) or (b)(1)(C) of this Code section, request judicial assistance from any other judge who is not a superior court judge and who is otherwise qualified; and the judge so requested may agree to so serve.When one judge serves in the court of another pursuant to this subsection, a written designation by the requesting judge shall be filed and recorded on the minutes in the same general manner as provided for in subsection (f) of this Code section and the provisions of subsection (h) of this Code section shall apply with respect to the payment of expenses.The provisions of this subsection are supplementary to the provisions of the other subsections of this Code section.
  11. This Code section shall be supplementary to other laws relating to the authorization of replacement judges.
  12. Notwithstanding the provisions of this Code section, a senior judge shall not be assigned, designated, or preside in any criminal case involving a capital offense for which the death penalty may be imposed once the state has filed a notice of its intention to seek the death penalty; provided, however, that a senior judge may be assigned, designated, or preside in such a case if the judge had previously been assigned or designated and presided over such case while serving as an elected superior court judge prior to attaining senior judge status.

(Code 1981, §15-1-9.1, enacted by Ga. L. 1983, p. 961, § 1; Ga. L. 1984, p. 22, § 15; Ga. L. 1985, p. 245, § 1; Ga. L. 1988, p. 1958, § 1; Ga. L. 1990, p. 8, § 15; Ga. L. 1990, p. 343, § 1; Ga. L. 1990, p. 497, § 1; Ga. L. 1990, p. 920, § 1; Ga. L. 1995, p. 381, § 7; Ga. L. 1996, p. 1231, § 1; Ga. L. 1998, p. 268, § 1; Ga. L. 2000, p. 421, § 1; Ga. L. 2008, p. 540, § 1/SB 11; Ga. L. 2008, p. 846, § 1/HB 1245.)

Cross references.

- Judges authorized to exercise power outside own court, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. I, Para. III.

Retired state court judges providing judicial assistance, § 15-7-25.

Senior judges of superior courts, § 47-8-1 et seq.

Requests for assistance of senior judges, Ga. Unif. S. Ct. R. 18.2.

Request for judicial assignment, Ga. Unif. S. Ct. R. 44.2.

Code Commission notes.

- Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1990, paragraph (a)(3), as added by Ga. L. 1990, p. 920, § 1, was redesignated as paragraph (a)(4), since Ga. L. 1990, p. 497, § 1, also added a paragraph (a)(3).

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 1995, p. 381, § 1, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "This Act shall be known and may be cited as the 'Death Penalty Habeas Corpus Reform Act of 1995'."

Law reviews.

- For note on the 1995 amendment of this Code section, see 12 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 18 (1995).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

General Consideration

Code section permits appointment without apparent limitation.

- O.C.G.A. § 15-1-9.1 permits the mutual appointment of judges by judges to sit in every judicial office in the state without apparent limitation. Dominguez v. Enterprise Leasing Co., 197 Ga. App. 664, 399 S.E.2d 269 (1990).

Procedure on vacation of judgeship while habeas action pending.

- Capital habeas corpus cases assigned to a superior court judge who vacates the judgeship while the habeas action is pending should be returned to the president of the Council of Superior Court Judges for reassignment. Potts v. Zant, 263 Ga. 634, 437 S.E.2d 325 (1993).

Judge appointed to fill vacancy created by resignation.

- Judgment entered by a judge, who was appointed by the chief county magistrate judge upon a request for "assistance" made by the superior court chief judge, was not void, even though the judge was appointed to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of a superior court judge, which vacancy should have been filled by the governor. Dominguez v. Enterprise Leasing Co., 197 Ga. App. 664, 399 S.E.2d 269 (1990).

Effect of failure to object to appointment.

- If there was no objection to the appointment of a magistrate sitting as a superior court judge prior to the commencement of the trial, the issue of whether the order of appointment complied with the statute was not preserved for appeal. Bennett v. Jones, 218 Ga. App. 714, 463 S.E.2d 158 (1995); Albright v. Peterson, 247 Ga. App. 203, 539 S.E.2d 919 (2000).

Substitution of trial judge after death was proper.

- Defendant failed to show any harm resulting from the substitution of the trial judge after the death of the original trial judge, and O.C.G.A. § 15-1-9.1(b)(2)(B) permitted the substitution by necessity. Collins v. State, 326 Ga. App. 181, 756 S.E.2d 269 (2014).

Appellate review precluded.

- Defendants' failure to raise defendant's O.C.G.A. § 15-1-9.1 claims prior to the trial precluded appellate review of issues relating to the appointment of the trial judge. Oliver v. State, 273 Ga. App. 754, 615 S.E.2d 846 (2005).

Defendant was not entitled to a new trial merely because the order appointing the senior judge under O.C.G.A. § 15-1-9.1(b)(2) was defective as that issue was raised for the first time in the new trial motion which precluded appellate review. Williams v. State, 290 Ga. App. 829, 661 S.E.2d 563 (2008).

Cited in Hornsby v. Odum, 198 Ga. App. 472, 402 S.E.2d 56 (1991); Moore v. American Suzuki Motor Corp., 203 Ga. App. 189, 416 S.E.2d 807 (1992); Hernandez v. Resolution Trust Corp., 210 Ga. App. 538, 436 S.E.2d 534 (1993); Lucas v. Lucas, 273 Ga. 240, 539 S.E.2d 807 (2000); Smith v. Guest Pond Club, Inc., 277 Ga. 143, 586 S.E.2d 623 (2003); Lewis v. McDougal, 276 Ga. 861, 583 S.E.2d 859 (2003); Fraser v. State, 283 Ga. App. 477, 642 S.E.2d 129 (2007), overruled in part by State v. Lane, 2020 Ga. LEXIS 98 (Ga. 2020).

Authority of Court

Authority of recused judge to select replacement.

- Although a recused state court judge was without authority to select the judge's own replacement, defendants waived any objection to the appointed judge sitting as trial judge since the parties stipulated to the qualification of the specially appointed judge to preside over the trial. State v. Evans, 187 Ga. App. 649, 371 S.E.2d 432 (1988), overruled on other grounds, 268 Ga. 75, 485 S.E.2d 491 (1997).

Senior judge had authority to sign an order to conclude a matter the senior judge had earlier presided over, even though the senior judge had been authorized by the chief judge of the circuit "to preside" on four specific days prior to the date the senior judge signed the order. Morris v. Clark, 189 Ga. App. 228, 375 S.E.2d 616 (1989).

Validity of designation.

- O.C.G.A. § 15-1-9.1 does not require that the designation of a judge be made by the chief judge of the requesting court and the fact that a designation was not filed in the court minutes until the day after commencement of a trial did not violate the authority of the designated judge such that the entire proceeding would be rendered void. Marsh v. Resolution Trust Corp., 211 Ga. App. 216, 439 S.E.2d 75 (1993).

Order designating magistrate judge to assist the Superior Court of Fulton County was valid since: (1) the order explicitly provided the length of service; (2) the order designated the scope of the magistrate judge's duties such as assisting with the routine matters that would normally appear before the presiding judge, and other matters arising therefrom; and (3) the order cloaked the magistrate judge with all the authority and powers exercised by the Fulton County Superior Court judges regularly presiding in the Atlanta Judicial Circuit. Giles v. State, 257 Ga. App. 65, 570 S.E.2d 375 (2002).

Magistrate presiding over petitioner's trial for rape and kidnapping with bodily harm was not tainted by fact that the trial court designated the magistrate to preside over the trial; the designation involved an intra-county designation and intra-county designations were not required to comply with O.C.G.A. § 15-1-9.1(f) in order for the magistrate to validly preside over a trial. Lewis v. McDougal, 276 Ga. 861, 583 S.E.2d 859 (2003).

Georgia Supreme Court's overruling of Hicks v. State, 231 Ga. App. 552, 499 S.E.2d 341 (1998) to the extent the decision held that an intra-county designation order had to comply with O.C.G.A. § 15-1-9.1(f), the Georgia appellate courts' rejection of the contention that the failure to file the designation on the minutes of the court prior to the commencement of the proceedings voided the proceedings, and defendant's failure to challenge the designation of the trial court to preside over defendant's trial until after the trial occurred meant that the validity of the trial court's presiding over the trial could not be reviewed on appeal, and, thus, could not be a ground for reversal. Cammer v. State, 263 Ga. App. 277, 587 S.E.2d 656 (2003).

There was no error in a magistrate presiding over the defendant's trial as O.C.G.A. § 15-1-9.1(f) applied only when a request for magistrate judges to assist trial court judges was for a judge outside the county. Salgado v. State, 268 Ga. App. 18, 601 S.E.2d 417 (2004).

O.C.G.A. § 15-1-9.1(b)(2) requires only that one judge of the requesting court be unable to preside over the case because the plaintiff presented no evidence to show that this requirement was not met, the judge held proper jurisdiction to preside over the plaintiff's case and was immune from the plaintiff's lawsuit. Bush v. Reeves, F. Supp. 2d (N.D. Ga. Dec. 22, 2005).

Authority of superior court judge to reconsider and revoke order of designated judge.

- Superior court judge had the authority to reconsider and revoke a pretrial bond that was set by another judge who was presiding in the superior court judge's place by designation; the designated judge should not have granted the bond to the defendant after expressly finding that the defendant was likely to intimidate witnesses or otherwise interfere with the administration of justice. Rooney v. State, 217 Ga. App. 850, 459 S.E.2d 601 (1995).

Magistrate judge had authority to issue permanent restraining order.

- Defendant's stalking convictions, based on violations of a permanent restraining order (PRO), were not invalid on grounds the PRO was issued by a magistrate judge, as the chief judge of superior court, as authorized by O.C.G.A. § 15-1-9.1(b)(2), had requested magistrates to assist the superior court by hearing petitions under the Georgia Stalking Statute, O.C.G.A. § 16-5-94. Seibert v. State, 294 Ga. App. 202, 670 S.E.2d 109 (2008).

Magistrate had authority to accept guilty plea, but superior court judge could set aside sentence.

- Although a magistrate who was appointed to preside at a county drug court pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15-1-9.1(b)(2) had authority to accept a defendant's guilty plea to marijuana possession, the superior court judge had the power to set aside the sentence, which was not reduced to writing, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 17-7-93(b), and give notice of intent to impose a harsher sentence. Surh v. State, 303 Ga. App. 380, 693 S.E.2d 501, cert. denied, No. S10C1274, 2010 Ga. LEXIS 705 (Ga. 2010).

Appointment not improper.

- Because defendant's claim that a trial judge was not properly appointed under O.C.G.A. § 15-1-9.1(b)(2) was first raised on a motion for new trial, the motion was thus untimely; in any event, the judge's previous appointments by separate orders to preside over other superior court matters for specified periods of time did not render the judge a de facto superior court judge in violation of the constitutional requirement that all superior court judges be elected, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. VII, Para. I, and thus defendant failed to establish that counsel's failure to object to the allegedly improper appointment of the judge was ineffective assistance. Moreland v. State, 279 Ga. 641, 619 S.E.2d 626 (2005).

It was proper under O.C.G.A. § 15-1-9.1(b)(2) for the chief judge of the magistrate court to appoint one of the magistrates to hear superior court cases after the chief judge of the superior court made a written request for judicial assistance. Dorsey v. State, 291 Ga. App. 706, 662 S.E.2d 800 (2008).

Duration of Appointment

Request for assistance was temporary.

- Trial court erred in ruling on the constitutionality of O.C.G.A. § 15-1-9.1(b)(2)(D) as the intra-county request for judicial assistance was for temporary assistance pursuant to § 15-1-9.1(b)(2)(C) since the judicial order setting forth the request and response for judicial assistance was of limited duration and was subject to termination at any time, upon receipt of 30 days' notice from the superior, state, or juvenile court announcing that court's withdrawal. Earl v. Mills, 278 Ga. 128, 598 S.E.2d 480 (2004).

Indefinite appointment of assistant judges or district attorney.

- State court judge does not have the authority to order the indefinite appointment of assistant judges or solicitors (now district attorneys) whose positions are not authorized by local law or to finance those positions through a court-created fund comprised of moneys withheld from the county treasury. Cramer v. Spalding County, 261 Ga. 570, 409 S.E.2d 30 (1991).

Order appointing judge held invalid.

- Trial court correctly granted the defendant's motion to suppress evidence seized from the defendant's computer because the order appointing a visiting judge to sign the warrant for the search failed to specify either the scope or length of the assisting judge's service, violating the standards required under O.C.G.A. § 15-1-9.1(f), and rendering the warrant null. State v. Kelley, 302 Ga. App. 850, 691 S.E.2d 890 (2010).

Request for intra-county judicial assistance not permanent.

- Superior, state, and juvenile courts did not take improper permanent action by renewing an order requesting intra-county judicial assistance, which made the order span two terms of court. Earl v. Mills, 278 Ga. 128, 598 S.E.2d 480 (2004).

Other

Separate court not created.

- Intra-county request for judicial assistance under O.C.G.A. § 15-1-9.1(b)(2)(C) did not create a separate court, but was a constitutionally-permitted request for intra-county judicial assistance since the request and response set out the matters to be handled by the two juvenile court judges, who had agreed to assist the superior court; accordingly, the intra-county request and response were neither an unconstitutional creation of a class of court in violation of Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. I, Para. I, nor an unconstitutional usurpation of legislative authority by members of the judiciary in violation of Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. I, Para. VII. Earl v. Mills, 278 Ga. 128, 598 S.E.2d 480 (2004).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Part-time judges of magistrate court and part-time referees of juvenile court.

- Both part-time judges of the magistrate court and part-time referees of the juvenile court may be assigned to hear cases in the superior court so long as they meet the qualifications of judges of the superior court as provided in O.C.G.A. § 15-6-4. 1989 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U89-7.

"Judge" does not include administrative law judges.

- Term "judge" as used in O.C.G.A. § 15-1-9.1(a)(3) does not include administrative law judges or other quasi-judicial officers not within the judicial branch of government. 1992 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U92-16.

Assistance to state courts by replacement probate judge.

- Replacement probate judge appointed in good faith pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15-9-13(a) may provide assistance to state courts so long as that individual satisfies the qualifications of judges of the state courts under O.C.G.A. § 15-7-21(a)(1), and the request for assistance complies with the terms specified by subsection (f) of O.C.G.A. § 15-1-9.1. 1994 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U94-12.

Appointment of superior court judge on retirement.

- Senior superior court judge, who is not being appointed in that senior judge capacity pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15-1-9.1, may be appointed to serve as a part-time state-funded juvenile court judge and, so long as the hours worked annually do not exceed 1040 hours, there is no effect on the senior judge's retirement. 2000 Op. Atty. Gen. No. U2000-9.

Authority to set and amend bonds.

- Once the clerk of the superior court properly files an indictment or once a valid accusation is entered, the superior court has exclusive jurisdiction over the case, including all bond issues, unless the court invokes the court's authority to delegate jurisdiction to the magistrate court under subsection (e) of O.C.G.A. § 15-1-9.1 or O.C.G.A. § 17-6-1. 1997 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 97-19.

15-1-9.2. Senior judge of superior courts.

  1. The office of senior judge of the superior courts is created, and judges of the superior courts or former judges of the superior courts may become senior judges as follows:
    1. Any judge of the superior courts who retires pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 8 or Chapter 23 of Title 47 and any such judge who receives a disability retirement benefit under such chapter may become a senior judge beginning on the effective date of the judge's retirement; and
    2. Any judge of the superior courts, whether or not said judge is a member of the retirement system created by Chapter 23 of Title 47, who ceases holding office as a judge of the superior courts and who has at least ten years of service as a judge of the superior courts at the time of ceasing to hold office and who is not eligible for appointment to the office of senior judge under any other law of this state may become a senior judge.
  2. The chief judge of any appellate or superior court of this state may make a written request for assistance to a senior judge. The request by the chief judge may be made if one of the following circumstances arise:
    1. A judge of the requesting court is disqualified for any cause from presiding in any matter pending before the court;
    2. A judge of the requesting court is unable to preside because of disability, illness, or absence; or
    3. A majority of the judges of the requesting court determines that the business of the court requires the temporary assistance of an additional judge or additional judges as provided for in Code Section 15-1-9.1.
  3. An active judge may call upon a senior judge to serve in an emergency or when the volume of cases or other unusual circumstances cause such service to be necessary in order to provide for the speedy and efficient disposition of the business of the circuit.
    1. Senior judges serving as judges of an appellate or superior court under this Code section or any other provision of law shall receive compensation from state funds for each day of service, in the amount of the annual state salary of a judge of the applicable court, divided by 235. In addition to such compensation, such senior judges shall receive their actual expenses or, at the judge's option, in the event of service outside the county of the judge's residence, the same per diem expense authorized by law for members of the General Assembly and shall receive mileage at the same rate as other state employees for such services. Such compensation, expenses, and mileage shall be paid from state funds appropriated or otherwise available for the operation of the appellate or superior courts, upon a certificate by the senior judge as to the number of days served or the expenses and mileage. Such compensation shall not affect, diminish, or otherwise impair the payment or receipt of any retirement or pension benefits, when applicable, of such judge.
    2. Senior judges serving as judges of any court other than an appellate or superior court under this Code section or any other provision of law shall receive compensation for each day of service, in the amount of the annual salary of a judge of the applicable court, divided by 235. In addition to such compensation, such senior judges shall receive their actual expenses or, at the judge's option, in the event of service outside the county of the judge's residence, the same per diem expense authorized by law for members of the General Assembly and shall receive mileage at the same rate as state employees for such services. Such compensation, expenses, and mileage shall be paid from funds appropriated or otherwise available for the operation of the applicable court, upon a certificate by the senior judge as to the number of days served or the expenses and mileage. Such compensation shall not affect, diminish, or otherwise impair the payment or receipt of any retirement or pension benefits, when applicable, of such judge.
  4. Notwithstanding the provisions of this Code section, a senior judge shall not be assigned, designated, or preside in any criminal case involving a capital offense for which the death penalty may be imposed once the state has filed a notice of its intention to seek the death penalty; provided, however, that a senior judge may be assigned, designated, or preside in such a case if the judge had previously been assigned or designated and presided over such case while serving as an elected superior court judge prior to attaining senior judge status.

(a.1)Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this Code section, any Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia, Judge of the Court of Appeals, superior court judge, state court judge, magistrate court judge, or juvenile court judge who ceases holding office as a judge and who has a total of ten years of service in any combination of such offices or a total of nine years of service in any combination of such offices plus at least one year of service as chairperson of the State Board of Workers' Compensation may become a senior judge. Said combination must include at least five years' service as a Justice of the Supreme Court, Judge of the Court of Appeals, or judge of the superior court or at least five years as total served in combination as Justice of the Supreme Court, Judge of the Court of Appeals, or judge of the superior court.

(a.2)Senior judge status as provided in this Code section shall be acquired by a qualified former judge's applying to the Governor for appointment as senior judge. The Governor shall appoint each qualified applicant as a senior judge.

(Code 1981, §15-1-9.2, enacted by Ga. L. 1989, p. 832, § 1; Ga. L. 1995, p. 916, § 1; Ga. L. 1998, p. 268, § 2; Ga. L. 1998, p. 513, § 3; Ga. L. 1998, p. 1666, § 1; Ga. L. 1999, p. 81, § 15; Ga. L. 2000, p. 421, § 2; Ga. L. 2001, p. 1102, § 1; Ga. L. 2008, p. 846, § 2/HB 1245.)

Code Commission notes.

- In 1998, Ga. L. 1998, p. 513, § 3 and Ga. L. 1998, p. 1666, § 1 both amended subsection (d). Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, subsection (d) is set out as amended by Ga. L. 1998, p. 1666, § 1.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Constitutionality.

- Even though the position of senior judge is not an elected position, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. I, Para. III, allows a senior judge to exercise judicial power in the superior courts when the assistance of a senior judge is necessary. O.C.G.A. §§ 15-1-9.2 and47-8-61 are simply the statutory enactments pursuant to the constitution. Smith v. Langford, 271 Ga. 221, 518 S.E.2d 884 (1999).

There is no merit to the argument that the authorization for the service of senior judges conflicts with Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. I, Para. I, vesting judicial power in designated courts, because creation of the position of senior judge does not establish a separate judicial forum. Smith v. Langford, 271 Ga. 221, 518 S.E.2d 884 (1999).

Waiver of challenge to senior judge.

- Defendant's claim that defendant's conviction was void because the senior judge who presided over the trial was not properly appointed pursuant to the requirements of O.C.G.A. § 15-1-9.2 had to be rejected as defendant's claim that the appointment was not properly made was waived by defendant's failure to raise the claim until defendant filed defendant's motion for a new trial. Hurst v. State, 260 Ga. App. 708, 580 S.E.2d 666 (2003).

Claim of insufficiency of judicial appointment untimely.

- Defendant's claim that defendant's convictions were void because the order appointing the senior judge who presided over defendant's trial was insufficient under O.C.G.A § 15-1-9.2(b) was not asserted until the motion for new trial and was therefore untimely. Strozier v. State, 277 Ga. 78, 586 S.E.2d 309 (2003).

15-1-9.3. Senior judge of state court, probate court, or juvenile court; capital cases.

    1. Any state court judge or juvenile court judge who retires pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 23 of Title 47 after having served for ten or more years in any combination of service as a judge of a state court or juvenile court may be appointed a senior judge of the type of court from which the judge retired.
    2. Any state court or juvenile court judge, whether or not said judge is a member of the retirement fund created by Chapter 23 of Title 47, who ceases holding office as a judge and who has at least ten years in any combination of service as judge of a state court or juvenile court at the time of ceasing to hold office and who is not eligible for appointment to the office of senior judge under any other law of this state may be appointed as a senior judge as provided in this Code section.
    3. No judge of a state court or juvenile court who retires because of disability pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 23 of Title 47 shall be eligible for appointment as a senior judge pursuant to the provisions of this Code section.
    4. In this paragraph, "probate court" has the same meaning as set out in paragraph (2) of Code Section 15-9-120. Any judge of the probate court who ceases holding office as a judge of the probate court after serving as such for at least ten years and who has not been appointed to the office of senior judge under any other law of this state may be appointed as a senior judge as provided in this Code section.
  1. Upon becoming eligible for appointment pursuant to the provisions of this Code section, a judge who ceases to hold office may become a senior judge and in that capacity may be called upon to serve as a justice or judge in any court of this state.
  2. Senior judge status shall be acquired by a qualified former judge's applying to the Governor for appointment as senior judge. The Governor shall appoint each qualified applicant as a senior judge.
  3. The judge of any court of this state may make a written request for assistance to a senior judge. The request by the judge may be made if one of the following circumstances arise:
    1. A judge of the requesting court is disqualified for any cause from presiding in any matter pending before the court;
    2. A judge of the requesting court is unable to preside because of disability, illness, or absence; or
    3. A majority of the judges of the requesting court determines that the business of the court requires the temporary assistance of an additional judge or additional judges as provided for in Code Section 15-1-9.1.
  4. An active judge may call upon a senior judge to serve in an emergency or when the volume of cases or other unusual circumstances cause such service to be necessary in order to provide for the timely and efficient disposition of the business of the court.
  5. A senior judge shall receive compensation and expenses as provided in subsection (d) of Code Section 15-1-9.2.
  6. Notwithstanding the provisions of this Code section, a senior judge shall not be assigned, designated, or preside in any criminal case involving a capital offense for which the death penalty may be imposed once the state has filed a notice of its intention to seek the death penalty; provided, however, that a senior judge may be assigned, designated, or preside in such a case if the judge had previously been assigned or designated and presided over such case while serving as an elected superior court judge prior to attaining senior judge status.

(Code 1981, §15-1-9.3, enacted by Ga. L. 1992, p. 1112, § 4; Ga. L. 1998, p. 513, § 3; Ga. L. 2000, p. 421, § 3; Ga. L. 2000, p. 838, § 1; Ga. L. 2008, p. 846, § 3/HB 1245.)

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 46 Am. Jur. 2d, Judges, §§ 15, 55 et seq.

15-1-10. Removal of court records; storage.

  1. No records or papers of any court shall be removed out of the county, except in cases of invasion whereby the same may be endangered, by order of the court, or as otherwise provided in this Code section.
  2. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Code section, such records may be stored in accordance with the provisions of subsection (b) of Code Section 15-6-86 or subsection (c) of this Code section.
  3. With the prior written consent of the governing authority of the county or municipality and the prior written consent of the chief judge, judge of the probate court, or chief magistrate of the affected court, the clerk of each superior court, state court, probate court, magistrate court, juvenile court, or municipal court in this state is authorized, but not required, to create and maintain digital copies of records, pleadings, orders, writs, process, and other documents submitted to or issued by the court in criminal, quasi-criminal, juvenile, or civil proceedings or in any proceedings involving the enforcement of ordinances of local governments. All digital copies created pursuant to this subsection shall be accurate copies of the original documents and shall be stored and indexed in such manner as to be readily retrievable in the office of the clerk during normal business hours. It shall be the duty of the clerk to provide and maintain software and computers, readers, printers, and other necessary equipment in sufficient numbers to permit the retrieval, duplication, and printing of such digitally stored documents in a timely fashion when copies are requested. A copy of such digitally stored document retrieved by the clerk shall be admissible in all courts in the same manner as the original document. If a backup copy is created pursuant to the process prescribed by subsections (b) and (c) of Code Section 15-6-62, the clerk is authorized to destroy the original document. This subsection shall not apply to documents or records which have been ordered sealed by the court nor to documents which are placed in evidence in a proceeding. The costs of creating and storing digital copies of documents and providing the necessary software and equipment to retrieve and reproduce such documents shall be paid from funds available for the operation of the court. The provisions of this subsection shall constitute an additional and alternative method of records management and shall not supersede or repeal Code Section 15-6-62, 15-6-62.1, 15-6-86, or 15-6-87.

(Orig. Code 1863, § 201; Code 1868, § 195; Code 1873, § 207; Code 1882, § 207; Civil Code 1895, § 4048; Civil Code 1910, § 4645; Code 1933, § 24-108; Ga. L. 1997, p. 925, § 1; Ga. L. 2005, p. 1505, § 1/HB 254; Ga. L. 2012, p. 173, § 2-2/HB 665.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Carrying of original papers and records from one court to another should be condemned and checked by the judges of the superior court. Rogers v. Tillman, 72 Ga. 479 (1884).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 20 Am. Jur. 2d, Courts, § 22 et seq.

C.J.S.

- 21 C.J.S., Courts, § 245.

15-1-10.1. Standards in determining grant of requests for televising, videotaping, or motion picture filming of judicial proceedings.

  1. It is declared to be the purpose and intent of the General Assembly that certain standards be considered by the courts in determining whether to grant requests for the televising, videotaping, or motion picture filming of judicial proceedings. Such standards are intended to provide an evaluation of the impact on the public interest and the rights of the parties in open judicial proceedings, the impact upon the integrity and dignity of the court, and whether the proposed activity would contribute to the enhancement of or detract from the ends of justice.
  2. In considering a request for the televising, videotaping, or motion picture filming of judicial proceedings, the court shall consider the following factors in determining whether to grant such request:
    1. The nature of the particular proceeding at issue;
    2. The consent or objection of the parties or witnesses whose testimony will be presented in the proceedings;
    3. Whether the proposed coverage will promote increased public access to the courts and openness of judicial proceedings;
    4. The impact upon the integrity and dignity of the court;
    5. The impact upon the administration of the court;
    6. The impact upon due process and the truth finding function of the judicial proceeding;
    7. Whether the proposed coverage would contribute to the enhancement of or detract from the ends of justice;
    8. Any special circumstances of the parties, victims, witnesses, or other participants such as the need to protect children or factors involving the safety of participants in the judicial proceeding; and
    9. Any other factors which the court may determine to be important under the circumstances of the case.
  3. The court may hear from the parties, witnesses, or other interested persons and from the person or entity requesting coverage during the court's consideration of the factors set forth in this Code section.
  4. This Code section shall not apply to the use of electronic or photographic means for the presentation of evidence or the perpetuation of a record.
  5. The court in its discretion may grant requests made under this Code section for all or portions of judicial proceedings.

(Code 1981, §15-1-10.1, enacted by Ga. L. 1996, p. 734, § 2.)

Cross references.

- Freedom of speech and press, U.S. Const., amend. 1 and Ga. Const. 1983, Art. I, Sec. I, Para V.

Use of electronic devices in courtrooms and recording of judicial proceedings, Unif. S. Ct. Rule 22.

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 1996, p. 734, § 2, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that the amendment to this Code section is applicable to all judicial proceedings held on or after July 1, 1996.

Law reviews.

- For article, "The Case Against Closure: Open Courtrooms After Presley v. Georgia," see 16 (No. 2) Ga. St. B. J. 10 (2010).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Discretion of court.

- Decision whether electronic media will be allowed in the courtroom is not governed by the principle that there must be "clear and convincing proof" that closure is necessary to prevent a "clear and present danger" to the right of a fair trial, rather, the decision is a question for the trial court's discretion. WALB-TV, Inc. v. Gibson, 269 Ga. 564, 501 S.E.2d 821 (1998).

In ruling on a request for electronic and photographic coverage of judicial proceedings, a trial court should bear in mind Georgia's policy favoring open judicial proceedings, and, although the decision whether to allow electronic and photographic coverage of a trial is within the discretion of the trial court, if a trial court denies such coverage, there must be a factual basis in the record that supports the denial. Morris Communs., LLC v. Griffin, 279 Ga. 735, 620 S.E.2d 800 (2005).

Although O.C.G.A. § 15-1-10.1(b)(2) permits a trial court to consider the objection of the parties or witnesses whose testimony will be presented in the proceedings, when considering a request for electronic media coverage of a trial, a party's objection must set forth an adequate ground for denying the request and the record must contain some factual basis supporting that ground. Morris Communs., LLC v. Griffin, 279 Ga. 735, 620 S.E.2d 800 (2005).

Despite finding that the presence of cameras in the courtroom during a pending criminal trial would be harmful to the rights of the defendant, the state, and the potential jurors, given the small and limited space in the courtroom, because the superior court failed to provide a factual basis for denying a newspaper's request to record those proceedings, the court abused the court's discretion, warranting reversal of the denial. Savannah Morning News v. Jeffcoat, 280 Ga. App. 634, 634 S.E.2d 830 (2006).

Trial court erred in excluding a camera and denying a purported student's request to make video recordings of the criminal calendar proceedings because the trial court erred in the court's application of O.C.G.A. § 15-1-10.1 and did not properly consider the factors set forth therein. McLaurin v. Ott, 327 Ga. App. 488, 759 S.E.2d 567 (2014).

Consent of parties or witnesses.

- Consent of the parties is not a prerequisite to the trial court's decision with regard to the televising of proceedings; O.C.G.A. § 15-1-10.1(b)(2) provides that the consent or objection of the parties or witnesses is but one factor for the trial court to consider in making the court's discretionary determination. Smith v. Gwinnett County, 270 Ga. 424, 510 S.E.2d 525, cert. denied, 527 U.S. 1003, 119 S. Ct. 2338, 144 L. Ed. 2d 236 (1999).

Findings sufficient to support denial of coverage.

- Because the murder trials of two defendants were to be conducted separately, denial of coverage of the first trial was justified based on findings that due process rights would be jeopardized because testimony at the first trial would be similar to that introduced at the later trial and could create a tainted jury pool for the second trial. WALB-TV, Inc. v. Gibson, 269 Ga. 564, 501 S.E.2d 821 (1998).

O.C.G.A. § 15-1-10.1 does not specifically list jurors' desire for privacy as a factor to be considered in ruling on a request for photographic and electronic coverage of a trial, but it does authorize a trial court to consider any special circumstances of the participants in the proceedings, including concerns regarding the safety of the participants, and to consider any other factors which the court may determine to be important under the circumstances of the case. Morris Communs., LLC v. Griffin, 279 Ga. 735, 620 S.E.2d 800 (2005).

Findings insufficient to support denial of coverage.

- Since the murder trials of two defendants were to be conducted separately, denial of coverage of the second trial was not justified based on due process concerns and the distraction posed by the camera's presence. WALB-TV, Inc. v. Gibson, 269 Ga. 564, 501 S.E.2d 821 (1998).

When a newspaper moved for still camera coverage of a murder trial, it was error, under Ga. Unif. Super. Ct. R. 22 and O.C.G.A. § 15-1-10.1, to deny the motion because no facts supported the trial court's findings that the motion should be denied because: (1) defendant objected, and to insure due process and a fair trial; (2) jurors wanted to protect their privacy; (3) a camera would not increase the openness of the proceedings; and (4) a camera would impact on the court's administration and detract from the ends of justice, given the courtroom's small size. Morris Communs., LLC v. Griffin, 279 Ga. 735, 620 S.E.2d 800 (2005).

Cameras allowed in courtroom.

- Although the defendant's allegations that the defendant was harassed and abused by officers at the jail where the defendant was held were troubling if true, the defendant failed to demonstrate how such actions, which (even if true) occurred outside the courtroom, impacted upon the due process and the truth-finding function of the judicial proceedings; thus, the trial court did not abuse the court's discretion in allowing cameras in the courtroom. Roberts v. State, 344 Ga. App. 324, 810 S.E.2d 169 (2018).

15-1-11. Attendance of judges and court personnel at educational programs.

  1. Judges of the courts of this state, the clerks thereof, and the prosecuting officials and public defenders, both full-time and part-time, attached thereto are authorized to attend institutes, seminars, conferences, and other programs of an educational nature in order to become better informed and better qualified relative to the duties of their offices and the more effective administration thereof.
  2. The expense incurred in connection with the attendance at such institutes, seminars, conferences, and other programs shall be a proper expenditure of public funds. Any such person, prior to attendance at any of the above, must obtain approval therefor from the governing authority of any county or municipality located in whole or in part within the jurisdiction of the court to which the applicant is attached. When approval has been received, the expense of attendance shall be paid out of the public funds of such county or municipality or out of the funds provided for the operation of the court involved, upon the proper itemized expense voucher's being submitted.
  3. This Code section shall be cumulative of other provisions of law and shall not be construed as repealing, restricting, or limiting alternative provisions for accomplishing the same purpose.

(Code 1933, § 24-113, enacted by Ga. L. 1968, p. 1191, § 1; Ga. L. 1990, p. 8, § 15.)

Cross references.

- Continuing judicial education, Uniform State Court Rules, Rule 43.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Cited in American Fed'n of State, County & Mun. Employees v. Rowe, 121 Ga. App. 99, 172 S.E.2d 866 (1970); Thompson v. Clarkson Power Flow, Inc., 149 Ga. App. 284, 254 S.E.2d 401 (1979).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Legislature intended for governing authority to bear expense.

- Legislature, in granting to counties and municipalities sole authority to approve such attendance, intended for the approving county or municipal authority to bear the expense incurred in connection with such attendance; the judge should seek reimbursement from the governing authority which approved the judge's attendance. 1969 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 69-354.

Georgia Justice (Magistrate) Courts Training Council seminars.

- Former Code 1933, § 24-113 (see now O.C.G.A. § 15-1-11) was available to cities and counties who wish to reimburse justices of the peace (now magistrates) for expenses incurred in attending Georgia Justice (Magistrate) Courts Training Council seminars pursuant to Ga. L. 1978, p. 894. 1980 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U80-14.

15-1-12. Compensation of probate court judges and superior court clerks for certain services.

  1. The judges of the probate court who by law are vested with the management of the county business and for whom no compensation is provided and the clerks of the superior courts, for public services in relation to which no compensation is provided by law, shall be compensated in accordance with this Code section.
  2. Such officers shall state their respective claims in writing and make an affidavit to the correctness and justice thereof. After the services are rendered, the claims so made out and verified shall be submitted to the grand juries of their respective counties at any regular term at which a grand jury is impaneled, provided that, if the statement is not submitted at that term or at the next succeeding term at which a grand jury is impaneled, such claim for services shall be barred. The grand juries may in their discretion require other proof of the justness and correctness of such claims and, when satisfied that the claims are just and correct, may allow the sum claimed or so much thereof as they may deem right and proper. When allowed, the judge of the probate court of the county or other authority levying county taxes shall assess so much with the other county taxes as will pay the same, which, when collected and paid over to the county treasurer of such county, shall be paid to the parties without further order, he taking a proper receipt therefor.
  3. The compensation provided for in this Code section shall be in full compensation of such officers for such services.

(Ga. L. 1871-72, p. 51, §§ 1, 2; Code 1873, § 3697; Ga. L. 1880-81, p. 92, §§ 1, 2; Code 1882, § 3697; Civil Code 1895, § 5402; Civil Code 1910, § 6001; Ga. L. 1929, p. 169, § 1; Code 1933, § 24-110; Ga. L. 1999, p. 81, § 15.)

Cross references.

- Minimum annual salary for clerks of superior court, § 15-6-88.

Minimum salaries for judges of probate court, § 15-9-63.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Compensation not charge on county funds.

- This section requires the imposition of a tax to pay claims for extra compensation and does not render them a charge upon the general funds of the county. Lumpkin County v. Williams, 94 Ga. 657, 21 S.E. 849 (1894).

Local law not in conflict.

- Local Act of February 21, 1873, imposing upon the Board of County Commissioners of Franklin County the duty "to audit and allow all claims against the county for extra service rendered by any county officer," was not repealed by the general Act of 1881 contained in this section. Franklin County v. Crow, 128 Ga. 458, 57 S.E. 784 (1907).

Claim must be for public services.

- If it does not appear that claims are for public services, the claims will not be allowed. Greer v. Turner County, 138 Ga. 558, 75 S.E. 578 (1912).

Cited in White County v. Bell, 98 Ga. 400, 25 S.E. 558 (1896).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Compensation of probate judge if no appropriation made.

- Ordinary (now probate judge) was not authorized to assess the costs incurred in examining the nomination petition against the candidate submitting the petition; if no appropriations are made to cover such expenses, the ordinary (now probate judge) may be compensated for the ordinary's (now probate judge) services pursuant to the method prescribed in this section. 1968 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 68-233.

Payment of sheriff for attending and assisting with inquest.

- If there was no law which authorizes the payment or fixed the fee for a sheriff attending and assisting in the holding of an inquest, the sheriff could be paid under this section. 1960-61 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 99.

Sheriff and justice of peace (now magistrate) are entitled to certain fees in criminal cases whether or not cases are nolle prossed. 1962 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 126.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 46 Am. Jur. 2d, Judges, § 50 et seq.

C.J.S.

- 21 C.J.S., Courts, § 121 et seq. 48A C.J.S., Judges, § 84.

15-1-13. Prior removal from judicial office as affecting qualification for judicial office.

  1. In addition to any other qualification for judicial office, if a person has been removed from any judicial office upon order of the Supreme Court after review, that person shall not be eligible to be elected or appointed to any judicial office in this state until seven years have elapsed from the time of such removal.
  2. This Code section shall not apply with respect to any removal from office in which the order of the Supreme Court was entered prior to April 9, 1996.

(Code 1981, §15-1-13, enacted by Ga. L. 1996, p. 747, § 1.)

Code Commission notes.

- Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1996, "April 9, 1996" was substituted for "the effective date of this Code section" at the end of subsection (b).

Both Ga. L. 1996, p. 747 and Ga. L. 1996, p. 748 enacted a Code Section 15-1-13. Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1996, Code Section 15-1-13 as enacted by Ga. L. 1996, p. 748, was redesignated as Code Section 15-13-36.

15-1-14. Rules and requirements for foreign language and hearing impaired interpreters.

  1. The Supreme Court of Georgia shall establish rules and requirements for foreign language interpreters and interpreters for the hearing impaired utilized in the courts of this state and provide for the administration and enforcement of such rules. The Administrative Office of the Courts shall administer such rules, requirements, and enforcement.
  2. The Supreme Court may establish fees to be paid by persons desiring certification to cover the costs of certifying, regulating, and training court qualified interpreters.
  3. The Supreme Court may enter into and participate in the Consortium for Language Access in the Courts and in other similar multistate agreements and cooperative programs for the training, testing, and certification of interpreters. Such consortia, multistate agreements, and cooperative programs may:
    1. Utilize the auspices and services of the National Center for State Courts;
    2. Provide for the common development, sharing, and distribution of tests, standards, educational materials, and programs and related work, and further provide for the copyright and other protection of intellectual property;
    3. Charge fees for membership and other services and retain funds;
    4. Provide for governance and management; and
    5. Perform such other services and functions as may be reasonably related to such purposes and functions.

(Code 1981, §15-1-14, enacted by Ga. L. 2000, p. 838, § 2; Ga. L. 2011, p. 99, § 20/HB 24.)

Code Commission notes.

- Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2000 and in 2001, "multistate" was substituted for "multi-state" twice in the introductory paragraph (now subsection (c)).

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2011, p. 99, § 101/HB 24, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part, that this Act shall apply to any motion made or hearing or trial commenced on or after January 1, 2013.

Law reviews.

- For article, "Dancing with the Big Boys: Georgia Adopts (most of) the Federal Rules of Evidence," see 63 Mercer L. Rev. 1 (2011). For article, "Evidence," see 27 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 1 (2011). For article on the 2011 amendment of this Code section, see 28 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 1 (2011).

15-1-15. Drug court divisions.

    1. Any court that has jurisdiction over any criminal case which arises from the use, sale, possession, delivery, distribution, purchase, or manufacture of a controlled substance, noncontrolled substance, dangerous drug, or other drug may establish a drug court division to provide an alternative to the traditional judicial system for disposition of such cases.
    2. In any case which arises from the use, addiction, dependency, sale, possession, delivery, distribution, purchase, or manufacture of a controlled substance, noncontrolled substance, dangerous drug, or other drug or is ancillary to such conduct and the defendant meets the eligibility criteria for the drug court division, the court may assign the case to the drug court division:
      1. Prior to the entry of the sentence, if the prosecuting attorney consents;
      2. As part of a sentence in a case; or
      3. Upon consideration of a petition to revoke probation.
    3. Each drug court division shall establish a planning group to develop a work plan. The planning group shall include the judges, prosecuting attorneys, public defenders, community supervision officers, and persons having expertise in the field of substance abuse. The work plan shall address the operational, coordination, resource, information management, and evaluation needs of the drug court division. The work plan shall include drug court division policies and practices related to implementing the standards and practices developed pursuant to paragraph (4) of this subsection. The work plan shall ensure a risk and needs assessment is used to identify the likelihood of recidivating and identify the needs that, when met, reduce recidivism. The work plan shall ensure that drug court division eligibility shall be focused on moderate-risk and high-risk offenders as determined by a risk and needs assessment. The drug court division shall combine judicial supervision, treatment of drug court division participants, and drug testing.
      1. The Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall establish standards and practices for drug court divisions taking into consideration guidelines and principles based on current research and findings published by the National Drug Court Institute and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, relating to practices shown to reduce recidivism of offenders with drug abuse problems. Standards and practices shall include, but shall not be limited to, the use of a risk and needs assessment to identify the likelihood of recidivating and identify the needs that, when met, reduce recidivism. The Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall update its standards and practices to incorporate research, findings, and developments in the drug court field. Each drug court division shall adopt policies and practices that are consistent with the standards and practices published by the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia.
      2. The Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall provide technical assistance to drug court divisions to assist them with the implementation of policies and practices, including, but not limited to, guidance on the implementation of risk and needs assessments in drug court divisions.
      3. The Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall create and manage a certification and peer review process to ensure drug court divisions are adhering to the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia's standards and practices and shall create a waiver process for drug court divisions to seek an exception to the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia's standards and practices. In order to receive state appropriated funds, any drug court division established on and after July 1, 2013, shall be certified pursuant to this subparagraph or, for good cause shown to the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia, shall receive a waiver from the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia.
      4. On and after July 1, 2013, the award of any state funds for a drug court division shall be conditioned upon a drug court division attaining certification or a waiver by the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia. On or before September 1, the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall publish an annual report listing certified drug court divisions.
      5. The Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia and the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform shall develop and manage an electronic information system for performance measurement and accept submission of performance data in a consistent format from all drug court divisions. The Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall identify elements necessary for performance measurement, including, but not limited to, recidivism, the number of moderate-risk and high-risk participants in a drug court division, drug testing results, drug testing failures, participant employment, the number of participants who successfully complete the program, and the number of participants who fail to complete the program.
      6. On or before July 1, 2015, and every three years thereafter, the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall conduct a performance peer review of the drug court divisions for the purpose of improving drug court division policies and practices and the certification and recertification process.
    4. The court instituting the drug court division may request the prosecuting attorney for the jurisdiction to designate one or more prosecuting attorneys to serve in the drug court division and may request the public defender, if any, to designate one or more assistant public defenders to serve in the drug court division.
    5. The clerk of the court instituting the drug court division or such clerk's designee shall serve as the clerk of the drug court division.
    6. The court instituting the drug court division may request community supervision officers and other employees of the court to perform duties for the drug court division. Such employees shall perform duties as directed by the judges of the drug court division.
    7. The court instituting the drug court division may enter into agreements with other courts and agencies for the assignment of personnel from other courts and agencies to the drug court division.
    8. Expenses for salaries, equipment, services, and supplies incurred in implementing this Code section may be paid from state funds, funds of the county or political subdivision implementing such drug court division, federal grant funds, and funds from private donations.
    9. As used in this Code section, the term "risk and needs assessment" means an actuarial tool, approved by the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia and validated on a targeted population, scientifically proven to determine a person's risk to recidivate and to identify criminal risk factors that, when properly addressed, can reduce that person's likelihood of committing future criminal behavior.
    1. Each drug court division shall establish criteria which define the successful completion of the drug court division program.
    2. If the drug court division participant successfully completes the drug court division program prior to the entry of judgment, the case against the drug court division participant may be dismissed by the prosecuting attorney.
    3. If the drug court division participant successfully completes the drug court division program as part of a sentence imposed by the court, the sentence of the drug court division participant may be reduced or modified.
    4. Any plea of guilty or nolo contendere entered pursuant to this Code section may not be withdrawn without the consent of the court.
  1. Any statement made by a drug court division participant as part of participation in such court, or any report made by the staff of the court or program connected to the court, regarding a participant's substance usage shall not be admissible as evidence against the participant in any legal proceeding or prosecution; provided, however, if the participant violates the conditions of his or her participation in the program or is terminated from the drug court division, the reasons for the violation or termination may be considered in sanctioning, sentencing, or otherwise disposing of the participant's case.
  2. Nothing contained in this Code section shall be construed to permit a judge to impose, modify, or reduce a sentence below the minimum sentence required by law.
  3. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, drug court division staff shall be provided, upon request, with access to all records relevant to the treatment of the drug court division participant from any state or local government agency. All such records and the contents thereof shall be treated as confidential, shall not be disclosed to any person outside of the drug court division, and shall not be subject to Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50, relating to open records, or subject to subpoena, discovery, or introduction into evidence in any civil or criminal proceeding. Such records and the contents thereof shall be maintained by the drug court division and originating court in a confidential file not available to the public.
  4. Any fees received by a drug court division from a drug court division participant as payment for substance abuse treatment and services shall not be considered as court costs or a fine.
  5. The court may have the authority to accept grants and donations and other proceeds from outside sources for the purpose of supporting the drug court division. Any such grants, donations, or proceeds shall be retained by the drug court division for expenses.

(Code 1981, §15-1-15, enacted by Ga. L. 2005, p. 1505, § 2/HB 254; Ga. L. 2012, p. 899, § 2-1/HB 1176; Ga. L. 2015, p. 422, § 5-2/HB 310; Ga. L. 2015, p. 519, § 5-1/HB 328.)

Code Commission notes.

- Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2005, "or other drug" was substituted for "other drug," in the first sentence of paragraph (a)(2).

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2012, p. 899, § 9-1(a)/HB 1176, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2012, and shall apply to offenses which occur on or after that date. Any offense occurring before July 1, 2012, shall be governed by the statute in effect at the time of such offense and shall be considered a prior conviction for the purpose of imposing a sentence that provides for a different penalty for a subsequent conviction for the same type of offense, of whatever degree or level, pursuant to this Act."

Ga. L. 2015, p. 422, § 6-1/HB 310, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part, that the amendment by this Act shall apply to sentences entered on or after July 1, 2015.

Law reviews.

- For article, "Maintaining Judicial Independence in Drug Courts," see 13 Ga. St. B. J. 14 (2008). For article, "Courts: General Provisions," see 28 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 293 (2011). For article on the 2012 amendment of this Code section, see 29 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 290 (2012). For article on the 2015 amendment of this Code section, see 32 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 231 (2015). For note, "Give It to Me, I'm Worth It: The Need to Amend Georgia's Record Restriction Statute to Provide Ex-Offenders with a Second Chance in the Employment Sector," see 52 Ga. L. Rev. 267 (2017).

15-1-16. Mental health court divisions.

  1. As used in this Code section, the term:
    1. "Developmental disability" shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 37-1-1.
    2. "Mental illness" shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 37-1-1.
    3. "Risk and needs assessment" means an actuarial tool, approved by the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia and validated on a targeted population, scientifically proven to determine a person's risk to recidivate and to identify criminal risk factors that, when properly addressed, can reduce that person's likelihood of committing future criminal behavior.
    1. To achieve a reduction in recidivism and symptoms of mental illness among mentally ill offenders in criminal cases and to increase their likelihood of successful rehabilitation through early, continuous, and intense judicially supervised treatment, any court that has jurisdiction over a criminal case in which a defendant has a mental illness or developmental disability, or a co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse disorder, may establish a mental health court division to provide an alternative to the traditional judicial system for disposition of such cases. A mental health court division will bring together mental health professionals, local social programs, and intensive judicial monitoring.
    2. In any criminal case in which a defendant suffers from a mental illness or developmental disability, or a co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse disorder, and the defendant meets the eligibility criteria for the mental health court division, the court may refer the case to the mental health court division:
      1. Prior to the entry of the sentence, if the prosecuting attorney consents;
      2. As part of a sentence in a case; or
      3. Upon consideration of a petition to revoke probation.
    3. Each mental health court division shall establish a planning group to develop a written work plan. The planning group shall include judges, prosecuting attorneys, sheriffs or their designees, public defenders, community supervision officers, and persons having expertise in the field of mental health. The work plan shall address the operational, coordination, resource, information management, and evaluation needs of the mental health court division. The work plan shall include mental health court division policies and practices related to implementing the standards and practices developed pursuant to paragraph (4) of this subsection. The work plan shall ensure a risk and needs assessment is used to identify the likelihood of recidivating and identify the needs that, when met, reduce recidivism. The work plan shall ensure that mental health court division eligibility shall be focused on moderate-risk and high-risk offenders as determined by a risk and needs assessment. The mental health court division shall combine judicial supervision, treatment of mental health court division participants, and drug and mental health testing. Defendants charged with murder, murder in the second degree, armed robbery, rape, aggravated sodomy, aggravated sexual battery, aggravated child molestation, or child molestation shall not be eligible for entry into the mental health court division, except in the case of a separate court supervised reentry program designed to more closely monitor mentally ill offenders returning to the community after having served a term of incarceration. Any such court supervised community reentry program for mentally ill offenders shall be subject to the work plan as provided for in this paragraph.
      1. The Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall establish standards and practices for mental health court divisions taking into consideration guidelines and principles based on current research and findings published by expert organizations, including, but not limited to, the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Council of State Governments Consensus Project, and the National GAINS Center, relating to practices shown to reduce recidivism of offenders with mental illness or developmental disabilities. Standards and practices shall include, but shall not be limited to, the use of a risk and needs assessment to identify the likelihood of recidivating and identify the needs that, when met, reduce recidivism. The Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall update its standards and practices to incorporate research, findings, and developments in the mental health court field. Each mental health court division shall adopt policies and practices that are consistent with the standards and practices published by the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia.
      2. The Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall provide technical assistance to mental health court divisions to assist them with the implementation of policies and practices, including, but not limited to, guidance on the implementation of risk and needs assessments in mental health court divisions.
      3. The Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall create and manage a certification and peer review process to ensure mental health court divisions are adhering to the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia's standards and practices and shall create a waiver process for mental health court divisions to seek an exception to the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia's standards and practices. In order to receive state appropriated funds, any mental health court division established on and after July 1, 2013, shall be certified pursuant to this subparagraph or, for good cause shown to the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia, shall receive a waiver from the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia.
      4. On and after July 1, 2013, the award of any state funds for a mental health court division shall be conditioned upon a mental health court division attaining certification or a waiver by the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia. On or before September 1, the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall publish an annual report listing certified mental health court divisions.
      5. Pursuant to Code Section 15-5-24, the Administrative Office of the Courts shall develop and manage an electronic information system for performance measurement and accept submission of performance data in a consistent format from all mental health court divisions. The Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall identify elements necessary for performance measurement, including, but not limited to, recidivism, the number of moderate-risk and high-risk participants in a mental health court division, drug testing results, drug testing failures, the number of participants who successfully complete the program, and the number of participants who fail to complete the program.
      6. On or before July 1, 2015, and every three years thereafter, the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall conduct a performance peer review of the mental health court divisions for the purpose of improving mental health court division policy and practices and the certification and recertification process.
    4. The court instituting the mental health court division may request the district attorney for the judicial circuit or solicitor-general for the state court for the jurisdiction to designate one or more prosecuting attorneys to serve in the mental health court division and may request the circuit public defender, if any, to designate one or more assistant public defenders to serve in the mental health court division.
    5. The clerk of the court instituting the mental health court division or such clerk's designee shall serve as the clerk of the mental health court division.
    6. The court instituting the mental health court division may request other employees of the court to perform duties for the mental health court division. Such employees shall perform duties as directed by the judges of the mental health court division.
    7. The court instituting the mental health court division may enter into agreements with other courts and agencies for the assignment of personnel from other courts and agencies to the mental health court division, including probation supervision.
    8. Expenses for salaries, equipment, services, and supplies incurred in implementing this Code section may be paid from state funds, funds of the county or political subdivision implementing such mental health court division, federal grant funds, and funds from private donations.
    1. Each mental health court division shall establish written criteria that define the successful completion of the mental health court division program.
    2. If the mental health court division participant successfully completes the mental health court division program prior to the entry of judgment, the case against the mental health court division participant may be dismissed by the prosecuting attorney.
    3. If the mental health court division participant successfully completes the mental health court division program as part of a sentence imposed by the court, the sentence of the mental health court division participant may be reduced or modified.
    4. Any plea of guilty or nolo contendere entered pursuant to this Code section shall not be withdrawn without the consent of the court.
  2. Any statement made by a mental health court division participant as part of participation in such court, or any report made by the staff of the court or program connected to the court, regarding a participant's mental health shall not be admissible as evidence against the participant in any legal proceeding or prosecution; provided, however, that if the participant violates the conditions of his or her participation in the division or is terminated from the mental health court division, the reasons for the violation or termination may be considered in sanctioning, sentencing, or otherwise disposing of the participant's case.
  3. Nothing contained in this Code section shall be construed to permit a judge to impose, modify, or reduce a sentence below the minimum sentence required by law.
  4. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, mental health court division staff shall be provided, upon request, with access to all records relevant to the treatment of the mental health court division participant from any state or local government agency, except records declared confidential by Code Section 49-5-40 to which access may be obtained pursuant to Code Section 49-5-41. All records and the contents thereof shall be treated as confidential, shall not be disclosed to any person outside of the mental health court division, and shall not be subject to Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50 or subject to subpoena, discovery, or introduction into evidence in any civil or criminal proceeding. Such records and the contents thereof shall be maintained by the mental health court division and originating court in a confidential file not available to the public.
  5. Any fees received by a mental health court division from a mental health court division participant as payment for mental health treatment and services shall not be considered as court costs or a fine.
  6. The court shall have the authority to accept grants and donations and other proceeds from outside sources for the purpose of supporting the mental health court division. Any such grants, donations, or proceeds shall be retained by the mental health court division for expenses.

(Code 1981, §15-1-16, enacted by Ga. L. 2011, p. 224, § 1/SB 39; Ga. L. 2012, p. 899, § 2-2/HB 1176; Ga. L. 2014, p. 444, § 2-1/HB 271; Ga. L. 2014, p. 866, § 15/SB 340; Ga. L. 2015, p. 5, § 15/HB 90; Ga. L. 2015, p. 422, § 5-3/HB 310; Ga. L. 2015, p. 519, § 5-2/HB 328.)

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2012, p. 899, § 9-1(a)/HB 1176, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2012, and shall apply to offenses which occur on or after that date. Any offense occurring before July 1, 2012, shall be governed by the statute in effect at the time of such offense and shall be considered a prior conviction for the purpose of imposing a sentence that provides for a different penalty for a subsequent conviction for the same type of offense, of whatever degree or level, pursuant to this Act."

Ga. L. 2015, p. 422, § 6-1/HB 310, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part, that the amendment by this Act shall apply to sentences entered on or after July 1, 2015.

Law reviews.

- For article on the 2011 enactment of this Code section, see 28 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 293 (2011). For article, "Courts: General Provisions," see 28 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 293 (2011). For article on the 2012 amendment of this Code section, see 29 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 290 (2012). For article on the 2015 amendment of this Code section, see 32 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 231 (2015). For note, "Give It to Me, I'm Worth It: The Need to Amend Georgia's Record Restriction Statute to Provide Ex-Offenders with a Second Chance in the Employment Sector," see 52 Ga. L. Rev. 267 (2017).

15-1-17. Veterans court divisions.

  1. As used in this Code section, the term:
    1. "VA" means the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
    2. "Veteran" means a person who is a former member of the armed forces of the United States or a state's National Guard.
    1. Any court that has jurisdiction over criminal cases may establish a veterans court division to provide an alternative to the traditional judicial system for disposition of cases in which the defendant is a veteran.
    2. In any criminal case in which a defendant is a veteran and the defendant meets the eligibility criteria for the veterans court division, the court may refer the case to the veterans court division:
      1. Prior to the entry of the sentence, if the prosecuting attorney consents;
      2. As part of a sentence in a case; or
      3. Upon consideration of a petition to revoke probation.
    3. Each veterans court division shall establish a planning group to develop a written work plan. The planning group shall include judges, prosecuting attorneys, sheriffs or their designees, public defenders, community supervision officers, and persons having expertise in services available to veterans. The work plan shall address the operational, coordination, resource, information management, and evaluation needs of the veterans court division. The work plan shall include veterans court division policies and practices related to implementing the standards and practices developed pursuant to paragraph (4) of this subsection. The veterans court division shall combine judicial supervision, treatment of veterans court division participants, and drug and mental health testing. The work plan shall include eligibility criteria for the veterans court division. Defendants charged with murder, armed robbery, rape, aggravated sodomy, aggravated sexual battery, aggravated child molestation, or child molestation shall not be eligible for entry into the veterans court division, except in the case of a separate court supervised reentry program designed to more closely monitor veterans returning to the community after having served a term of incarceration. Any such court supervised community reentry program for mentally ill offenders shall be subject to the work plan as provided for in this paragraph.
      1. The Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall adopt standards and practices for veterans court divisions, taking into consideration guidelines and principles based on available current research and findings published by experts on veterans' health needs and treatment options, including, but not limited to, the VA and the Georgia Department of Veterans Service. The Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall update its standards and practices to incorporate research, findings, and developments in the veterans court field if any such research, findings, or developments are created. Each veterans court division shall adopt policies and practices that will be consistent with any standards and practices published by the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia.
      2. The Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall provide technical assistance to veterans court divisions to assist them with the implementation of policies and practices, including, but not limited to, guidance on the implementation of risk and needs assessments in veterans court divisions.
      3. The Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall create and manage a certification and peer review process to ensure veterans court divisions are adhering to the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia's standards and practices and shall create a waiver process for veterans court divisions to seek an exception to the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia's standards and practices. In order to receive state appropriated funds, any veterans court division established on and after July 1, 2017, shall be certified pursuant to this subparagraph or, for good cause shown to the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia, shall receive a waiver from the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia.
      4. On and after July 1, 2017, the award of any state funds for a veterans court division shall be conditioned upon a veterans court division attaining certification or a waiver by the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia. On or before September 1, the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall publish an annual report listing certified veterans court divisions.
      5. The Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia and the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform shall develop and manage an electronic information system for performance measurement and accept submission of performance data in a consistent format from all veterans court divisions. The Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall identify elements necessary for performance measurement, including, but not limited to, recidivism, the number of moderate-risk and high-risk participants in a veterans court division, drug testing results, drug testing failures, participant employment, the number of participants who successfully complete the program, and the number of participants who fail to complete the program.
      6. On or before July 1, 2018, and every three years thereafter, the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall conduct a performance peer review of the veterans court divisions for the purpose of improving veterans court division policies and practices and the certification and recertification process.
    4. The court instituting the veterans court division may request the district attorney for the judicial circuit or solicitor-general for the state court for the jurisdiction to designate one or more prosecuting attorneys to serve in the veterans court division and may request the circuit public defender, if any, to designate one or more assistant public defenders to serve in the veterans court division.
    5. The clerk of the court instituting the veterans court division or such clerk's designee shall serve as the clerk of the veterans court division.
    6. The court instituting the veterans court division may request other employees of the court to perform duties for the veterans court division. Such employees shall perform duties as directed by the judges of the veterans court division.
    7. The court instituting the veterans court division may enter into agreements with other courts and agencies for the assignment of personnel from other courts and agencies to the veterans court division, including probation supervision.
    8. Expenses for salaries, equipment, services, and supplies incurred in implementing this Code section may be paid from state funds, funds of the county or political subdivision implementing such veterans court division, federal grant funds, and funds from private donations.
    1. Each veterans court division shall establish written criteria that define the successful completion of the veterans court division program.
    2. If the veterans court division participant successfully completes the veterans court division program prior to the entry of judgment, the case against the veterans court division participant may be dismissed by the prosecuting attorney.
    3. If the veterans court division participant successfully completes the veterans court division program as part of a sentence imposed by the court, the sentence of the veterans court division participant may be reduced or modified.
    4. Any plea of guilty or nolo contendere entered pursuant to this Code section shall not be withdrawn without the consent of the court.
  2. Any statement made by a veterans court division participant as part of participation in such court, or any report made by the staff of the court or program connected to the court, regarding a participant's mental health shall not be admissible as evidence against the participant in any legal proceeding or prosecution; provided, however, that if the participant violates the conditions of his or her participation in the division or is terminated from the veterans court division, the reasons for the violation or termination may be considered in sanctioning, sentencing, or otherwise disposing of the participant's case.
  3. Nothing contained in this Code section shall be construed to permit a judge to impose, modify, or reduce a sentence below the minimum sentence required by law.
  4. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, veterans court division staff shall be provided, upon request, with access to all records relevant to the treatment of the veterans court division participant from any state or local government agency, except records declared confidential by Code Section 49-5-40 to which access may be obtained pursuant to Code Section 49-5-41. All records and the contents thereof shall be treated as confidential, shall not be disclosed to any person outside of the veterans court division, and shall not be subject to Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50 or subject to subpoena, discovery, or introduction into evidence in any civil or criminal proceeding. Such records and the contents thereof shall be maintained by the veterans court division and originating court in a confidential file not available to the public.
  5. Any fees received by a veterans court division from a veterans court division participant as payment for veterans services shall not be considered as court costs or a fine.
  6. The court shall have the authority to accept grants, donations, and other proceeds from outside sources for the purpose of supporting the veterans court division. Any such grants, donations, or proceeds shall be retained by the veterans court division for expenses and shall be accounted for as set forth in subparagraph (b)(4)(F) of this Code section.

(Code 1981, §15-1-17, enacted by Ga. L. 2014, p. 79, § 2/SB 320; Ga. L. 2015, p. 422, § 5-4/HB 310; Ga. L. 2015, p. 519, § 5-3/HB 328; Ga. L. 2017, p. 585, § 1-1/SB 174.)

Cross references.

- Returning Veterans Task Force, § 38-4-90 et seq.

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2014, p. 79, § 1/SB 320, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "The General Assembly recognizes that veterans have provided and continue to provide an invaluable service to our country and this state. In connection with a veteran's service, some servicemen and servicewomen have incurred physical, emotional, or mental impairments which cause or contribute to behaviors that may draw a veteran into the criminal justice system. The General Assembly has determined that having dedicated veterans court divisions is important to address the specialized treatment needs of veterans and that there are resources, services, and treatment options that are unique to veterans that may best facilitate a veteran's reentry into society."

Ga. L. 2015, p. 422, § 6-1/HB 310, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part, that the amendment by this Act shall apply to sentences entered on or after July 1, 2015.

Law reviews.

- For article, "The Emory Law Volunteer Clinic for Veterans: Serving Those Who Served," see 19 Ga. St. B. J. 26 (Feb. 2014). For article on the 2015 amendment of this Code section, see 32 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 231 (2015). For annual survey of criminal law, see 67 Mercer L. Rev. 31 (2015). For article on the 2017 amendment of this Code section, see 34 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 115 (2017).

15-1-18. Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia; creation; membership; funding; support.

  1. As used in this Code section, the term:
    1. "Accountability court" means a superior, state, or juvenile court that has a drug court division, mental health court division, veterans court division, or operating under the influence court division or a juvenile court that has a family treatment court division.
    2. "Council" means the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia.
  2. There is created an accountability court judges' council to be known as the "Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia." Such council shall be composed of the judges, senior judges, and judges emeriti of the accountability courts of this state.
  3. The council shall be authorized to organize itself and to develop a constitution and bylaws. The council shall promulgate rules and regulations as it deems necessary. The council shall annually elect a chairperson from among its membership. The council may appoint such committees as it considers necessary to carry out its duties and responsibilities, including appointing judges serving in other courts to serve in an advisory capacity to the council.
  4. It shall be the purpose of the council to effectuate the constitutional and statutory responsibilities conferred upon it by law and to further the improvement of accountability courts, the quality and expertise of the judges thereof, and the administration of justice.
  5. Expenses of the administration of the council shall be paid from state funds appropriated for that purpose, from federal funds available to the council for such purpose, or from other appropriate sources. The council shall be authorized to accept and use gifts, grants, and donations for the purposes of carrying out this Code section. The council shall be authorized to accept and use property, both real and personal, and services for the purposes of carrying out this Code section.
  6. The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council shall provide technical services to the council and shall assist the council in complying with all its legal requirements.
  7. The Administrative Office of the Courts shall provide the council with office space and administrative support, including staff for record keeping, reporting, and related administrative and clerical functions.
  8. Appropriations to the Administrative Office of the Courts for functions transferred to the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council pursuant to this Code section shall be transferred as provided in Code Section 45-12-90. Personnel previously employed by the Administrative Office of the Courts and equipment and facilities of the Administrative Office of the Courts shall likewise be transferred to the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. Such transfers shall be as determined by the director of the Administrative Office of the Courts.

(Code 1981, §15-1-18, enacted by Ga. L. 2015, p. 519, § 5-4/HB 328; Ga. L. 2016, p. 443, § 1-1/SB 367.)

Law reviews.

- For article on the 2016 amendment of this Code section, see 33 Georgia St. U.L. Rev. 139 (2016).

15-1-19. Creation of operating under the influence court divisions; organization and functions.

    1. As used in this subsection, the term "risk and needs assessment" means an actuarial tool, approved by the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia and validated on a targeted population, scientifically proven to determine an individual's risk to recidivate and to identify criminal risk factors that, when properly addressed, can reduce such individual's likelihood of committing future criminal behavior.
    2. Any superior, state, or juvenile court that has jurisdiction over a violation of Code Section 40-6-391 or 52-7-12 may establish an operating under the influence court division to provide an alternative to the traditional judicial system for disposition of such cases.
    3. In any case which arises from a violation of Code Section 40-6-391 or 52-7-12 or is ancillary to such conduct and the defendant meets the eligibility criteria for the operating under the influence court division, the court may assign the case to the operating under the influence court division:
      1. Prior to the entry of the sentence, if the prosecuting attorney consents;
      2. As part of a sentence in a case; or
      3. Upon consideration of a petition to revoke probation.
    4. Each operating under the influence court division shall establish a planning group to develop a work plan. The planning group shall include the judges, prosecuting attorneys, public defenders, community supervision officers, probation officers serving pursuant to Article 6 of Chapter 8 of Title 42, and persons having expertise in the field of substance abuse. The work plan shall address the operational, coordination, resource, information management, and evaluation needs of the operating under the influence court division. The work plan shall include operating under the influence court division policies and practices related to implementing the standards and practices developed pursuant to paragraph (5) of this subsection. The work plan shall ensure a risk and needs assessment is used to identify the likelihood of recidivating and identify the needs that, when met, reduce recidivism. The work plan also shall ensure that operating under the influence court division eligibility shall be focused on moderate-risk and high-risk offenders as determined by a risk and needs assessment. The operating under the influence court division shall combine judicial supervision, treatment of operating under the influence court division participants, and drug testing.
      1. The Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall establish standards and practices for operating under the influence court divisions, taking into consideration guidelines and principles based on current research and findings that are published by the National Drug Court Institute, the National Center for DWI Courts, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and related to practices shown to reduce recidivism of offenders with alcohol or drug abuse problems. Standards and practices shall include, but shall not be limited to, the use of a risk and needs assessment to identify the likelihood of recidivating and identify the needs that, when met, reduce recidivism. The Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall update its standards and practices to incorporate research, findings, and developments in the operating under the influence court field. Each operating under the influence court division shall adopt policies and practices that are consistent with the standards and practices published by the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia.
      2. The Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall provide technical assistance to operating under the influence court divisions to assist them with the implementation of policies and practices, including, but not limited to, guidance on the implementation of risk and needs assessments in operating under the influence court divisions.
      3. The Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall create and manage a certification and peer review process to ensure operating under the influence court divisions are adhering to the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia's standards and practices and shall create a waiver process for operating under the influence court divisions to seek an exception to the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia's standards and practices. In order to receive state appropriated funds, any operating under the influence court division established on and after July 1, 2017, shall be certified pursuant to this subparagraph or, for good cause shown to the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia, shall receive a waiver from the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia.
      4. On and after July 1, 2017, the award of any state funds for an operating under the influence court division shall be conditioned upon an operating under the influence court division attaining certification or a waiver by the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia. On or before September 1, the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall publish an annual report listing certified operating under the influence court divisions.
      5. The Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall develop and manage an electronic information system for performance measurement and accept submission of performance data in a consistent format from all operating under the influence court divisions. The Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall identify elements necessary for performance measurement, including, but not limited to, recidivism, the number of moderate-risk and high-risk participants in an operating under the influence court division, drug testing results, drug testing failures, participant employment, the number of participants who successfully complete the program, and the number of participants who fail to complete the program.
      6. On or before July 1, 2017, and every three years thereafter, the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia shall conduct a performance peer review of the operating under the influence court divisions for the purpose of improving operating under the influence court division policies and practices and the certification and recertification process.
    5. A court instituting the operating under the influence court division may request the prosecuting attorney for the jurisdiction to designate one or more prosecuting attorneys to serve in the operating under the influence court division and may request the public defender, if any, to designate one or more assistant public defenders to serve in the operating under the influence court division.
    6. The clerk of court for the court that is instituting the operating under the influence court division or such clerk's designee shall serve as the clerk of the operating under the influence court division.
    7. The court instituting the operating under the influence court division may request community supervision officers, probation officers serving pursuant to Article 6 of Chapter 8 of Title 42, and other employees of the court to perform duties for the operating under the influence court division. Such individuals shall perform duties as directed by the judges of the operating under the influence court division.
    8. The court instituting the operating under the influence court division may enter into agreements with other courts, agencies, and private corporations, private enterprises, private agencies, or private entities providing services pursuant to Article 6 of Chapter 8 of Title 42 for the assignment of personnel from such other entities to the operating under the influence court division.
    9. Expenses for salaries, equipment, services, and supplies incurred in implementing this Code section may be paid from state funds, funds of the county or political subdivision implementing such operating under the influence court division, federal grant funds, and funds from private donations.
    1. Each operating under the influence court division shall establish criteria which define the successful completion of the operating under the influence court division program.
    2. If the operating under the influence court division participant successfully completes the operating under the influence court division program as part of a sentence imposed by the court:
      1. A judge presiding in such court division shall not order the dismissal of any offense involving or arising from a violation of Code Section 40-6-391 or 52-7-12; and
      2. A judge presiding in such court division shall not order the restriction or vacation of a conviction of any offense involving or arising from a violation of Code Section 40-6-391 or 52-7-12.
    3. If the operating under the influence court division participant successfully completes the operating under the influence court division program as part of a sentence imposed by the court, the sentence of the operating under the influence court division participant may be reduced or modified.
    4. Any plea of guilty or nolo contendere entered pursuant to this Code section shall not be withdrawn without the consent of the court.
  1. Any statement made by an operating under the influence court division participant as part of participation in such court division, or any report made by the staff of such court division or program connected to such court division, regarding a participant's substance usage shall not be admissible as evidence against the participant in any legal proceeding or prosecution; provided, however, that, if the participant violates the conditions of his or her participation in the program or is terminated from the operating under the influence court division, the reasons for the violation or termination may be considered in sanctioning, sentencing, or otherwise disposing of the participant's case.
  2. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, operating under the influence court division staff shall be provided, upon request, with access to all records relevant to the treatment of the operating under the influence court division participant from any state or local government agency. All such records and the contents thereof shall be treated as confidential, shall not be disclosed to any person outside of the operating under the influence court division, and shall not be subject to Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50, relating to open records, or subject to subpoena, discovery, or introduction into evidence in any civil or criminal proceeding. Such records and the contents thereof shall be maintained by the operating under the influence court division and originating court in a confidential file not available to the public.
  3. Any fees received by an operating under the influence court division from an operating under the influence court division participant as payment for substance abuse treatment and services shall not be considered as court costs or a fine.
  4. The court may have the authority to accept grants, donations, and other proceeds from outside sources for the purpose of supporting the operating under the influence court division. Any such grants, donations, or proceeds shall be retained by the operating under the influence court division for expenses.

(Code 1981, §15-1-19, enacted by Ga. L. 2016, p. 443, § 1-2/SB 367.)

Code Commission notes.

- Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2016, Code Section 15-1-19, as enacted by Ga. L. 2016, p. 806, § 1/HB 808, was redesignated as Code Section 15-1-21.

Law reviews.

- For article on the 2016 enactment of this Code section, see 33 Georgia St. U.L. Rev. 139 (2016).

15-1-20. Definitions; restrictions on dissemination of criminal history record information; conditions under which inspection, copying, and use of restricted criminal history record information available.

  1. As used in this Code section, the term:
    1. "Accountability court" means a superior or state court that has a drug court division, mental health court division, or veterans court division or a juvenile court that has a family treatment court division.
    2. "Criminal history record information" shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 35-3-30.
    3. "Criminal justice agencies" shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 35-3-30.
    4. "Restrict," "restricted," or "restriction" means that criminal history record information shall not be disclosed or otherwise made available to any private persons or businesses pursuant to Code Section 35-3-34 or to governmental agencies or licensing and regulating agencies pursuant to Code Section 35-3-35.
  2. When a case is assigned to an accountability court and the defendant is required to complete a drug court division program, mental health court division program, veterans court division program, or family treatment court division program, as applicable, prior to the entry of the judgment, in contemplation that the defendant's case will be dismissed or nolle prossed, the court may, in its discretion, restrict the dissemination of the defendant's criminal history record information by the Georgia Crime Information Center for the prosecution of the case assigned to such court. The court shall specify the date such restriction shall take effect. The court may revoke such order at any time.
    1. Criminal history record information restricted pursuant to this Code section shall always be available for inspection, copying, and use:
      1. To criminal justice agencies for law enforcement or criminal investigative purposes or for purposes of criminal justice agency employment;
      2. To judicial officials;
      3. By the Judicial Qualifications Commission;
      4. By a prosecuting attorney or public defender who submits a sworn affidavit to the clerk of court that attests that such information is relevant to a criminal proceeding;
      5. Pursuant to a court order; and
      6. By an individual who is the subject of restricted criminal history record information upon court order.
    2. The confidentiality of such information shall be maintained insofar as practical.

(Code 1981, §15-1-20, enacted by Ga. L. 2016, p. 443, § 1-3/SB 367.)

Law reviews.

- For article on the 2016 enactment of this Code section, see 33 Georgia St. U.L. Rev. 139 (2016).

15-1-21. Judicial Qualifications Commission created; powers, composition, and appointment; term and removal of member; procedures; confidentiality.

  1. Pursuant to Article VI, Section VII, Paragraph VI of the Constitution, there is hereby created the Judicial Qualifications Commission, which shall have the power to discipline, remove, and cause involuntary retirement of judges in accordance with such Paragraph. As used in this Code section, the term "commission" means the Judicial Qualifications Commission.
  2. The commission shall consist of ten members who shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate.
  3. From January 1, 2017, until June 30, 2017, the members of the commission shall be as follows:
    1. Two judges of any court of record, appointed by the Supreme Court;
    2. One member of the State Bar of Georgia who shall have been an active status member of the State Bar of Georgia for at least ten years and shall be a registered voter of this state, appointed by the President of the Senate from a list of at least ten nominees from the board of governors of the State Bar of Georgia; provided, however, that if a nominee is not selected from such list, the board of governors shall submit another slate of ten nominees;
    3. One member of the State Bar of Georgia who shall have been an active status member of the State Bar of Georgia for at least ten years and shall be a registered voter of this state, appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives from a list of at least ten nominees from the board of governors of the State Bar of Georgia; provided, however, that if a nominee is not selected from such list, the board of governors shall submit another slate of ten nominees;
    4. One citizen member, who shall be a registered voter of this state but shall not be a member of the State Bar of Georgia, appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives;
    5. One citizen member, who shall be a registered voter of this state but shall not be a member of the State Bar of Georgia, appointed by the President of the Senate; and
    6. One member of the State Bar of Georgia, who shall have been an active status member of the State Bar of Georgia for at least ten years and shall be a registered voter of this state, appointed by the Governor to serve as chairperson of the commission.
  4. Effective July 1, 2017, the commission shall be reconstituted. The members serving on the commission immediately prior to July 1, 2017, shall cease to serve on that date, but such prior members shall be eligible for reappointment to succeed themselves or to fill another position on the commission as further set forth in subsection (f) of this Code section. The powers, functions, and duties of the former commission with regard to the investigation, discipline, removal, and involuntary retirement of judges are transferred to the commission created effective July 1, 2017; provided, however, that the formal advisory opinions, pending and former complaints and disciplinary actions, records, orders, contracts, agreements with judges, and rules of the former commission shall be retained by the commission created effective July 1, 2017. Appropriations to the former commission for functions transferred to the commission created effective July 1, 2017, shall be transferred to the commission created effective July 1, 2017, as provided for in Code Section 45-12-90. Personnel previously employed by the former commission and the equipment and facilities of the former commission for functions transferred to the commission created effective July 1, 2017, shall likewise be transferred to the commission created effective July 1, 2017.
    1. Effective July 1, 2017, the commission shall be divided into a seven-member investigative panel and a three-member hearing panel.
    2. The investigative panel shall be responsible for:
      1. The investigative, prosecutorial, and administrative functions of the commission;
      2. Promulgating rules of the commission as set forth in subsection (j) of this Code section;
      3. The selection of an individual to serve as the director of the commission who shall be an active status member of the State Bar of Georgia and who shall not engage in the practice of law, other than to represent the commission, or serve in a judicial capacity; and
      4. Authorization of employment of such additional staff as the commission deems necessary to carry out the powers assigned to the commission.
    3. The hearing panel shall be responsible for:
      1. Adjudicating formal charges filed by the investigative panel;
      2. Making recommendations to the Supreme Court as to disciplinary and incapacity orders; and
      3. Issuing formal advisory opinions on its own initiative or on the recommendation of the investigative panel, subject to review by the Supreme Court, regarding the Georgia Code of Judicial Conduct.
    1. As used in this subsection, the term:
      1. "Attorney" means a lawyer who has been an active status member of the State Bar of Georgia for at least ten years and is a registered voter in this state.
      2. "Citizen" means an individual who is neither an attorney nor a judge and who is a registered voter in this state.
      3. "Judge" means an elected or appointed public official who presides over a court of record.
    2. The State Bar of Georgia may recommend to the respective appointing authorities a list of the names of individuals for consideration to serve as attorney commission members.
      1. The seven members of the commission's investigative panel shall be appointed as follows:
        1. One attorney member shall be appointed by the Governor and shall serve a term of four years; provided, however, that the initial appointment shall be for two years, and thereafter, successors to such member shall serve terms of four years;
        2. Two judge members shall be appointed by the Supreme Court and each shall serve terms of four years; provided, however, that the initial appointments shall be for two and four years, respectively, as designated by the Supreme Court for each appointment, and thereafter, successors to such members shall serve terms of four years;
        3. Two members, consisting of one attorney and one citizen, shall be appointed by the President of the Senate and each shall serve terms of four years; provided, however, that the initial appointment of the attorney member shall be for four years and the initial appointment of the citizen member shall be for one year, and thereafter, successors to such members shall serve terms of four years; and
        4. Two members, consisting of one attorney and one citizen, shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and each shall serve terms of four years; provided, however, that the initial appointment of the attorney member shall be for three years and the initial appointment of the citizen member shall be for two years, and thereafter, successors to such members shall serve terms of four years.
      2. The investigative panel members shall annually elect a chairperson and vice chairperson for such panel.
      1. The three members of the commission's hearing panel shall be appointed as follows:
        1. One citizen member shall be appointed by the Governor for a term of four years and his or her successors shall serve terms of four years; and
        2. One judge member and one attorney member shall be appointed by the Supreme Court and each shall serve terms of four years; provided, however, that the initial appointment of the judge member shall be for three years and the initial appointment of the attorney member shall be for one year, and thereafter, successors to such members shall serve terms of four years.
      2. The judge member shall serve as the presiding officer of such panel.
    3. All members' initial terms shall begin on July 1, 2017, and their successors' terms shall begin on July 1 following their appointment.
    4. A commission member shall be eligible to serve so long as he or she retains his or her status as an attorney, citizen, or judge, but a vacancy shall be created by operation of law when he or she no longer has the designation for which he or she was appointed. Any vacancy for a member shall be filled by the appointing authority, and such appointee shall serve the balance of the vacating member's unexpired term; provided, however, that if the appointing authority fails to fill a vacancy within 60 days of being notified of such vacancy by the commission, the Governor shall appoint a replacement member from the same category of member. Any member of the commission may serve two full terms. Any member appointed pursuant to subsection (c) of this Code section, for an initial term as provided by this subsection, or to fill a vacancy may serve an additional two full terms.
    1. The names of the appointees required by this Code section shall be submitted by the appointing authorities to the Senate no later than the third Monday in January. Any member appointed to the commission shall serve until the Senate confirms such appointee, and if an individual's name is not submitted by such deadline, he or she shall not be eligible for confirmation.
    2. If an appointee is not confirmed by the Senate, the appointing authority shall promptly submit another appointee's name, notwithstanding the deadline expressed in paragraph (1) of this subsection.
    3. If the Senate is not in session at the time an appointee's term begins or a vacancy is created, an appointee for such term or to fill such vacancy shall be effective until his or her name can be submitted to the Senate and his or her appointment can be confirmed at the next regular session.
  5. Members and staff of the hearing panel shall not engage in any ex parte communications regarding a disciplinary or incapacity matter of a judge, including with members and staff of the investigative panel.
    1. Each member of the commission shall be entitled to vote on any matter coming before his or her respective panel unless otherwise provided by rules adopted by the commission concerning recusal. The chairperson of the investigative panel and the presiding officer of the hearing panel shall retain a vote on all matters except those in which such chairperson or presiding officer has been recused. No commission member present at a panel meeting shall abstain from voting unless he or she is recused. The rules of the commission shall establish grounds for recusal and the process for allowing a temporary replacement of a commission member in such circumstance.
      1. As used in this paragraph, the term "for cause" shall include indictment for or conviction of a felony or any offense involving moral turpitude; misconduct, malpractice, malfeasance, misfeasance, nonfeasance, or incapacity; failure to attend three or more panel meetings or hearings in a one-year period without good and sufficient reason; or abstaining from voting, unless recused.
      2. Removal of a panel member for cause shall be by a unanimous vote of all of the appointing authorities for the members of that particular panel.
    2. A quorum of the investigative panel shall require at least four members to be present and shall consist of at least one judge, one attorney, and one citizen. A quorum of the hearing panel shall require all members to be present. A decision by a panel shall be by majority vote of the members present except for minor procedural or administrative matters assigned to the director, chairperson, or presiding officer, as applicable, for a decision as provided by the rules of the commission.
      1. Members of the commission shall serve without compensation but shall receive the same daily expense allowance as members of the General Assembly receive, as set forth in Code Section 28-1-8, for each day such member is in physical attendance at a panel meeting or hearing, plus either reimbursement for actual transportation costs while traveling by public transportation or the same mileage allowance for use of a personal motor vehicle in connection with such attendance as members of the General Assembly receive.
      2. Notwithstanding subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, no member shall receive such expense allowance or travel reimbursement if he or she is entitled to receive an expense allowance, travel reimbursement, or salary for performance of duties as a state employee.
      3. Expense allowances and travel reimbursement shall be paid from moneys appropriated or otherwise available to the commission.
  6. The investigative panel shall promulgate rules for the commission's governance which comport with due process and are not otherwise provided by the Georgia Constitution or this Code section; provided, however, that such rules shall be effective only upon review and adoption by the Supreme Court. Such rules shall allow for a full investigation of a judge only upon the approval of the investigative panel, not upon the request of an individual panel member or the director. When a commission member receives information relating to the conduct of a judge, such member shall provide such information to the commission's director for appropriate action.
    1. All information regarding a disciplinary or incapacity matter of a judge shall be kept confidential by the investigative panel and commission staff before formal charges are filed; provided, however, that if prior to filing formal charges such judge and investigative panel agree to a satisfactory disposition of a disciplinary matter other than by a private admonition or deferred discipline agreement, a report of such disposition shall be publicly filed in the Supreme Court.
    2. After the filing and service of formal charges:
      1. With respect to an incapacity matter of a judge, all pleadings, information, hearings, and proceedings shall remain confidential; and
      2. With respect to a disciplinary matter of a judge, all pleadings and information shall be subject to disclosure to the public and all hearings and proceedings shall be open and available to the public except to the extent that such pleadings and information or hearings and proceedings could be properly sealed or closed by a court as provided by law.
    3. With respect to administrative and other matters, all records and information shall be subject to disclosure to the public and all meetings, or portions thereof, shall be open and available to the public except to the extent such records, information, and meetings would:
      1. Disclose disciplinary matters of a judge protected in paragraph (1) of this subsection;
      2. Disclose incapacity matters of a judge protected in paragraph (1) or subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) of this subsection;
      3. Be considered a matter subject to executive session, if the commission were considered to be an agency under Chapter 14 of Title 50; or
      4. Not be required under Code Section 50-18-72, if the commission were considered to be an agency.
    4. The work product of the commission and its staff and the deliberations of the commission shall remain confidential.
  7. Notwithstanding subsection (k) of this Code section, information regarding a disciplinary or incapacity matter of a judge may be disclosed or the confidentiality of such information may be removed, when:
    1. The privilege of confidentiality has been waived by the individual who was the subject of the commission's investigation; or
    2. The commission's rules provide for disclosure:
      1. In the interest of justice and to protect the public;
      2. When an emergency situation exists; or
      3. When a judge is under consideration for another state or federal position.
  8. Information submitted to the commission or its staff, and testimony given in any proceeding before the commission or one of its panels, shall be absolutely privileged, and no civil action predicated upon such information or testimony shall be instituted against any complainant, witness, or his or her counsel.
  9. A respondent who is recommended for public reprimand, censure, limitation on the performance of judicial duties, suspension, retirement, or removal shall be entitled to a copy of the proposed record to be filed with the Supreme Court, and if the respondent has objections to it, to have the record settled by the hearing panel's presiding officer. The hearing panel's recommendation as to an order in a disciplinary or incapacity matter shall be reviewed by the Supreme Court in accordance with its rules and the rules of the commission.
  10. When a judge knows that he or she is under investigation by the commission and a commission member is representing a party before such judge, the judge shall be disqualified from presiding over such matter.

(Code 1981, §15-1-21, enacted by Ga. L. 2016, p. 806, § 1/HB 808; Ga. L. 2017, p. 157, § 2-2/HB 126.)

Code Commission notes.

- Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2016, Code Section 15-1-19, as enacted by Ga. L. 2016, p. 806, § 1/HB 808, was redesignated as Code Section 15-1-21.

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2016, p. 806, § 2/HB 808, provided, in part, that this Code section "shall become effective on January 1, 2017, only if an amendment to the Constitution abolishing the existing Judicial Qualifications Commission and requiring the General Assembly to create and provide by general law for the composition and manner of appointment of a new Judicial Qualifications Commission, with such commission having the power to discipline, remove, and cause involuntary retirement of judges, and providing for exceptions to certain disclosures is ratified by the voters at the November, 2016, state-wide general election. If such an amendment is not so ratified, then this Act shall not become effective and shall stand repealed on January 1, 2017." That amendment was ratified by the voters in the November 2016 General Election.

Ga. L. 2017, p. 157, § 1-1/HB 126, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Part I of this Act shall be known and may be cited as 'The Judicial Qualifications Commission Improvement Act of 2017.'"

15-1-22. Exclusive agreement for electronic filing service prohibited.

On and after January 1, 2019, no court or clerk of court shall enter into any exclusive agreement or contract that prohibits more than one electronic filing service provider to serve a court or clerk of court; provided, however, that such prohibition shall not require a court or clerk of court to enter into more than one agreement or contract with an electronic service provider.

(Code 1981, §15-1-22, enacted by Ga. L. 2018, p. 550, § 1A-2/SB 407.)

Effective date.

- This Code section became effective July 1, 2018.

Law reviews.

- For article on the 2018 enactment of this Code section, see 35 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 45 (2018).

CHAPTER 2 SUPREME COURT

Article 1 General Provisions.
Article 2 Clerk of the Supreme Court.
Cross references.

- Generally, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. VI, Para. I et seq.

Qualifications for Justices of Supreme Court, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. VII, Para. II.

Compensation and allowances for Justices of Supreme Court, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. VII, Para. V and § 45-7-1 et seq.

ARTICLE 1 GENERAL PROVISIONS

Law reviews.

- For article, "Courts: Juvenile Justice Reform," see 30 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 63 (2013).

15-2-1. One supreme judicial district.

The entire state shall constitute one supreme judicial district.

(Orig. Code 1863, § 46; Code 1868, § 44; Code 1873, § 42; Code 1882, § 42; Civil Code 1895, § 5493; Civil Code 1910, § 6098; Code 1933, § 24-3701.)

15-2-1.1. Number of Justices.

The Supreme Court shall consist of nine Justices.

(Code 1981, §15-2-1.1, enacted by Ga. L. 1987, p. 324, § 1; Ga. L. 2016, p. 883, § 4-1/HB 927.)

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2016, p. 883, § 1-1/HB 927, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "This Act shall be known and may be cited as the 'Appellate Jurisdiction Reform Act of 2016.'"

Ga. L. 2016, p. 883, § 6-1(d)/HB 927, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "Part IV of this Act shall only become effective if funds are appropriated for the purpose of Part IV of this Act in an appropriations Act enacted at the 2016 regular session of the General Assembly. If funds are so appropriated, then Part IV of this Act shall become effective on July 1, 2016, for purposes of making the initial appointments of the Supreme Court Justices created by this Act, and for all other purposes Part IV of this Act shall become effective on January 1, 2017. If funds are not so appropriated, then Part IV of this Act shall not become effective and shall stand repealed on July 1, 2016." Funds were appropriated at the 2016 regular session.

Law reviews.

- For article on the 2016 amendment of this Code section, see 33 Georgia St. U.L. Rev. 205 (2016).

15-2-2. When Justice providentially prevented from attending.

Whenever one or more of the Justices of the Supreme Court are unable from providential cause to preside in any case and the parties desire a full bench, it shall be the duty of the remaining Justices to designate a judge or judges of the superior court to preside in the place of the absent Justice or Justices of the Supreme Court.

(Ga. L. 1888, p. 40, § 1; Civil Code 1895, § 5506; Civil Code 1910, § 6109; Code 1933, § 24-4008.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Cited in Johnson v. Walls, 185 Ga. 177, 194 S.E. 380 (1937); Stokes v. Fortson, 234 F. Supp. 575 (N.D. Ga. 1964).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 46 Am. Jur. 2d, Judges, § 218 et seq.

C.J.S.

- 48A C.J.S., Judges, §§ 37, 40, 41.

15-2-3. Oath of Justices; compensation.

  1. Before entering on the discharge of their duties, the Justices shall take the oath prescribed for judges of the superior courts, along with all other oaths required for civil officers.
    1. The annual salary of each Justice of the Supreme Court shall be as specified in Code Section 45-7-4. Such salary shall be paid in equal monthly installments.
    2. The Justices shall receive expenses and allowances as provided in Code Section 45-7-20. If a Justice resides 50 miles or more from the judicial building in Atlanta, such Justice shall also receive a mileage allowance for the use of a personal motor vehicle when devoted to official business as provided for in Code Section 50-19-7, for not more than one round trip per calendar week to and from the Justice's residence and the judicial building in Atlanta by the most practical route, during each regular and extraordinary session of court. In the event a Justice travels by public carrier for any part of a round trip as provided above, such Justice shall receive a travel allowance of actual transportation costs for each such part in lieu of the mileage allowance. Transportation costs incurred by a Justice for air travel to and from the Justice's residence to the judicial building in Atlanta shall be reimbursed only to the extent that such costs do not exceed the cost of travel by personal motor vehicle. All allowances provided for in this paragraph shall be paid upon the submission of proper vouchers.
    3. If a Justice resides 50 miles or more from the judicial building in Atlanta, such Justice shall also receive the same daily expense allowance as members of the General Assembly receive, as set forth in Code Section 28-1-8, for not more than 35 days during each term of court. Such days shall be utilized only when official court business is being conducted. All allowances provided for in this paragraph shall be paid upon the submission of proper vouchers.
  2. The salary provided for in subsection (b) of this Code section shall be the total compensation to be paid by the state to the officials named in subsection (a) of this Code section and shall be in lieu of any and all other amounts to be paid from state funds.

(Orig. Code 1863, §§ 205, 1578; Code 1868, §§ 199, 1640; Code 1873, §§ 212, 1646; Code 1882, §§ 212, 1646; Civil Code 1895, §§ 287, 5502; Ga. L. 1904, p. 72, § 1; Civil Code 1910, §§ 322, 6107; Code 1933, §§ 24-4004, 24-4005; Ga. L. 1957, p. 205, §§ 1, 3, 4; Ga. L. 1962, p. 3, §§ 1, 3; Ga. L. 1966, p. 72, § 1; Ga. L. 1970, p. 19, § 1; Ga. L. 1993, p. 1402, § 3; Ga. L. 2007, p. 424, § 1/HB 120; Ga. L. 2015, p. 919, § 1-1/HB 279; Ga. L. 2017, p. 122, § 1-1/HB 5.)

Code Commission notes.

- Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1993, "subsection (b)" was substituted for "subsection (a)" in subsection (c).

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2015, p. 919, § 4-1(b)/HB 279, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "(b)(1) Part I of this Act shall become effective only if funds are appropriated for purposes of Part I of this Act in an appropriations Act enacted at the 2015 regular session of the General Assembly.

"(2) If funds are so appropriated, then Part I of this Act shall become effective on July 1, 2015, for purposes of making the initial appointments of the Court of Appeals Judges created by Part I of this Act, and for all other purposes, Part I of this Act shall become effective on January 1, 2016.

"(3) If funds are not so appropriated, then Part I of this Act shall not become effective and shall stand repealed on July 1, 2015." Funds were appropriated at the 2015 session of the General Assembly.

Law reviews.

- For article discussing judicial compensation, see 14 Ga. St. B. J. 110 (1978). For article, "Annual Survey of Georgia Law: June 1, 2015 - May 31, 2016: Special Contribution: Open Chambers Revisited: Demystifying the Inner Workings and Culture of the Georgia Court of Appeals," see 68 Mercer L. Rev. 1 (2016).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 46 Am. Jur. 2d, Judges, § 10.

C.J.S.

- 21 C.J.S., Courts, § 121 et seq. 48A C.J.S., Judges, § 23.

15-2-4. Place of sessions; terms of court.

  1. The Supreme Court shall sit at the seat of government.
  2. Unless the Supreme Court by rule or order chooses to extend its terms of court, the terms shall be as follows:
    1. December term beginning the first Monday in December;
    2. April term beginning the first Monday in April; and
    3. August term beginning the first Monday in August.
  3. Each term shall continue until the business for that term has been disposed of by the court, provided that, unless sooner closed by order of the court, the August term shall end on November 18, the December term shall end on March 31, and the April term shall end on July 17. No judgment in a second-term case, other than a judgment on a motion for reconsideration in such case, shall be rendered during the last 15 days of any term. Disposition of first-term cases may be made during nonterm periods.

(Laws 1845, Cobb's 1851 Digest, p. 448; Code 1863, § 3158; Code 1868, § 3170; Code 1873, § 3238; Code 1882, § 3238; Ga. L. 1884-85, p. 45, § 1; Civil Code 1895, § 5494; Civil Code 1910, § 6099; Code 1933, § 24-3801; Ga. L. 1935, p. 161, § 1; Ga. L. 1983, p. 956, § 1; Ga. L. 1991, p. 430, § 1; Ga. L. 1993, p. 360, § 1; Ga. L. 2000, p. 1, § 1; Ga. L. 2016, p. 883, § 5-1/HB 927.)

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2016, p. 883, § 1-1/HB 927, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "This Act shall be known and may be cited as the 'Appellate Jurisdiction Reform Act of 2016.'"

Ga. L. 2016, p. 883, § 6-1(e)/HB 927, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "Part V of this Act shall become effective on December 5, 2016, and upon such date the December term of court shall begin as provided by this Act; provided, however, that the term of court which began on the first Monday in September, 2016, under the former provisions of Code Section 15-2-4 shall end on December 16, 2016."

Law reviews.

- For article on the 2016 amendment of this Code section, see 33 Georgia St. U.L. Rev. 205 (2016).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Rulemaking authority.

- Supreme Court has the authority under the Constitution to determine cases under such regulations as are prescribed by it. This was so because former Ga. Const. 1945, Art. VI, Sec. II, Para. VII, prevailed over this section. Fuller v. State, 232 Ga. 581, 208 S.E.2d 85 (1974).

Although former Ga. Const. 1945, Art. VI, Sec. II, Para. VII, relied upon in Fuller v. State, 232 Ga. 581, 208 S.E.2d 85 (1974), was not included in either the 1976 or the 1983 Constitution, the Supreme Court still may establish under the Supreme Court's inherent power whatever rules are necessary to determine the cases which come before the court. Shore v. Shore, 253 Ga. 183, 318 S.E.2d 57 (1984).

Power to suspend rules.

- Inherent power to make rules includes the concomitant power to suspend the rules in an appropriate case, enabling the Supreme Court to decide a case within the last 15 days of a term. Shore v. Shore, 253 Ga. 183, 318 S.E.2d 57 (1984).

Cited in Kinney v. Crow, 186 Ga. 851, 199 S.E. 198 (1938); Ramsey v. State, 212 Ga. 381, 92 S.E.2d 866 (1956); Tamplin v. State, 235 Ga. 774, 221 S.E.2d 455 (1975); R.J. v. State, 143 Ga. App. 213, 237 S.E.2d 691 (1977); Haygood v. City of Doraville, 256 Ga. 566, 350 S.E.2d 766 (1986); Stuckey v. Richardson, 188 Ga. App. 147, 372 S.E.2d 458 (1988); Namik v. Wachovia Bank of Ga., 279 Ga. 250, 612 S.E.2d 270 (2005); Gordon v. Dennis, 347 Ga. App. 110, 817 S.E.2d 561 (2018).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 20 Am. Jur. 2d, Courts, § 16 et seq.

C.J.S.

- 21 C.J.S., Courts, § 149 et seq.

ALR.

- Validity of court's judgment rendered on Sunday or holiday, 85 A.L.R.2d 595.

15-2-5. Place of hearing oral argument.

The Supreme Court may hear oral argument at places other than the seat of government. Reasonable notice shall be given of such hearings.

(Code 1933, § 24-3804, enacted by Ga. L. 1979, p. 1107, § 1.)

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 20 Am. Jur. 2d, Courts, § 20.

C.J.S.

- 21 C.J.S., Courts, § 151 et seq.

15-2-6. Duty of Justices to attend; quorum; adjournment.

It shall be the duty of all the Justices of the Supreme Court to attend each term thereof. However, if, from providential cause, any of the Justices cannot attend the court, the court may be held by a quorum as defined by Article VI, Section VI, Paragraph I of the Constitution of this state. If less than a quorum attend, the Justices attending may adjourn the court to any time agreed upon by the attending Justices.

(Laws 1845, Cobb's 1851 Digest, p. 448; Code 1863, § 3159; Code 1868, § 3171; Code 1873, § 3239; Ga. L. 1877, p. 94, § 2; Code 1882, § 3239; Civil Code 1895, § 5495; Civil Code 1910, § 6100; Code 1933, § 24-3802; Ga. L. 1945, p. 212, § 1; Ga. L. 1983, p. 3, § 50.)

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 20 Am. Jur. 2d, Courts, § 32.

C.J.S.

- 21 C.J.S., Courts, § 181 et seq.

15-2-7. Adjournment for providential cause.

When from providential cause the Supreme Court cannot be held at the time and place designated by law, it may be adjourned by order of the Justices or by a quorum thereof, in either term time or vacation, to some other convenient time and place; and the session then held shall be valid. Notice shall be given of such adjournment if possible.

(Orig. Code 1863, § 3160; Code 1868, § 3172; Code 1873, § 3240; Code 1882, § 3240; Civil Code 1895, § 5496; Civil Code 1910, § 6101; Code 1933, § 24-3803.)

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 20 Am. Jur. 2d, Courts, § 20.

C.J.S.

- 21 C.J.S., Courts, § 142 et seq.

15-2-8. Powers of court generally.

The Supreme Court has authority:

  1. To exercise appellate jurisdiction, and in no appellate case to hear facts or examine witnesses;
  2. To hear and determine all cases, civil and criminal, that may come before it; to grant judgments of affirmance or reversal, or any other order, direction, or decree required therein; and, if necessary, to make a final disposition of a case in the manner prescribed elsewhere in this Code;
  3. To grant any writ necessary to carry out any purpose of its organization or to compel any inferior tribunal or officers thereof to obey its order;
  4. To appoint its own officers and to commission any person to execute any specific order it may make;
  5. To establish, amend, and alter its own rules of practice and to regulate the admission of attorneys to the practice of law;
  6. To punish for contempt by the infliction of a fine as high as $500.00 or imprisonment not exceeding ten days, or both; and
  7. To exercise such other powers, not contrary to the Constitution of this state, as given to it by law. This paragraph shall not be interpreted to abrogate the inherent power of the court.

(Laws 1845, Cobb's 1851 Digest, pp. 450, 452; Code 1863, §§ 211, 4180; Code 1868, §§ 205, 4219; Code 1873, §§ 218, 4284; Code 1882, §§ 218, 4284; Civil Code 1895, § 5498; Penal Code 1895, § 1068; Civil Code 1910, § 6103; Penal Code 1910, § 1095; Code 1933, § 24-3901; Ga. L. 1986, p. 279, § 1; Ga. L. 2003, p. 334, § 1.)

Cross references.

- Exercise by Supreme Court of appellate jurisdiction generally, § 5-6-1 et seq.

Review of death sentences by Supreme Court, § 17-10-35 et seq.

Power of Justices of Supreme Court to appoint hearing examiners to hold hearings regarding continued involuntary hospitalization or habilitation of the mentally ill, §§ 37-3-84,37-7-84.

Law reviews.

- For article, "Jury Trials in Contempt Cases," see 20 Ga. B. J. 297 (1957). For note on the 2003 amendment to this Code section, see 20 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 175 (2003). For comment on Sams v. Olah, 225 Ga. 497, 169 S.E.2d 790 (1969), as to the constitutionality of the State Bar Act (see now O.C.G.A. § 15-19-30 et seq.), see 21 Mercer L. Rev. 355 (1969). For comment, "Encroachment, Loss of Five Yards: Government Attorneys and the No-Contact Rule's Place in Civil False Claims Act Investigations," see 68 Mercer L. Rev. 877 (2017).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

General Consideration

Not a court of first instance.

- Supreme Court is in no respect a court of first instance. Vanderford v. Brand, 126 Ga. 67, 54 S.E. 822, 9 Ann. Cas. 617 (1906).

No review of questions not ruled on by trial judge.

- Supreme Court is a court for the correction of errors, and has no original jurisdiction; the Supreme Court will not pass upon questions on which no ruling has ever been made by a trial judge. South View Cem. Ass'n v. Hailey, 199 Ga. 478, 34 S.E.2d 863 (1945).

If defendant in custody proceeding raises for first time on appeal, factual issues and an attack on the validity of the divorce, the questions cannot be considered by the Supreme Court. Beggs v. Beggs, 208 Ga. 415, 67 S.E.2d 135 (1951).

Constitutionality of statutes.

- If constitutional questions are raised for the first time in a petition for certiorari to the superior court from a judgment rendered in a recorder's court of Atlanta, the superior court could not consider, and the Supreme Court is without jurisdiction to review, the assignment of error that the ordinance under which the plaintiff in error was convicted in the recorder's court is unconstitutional. Worth v. Borough of Atlanta, 175 Ga. 377, 165 S.E. 245 (1932).

If statutes are not attacked as being unconstitutional in the trial court, such an attack, enumerated as error and argument in the brief of counsel before the Supreme Court, will not be passed upon. Turk v. State Hwy. Dep't, 226 Ga. 245, 174 S.E.2d 791 (1970).

Certification of question authorized.

- Court of Appeals was authorized to certify a question to the Supreme Court as to the constitutionality of retroactive application of the cap on damages recoverable against the state provided in O.C.G.A. § 50-21-26. Department of Human Resources v. Phillips, 223 Ga. App. 520, 478 S.E.2d 598 (1996).

Case sent by mistake to Court of Appeals retained on docket of Supreme Court.

- If a case is sent to the Court of Appeals by mistake, and the case is transmitted therefrom and decided to be within the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, such case will be retained and entered on the docket of that court for hearing and determination. Dawson v. State, 130 Ga. 127, 60 S.E. 315 (1908); Mitchell v. Masury, 132 Ga. 360, 64 S.E. 275 (1909).

Cited in Kelley v. State, 49 Ga. 12 (1873); Central R.R. & Banking Co. v. Kent, 91 Ga. 687, 18 S.E. 850 (1893); Comer v. Dufour, 95 Ga. 376, 22 S.E. 543, 51 Am. St. R. 89, 30 A.L.R. 300 (1895); Lester v. Wright, 145 Ga. 15, 88 S.E. 403 (1916); Smyly v. Globe & Rutgers Fire Ins. Co., 28 Ga. App. 776, 113 S.E. 220 (1922); Tice Co. v. Evans, 32 Ga. App. 385, 123 S.E. 742 (1924); Gore v. Humphries, 163 Ga. 106, 135 S.E. 481 (1926); Allen v. State, 164 Ga. 669, 139 S.E. 415 (1927); Wilkes County v. Mayor of Washington, 167 Ga. 181, 145 S.E. 47 (1928); Hornady v. Goodman, 167 Ga. 555, 146 S.E. 173 (1928); Burkhalter v. De Loach, 171 Ga. 384, 155 S.E. 513 (1930); AT & T Co. v. Sewell, 172 Ga. 787, 158 S.E. 800 (1931); Griffin v. Booth, 176 Ga. 1, 167 S.E. 294 (1932); Brooks v. Sturdivant, 177 Ga. 514, 170 S.E. 369 (1933); Jones v. Ellis, 182 Ga. 380, 185 S.E. 510 (1936); McRae v. Sears, 183 Ga. 133, 187 S.E. 664 (1936); Hadden v. Fuqua, 194 Ga. 621, 22 S.E.2d 377 (1942); Singleton v. State, 196 Ga. 136, 26 S.E.2d 736 (1943); Weatherford v. Weatherford, 204 Ga. 553, 50 S.E.2d 323 (1948); Parks v. State, 206 Ga. 675, 58 S.E.2d 142 (1950); Campbell v. Powell, 206 Ga. 768, 58 S.E.2d 829 (1950); Woods v. State, 117 Ga. App. 546, 160 S.E.2d 922 (1968); Lamb v. Nabers, 224 Ga. 396, 162 S.E.2d 336 (1968); Wallace v. Wallace, 225 Ga. 102, 166 S.E.2d 718 (1969); Raybestos-Manhattan, Inc. v. Moran, 248 Ga. 461, 284 S.E.2d 256 (1981); Waldrip v. Head, 272 Ga. 572, 532 S.E.2d 380 (2000), recons. denied; overruled on other grounds by Duke v. State, 829 S.E.2d 348, 2019 Ga. LEXIS 406 (Ga. 2019); Duke v. State, 306 Ga. 171, 829 S.E.2d 348 (2019).

Affirmance and Reversal

Duty of Supreme Court.

- It is the duty of the Supreme Court not only to grant judgments of affirmance or reversal, but any other order, direction, or decree required, and if necessary to make a final disposition of the cause. Harris v. Hull, 70 Ga. 831 (1883).

General authority of Supreme Court.

- Supreme Court is authorized to make final disposition of a case and to give the case such direction as is consistent with the law and justice applicable to the case, and as will prevent the unnecessary protraction of litigation. Robinson v. Wilkins, 74 Ga. 47 (1884); Ross v. Rambo, 195 Ga. 100, 23 S.E.2d 687 (1942).

One great purpose in establishing the Supreme Court (or the Court of Appeals) was to terminate suits, and with this view, it is made the court's duty not only to grant judgments of affirmance or reversal, but any other order, direction, or decree required, and if necessary to make a final disposition of the cause, and the court is empowered to give to the cause in the court below such direction as may be consistent with the law and justice of the case. Gray v. Watson, 54 Ga. App. 885, 189 S.E. 616 (1936).

General authority of Court of Appeals.

- Under Ga. Const. 1976, Art. VI, Sec. II, Para. VIII (see now Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. V, Para. III), the Court of Appeals has, as to cases within the court's peculiar jurisdiction, the same powers as the Supreme Court has within that court's jurisdiction. Finley v. Southern Ry., 5 Ga. App. 722, 64 S.E. 312 (1909).

Court of Appeals may make final disposition of the case and give such directions as are consistent with the law and justice applicable to the cause and as will prevent unnecessary protraction of litigation. Parks v. Parks, 89 Ga. App. 725, 80 S.E.2d 837 (1954).

Amendment of judgment by Court of Appeals.

- Court of Appeals has power to direct that verdict and judgment be so amended as to meet the ends of justice and comply with the law. Parks v. Parks, 89 Ga. App. 725, 80 S.E.2d 837 (1954).

Reviewing court to apply law existing at time of judgment.

- Reviewing court should apply law as the law exists at the time of the court's judgment rather than the law prevailing at rendition of judgment under review, and may therefore reverse a judgment that was correct at the time the judgment was rendered and affirm a judgment that was erroneous at the time, if the law has been changed in the meantime and if such application of the new law will impair no vested right under the prior law. Osteen v. Osteen, 244 Ga. 445, 260 S.E.2d 321 (1979).

Judgment affirmed when in accordance with direction of Supreme Court.

- If judgment of a lower court is in accordance with the direction of the Supreme Court, the judgment will be affirmed. Loyd v. Hicks, 32 Ga. 499 (1861).

Distinction between reversals for different reasons.

- Dismissal of a writ of error (see now O.C.G.A. §§ 5-6-49 and5-6-50) because a judgment of reversal would be in effect a nullity is a different thing from the reversal of a judgment upon proof of facts which have transpired since the judgment was rendered. In the one instance, review is refused because review would be useless, while in the other instance, to reverse the judgment of the lower court would be to hold that the judge erred because of the proof of the existence of facts which have occurred since the judge's judgment was rendered, and hence were not before the judge when the judge made the decision. Marietta Chair Co. v. Henderson, 119 Ga. 65, 45 S.E. 725 (1903).

Harmless error if execution of amended judgment conforms to original judgment.

- If court erred in amending judgment but execution conformed to the original judgment, the error was harmless and correctible. Kicklighter v. Burkhalter, 177 Ga. 187, 170 S.E. 75 (1933) (decided prior to Civil Practice Act of 1966).

If sentence is partly illegal, Supreme Court will direct that illegal part be stricken out. Newman v. State, 101 Ga. 534, 28 S.E. 1005 (1897).

If fine imposed is excessive, the sentence may be corrected by reducing the fine. Phillips v. City of Atlanta, 87 Ga. 62, 13 S.E. 201 (1891).

Fine for contempt that exceeds the legal amount may be corrected by reducing the fine. Warner v. Martin, 124 Ga. 387, 52 S.E. 446 (1905).

Reversal of judgment in cases of multiple defendants.

- Appellate court can reverse the judgment as to only one of three defendants if a joint motion for new trial is filed, and, a fortiori, it can reverse the judgment as to one defendant only if the appellants themselves separate the appellants' cause by filing separate motions for new trial and coming to the court on separate bills of exceptions (see now O.C.G.A. §§ 5-6-49 and5-6-50). Gray v. Watson, 54 Ga. App. 885, 189 S.E. 616 (1936).

Powers over Inferior Tribunals

Power to compel signing of bill of exceptions.

- Supreme Court has power to compel a judge to sign a bill of exceptions (see now O.C.G.A. §§ 5-6-49 and5-6-50), if the judge unlawfully refuses to do so. Taylor v. Reese, 108 Ga. 379, 33 S.E. 917 (1899).

Appellate courts have authority to require judge of trial court to sign bill of exceptions (see now O.C.G.A. §§ 5-6-49 and5-6-50) by means of mandamus. Garland v. Tanksley, 99 Ga. App. 201, 107 S.E.2d 866 (1959).

Limits on authority to grant mandamus.

- Appellate courts do not have the authority to grant mandamus to compel a superior court judge to approve brief of evidence presented to the judge in connection with a motion for new trial pending in that court. Central R.R. v. Miller, 91 Ga. 83, 16 S.E. 256 (1892).

Limits on authority to compel grant of supersedeas.

- Appellate courts do not have the authority to compel grant of supersedeas to stay execution of judgment in criminal case while pending on bill of exceptions (see now O.C.G.A. §§ 5-6-49 and5-6-50). Spann v. Clark, 47 Ga. 369 (1872); Vanderford v. Brand, 126 Ga. 67, 54 S.E. 822, 9 Ann. Cas. 617 (1906).

Power of Supreme Court greater than superior court.

- Powers of the Supreme Court are much more ample in the matter of awarding direction than are those of the superior court to shape what may be termed special proceedings or results without direction from the Supreme Court. Powell v. Augusta & S.R.R., 77 Ga. 192, 3 S.E. 757 (1886).

Appellate court may not aid litigant absent writ of error.

- Appellate court cannot aid a petitioner in taking any step in the superior court in a case pending in that court if no writ of error (see now O.C.G.A. §§ 5-6-49 and5-6-50) has been sued out or applied for, except for the purpose of preventing the case from becoming moot and thus divesting the court of jurisdiction. Garland v. Gray, 108 Ga. App. 303, 132 S.E.2d 834 (1963).

Power to Establish Rules of Practice and Regulate Admission to Bar

For discussion of constitutionality of Ga. L. 1963, p. 70, § 1 (see now O.C.G.A. § 15-19-30 et seq.), relating to establishment of a unified bar, and the relative power of the legislative and judiciary to establish disciplinary rules and regulations for attorneys, see Sams v. Olah, 225 Ga. 497, 169 S.E.2d 790 (1969), cert. denied, 397 U.S. 914, 90 S. Ct. 916, 25 L. Ed. 2d 94 (1970).

Creation of unified state bar is judicial function.

- In proposing that the Supreme Court create a unified bar, the General Assembly did not have the authority to circumscribe the court by denying the court the right to adopt rules and regulations on the court's own initiative. Since the court had the power to create the State Bar, the court must necessarily also have the power to make rules for the government of this administrative arm of the court. Sams v. Olah, 225 Ga. 497, 169 S.E.2d 790 (1969), cert. denied, 397 U.S. 914, 90 S. Ct. 916, 25 L. Ed. 2d 94 (1970).

State Bar Act authorizes adoption of disciplinary rules and regulations.

- Purpose of Ga. L. 1963, p. 70, § 1 (see now O.C.G.A. § 15-19-30 et seq.) was to initiate the creation of the State Bar of Georgia. That law eliminated any conflicting claims of coordinate branches of government to such power. Furthermore, that law's adoption encouraged the court to exercise the court's inherent power in this regard. In response thereto, but in the exercise of an inherent judicial function, the Supreme Court acted and the State Bar of Georgia was created. Although the article was not essential for such action, it is a valid legislative enactment and not subject to constitutional attack. The rules and regulations are therefore not a nullity. Sams v. Olah, 225 Ga. 497, 169 S.E.2d 790 (1969), cert. denied, 397 U.S. 914, 90 S. Ct. 916, 25 L. Ed. 2d 94 (1970).

Promulgation of rule absent statutory provision.

- In absence of statutory provision, when no rule has been prescribed, the Supreme Court will promulgate a rule. McCowan v. Brooks, 113 Ga. 384, 39 S.E. 112 (1901).

Disqualification of an attorney to represent codefendants must be raised prior to trial; otherwise, any disqualification could result in manufactured error. Brown v. State, 247 Ga. 298, 275 S.E.2d 52 (1981), overruled on other grounds, Wilson v. Zant, 249 Ga. 373, 290 S.E.2d 442 (1982).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 20 Am. Jur. 2d, Courts, § 55 et seq.

ALR.

- Change of former decisions by court of last resort as ground of relief from decrees or orders rendered or entered in the interval in other cases, 95 A.L.R. 708.

Injunction by appellate court to protect subject matter of appeal or preserve status quo as between the parties, 133 A.L.R. 1105.

Right of accused to attack indictment or information after reversal or setting aside of conviction, 145 A.L.R. 493.

Propriety of disposition of pending action involving controversy within religious society or other nonprofit association, by ordering election, 158 A.L.R. 182.

Extraterritorial effect of valid award of custody of child of divorced parents, in absence of substantial change in circumstances, 35 A.L.R.3d 520.

Attorney's failure to attend court, or tardiness, as contempt, 13 A.L.R.4th 122.

Small claims: jurisdiction limits as binding on appellate court, 67 A.L.R.4th 1117.

Civil actions removable from state court to federal court under 28 USCA § 1443, 159 A.L.R. Fed. 377.

Who is "person acting under" officer of United States or any agency thereof for purposes of availability of right to remove state action to federal court under 28 U.S.C.A. § 1442(a)(1), 166 A.L.R. Fed. 297.

15-2-9. Answers to questions certified by federal courts.

  1. The Supreme Court of this state, by rule of court, may provide that when it shall appear to the Supreme Court of the United States, to any circuit court of appeals or district court of the United States, or to the Court of Appeals or the District Court of the District of Columbia that there are involved in any proceeding before it questions of the laws of this state which are determinative of the case and there are no clear controlling precedents in the decisions of the Supreme Court of this state, such federal court may certify the questions of the laws of this state to the Supreme Court of this state for answers to the questions of state law, which certificate the Supreme Court of this state may answer by written opinion.
  2. The Court of Appeals shall not have jurisdiction to consider any question certified under this Code section by transfer or otherwise.

(Code 1933, § 24-3902, enacted by Ga. L. 1977, p. 577, § 1; Ga. L. 2003, p. 337, § 1.)

Cross references.

- Certification of questions from federal courts as to Georgia law, Rules of the Supreme Court of the State of Georgia, Rule 37.

Law reviews.

- For article, "Federal Courts, State Law and Certification," see 23 Ga. St. B. J. 120 (1987). For essay on Georgia conflict of laws questions in contracts cases in the eleventh circuit and certification reform, see 11 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 531 (1995).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

No federal rule requires use of certification. Miree v. United States, 242 Ga. 126, 249 S.E.2d 573 (1978).

No certification for moot questions.

- While federal district courts could certify open questions of law under the Georgia state constitution and relevant state statutes to the Supreme Court of Georgia under Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. VI, Para. IV, O.C.G.A. § 15-2-9, and Ga. S. Ct. R. 46 - 48, because the direct actions by plaintiff insureds against defendant insurer were barred by O.C.G.A. § 33-7-11 for failure to have first obtained a judgment against their uninsured motorists, the insureds' request for certification of a question of law to the Supreme Court of Georgia, to determine whether Georgia precedent prohibited the insurer from asserting set-offs in the payment of uninsured motorist personal injury claims, was not warranted. Harden v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., F.3d (11th Cir. July 22, 2009)(Unpublished).

Question certified as to state insurance law.

- Question was certified to the state supreme court pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15-2-9 as to whether a notice of cancellation, properly given by an insurer after the premium was past due, was ineffective under O.C.G.A. § 33-24-44 because the notice provided the insured an opportunity to keep the policy in force by paying the past due premium within the 10-day statutory period. Infinity Gen. Ins. Co. v. Reynolds, 570 F.3d 1228 (11th Cir. 2009).

Question certified.

- Because the question of whether bank directors and officers might be subject to claims for ordinary negligence was debatable under Georgia law, the issue was certified to the state supreme court. FDIC v. Skow, 741 F.3d 1342 (11th Cir. 2013).

Because the appeal seemed to present questions of state law that had not yet been decided by the Georgia appellate courts, three questions were certified to the Supreme Court of Georgia. Piedmont Office Realty Trust v. Xl Speciality Ins. Co., 769 F.3d 1291 (11th Cir. 2014).

Question not certified.

- Court's reasoning was not transformed from a principled decision to a conjectural conclusion simply because the court chose not to rely on legal theories that had either not been recognized in this state or that did not apply to the facts presented. As such, certification to the Georgia Supreme Court was inappropriate. Gold Cross EMS, Inc. v. Children's Hosp. of Ala., F. Supp. 2d (S.D. Ga. June 1, 2015), aff'd, No. 15-14369, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 7622 (11th Cir. Ga. 2016).

Cited in Szczepanski v. GMAC, 558 F.2d 732 (5th Cir. 1977); Miree v. United States, 565 F.2d 1354 (5th Cir. 1978); Insurance Co. v. Meyer, 565 F.2d 1357 (5th Cir. 1978); Wansor v. George Hantscho Co., 570 F.2d 1202 (5th Cir. 1978); Szczepanski v. GMAC, 571 F.2d 317 (5th Cir. 1978); Wansor v. George Hantscho Co., 580 F.2d 726 (5th Cir. 1978); Miree v. United States, 588 F.2d 453 (5th Cir. 1979); Balboa Ins. Co. v. A.J. Kellos Constr. Co., 247 Ga. 393, 276 S.E.2d 599 (1981); United States v. Aretz, 248 Ga. 19, 280 S.E.2d 345 (1981); First Nat'l Bank v. United States, 634 F.2d 212 (5th Cir. 1981); Aretz v. United States, 635 F.2d 485 (5th Cir. 1981); Allstate Ins. Co. v. Young, 638 F.2d 31 (5th Cir. 1981); Aretz v. United States, 660 F.2d 531 (5th Cir. 1981); Continental Am. Life Ins. Co. v. Griffin, 251 Ga. 412, 306 S.E.2d 285 (1983); Martin Luther King, Jr., Ctr. for Social Change, Inc. v. American Heritage Prods., 694 F.2d 674 (11th Cir. 1983); Harlan v. Six Flags Over Ga., Inc., 699 F.2d 521 (11th Cir. 1983); General Tel. Co. v. Trimm, 706 F.2d 1117 (11th Cir. 1983); Lamb v. McDonnell-Douglas Corp., 712 F.2d 466 (11th Cir. 1983); Robinson v. Parrish, 720 F.2d 1548 (11th Cir. 1983); Griffin v. Continental Am. Life Ins. Co., 722 F.2d 671 (11th Cir. 1984); Smith v. Universal Underwriters Ins. Co., 732 F.2d 129 (11th Cir. 1984); Abney v. Cox Enters., 777 F.2d 1521 (11th Cir. 1985); Jordan v. TG & Y Stores Co., 256 Ga. 16, 342 S.E.2d 665 (1986); Gulf Life Ins. Co. v. Folsom, 256 Ga. 400, 349 S.E.2d 368 (1986); Gulf Life Ins. Co. v. Folsom, 806 F.2d 225 (11th Cir. 1986); Southern Guar. Corp. v. Doyle, 256 Ga. 790, 353 S.E.2d 510 (1987); St. Joseph Hosp. v. Celotex Corp., 854 F.2d 426 (11th Cir. 1988); Johnson Controls, Inc. v. Safeco Ins. Co. of Am., 913 F.2d 907 (11th Cir. 1990); W.R. Grace & Co. v. Mouyal, 959 F.2d 219 (11th Cir. 1992); Granite State Ins. Co. v. Nord Bitumi U.S., Inc., 959 F.2d 911 (11th Cir. 1992); Bradway v. American Nat'l Red Cross, 965 F.2d 991 (11th Cir. 1992); Kitchen v. CSX Transp., Inc., 19 F.3d 601 (11th Cir. 1994); United States Fid. and Guar. Co. v. Park 'N Go of Ga., Inc., 66 F.3d 273 (11th. Cir. 1995); Doyle v. Volkswagenwerk Aktiengel-Ellschaft, 81 F.3d 139 (11th Cir. 1996); Colonial Oil Indus., Inc. v. Underwriters, 106 F.3d 960 (11th Cir. 1997); Boardman Petro., Inc. v. Federated Mut. Ins. Co., 119 F.3d 883 (11th Cir. 1997); Waldrip v. Head, 272 Ga. 572, 532 S.E.2d 380 (2000), recons. denied; overruled on other grounds by Duke v. State, 829 S.E.2d 348, 2019 Ga. LEXIS 406 (Ga. 2019); Hallum v. Provident Life & Accident Ins. Co., 289 F.3d 1350 (11th Cir. 2002); Baillie Lumber Co. v. Thompson, 391 F.3d 1315 (11th Cir. 2004); Hardin v. NBC Universal, Inc., 283 Ga. 477, 660 S.E.2d 374 (2008); Trinity Outdoor, LLC v. Cent. Mut. Ins. Co., 285 Ga. 583, 679 S.E.2d 10 (2009); Mooney v. Webster, 300 Ga. 283, 794 S.E.2d 31 (2016).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

ALR.

- Right of federal courts in passing upon the validity or construction of state statute or constitutional provision, or rights and obligations accruing thereunder, to exercise their own judgment independent of latest state court decisions thereon rendered subsequent to the accrual of the right in question, 97 A.L.R. 515.

15-2-10. Procedure for increasing the number of Supreme Court Justices.

The additional justiceships created in 2016 shall be appointed by the Governor for a term beginning January 1, 2017, and continuing through December 31, 2018, and until their successors are elected and qualified. Their successors shall be elected in the manner provided by law for the election of Supreme Court Justices at the nonpartisan judicial election in 2018, for a term of six years beginning on January 1, 2019, and until their successors are elected and qualified. Future successors shall be elected at the nonpartisan judicial election each sixth year after such election for terms of six years and until their successors are elected and qualified. They shall take office on the first day of January following the date of the election.

(Code 1981, §15-2-10, enacted by Ga. L. 2016, p. 883, § 4-2/HB 927.)

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2016, p. 883, § 1-1/HB 927, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "This Act shall be known and may be cited as the 'Appellate Jurisdiction Reform Act of 2016.'"

Ga. L. 2016, p. 883, § 6-1(d)/HB 927, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "Part IV of this Act shall only become effective if funds are appropriated for the purpose of Part IV of this Act in an appropriations Act enacted at the 2016 regular session of the General Assembly. If funds are so appropriated, then Part IV of this Act shall become effective on July 1, 2016, for purposes of making the initial appointments of the Supreme Court Justices created by this Act, and for all other purposes Part IV of this Act shall become effective on January 1, 2017. If funds are not so appropriated, then Part IV of this Act shall not become effective and shall stand repealed on July 1, 2016." Funds were appropriated at the 2016 regular session.

Former Code Section 15-2-10, pertaining to separation of court into two divisions, was repealed by Ga. L. 1983, p. 956, § 2, effective July 1, 1983. The former Code section was based on Ga. L. 1895, p. 15, § 1; Ga. L. 1896, p. 42, §§ 1, 3; Civil Code 1910, § 6110; Code 1933, § 24-4010; and Ga. L. 1981, Ex. Sess., p. 8.

Law reviews.

- For article on the 2016 amendment of this Code section, see 33 Georgia St. U.L. Rev. 205 (2016).

15-2-11 through 15-2-15.

Reserved. Repealed by Ga. L. 1983, p. 956, § 2, effective July 1, 1983.

Editor's notes.

- Code Sections 15-2-11 through 15-2-15, relating to separation of court into two divisions, were based on Ga. L. 1895, p. 15, § 1; Ga. L. 1896, p. 42, §§ 1, 3; Civil Code 1910, §§ 6111, 6112, 6113, 6114, 6115; Code 1933, §§ 24-4009, 24-4011, 24-4012, 24-4013, 24-4014; Ga. L. 1981, Ex. Sess., p. 8; and Ga. L. 1983, p. 3, § 50. For current provisions requiring a majority of the court to hear and determine cases, see Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. VI, Para. I.

Ga. L. 2008, p. 324, § 15/SB 455, reserved the designations of these Code sections.

15-2-16. Reversal and affirmance; minutes and reports to show concurrences and dissents.

  1. In all cases decided by the Supreme Court, the concurrence of a majority of the Justices shall be essential to a judgment of reversal. If the Justices are evenly divided, the judgment of the court below shall stand affirmed. In all cases decided by the court, with at least a quorum but less than nine Justices, the concurrence of at least five shall be essential to the rendition of a judgment.
  2. Both the minutes and the printed official reports shall show how many and which Justices concurred in each judgment rendered and which, if any, dissented therefrom.

(Ga. L. 1896, p. 42, § 5; Civil Code 1910, § 6116; Code 1933, § 24-4015; Ga. L. 1983, p. 956, § 3; Ga. L. 2016, p. 883, § 4-3/HB 927.)

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2016, p. 883, § 1-1/HB 927, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "This Act shall be known and may be cited as the 'Appellate Jurisdiction Reform Act of 2016.'"

Ga. L. 2016, p. 883, § 6-1(d)/HB 927, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "Part IV of this Act shall only become effective if funds are appropriated for the purpose of Part IV of this Act in an appropriations Act enacted at the 2016 regular session of the General Assembly. If funds are so appropriated, then Part IV of this Act shall become effective on July 1, 2016, for purposes of making the initial appointments of the Supreme Court Justices created by this Act, and for all other purposes Part IV of this Act shall become effective on January 1, 2017. If funds are not so appropriated, then Part IV of this Act shall not become effective and shall stand repealed on July 1, 2016." Funds were appropriated at the 2016 regular session.

Law reviews.

- For article on the 2016 amendment of this Code section, see 33 Georgia St. U.L. Rev. 205 (2016).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes.

- In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Code 1933, § 6-1611, are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Trial court affirmed if Supreme Court evenly divided.

- In case of a decision by entire court of six justices, if the court is evenly divided, the judgment of the trial court stands affirmed by operation of law. Inter-City Coach Lines v. City of Atlanta, 170 Ga. 905, 154 S.E. 352 (1930) (decided under Ga. Const. 1877, Art. VI, Sec. II, Para. VIII).

"Full bench rule" repealed.

- "Full bench rule" wherein unanimous decisions of Supreme Court could not be overruled except by unanimous decisions has been repealed; stability and certainty in law are desirable, but when a majority of the court determines that stability must give way to justice, then justice prevails. Hall v. Hopper, 234 Ga. 625, 216 S.E.2d 839 (1975) (decided under former Code 1933, § 6-1611).

Cited in Irby v. Allen & Co., 161 Ga. 858, 131 S.E. 910 (1926); Ward v. Big Apple Super Mkts. of Bolton Rd., Inc., 223 Ga. 756, 158 S.E.2d 396 (1967).

15-2-17. Rules for regulating Supreme Court's proceedings.

The Supreme Court shall have full power and authority to make all rules, not in conflict with the Constitution or laws of this state, as may be necessary for carrying the Constitution into effect and regulating the court's proceedings thereunder. To these ends it may, by rules, provide and declare when the court shall sit, how its minutes shall be kept, and how the cases upon its dockets shall be apportioned; and it generally may make all regulations as to practice and procedure which experience may show to be convenient and expedient for the proper transaction of its business, with due regard to the rights of the parties and counsel concerned.

(Ga. L. 1896, p. 42, § 4; Civil Code 1910, § 6117; Code 1933, § 24-4016; Ga. L. 1983, p. 956, § 4.)

Cross references.

- Rules of the Supreme Court of Georgia.

Editor's notes.

- The Supreme Court has adopted rules pursuant to this Code section, entitled "Rules of the Supreme Court of the State of Georgia."

Law reviews.

- For comment on Crider v. State, 115 Ga. App. 347, 154 S.E.2d 743 (1967), holding that enumerated errors must be supported by specific reference to the trial transcript, see 4 Ga. St. B. J. 265 (1967).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Time for filing enumeration of errors and briefs is fixed by court rules and not by law alone. Horton v. Western Contracting Corp., 113 Ga. App. 613, 149 S.E.2d 542 (1966).

15-2-18. Power to prescribe and revise rules of practice and procedure in courts of state; ratification by General Assembly; assistance of bar committee.

  1. The Supreme Court and the Justices thereof shall have the power to prescribe, modify, and repeal rules of procedure, pleading, and practice in civil actions and proceedings in the courts of this state and of practice and procedure for appeal or review in all cases, civil and criminal, to or from any of the courts or tribunals of this state. The rules shall not abridge, enlarge, or modify the substantive rights of any litigant.
  2. Whenever the Supreme Court adopts or prescribes any rules under this Code section, the rules shall be reported by the court to the General Assembly at the next regular session thereof or at an extraordinary session authorized by law to consider and ratify them. The rules shall not take effect until they have been ratified and confirmed by the General Assembly by an Act or resolution thereof.
  3. The Supreme Court is authorized to repeal, modify, or amend any rule adopted or prescribed by it, but no repeal, modification, or amendment shall be effective until it has been ratified by an Act or resolution of the General Assembly.
  4. The Supreme Court shall appoint a committee or committees from the bar of this state to aid in the preparation of rules.
  5. This Code section shall not be construed as constituting an abandonment or disclaimer of the power of the General Assembly to enact laws regulating procedure in the courts of this state.

(Ga. L. 1945, p. 145, §§ 1-5.)

Cross references.

- Requirement of uniform rules of practice and procedure for courts of each class, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. I, Para. V; Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. IX, Para. I.

Law reviews.

- For comment on Crider v. State, 115 Ga. App. 347, 154 S.E.2d 743 (1967), see 4 Ga. St. B. J. 265 (1967).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Rule making authorization applies to any court or tribunal.

- This section does not limit rule making authorization to "appeal or review" to appellate courts, but specifically states "to or from any of the courts or tribunals of this state." Fair v. State, 220 Ga. 750, 141 S.E.2d 431 (1965).

Authority to prescribe motions for new trials.

- This section authorizes court to prescribe rules as to motions for new trial in criminal or civil cases. Fair v. State, 220 Ga. 750, 141 S.E.2d 431 (1965).

No authority to prescribe criminal rules of procedure.

- This section does not authorize court to prescribe rules of procedure, pleading, and practice in trial of criminal cases. Wilson v. State, 215 Ga. 775, 113 S.E.2d 607 (1960); Fair v. State, 220 Ga. 750, 141 S.E.2d 431 (1965).

Cited in Maxwell v. Arnold, 76 Ga. App. 576, 46 S.E.2d 623 (1948).

15-2-19. Law assistants.

The Justices of the Supreme Court shall be authorized to appoint law assistants for the use of the court and to remove them at pleasure. The law assistants shall have been admitted to the bar of this state as practicing attorneys; provided, however, that an individual who graduated from law school but who is not a member of the bar of this state may be appointed as a law assistant so long as he or she is admitted to the bar of this state within one year of such appointment. It shall be the duty of the law assistants to attend all sessions of the court, if so ordered, and generally to perform the duties incident to the role of law assistant.

(Code 1933, § 24-4301, enacted by Ga. L. 1946, p. 102, § 4; Ga. L. 1950, p. 342, § 1; Ga. L. 1952, p. 399, § 5; Ga. L. 2016, p. 883, § 1-2/HB 927.)

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2016, p. 883, § 1-1/HB 927, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "This Act shall be known and may be cited as the 'Appellate Jurisdiction Reform Act of 2016.'"

Law reviews.

- For article on the 2016 amendment of this Code section, see 33 Georgia St. U.L. Rev. 205 (2016).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 46 Am. Jur. 2d, Judges, § 26.

15-2-20. Officers of court.

The officers of the Supreme Court are a clerk, a reporter and an assistant reporter, a sheriff, and stenographers.

(Orig. Code 1863, § 213; Code 1868, § 207; Code 1873, § 220; Code 1882, § 220; Civil Code 1895, § 5507; Ga. L. 1896, p. 46, § 1; Civil Code 1910, § 6119; Code 1933, § 24-4001.)

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 20 Am. Jur. 2d, Courts, § 1 et seq.

C.J.S.

- 21 C.J.S., Courts, § 121 et seq.

15-2-21. Employment and salaries of court staff.

The Supreme Court may employ and fix the salaries of such stenographers, clerical assistants, and employees as may be deemed necessary by the court. Their salaries shall be paid by the clerk from the appropriations for the operation of the Supreme Court.

(Ga. L. 1943, p. 387, § 10.)

RESEARCH REFERENCES

C.J.S.

- 21 C.J.S., Courts, § 121 et seq.

15-2-22. Sheriff of Supreme Court.

The sheriff of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by the Justices for such term as may be specified by the order of appointment, not to exceed six years.

(Ga. L. 1882-83, p. 74, § 2; Civil Code 1895, § 5523; Civil Code 1910, § 6135; Code 1933, § 24-4401.)

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 20 Am. Jur. 2d, Courts, § 1 et seq.

C.J.S.

- 21 C.J.S., Courts, § 121 et seq. 80 C.J.S., Sheriffs and Constables, §§ 1 et seq., 51 et seq.

15-2-23. Compensation of sheriff.

Reserved. Repealed by Ga. L. 1993, p. 1402, § 4, effective July 1, 1993.

Editor's notes.

- This Code section was based on Ga. L. 1916, p. 142, § 1; Ga. L. 1918, p. 227, § 1; Ga. L. 1919, p. 285, § 1; Code 1933, § 24-4402; Ga. L. 1952, p. 399, § 4; and Ga. L. 1981, Ex. Sess., p. 8.

15-2-24. Compensation of officers and employees.

The Justices of the Supreme Court are authorized to fix the annual compensation of the officers and employees of the court, provided that the total salaries and expenses of the court shall be within the amount of money available for such purposes.

(Orig. Code 1863, § 1578; Code 1868, § 1640; Code 1873, § 1646; Code 1882, § 1646; Civil Code 1895, § 287; Civil Code 1910, § 322; Ga. L. 1904, p. 72, § 1; Code 1933, § 24-4005; Ga. L. 1957, p. 205, § 5.)

15-2-25. Books, supplies, and services.

The Supreme Court shall purchase such books, pamphlets, or other publications and such other supplies and services as the Justices thereof may deem necessary. The cost thereof shall be paid by the clerk out of the appropriations for the operation of the Supreme Court.

(Ga. L. 1943, p. 387, § 12.)

RESEARCH REFERENCES

C.J.S.

- 21 C.J.S., Courts, §§ 3, 4.

ARTICLE 2 CLERK OF THE SUPREME COURT

Law reviews.

- For article, "Courts: Juvenile Justice Reform," see 30 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 63 (2013).

15-2-40. Term of office; oath.

The clerk of the Supreme Court shall hold his office for six years unless removed for incapacity, improper conduct, or neglect of duty. Before entering upon his duties, he shall take an oath faithfully to discharge them and shall also take all other oaths required of civil officers.

(Laws 1845, Cobb's 1851 Digest, p. 451; Code 1863, § 214; Code 1868, § 208; Code 1873, § 221; Code 1882, § 221; Civil Code 1895, § 5508; Civil Code 1910, § 6120; Code 1933, § 24-4101.)

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 15A Am. Jur. 2d, Clerks of Court, §§ 4, 7.

C.J.S.

- 21 C.J.S., Courts, §§ 106 et seq., 121 et seq., 324 et seq.

15-2-41. Deputy clerks.

The clerk of the Supreme Court may appoint one or more deputies, in his discretion, under such rules as the court may adopt and shall be responsible for the faithful performance of their duties. When so appointed, the powers and duties of the deputy clerks shall be the same as those of the clerk.

(Laws 1845, Cobb's 1851 Digest, p. 451; Code 1863, § 215; Code 1868, § 209; Code 1873, § 222; Code 1882, § 222; Civil Code 1895, § 5509; Civil Code 1910, § 6121; Code 1933, § 24-4102.)

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 15A Am. Jur. 2d, Clerks of Court, §§ 28, 40 et seq.

C.J.S.

- 21 C.J.S., Courts, § 344 et seq.

15-2-42. Employees in clerk's office.

The clerk of the Supreme Court, with the approval of the court, may employ such stenographers, clerical assistants, and employees as may be necessary for the performance of the duties in the office of the clerk. Their salaries shall be paid by the clerk from the appropriations for the operation of the Supreme Court.

(Ga. L. 1943, p. 387, § 5.)

15-2-43. Duties of clerk.

The clerk of the Supreme Court shall have the following duties:

  1. To keep an office at the seat of government where all books, records, archives, and the seal of the court shall remain;
  2. To attend all sessions of the court and obey all its lawful orders;
  3. To keep fair and regular minutes of the court's proceedings, a record of its judicial acts, a docket of its cases, and such other books as the court may require;
  4. To certify, when required, upon payment of the lawful fees, all minutes, records, or files of the court;
  5. To arrange the cases on the docket and to give notice in one of the newspapers printed at the place where the court is to be held, 20 days prior to its session, of the order of arrangement;
  6. To make out a remittitur of every case, together with a certificate of the amount of the costs and by whom paid, which remittitur shall consist of a copy of the judgment of the court as entered on the minutes, and nothing more, and to transmit the remittitur as provided by the rules of the Supreme Court;
  7. To issue and sign all writs and processes of every description issued under the authority of the court;
  8. To administer oaths and affidavits in all cases, to take acknowledgments, and to attest deeds, mortgages, and other written instruments of like character;
  9. To collect all costs due on cases in the Supreme Court and to pay over to the Office of the State Treasurer all money arising from costs collected;
  10. On or before the fifth day of each and every month, to submit in writing to the Office of the State Treasurer, with a copy to the state auditor, a full and fair statement of each case in which costs have been collected during the month preceding the report, showing the amount collected and the amount not collected. If any balance due by the clerk has not been collected, aside from costs due in indigency cases, or has been collected but not paid over, then the clerk shall be liable to be ruled by the Office of the State Treasurer in the Supreme Court, in term time, on the same terms as other officers are ruled; and
  11. To discharge whatever other duties may be required by law or the court or which necessarily appertain to the office.

(Laws 1845, Cobb's 1851 Digest, p. 451; Ga. L. 1851-52, p. 214, § 3; Ga. L. 1855-56, p. 199, § 5; Ga. L. 1857, p. 93, § 1; Code 1863, § 216; Code 1868, § 210; Code 1873, § 223; Ga. L. 1875, p. 87, §§ 2, 3; Code 1882, § 223; Civil Code 1895, § 5510; Ga. L. 1900, p. 57, § 1; Civil Code 1910, § 6122; Code 1933, § 24-4103; Ga. L. 1943, p. 387, §§ 1, 2; Ga. L. 1983, p. 956, § 5; Ga. L. 1993, p. 1402, § 5; Ga. L. 2010, p. 863, § 2/SB 296.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Costs of case brought in forma pauperis.

- Parties who bring cases to the Supreme Court upon pauper affidavits are not altogether relieved from liability for the costs. It follows that when a judgment of reversal is entered in such a case it is the duty of the clerk of the Supreme Court to tax the costs in the case and enter the costs on the remittitur. Sigman v. Austin, 112 Ga. 570, 37 S.E. 894 (1901).

Cited in DeKalb County v. Deason, 221 Ga. 237, 144 S.E.2d 446 (1965).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 15A Am. Jur. 2d, Clerks of Court, § 20 et seq.

C.J.S.

- 21 C.J.S., Courts, § 334 et seq.

15-2-44. How costs taxed; notice of appeal and transcript not recorded.

  1. When judgment is pronounced in any case, the clerk shall tax the costs thereof, which shall be entered without charge on the minutes at the foot of the judgment. The clerk shall make no charge for attaching the seal to the remittitur, nor for any precept issued by him, nor for anything except services actually rendered.
  2. The clerk shall not record the notice of appeal, transcript, or record from the court below.

(Laws 1847, Cobb's 1851 Digest, p. 454; Laws 1850, Cobb's 1851 Digest, p. 454; Ga. L. 1851-52, p. 214, §§ 1, 2; Ga. L. 1855-56, p. 202, § 1; Code 1863, § 217; Code 1868, § 211; Code 1873, § 224; Code 1882, § 224; Civil Code 1895, § 5512; Civil Code 1910, § 6124; Code 1933, § 24-4105.)

15-2-45. Compensation; disposition of fees.

  1. The clerk of the Supreme Court shall receive as salary for services a sum as set by the Justices of the Supreme Court, payable in equal monthly installments from the appropriations for the operation of the Supreme Court.
  2. All fees coming to the clerk of the Supreme Court shall be the property of the state and the same shall be paid into the state treasury.

(Ga. L. 1875, p. 87, § 1; Code 1882, § 225a; Civil Code 1895, § 5514; Civil Code 1910, § 6126; Code 1933, § 24-4107; Ga. L. 1952, p. 399, §§ 1, 2; Ga. L. 1993, p. 1402, § 6.)

15-2-46. Disposition of costs.

The funds arising from costs in the Supreme Court shall be paid into the general funds of the state.

(Ga. L. 1875, p. 87, § 2; Code 1882, § 223a; Civil Code 1895, § 5511; Civil Code 1910, § 6123; Code 1933, § 24-4104; Ga. L. 1943, p. 387, § 3.)

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 15A Am. Jur. 2d, Clerks of Court, § 29.

C.J.S.

- 21 C.J.S., Courts, § 339.

15-2-47. Attorneys liable for costs.

Every attorney who argues or presents a case to the Supreme Court is liable to the clerk for costs except in an indigency case.

(Laws 1845, Cobb's 1851 Digest, p. 451; Code 1863, § 218; Code 1868, § 212; Code 1873, § 225; Code 1882, § 225; Civil Code 1895, § 5513; Civil Code 1910, § 6125; Code 1933, § 24-4106.)

Cross references.

- Bill of costs, payment of costs, filing of affidavit of indigence, § 5-6-4.

Legal defense of indigents generally, T. 17, C. 12.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Purpose of Code section.

- It is the purpose of this Code section to make the collection of costs due in Supreme Court reasonably certain. Sigman v. Austin, 112 Ga. 570, 37 S.E. 894 (1901).

Cross-bill of exceptions.

- Costs are taxed against attorney for plaintiff in error in cross-bill of exceptions (see now O.C.G.A. §§ 5-6-49 and5-6-50). Kehler & Bros. v. G.W. Jack Mfg. Co., 55 Ga. 639 (1876); In re Kenan, 109 Ga. 819, 35 S.E. 312 (1900).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 15A Am. Jur. 2d, Clerks of Court, § 29.

C.J.S.

- 21 C.J.S., Courts, § 339.

CHAPTER 3 COURT OF APPEALS

Cross references.

- Generally, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. V, Para. I et seq.

Qualifications for Judges of Court of Appeals, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. VII, Para. II.

Compensation and allowances for Judges of Court of Appeals, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. VII, Para. V and § 45-7-1 et seq.

15-3-1. Composition; divisions; how case is heard; decisions as precedent; oral arguments; assistance of other judges.

  1. Composition. The Court of Appeals shall consist of 15 Judges who shall elect one of their number as Chief Judge, in such manner and for such time as may be prescribed by rule or order of the court.
  2. Divisions. The court shall sit in divisions composed of three Judges in each division. The assignment of Judges to each division shall be made by the Chief Judge, and the personnel of the divisions shall from time to time be changed in accordance with rules prescribed by the court. The Chief Judge shall designate the Presiding Judges of the divisions and shall, under rules prescribed by the court, distribute the cases among the divisions in such manner as to equalize their work as far as practicable.
  3. How cases heard.
    1. Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, each division shall hear and determine, independently of the others, the cases assigned to it. Two Judges shall constitute a quorum of a division.
    2. The Court of Appeals may provide by rule for certain cases to be heard and determined by more than a single division and the manner in which those Judges will be selected for such cases. When a case is heard and determined by more than a single division, nine Judges shall be necessary to constitute a quorum.
  4. Decisions as precedent. The Court of Appeals shall provide by rule for the establishment of precedent and the manner in which prior decisions of the court may be overruled.
  5. Oral arguments. The Court of Appeals may hear oral arguments at places other than the seat of government. Reasonable notice shall be given of such hearings.
  6. Assistance of other judges; procedure. Whenever the court unanimously determines that the business of the court requires the temporary assistance of an additional judge or additional judges or one additional panel, the court may request the assistance of senior appellate judges as provided in Chapter 3A of this title or senior superior court judges. The Judge whose case assignment is transferred to the additional judge shall not vote on the case.

(Ga. L. 1916, p. 56, § 1; Code 1933, § 24-3501; Ga. L. 1945, p. 232, §§ 1-3; Ga. L. 1960, p. 158, § 1; Ga. L. 1961, p. 140, § 1; Ga. L. 1967, p. 538, § 1; Ga. L. 1982, p. 3, § 15; Ga. L. 1987, p. 291, § 1; Ga. L. 1995, p. 916, § 2; Ga. L. 1996, p. 405, § 1; Ga. L. 1998, p. 513, § 4; Ga. L. 1999, p. 10, § 1; Ga. L. 2015, p. 919, § 1-2/HB 279; Ga. L. 2016, p. 883, § 2-1/HB 927.)

Cross references.

- Divisions, Rules of the Court of Appeals of the State of Georgia, Rule 18.

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2015, p. 919, § 4-1(b), not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "(b)(1) Part I of this Act shall become effective only if funds are appropriated for purposes of Part I of this Act in an appropriations Act enacted at the 2015 regular session of the General Assembly.

"(2) If funds are so appropriated, then Part I of this Act shall become effective on July 1, 2015, for purposes of making the initial appointments of the Court of Appeals Judges created by Part I of this Act, and for all other purposes, Part I of this Act shall become effective on January 1, 2016.

"(3) If funds are not so appropriated, then Part I of this Act shall not become effective and shall stand repealed on July 1, 2015." Funds were appropriated at the 2015 session of the General Assembly.

Ga. L. 2016, p. 883, § 1-1/HB 927, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "This Act shall be known and may be cited as the 'Appellate Jurisdiction Reform Act of 2016.'"

Law reviews.

- For article, "Eleventh Circuit Survey: January 1, 2013 - December 31, 2013: Special Contribution: Open Chambers: Demystifying the Inner Workings and Culture of the Georgia Court of Appeals," see 65 Emory L. J. 831 (2014). For article, "Division of Labor: The Modernization of the Supreme Court of Georgia and Concomitant Workload Reduction Measures in the Court of Appeals," see 30 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 925 (2014). For article, "Researching Georgia Law," see 34 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 741 (2015). For article, "Annual Survey of Georgia Law: June 1, 2015 - May 31, 2016: Special Contribution: Open Chambers Revisited: Demystifying the Inner Workings and Culture of the Georgia Court of Appeals," see 68 Mercer L. Rev. 1 (2016). For article on the 2016 amendment of this Code section, see 33 Georgia St. U.L. Rev. 205 (2016).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Constitutionality.

- This section does not violate Ga. Const. 1976, Art. VI, Sec. II, Para. VIII (see now Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. V) on grounds that the General Assembly did not have power to provide for the appointment of additional judges, or power to divide the court into two divisions giving each division power to decide cases independently of the other division, or to assign all criminal cases to one of the divisions. Joseph v. State, 148 Ga. 166, 96 S.E. 229 (1918); Fountain v. State, 149 Ga. 519, 101 S.E. 294 (1919); McCall v. State, 150 Ga. 81, 103 S.E. 428 (1920).

Quo warranto denied challenging appointment of judges.

- Trial court's denial of the challenger's petition for a writ of quo warranto was affirmed because the newly created positions on the Georgia Court of Appeals qualified as vacancies under Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec, VII, Para. III; thus, the governor had the authority to appoint judges to the vacancies created by amended O.C.G.A. § 15-3-1(a). Clark v. Deal, 298 Ga. 893, 785 S.E.2d 524 (2016).

Under this Code section, the rule of stare decisis applies, which means that older case law must control. Sharpe v. Seaboard Coast Line R.R., 528 F.2d 546 (5th Cir. 1976).

When the Court of Appeals created two competing lines of cases that stood for opposing propositions with respect to the application of Georgia's Rape Shield Statute, O.C.G.A. § 24-4-412, to evidence introduced by the state, the Court of Appeals was obligated to continue to rely on the older precedent from that court until such time as the older law was properly overruled by that court or reversed or overruled by the Supreme Court of Georgia. White v. State, 305 Ga. 111, 823 S.E.2d 794 (2019).

Power of judges to decide case.

- Since two (now five or six) judges constitute a quorum, the judges may decide cases pending before the judges. Fountain v. State, 149 Ga. 519, 101 S.E. 294 (1919).

Dissent requires consideration by full court.

- This section requires that full court consider any case in which one of the judges of a division may dissent. Fortson v. Caudell, 74 Ga. App. 276, 39 S.E.2d 579 (1946); Jones v. Cannady, 78 Ga. App. 453, 51 S.E.2d 551 (1949); Irvindale Farms, Inc. v. W.O. Pierce Dairy, Inc., 78 Ga. App. 670, 51 S.E.2d 712 (1949); Hall v. Beavers, 78 Ga. App. 722, 51 S.E.2d 879 (1949); Atlanta & W. Point R.R. v. Gilbert, 82 Ga. App. 244, 60 S.E.2d 787 (1950); Dorsey v. Georgia R.R. Bank & Trust Co., 82 Ga. App. 237, 60 S.E.2d 828 (1950).

Overruling by a single division of court.

- Prior decision of the court of appeals was overruled in part by a single division of the court after consultation with the other nondisqualified judges. Temple v. Hillegass, 344 Ga. App. 454, 810 S.E.2d 625 (2018).

Cited in Gainesville Midland R.R. v. Allen, 72 Ga. App. 736, 35 S.E.2d 12 (1945); Smith v. Swann, 73 Ga. App. 144, 35 S.E.2d 787 (1945); Hicks v. Hicks, 73 Ga. App. 561, 37 S.E.2d 418 (1946); Jacobs v. State, 73 Ga. App. 550, 37 S.E.2d 438 (1946); Commercial Auto Loan Corp. v. Baker, 73 Ga. App. 534, 37 S.E.2d 636 (1946); Southern Ry. v. Brackett, 73 Ga. App. 648, 37 S.E.2d 642 (1946); Progressive Life Ins. Co. v. Archer, 73 Ga. App. 639, 37 S.E.2d 713 (1946); Hoxie v. Americus Auto. Co., 73 Ga. App. 686, 37 S.E.2d 808 (1946); Murphy v. Hunt, 73 Ga. App. 707, 37 S.E.2d 823 (1946); Georgia Power Co. v. Roper, 73 Ga. App. 826, 38 S.E.2d 91 (1946); Murray v. Anderson, 73 Ga. App. 771, 38 S.E.2d 131 (1946); Monroe Motor Express v. Jackson, 74 Ga. App. 148, 38 S.E.2d 863 (1946); American Fid. & Cas. Co. v. Jackson, 74 Ga. App. 159, 38 S.E.2d 871 (1946); Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. v. Milton, 74 Ga. App. 160, 38 S.E.2d 885 (1946); Western & Atl. R.R. v. Gardner, 74 Ga. App. 599, 40 S.E.2d 672 (1946); Martin v. Gurley, 74 Ga. App. 642, 40 S.E.2d 787 (1946); Northern Freight Lines v. Ledford, 75 Ga. App. 508, 43 S.E.2d 757 (1947); Grand Trunk W.R.R. v. Barge, 75 Ga. App. 646, 44 S.E.2d 281 (1947); Jones v. Blackburn, 75 Ga. App. 791, 44 S.E.2d 555 (1947); Phillips v. Sinclair Ref. Co., 76 Ga. App. 34, 44 S.E.2d 671 (1947); Southeastern Newspapers, Inc. v. Walker, 76 Ga. App. 57, 44 S.E.2d 697 (1947); Glens Falls Indem. Co. v. Gottlieb, 76 Ga. App. 70, 44 S.E.2d 706 (1947); Roberson v. State, 76 Ga. App. 25, 44 S.E.2d 924 (1947); Clarke v. Woodward, 76 Ga. App. 181, 45 S.E.2d 473 (1947); Gill v. Skinker, 76 Ga. App. 315, 45 S.E.2d 818 (1947); Auld v. Colonial Stores, Inc., 76 Ga. App. 329, 45 S.E.2d 827 (1947); Dodd v. Callaway, 76 Ga. App. 629, 46 S.E.2d 740 (1948); Jackson v. Moultrie Prod. Credit Ass'n, 76 Ga. App. 768, 47 S.E.2d 127 (1948); First Nat'l Bank v. Southern Cotton Oil Co., 76 Ga. App. 779, 47 S.E.2d 288 (1948); Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. v. Lathan, 77 Ga. App. 6, 47 S.E.2d 596 (1948); Presley v. Presley, 77 Ga. App. 99, 47 S.E.2d 647 (1948); Hughes v. Kistler, 76 Ga. App. 885, 47 S.E.2d 663 (1948); American Mut. Liab. Ins. Co. v. Benford, 77 Ga. App. 93, 47 S.E.2d 673 (1948); Davis v. Fulton Nat'l Bank, 77 Ga. App. 400, 48 S.E.2d 773 (1948); Ivey v. Hall, 77 Ga. App. 350, 48 S.E.2d 788 (1948); Buchanan v. Hieber, 78 Ga. App. 434, 50 S.E.2d 815 (1948); Lyons v. Georgia Power Co., 78 Ga. App. 445, 51 S.E.2d 459 (1949); Walker Elec. Co. v. Sullivan, 79 Ga. App. 13, 52 S.E.2d 477 (1949); Sumter Milling & Peanut Co. v. Singletary, 79 Ga. App. 111, 53 S.E.2d 181 (1949); Kimberly v. Reed, 79 Ga. App. 137, 53 S.E.2d 208 (1949); Stanley v. Amos, 79 Ga. App. 297, 53 S.E.2d 568 (1949); Barton v. State, 79 Ga. App. 380, 53 S.E.2d 707 (1949); Milton Bradley Co. v. Cooper, 79 Ga. App. 302, 53 S.E.2d 761 (1949); Baggett v. Jackson, 79 Ga. App. 460, 54 S.E.2d 146 (1949); Klein v. Maryland Cas. Co., 79 Ga. App. 560, 54 S.E.2d 277 (1949); Grogan v. Herrington, 79 Ga. App. 505, 54 S.E.2d 284 (1949); J.C. Pirkle Mach. Co. v. Lester, 79 Ga. App. 512, 54 S.E.2d 298 (1949); Grimes v. State, 79 Ga. App. 489, 54 S.E.2d 302 (1949); Atlantic Coast Line R.R. v. Brand, 79 Ga. App. 552, 54 S.E.2d 312 (1949); Ford v. S.A. Lynch Corp., 79 Ga. App. 481, 54 S.E.2d 320 (1949); Western & Atl. R.R. v. Burnett, 79 Ga. App. 530, 54 S.E.2d 357 (1949); Whitlock v. Wilson, 79 Ga. App. 747, 54 S.E.2d 474 (1949); Western & Atl. R.R. v. Wright, 79 Ga. App. 733, 54 S.E.2d 655 (1949); Westbrook v. Beusse, 79 Ga. App. 654, 54 S.E.2d 693 (1949); Wallace v. Virginia Sur. Co., 80 Ga. App. 50, 55 S.E.2d 259 (1949); Goforth v. Fidelity & Cas. Co., 80 Ga. App. 121, 55 S.E.2d 656 (1949); City of Griffin v. First Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass'n, 80 Ga. App. 217, 55 S.E.2d 771 (1949); McDowall Transp., Inc. v. Gault, 80 Ga. App. 445, 56 S.E.2d 161 (1949); McDade v. West, 80 Ga. App. 481, 56 S.E.2d 299 (1949); Gaines v. State, 80 Ga. App. 512, 56 S.E.2d 772 (1949); Landers v. Davis, 80 Ga. App. 766, 57 S.E.2d 459 (1950); Owens v. Maddox, 80 Ga. App. 867, 57 S.E.2d 826 (1950); Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Fulmer, 81 Ga. App. 97, 57 S.E.2d 865 (1950); Hall v. Kendall, 81 Ga. App. 592, 59 S.E.2d 421 (1950); Atlantic Coast Line R.R. v. Dupriest, 81 Ga. App. 773, 59 S.E.2d 767 (1950); Cromer v. Dinkler, 82 Ga. App. 227, 60 S.E.2d 482 (1950); Davis v. Atlanta Gas Light Co., 82 Ga. App. 460, 61 S.E.2d 510 (1950); Sylvania Cent. Ry. v. Gay, 82 Ga. App. 486, 61 S.E.2d 587 (1950); Melton v. Helms, 83 Ga. App. 71, 62 S.E.2d 663 (1950); Carter v. Rich's, Inc., 83 Ga. App. 188, 63 S.E.2d 241 (1951); Register v. Andris, 83 Ga. App. 632, 64 S.E.2d 196 (1951); Chastain v. L. Moss Music Co., 83 Ga. App. 570, 64 S.E.2d 205 (1951); Goodwin v. Allen, 83 Ga. App. 615, 64 S.E.2d 212 (1951); American Mut. Liab. Ins. Co. v. Duncan, 83 Ga. App. 863, 65 S.E.2d 59 (1951); Hertz Driv-Ur-Self Stations, Inc. v. Benson, 83 Ga. App. 866, 65 S.E.2d 191 (1951); Consolidated Stores, Inc. v. Towler, 84 Ga. App. 28, 65 S.E.2d 419 (1951); St. Paul-Mercury Indem. Co. v. Alexander, 84 Ga. App. 207, 65 S.E.2d 694 (1951); Haswell v. Haswell, 84 Ga. App. 651, 67 S.E.2d 148 (1951); Troup v. State, 85 Ga. App. 138, 68 S.E.2d 195 (1951); Hurt & Quin, Inc. v. St. Malyon, 85 Ga. App. 164, 68 S.E.2d 213 (1951); Annis v. State, 85 Ga. App. 188, 68 S.E.2d 473 (1951); Wright v. Central of Ga. Ry., 85 Ga. App. 654, 69 S.E.2d 902 (1952); Domin v. State, 85 Ga. App. 676, 70 S.E.2d 39 (1952); Bibb Mfg. Co. v. Cowan, 85 Ga. App. 816, 70 S.E.2d 386 (1952); Wall v. First State Bank, 86 Ga. App. 118, 70 S.E.2d 917 (1952); Aderhold v. Zimmer, 86 Ga. App. 204, 71 S.E.2d 270 (1952); Albert v. Albert, 86 Ga. App. 560, 71 S.E.2d 904 (1952); Hall v. First Nat'l Bank, 87 Ga. App. 142, 73 S.E.2d 252 (1952); Craig-Tourial Leather Co. v. Reynolds, 87 Ga. App. 360, 73 S.E.2d 749 (1952); Gardner v. Celanese Corp., 88 Ga. App. 642, 76 S.E.2d 817 (1953); Banks County v. Stark, 88 Ga. App. 368, 77 S.E.2d 33 (1953); Hammond v. State, 88 Ga. App. 804, 77 S.E.2d 836 (1953); Fidelity & Cas. Co. v. Swain, 90 Ga. App. 615, 83 S.E.2d 345 (1954); Life Ins. Co. v. Lawler, 211 Ga. 246, 85 S.E.2d 1 (1954); Dennison v. State, 91 Ga. App. 143, 85 S.E.2d 179 (1954); Estes v. Collum, 91 Ga. App. 186, 85 S.E.2d 561 (1954); Adams v. Ricks, 91 Ga. App. 494, 86 S.E.2d 329 (1955); Hayes v. National Life & Accident Ins. Co., 92 Ga. App. 540, 88 S.E.2d 750 (1955); Pack v. State, 93 Ga. App. 737, 92 S.E.2d 824 (1956); Henderson v. Henderson, 94 Ga. App. 64, 93 S.E.2d 822 (1956); Logue v. State, 94 Ga. App. 777, 96 S.E.2d 209 (1956); Adams v. State, 95 Ga. App. 295, 97 S.E.2d 711 (1957); Henderson v. State, 95 Ga. App. 830, 99 S.E.2d 270 (1957); Henry & Hutchinson, Inc. v. Slack, 96 Ga. App. 56, 99 S.E.2d 465 (1957); Republic of Cuba v. Arcade Bldg. of Savannah, Inc., 104 Ga. App. 848, 123 S.E.2d 453 (1961); Godby v. Hein, 107 Ga. App. 481, 130 S.E.2d 511 (1963); Huddleston Concrete Co. v. Safeco Ins. Co. of Am., 186 Ga. App. 531, 368 S.E.2d 117 (1988); State v. Chambers, 194 Ga. App. 609, 391 S.E.2d 657 (1990); Republic Title Company, LLC v. Freeport Title and Guaranty, Inc., 351 Ga. App. 408, 829 S.E.2d 172 (2019), cert. denied, 2020 Ga. LEXIS 168 (Ga. 2020).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 20 Am. Jur. 2d, Courts, § 29 et seq.

15-3-2. Terms of court.

The terms of the Court of Appeals shall be the same as the terms of the Supreme Court.

(Ga. L. 1935, p. 161, § 2.)

Cross references.

- Terms of Supreme Court, § 15-2-4.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Cited in Stuckey v. Richardson, 188 Ga. App. 147, 372 S.E.2d 458 (1988); Gordon v. Dennis, 347 Ga. App. 110, 817 S.E.2d 561 (2018).

15-3-3. Jurisdiction over certain crimes.

Pursuant to Article VI, Section V, Paragraph III of the Constitution of this state, the Court of Appeals shall have jurisdiction of the trial and correction of errors of law in cases involving the crimes of armed robbery, rape, and kidnapping wherein the death penalty has not been imposed.

(Ga. L. 1977, p. 710, § 1; Ga. L. 1983, p. 3, § 50.)

Cross references.

- Kidnapping, § 16-5-40.

Rape, § 16-6-1.

Armed robbery, § 16-8-41.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 20 Am. Jur. 2d, Courts, § 53 et seq.

15-3-3.1. Appellate jurisdiction of Court of Appeals.

  1. Pursuant to Article VI, Section VI, Paragraph III of the Constitution of this state, the Court of Appeals rather than the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction in the following classes of cases:
    1. Cases involving title to land;
    2. All equity cases, except those cases concerning proceedings in which a sentence of death was imposed or could be imposed and those cases concerning the execution of a sentence of death;
    3. All cases involving wills;
    4. All cases involving extraordinary remedies, except those cases concerning proceedings in which a sentence of death was imposed or could be imposed and those cases concerning the execution of a sentence of death;
    5. All divorce and alimony cases; and
    6. All other cases not reserved to the Supreme Court or conferred on other courts.
  2. This Code section shall not otherwise affect the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals.

(Code 1981, §15-3-3.1, enacted by Ga. L. 2016, p. 883, § 3-1/HB 927.)

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2016, p. 883, § 1-1/HB 927, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "This Act shall be known and may be cited as the 'Appellate Jurisdiction Reform Act of 2016.'"

Ga. L. 2016, p. 883, § 6-1(c)/HB 927, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "Part III of this Act shall become effective on January 1, 2017, and shall apply to cases in which a notice of appeal or application to appeal is filed on or after such date."

Law reviews.

- For article on the 2016 enactment of this Code section, see 33 Georgia St. U.L. Rev. 205 (2016). For annual survey of wills, trusts, guardianships, and fiduciary administration, see 68 Mercer L. Rev. 321 (2016). For annual survey on real property law, see 70 Mercer L. Rev. 209 (2018).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Supreme Court had jurisdiction over post conviction motion seeking transcript in murder case.

- Supreme Court of Georgia had jurisdiction over an appeal from a post-conviction motion seeking a transcript from a defendant's original murder case under Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. VI, Para. III(8), and the motion was not a motion in the nature of mandamus subject to the Court of Appeals' jurisdiction under O.C.G.A. § 15-3-3.1. Henderson v. State, 303 Ga. 241, 811 S.E.2d 388 (2018).

Jurisdiction in death penalty proceedings.

- Prisoner's appeal in a suit seeking records from the prisoner's criminal case, which was not filed under the criminal docket numbers but as a separate civil mandamus petition, was not within the Supreme Court of Georgia's murder jurisdiction under Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. VI, Para. III(8); however, it was within the court's jurisdiction over extraordinary remedies in death penalty proceedings under O.C.G.A. § 15-3-3.1(4). Still, the appeal was dismissed for failure to comply with O.C.G.A. § 42-12-8. Brock v. Hardman, 303 Ga. 729, 814 S.E.2d 736 (2018).

Cited in McCoy v. Bovee, 300 Ga. 759, 796 S.E.2d 679 (2017); Merch. Law Firm, P.C. v. Emerson, 301 Ga. 609, 800 S.E.2d 557 (2017); Ga. Ass'n of Prof'l Process Servers v. Jackson, 302 Ga. 309, 806 S.E.2d 550 (2017); Howard v. Howard, 302 Ga. 451, 807 S.E.2d 379 (2017); Faison v. Faison, 344 Ga. App. 600, 811 S.E.2d 431 (2018); Peterson v. Peterson, 303 Ga. 211, 811 S.E.2d 309 (2018); Wallace v. Wallace, 345 Ga. App. 764, 813 S.E.2d 428 (2018), cert. denied, No. S18C1329, 2019 Ga. LEXIS 42, cert. denied, No. S18C1332, 2019 Ga. LEXIS 48 (Ga. 2019), cert. denied, 2019 U.S. LEXIS 6165, 205 L. Ed. 2d 30 (U.S. 2019).

15-3-4. Election and term of office of Judges of Court of Appeals.

  1. The Judges of the Court of Appeals shall be elected at the general primary in each even-numbered year in the manner in which Justices of the Supreme Court are elected. The election of the Judges shall be as follows:
    1. Successors to the Judges serving in judgeships which existed prior to 1999 shall be elected as follows:
      1. Successors to any Judges whose terms expired at the end of 1998 shall be elected at the general election in 2004 and each sixth year thereafter;
      2. Successors to any Judges whose terms expire at the end of 2000 shall be elected at the general election in 2000 and each sixth year thereafter;
      3. Successors to any Judges whose terms expire at the end of 2002 shall be elected at the general election in 2002 and each sixth year thereafter; and
      4. Successors to any Judges whose terms expire at the end of 2004 shall be elected at the general election in 2004 and each sixth year thereafter; and
    2. Successors to the two Judges serving in the judgeships created in 1999 shall be elected at the 2000 general election and each sixth year thereafter.

      The terms of the Judges shall begin on January 1 following their election and, except as provided above, shall continue for six years and until their successors are qualified. They shall be commissioned accordingly by the Governor.

  2. The additional judgeships created in 2015 shall be appointed by the Governor for a term beginning January 1, 2016, and continuing through December 31, 2018, and until their successors are elected and qualified. Their successors shall be elected in the manner provided by law for the election of Judges of the Court of Appeals at the nonpartisan judicial election in 2018, for a term of six years beginning on January 1, 2019, and until their successors are elected and qualified. Future successors shall be elected at the nonpartisan judicial election each sixth year after such election for terms of six years and until their successors are elected and qualified. They shall take office on the first day of January following the date of the election.

(Ga. L. 1916, p. 56, § 2; Code 1933, § 24-3502; Ga. L. 1960, p. 158, § 2; Ga. L. 1961, p. 140, § 2; Ga. L. 1985, p. 149, § 15; Ga. L. 1996, p. 405, § 2; Ga. L. 1999, p. 10, § 2; Ga. L. 2014, p. 866, § 15/SB 340; Ga. L. 2015, p. 919, § 1-2A/HB 279.)

Cross references.

- Election and term of office generally, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. VII, Para. I and § 21-2-9.

Code Commission notes.

- Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1999, "Judges" was substituted for "judges" in paragraph (2) (now paragraph (a)(2)).

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 1999, p. 10, § 3, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "The initial judges to serve in the two judgeships created by this Act shall be appointed by the Governor for terms to expire at the end of 2000."

Ga. L. 2015, p. 919, § 4-1(b), not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "(b)(1) Part I of this Act shall become effective only if funds are appropriated for purposes of Part I of this Act in an appropriations Act enacted at the 2015 regular session of the General Assembly.

"(2) If funds are so appropriated, then Part I of this Act shall become effective on July 1, 2015, for purposes of making the initial appointments of the Court of Appeals Judges created by Part I of this Act, and for all other purposes, Part I of this Act shall become effective on January 1, 2016.

"(3) If funds are not so appropriated, then Part I of this Act shall not become effective and shall stand repealed on July 1, 2015." Funds were appropriated at the 2015 session of the General Assembly.

Law reviews.

- For article, "The Selection and Tenure of Judges," see 2 Ga. St. B. J. 281 (1966). For article, "Annual Survey of Georgia Law: June 1, 2015 - May 31, 2016: Special Contribution: Open Chambers Revisited: Demystifying the Inner Workings and Culture of the Georgia Court of Appeals," see 68 Mercer L. Rev. 1 (2016).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Quo warranto denied challenging appointment of judges.

- Trial court's denial of the challenger's petition for a writ of quo warranto was affirmed because the newly created positions on the Georgia Court of Appeals qualified as vacancies under Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. VII, Para. III; thus, the governor had the authority to appoint judges to the vacancies created by amended O.C.G.A. § 15-3-1(a). Clark v. Deal, 298 Ga. 893, 785 S.E.2d 524 (2016).

15-3-5. Oath of Judges; compensation.

  1. Before entering on the discharge of their duties, the Judges shall take the oath prescribed for judges of the superior courts, along with all other oaths required for civil officers.
    1. The annual salary of each Judge of the Court of Appeals shall be as specified in Code Section 45-7-4. Such salary shall be paid in equal monthly installments.
    2. The Judges shall receive expenses and allowances as provided in Code Section 45-7-20. If a Judge resides 50 miles or more from the judicial building in Atlanta, such Judge shall also receive a mileage allowance for the use of a personal motor vehicle when devoted to official business as provided for in Code Section 50-19-7, for not more than one round trip per calendar week to and from the Judge's residence and the judicial building in Atlanta by the most practical route, during each regular and extraordinary session of court. In the event a Judge travels by public carrier for any part of a round trip as provided above, such Judge shall receive a travel allowance of actual transportation costs for each such part in lieu of the mileage allowance. Transportation costs incurred by a Judge for air travel to and from the Judge's residence to the judicial building in Atlanta shall be reimbursed only to the extent that such costs do not exceed the cost of travel by personal motor vehicle. All allowances provided for in this paragraph shall be paid upon the submission of proper vouchers.
    3. If a Judge resides 50 miles or more from the judicial building in Atlanta, such Judge shall also receive the same daily expense allowance as members of the General Assembly receive, as set forth in Code Section 28-1-8, for not more than 35 days during each term of court. Such days shall be utilized only when official court business is being conducted. All allowances provided for in this paragraph shall be paid upon the submission of proper vouchers.
  2. The salary provided for in subsection (b) of this Code section shall be the total compensation to be paid by the state to the officials named in subsection (b) of this Code section and shall be in lieu of any and all other amounts to be paid from state funds.

(Orig. Code 1863, § 205; Code 1868, § 199; Code 1873, § 212; Code 1882, § 212; Civil Code 1895, § 5502; Ga. L. 1906, p. 24, § 3; Civil Code 1910, §§ 330, 6107; Code 1933, §§ 24-3503, 24-4004; Ga. L. 1957, p. 205, §§ 2-4; Ga. L. 1962, p. 3, §§ 2, 3; Ga. L. 1966, p. 72, § 2; Ga. L. 1970, p. 19, § 2; Ga. L. 1983, p. 3, § 12; Ga. L. 1993, p. 1402, § 7; Ga. L. 2007, p. 424, § 2/HB 120; Ga. L. 2015, p. 919, § 1-2B/HB 279; Ga. L. 2017, p. 122, § 1-2/HB 5.)

Code Commission notes.

- Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2007, "Judge" was substituted for "Justice" in the middle of the third sentence of paragraph (b)(2).

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2015, p. 919, § 4-1(b), not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "(b)(1) Part I of this Act shall become effective only if funds are appropriated for purposes of Part I of this Act in an appropriations Act enacted at the 2015 regular session of the General Assembly.

"(2) If funds are so appropriated, then Part I of this Act shall become effective on July 1, 2015, for purposes of making the initial appointments of the Court of Appeals Judges created by Part I of this Act, and for all other purposes, Part I of this Act shall become effective on January 1, 2016.

"(3) If funds are not so appropriated, then Part I of this Act shall not become effective and shall stand repealed on July 1, 2015." Funds were appropriated at the 2015 session of the General Assembly.

Law reviews.

- For article discussing judicial compensation, see 14 Ga. St. B. J. 110 (1978). For article, "Annual Survey of Georgia Law: June 1, 2015 - May 31, 2016: Special Contribution: Open Chambers Revisited: Demystifying the Inner Workings and Culture of the Georgia Court of Appeals," see 68 Mercer L. Rev. 1 (2016).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 46 Am. Jur. 2d, Judges, §§ 10, 26, 50 et seq.

C.J.S.

- 48A C.J.S., Judges, §§ 23, 84.

15-3-6. Compensation of officers and employees.

The Judges of the Court of Appeals are authorized to fix the annual compensation of the officers and employees of their court, provided that the total salaries and expenses of the court shall be within the amount of money available for such purposes.

(Ga. L. 1906, p. 24, § 3; Civil Code 1910, § 330; Code 1933, § 24-3503; Ga. L. 1957, p. 205, § 5.)

15-3-7. Disposition of fees.

All fees coming to the clerk of the Court of Appeals shall be the property of the state and the same shall be paid into the state treasury.

(Ga. L. 1917, p. 99, § 2; Code 1933, § 24-3505; Ga. L. 1943, p. 387, § 7; Ga. L. 1945, p. 235, § 1; Ga. L. 1947, p. 686, § 2; Ga. L. 1952, p. 179, §§ 1-3.)

RESEARCH REFERENCES

C.J.S.

- 48A C.J.S., Judges, § 91.

15-3-8. Compensation of sheriff of court.

Reserved. Repealed by Ga. L. 1993, p. 1402, § 8, effective July 1, 1993.

Editor's notes.

- This Code section was based on Ga. L. 1918, p. 227, § 1; Ga. L. 1919, p. 280, § 1; Code 1933, § 24-3507; Ga. L. 1952, p. 179, § 4; and Ga. L. 1981, Ex. Sess., p. 8.

15-3-9. Law assistants.

  1. The Judges of the Court of Appeals shall be authorized to appoint law assistants for the use of the court and to remove them at pleasure. Each law assistant of the Court of Appeals shall have been admitted to the bar of this state as a practicing attorney; provided, however, that an individual who graduated from law school but who is not a member of the bar of this state may be appointed as a law assistant so long as he or she is admitted to the bar of this state within one year of such appointment.
  2. It shall be the duty of a law assistant to attend all sessions of the court, if so ordered, and generally to perform the duties incident to the role of law assistant.

(Ga. L. 1920, p. 272, § 1; Code 1933, § 24-3508; Ga. L. 1946, p. 77, §§ 1, 2; Ga. L. 1950, p. 343, § 1; Ga. L. 1952, p. 179, § 5; Ga. L. 2016, p. 883, § 1-3/HB 927.)

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2016, p. 883, § 1-1/HB 927, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "This Act shall be known and may be cited as the 'Appellate Jurisdiction Reform Act of 2016.'"

Law reviews.

- For article on the 2016 amendment of this Code section, see 33 Georgia St. U.L. Rev. 205 (2016).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Law assistants must obey judge's orders.

- Law assistant is assigned a particular judge whose orders in reference to the work required of the assistant must be obeyed. Johnson v. United States Fid. & Guar. Co., 93 Ga. App. 336, 91 S.E.2d 779 (1956).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

C.J.S.

- 21 C.J.S., Courts, § 121 et seq.

15-3-10. Employment and salaries of staff.

The Court of Appeals may employ and fix the salaries of stenographers, clerical assistants, and such other employees as may be deemed necessary by the court; and the salaries therefor shall be paid by the clerk from the appropriations for the operation of the Court of Appeals.

(Ga. L. 1943, p. 387, § 11.)

RESEARCH REFERENCES

C.J.S.

- 21 C.J.S., Courts, § 121 et seq.

15-3-11. Appointment of deputy clerk and employees by clerk of court.

  1. The clerk of the Court of Appeals may appoint a deputy clerk of court, in his discretion, under such rules as the court may adopt, the clerk being responsible for the faithful performance of the duties of the deputy clerk. The powers and duties of the deputy clerk shall be the same as those of the clerk.
  2. The clerk of the Court of Appeals, with the approval of the court, may also employ such stenographers, clerical assistants, and employees as may be necessary for the performance of the duties in the office of the clerk. Their salaries shall be paid by the clerk from the appropriations for the operation of the Court of Appeals.

(Ga. L. 1917, p. 99, §§ 1, 2; Ga. L. 1921, p. 239, § 2; Ga. L. 1925, p. 144, § 1; Code 1933, §§ 24-3504, 24-3506; Ga. L. 1943, p. 387, § 8.)

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 15A Am. Jur. 2d, Clerks of Court, § 41 et seq.

C.J.S.

- 21 C.J.S., Courts, § 344 et seq.

15-3-12. Books, supplies, and services.

The Court of Appeals shall purchase such books, pamphlets, or other publications and such other supplies and services as the Judges thereof may deem necessary. The cost thereof shall be paid by the clerk out of the appropriations for the operation of the Court of Appeals.

(Ga. L. 1943, p. 387, § 13.)

15-3-13. Voluntary preappeal settlement conference procedure.

  1. The Court of Appeals of Georgia is authorized to establish by rule of court a voluntary preappeal settlement conference procedure. In furtherance of such a procedure, the court is authorized to provide by rule for the extension of time for the filing of the record, enumerations of error, briefs, or other matters for which time of filing is otherwise prescribed by statute.
  2. The Court of Appeals shall utilize Senior Appellate Court Justices and Judges and senior superior court judges as settlement conference judges.
  3. Settlement conference judges shall be entitled to receive the same travel, per diem, and pay allowances now or hereafter authorized to be paid to senior judges of the superior courts when called.
  4. Any rules or amendments thereto adopted pursuant to this Code section shall be submitted to the State Bar of Georgia, the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives, and the Judiciary Committee of the Senate at least 30 days before such rules or amendments shall become effective. The Court of Appeals shall receive and consider such comments as shall be made by such organization or committees.

(Code 1981, §15-3-13, enacted by Ga. L. 1988, p. 1856, § 1.)

Cross references.

- Appellate settlement conferences, Rules of the Court of Appeals of the State of Georgia, Rule 46.

CHAPTER 3A SENIOR APPELLATE COURT JUSTICES AND JUDGES

Cross references.

- Rules for service of senior judges, Uniform Rules for the Superior Courts, Rule 18.

15-3A-1. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the term:

  1. "Senior Appellate Court Judge" means a Judge, Presiding Judge, or Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals appointed to the office created by this chapter.
  2. "Senior Appellate Court Justice" means an Associate Justice, Presiding Justice, or Chief Justice of the Supreme Court appointed to the office created by this chapter.

(Code 1981, §15-3A-1, enacted by Ga. L. 1987, p. 291, § 2.)

15-3A-2. Creation of offices; eligibility; application; appointment.

There is created the office of Senior Appellate Court Justice and the office of Senior Appellate Court Judge. Any Justice of the Supreme Court or Judge of the Court of Appeals who retires pursuant to the provisions of laws of the state retirement system applicable to such Justice or Judge at the time of such Justice's or Judge's retirement may, at such Justice's or Judge's option, be eligible for appointment by the Governor to the office of Senior Appellate Court Justice or Judge. Any former member of the Supreme Court or Court of Appeals who is retired or who retires on or after March 26, 1987, pursuant to the laws of the retirement system applicable to such Justice or Judge at the time of such Justice's or Judge's retirement may, at such Justice's or Judge's option, become eligible for appointment to the office of Senior Appellate Court Justice or Judge upon written application being made to the Governor. All persons appointed to the office of Senior Appellate Court Justice or Judge shall hold such office for life, subject to the same laws, rules, and regulations for removal or discipline of sitting members of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. A Senior Appellate Court Justice or Judge, while holding that office, shall not be eligible for election or appointment to any other nonjudicial public office in this state, and such Senior Appellate Court Justice or Judge may not practice law during such Justice's or Judge's tenure as a Senior Appellate Court Justice or Judge. For purposes of this Code section, participation as an arbitrator shall not be deemed the practice of law.

(Code 1981, §15-3A-2, enacted by Ga. L. 1987, p. 291, § 2; Ga. L. 1988, p. 13, § 15.)

15-3A-3. Powers.

A Senior Appellate Court Justice or Judge may exercise judicial power in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, superior court, and all other courts of this state upon the request and the consent of a majority of the judges of the requesting court.

(Code 1981, §15-3A-3, enacted by Ga. L. 1987, p. 291, § 2.)

15-3A-4. Travel, per diem, and pay allowances.

A Senior Appellate Court Justice or Judge while serving in any of the courts provided for in Code Section 15-3A-3 shall be entitled to receive the same travel, per diem, and pay allowances now or hereafter authorized to be paid to senior judges of the superior court when called. Such compensation, expenses, and mileage shall be paid from state funds appropriated or otherwise available for the operation for any of such courts, upon a certificate by the Senior Appellate Court Justice or Judge as to the number of days served or the expenses and mileage incurred. Such compensation shall not affect, diminish, or otherwise impair the payment or receipt of any retirement or pension benefits of such Senior Appellate Court Justice or Judge.

(Code 1981, §15-3A-4, enacted by Ga. L. 1987, p. 291, § 2.)

15-3A-5. Basis for resignation.

If a Senior Appellate Court Justice or Judge determines to seek nonjudicial elective public office, accepts appointment to a public office, practices law, or for any reason determines that senior status provided for in this chapter is no longer desirable, such Justice or Judge shall resign such Justice's or Judge's office and submit such Justice's or Judge's resignation to the Governor. Such resignation shall not affect or impair such Justice's or Judge's retirement pay and benefits.

(Code 1981, §15-3A-5, enacted by Ga. L. 1987, p. 291, § 2.)

15-3A-6. Applicability.

This chapter shall apply only to those retired or retiring members of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals who expressly indicate in writing to the Governor that they desire appointment to the office of Senior Appellate Court Justice or Judge.

(Code 1981, §15-3A-6, enacted by Ga. L. 1987, p. 291, § 2.)

CHAPTER 4 REPORTER OF THE SUPREME COURT AND COURT OF APPEALS

15-4-1. Term of office; oaths.

The reporter of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals holds his office for the same term and on the same conditions as the clerk of the Supreme Court and, before entering upon his duties, must take the same oaths.

(Laws 1845, Cobb's 1851 Digest, p. 452; Laws 1847, Cobb's 1851 Digest, p. 453; Code 1863, § 219; Code 1868, § 213; Code 1873, § 226; Code 1882, § 226; Civil Code 1895, § 5515; Civil Code 1910, § 6127; Code 1933, § 24-4201.)

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Simultaneous service of judicial secretary.

- A judicial secretary appointed pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15-6-25 may not simultaneously serve the same court as an official court reporter because such an arrangement would prevent the secretary from complying with O.C.G.A. § 45-10-1 and providing the state with a full day's work for a full day's pay. 2016 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U16-2.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 20 Am. Jur. 2d, Courts, § 1 et seq.

C.J.S.

- 21 C.J.S., Courts, § 121 et seq.

15-4-2. Duties.

It is the reporter's duty:

  1. To attend all sessions of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals personally or by sending his assistant; and
  2. To publish the decisions of the Supreme Court and of the Court of Appeals in accordance with Article 2 of Chapter 18 of Title 50.

(Laws 1845, Cobb's 1851 Digest, p. 452; Code 1863, § 221; Code 1868, § 215; Code 1873, § 228; Ga. L. 1875, p. 88, § 1; Code 1882, § 228; Ga. L. 1882-83, p. 76, § 1; Civil Code 1895, § 5517; Civil Code 1910, § 6129; Code 1933, § 24-4203; Ga. L. 1972, p. 458, § 1.)

15-4-3. Publication of synopsis in lieu of entire decision.

The Justices or Judges may direct the reporter to omit the publication in full of such cases as, in their opinion, may be understood from the written synopsis of the points decided, made by them at the time of the decision, and the reporter shall publish only the synopsis in such cases.

(Ga. L. 1875, p. 88, § 1; Code 1882, § 228; Civil Code 1895, § 5518; Civil Code 1910, § 6130; Code 1933, § 24-4204.)

Law reviews.

- For comment discussing the operation of stare decisis, in light of Walton v. Benton, 191 Ga. 548, 13 S.E.2d 185 (1941), see 3 Ga. B. J. 62 (1941).

15-4-4. Assistant reporter.

The reporter, with the consent of the court, under such rules as the court may adopt, may appoint an assistant reporter whose duties shall be the same as the reporter's.

(Orig. Code 1863, § 220; Code 1868, § 214; Code 1873, § 227; Code 1882, § 227; Ga. L. 1888, p. 35, § 1; Civil Code 1895, § 5519; Civil Code 1910, § 6131; Code 1933, § 24-4205.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Cited in Blackstone v. Blackstone, 282 Ga. App. 515, 639 S.E.2d 369 (2006).

15-4-5. Compensation.

The salaries of the reporter and the assistant reporter of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals shall be payable in equal monthly installments, one-half from the appropriations for the operation of the Supreme Court and one-half from the appropriations for the operation of the Court of Appeals.

(Orig. Code 1863, § 1578; Code 1868, § 1640; Code 1873, § 1646; Ga. L. 1878-79, p. 158, § 5; Code 1882, § 228e; Ga. L. 1888, p. 35, § 1; Civil Code 1895, §§ 5516, 5519; Civil Code 1910, §§ 6128, 6131; Code 1933, §§ 24-4202, 24-4205; Ga. L. 1950, p. 309, § 1; Ga. L. 1953, Jan.-Feb. Sess., p. 51, § 1; Ga. L. 1993, p. 1402, § 9.)

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Appropriations for state reports directed to reporter.

- Because the reporter is primarily responsible for the production of the reports, and because it is the reporter's responsibility to furnish a manuscript of the decisions to the state publisher and to ascertain proper performance by the publisher, and because failure of a report to be published is directly attributable to the reporter, the state reporter is the proper budget unit to which appropriations for the state reports should be directed. 1971 Op. Att'y Gen. 71-103.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

C.J.S.

- 77 C.J.S., Reports, § 7.

15-4-6. Employment and salaries of staff.

The Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals shall employ and fix the salaries of such stenographers, clerical assistants, and employees as are necessary for the performance of the duties in the offices of the reporter and assistant reporter of decisions of such courts. The salaries of such employees shall be paid by the clerks of the respective courts, one-half each by each court from the appropriations for the operation of the respective courts.

(Ga. L. 1943, p. 387, § 9.)

CHAPTER 5 ADMINISTRATION OF COURTS OF RECORD GENERALLY

Article 1 Judicial Administration.
Article 2 Judicial Council.
Article 3 Court Documents.
Article 4 Court Cost Overpayments.
Article 5 Council of Superior Court Judges.
Article 6 Georgia Courts Automation Commission.
Article 7 Georgia Council of Court Administrators.

ARTICLE 1 JUDICIAL ADMINISTRATION

Law reviews.

- For article, "Courts: Juvenile Justice Reform," see 30 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 63 (2013).

15-5-1. Short title.

This article shall be known and may be cited as "The Judicial Administration Act of 1976."

(Ga. L. 1976, p. 782, § 1.)

15-5-2. Judicial administration districts.

Ten judicial administration districts of more or less equal population in each district are created within this state. The boundaries of the ten judicial administration districts, to the extent possible, shall follow the boundaries existing on July 1, 1976, of the ten United States congressional districts, except that each judicial circuit existing on July 1, 1976, shall remain intact and shall not be placed in more than one judicial administration district. The Governor, after conferring with the superior court judges, shall establish by July 1, 1976, the original boundaries of each judicial administration district pursuant to this Code section. The ten administrative judges provided for in this article may provide for any necessary changes in the boundaries of such districts not inconsistent with this Code section.

(Ga. L. 1976, p. 782, § 2.)

15-5-3. District councils created.

A district council for each judicial administration district is created, composed of all judges of the superior courts within the district. The superior court judge in each district having seniority in number of years as a superior court judge shall serve as presiding officer of the district council. Each district council shall meet at least once a year and as often as required to discuss administrative problems peculiar to the district and otherwise to perform its duties. Each district council shall establish rules, by majority vote, which shall cover the right to call additional meetings and procedures for handling the administrative work of the council.

(Ga. L. 1976, p. 782, § 3.)

15-5-4. Election of district administrative judge; term; removal.

The judges of each district council shall elect a superior court judge or a senior judge of the superior court to serve for a two-year term as an "administrative judge" within the district. The district administrative judge shall serve until his successor is elected and qualified; provided, however, that the district administrative judge may be removed at any time by a two-thirds' vote of all judges comprising the district council. The duties of the administrative judge shall be additional duties which shall not be construed to diminish his other responsibilities.

(Ga. L. 1976, p. 782, § 4; Ga. L. 1985, p. 149, § 15.)

15-5-5. Duties of district administrative judge.

The duties and authority of each district administrative judge shall be as follows:

  1. To request, collect, and receive information from the courts of record within his district pursuant to uniform rules promulgated by the ten administrative judges; and
  2. To authorize and assign any superior court judge within the district to sit on any type of case or to handle other administrative or judicial matters within the district; provided, however, that the assignment shall be made with the consent of the assigned judge and with the consent of the majority of the judges of the circuit to which the assignment is made and that the assignment shall be made subject to rules promulgated by the district council by a majority vote of the superior court judges within the district.

(Ga. L. 1976, p. 782, § 6.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Procurement of senior judge from outside district.

- O.C.G.A. § 15-5-5(2) does not prevent an administrative judge from procuring the services of a senior judge from outside the administrative district because superior court judges, including senior judges, have jurisdiction to act in any circuit other than their own when the resident judge is disqualified. Shoemake v. Woodland Equities, Inc., 252 Ga. 389, 313 S.E.2d 689 (1984).

Assignment of a senior judge from outside the administrative district is valid under the provisions of paragraph (2) of O.C.G.A. § 15-5-5. Henderson v. Glen Oak, Inc., 179 Ga. App. 380, 346 S.E.2d 842 (1986), aff'd, 256 Ga. 619, 351 S.E.2d 640 (1987).

15-5-6. Administrative assistant; duties; compensation.

Each district administrative judge is authorized to hire a full-time assistant adequately trained in the duties of court administration. The assistant shall assist in the duties of the district administrative judge, provide general court administrative services to the district council, and otherwise perform such duties as may be assigned to him or her by the district administrative judge. Each assistant shall be an employee of the judicial branch of the state government and shall be in the unclassified service as defined by Code Section 45-20-2. The assistant shall be compensated in an amount and manner to be determined by uniform rules adopted by the ten administrative judges. Each assistant shall be compensated out of funds made available for such purposes within the judicial branch of the government. Additional funds shall be made available for needed clerical and other office operating costs of the assistant.

(Ga. L. 1976, p. 782, § 5; Ga. L. 2009, p. 745, § 2/SB 97; Ga. L. 2012, p. 446, § 2-9/HB 642.)

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2012, p. 446, § 3-1/HB 642, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "Personnel, equipment, and facilities that were assigned to the State Personnel Administration as of June 30, 2012, shall be transferred to the Department of Administrative Services on the effective date of this Act." This Act became effective July 1, 2012.

Ga. L. 2012, p. 446, § 3-2/HB 642, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "Appropriations for functions which are transferred by this Act may be transferred as provided in Code Section 45-12-90."

ARTICLE 2 JUDICIAL COUNCIL

Law reviews.

- For article, "Courts: Juvenile Justice Reform," see 30 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 63 (2013).

15-5-20. Judicial Council of Georgia; powers and duties; membership.

  1. The Supreme Court shall create a Judicial Council of Georgia, which council shall have such powers, duties, and responsibilities as may be provided by law or as may be provided by rule of the Supreme Court.
  2. Members of the council and their terms shall be as provided by the Supreme Court. The members of the council shall receive no compensation for their services but shall be reimbursed for their actual expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as members of the council.

(Ga. L. 1945, p. 155, §§ 1-3; Ga. L. 1973, p. 288, §§ 1, 2; Ga. L. 1983, p. 956, § 6; Ga. L. 1984, p. 22, § 15.)

Cross references.

- Powers and duties of Judicial Council regarding regulation of practice of court reporting, § 15-14-20 et seq.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Judicial Council of Georgia and Board of Court Reporting were part of the judiciary and therefore excluded from coverage.

- Judicial Council of Georgia and the Board of Court Reporting of the Judicial Council of Georgia fell within "the judiciary," as that term was used in O.C.G.A. § 50-13-2(1) of the Administrative Procedure Act, O.C.G.A. § 50-13-1 et seq., and therefore were exempt from the coverage of the Act and immune from a suit challenging a court reporter ethics rule the board adopted. Judicial Council v. Brown & Gallo, LLC, 288 Ga. 294, 702 S.E.2d 894 (2010).

Cited in Wallace v. Wallace, 225 Ga. 102, 166 S.E.2d 718 (1969).

15-5-21. Promulgation of rules for transcripts and court reporters' fees.

  1. The Judicial Council shall promulgate rules and regulations which shall:
    1. Provide for and set the fees to be charged by all official court reporters in this state for attending court, taking stenographic notes, and recording the evidence;
    2. Provide for and set the fees to be charged by all official court reporters in this state for furnishing transcripts of the evidence and for other proceedings furnished by the official court reporters in all civil and criminal cases in this state;
    3. Provide for a minimum per diem fee for official court reporters, which fee may be supplemented by the various counties within the circuits to which the court reporters are assigned; and
    4. Provide for the form and style of the transcripts, which shall be uniform throughout the state.
  2. The Judicial Council shall amend its rules and regulations providing for and setting the fees to be charged by all official court reporters whenever the council shall deem it necessary and proper.
  3. This Code section shall not apply to those court reporters taking and furnishing transcripts of depositions or taking and furnishing transcripts of nonjudicial functions, nor to any independent contracts of any reporters.
  4. A rule or regulation promulgated by the Judicial Council pursuant to this Code section shall not become effective unless that council provides to the chairperson of the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives, the chairperson of the Judiciary, Non-civil Committee of the House of Representatives, the chairperson of the Judiciary Committee of the Senate, and the chairperson of the Special Judiciary Committee of the Senate, at least 30 days prior to the date that the council intends to adopt such rule or regulation, written notice which includes an exact copy of the proposed rule or regulation and the intended date of its adoption. After July 1, 1986, no rule or regulation adopted by the Judicial Council pursuant to this Code section shall be valid unless adopted in conformity with this subsection. A proceeding to contest any rule or regulation on the grounds of noncompliance with this subsection must be commenced within two years from the effective date of the rule or regulation.

(Ga. L. 1975, p. 852, §§ 1, 2; Ga. L. 1986, p. 956, § 1; Ga. L. 1988, p. 13, § 15; Ga. L. 2009, p. 303, § 19/HB 117; Ga. L. 2010, p. 878, § 15/HB 1387.)

Cross references.

- Preparation of transcripts of evidence and proceedings for purposes of bringing appeal, § 5-6-41.

Compensation of court reporter in cases before an auditor, § 9-7-23.

Court reporters generally, § 15-14-1 et seq.

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2009, p. 303, § 20/HB 177, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "This Act is intended to reflect the current internal organization of the Georgia Senate and House of Representatives and is not otherwise intended to change substantive law. In the event of a conflict with any other Act of the 2009 General Assembly, such other Act shall control over this Act."

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Cited in Holloway v. State, 178 Ga. App. 141, 342 S.E.2d 363 (1986).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Supplement to minimum per diem.

- Judicial Council has authority to promulgate rules and regulations which would allow local governing authorities to pay a supplement in addition to the minimum per diem otherwise provided. 1976 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U76-11.

Effect of section on prior local laws and general laws of local application.

- Prior local laws and general laws of local application which provided that a court reporter could charge a party or attorney for that party a fee different from those fees authorized by rules and regulations of the Judicial Council under authority of this section are repealed by implication to the extent that conflicts exist; however, to the extent that such local laws and general laws of local application provide for extraordinary compensation to court reporters to be paid by governmental units, those laws are valid. 1976 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U76-11.

15-5-21.1. Development and utilization of uniform misdemeanor citation and complaint form.

The Judicial Council of Georgia shall develop a uniform misdemeanor citation and complaint form for use by all law enforcement officials who are empowered to arrest individuals for misdemeanors and local ordinance violations. Such form shall serve as the citation, summons, accusation, or other instrument of prosecution of the offense or offenses for which the accused is charged and as the record of the disposition of the matter by the court before which the accused is brought, and shall contain such other matter as the council shall provide. Each such form shall have a unique identifying number which shall serve as the docket number for the court having jurisdiction of the accused. The Judicial Council of Georgia shall promulgate rules for each class of court for the use of such citations.

(Code 1981, §15-5-21.1, enacted by Ga. L. 2018, p. 550, § 2-1/SB 407.)

Effective date.

- This Code section became effective July 1, 2018.

Law reviews.

- For article on the 2018 enactment of this Code section, see 35 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 45 (2018).

15-5-22. Administrative Office of the Courts.

There is created the Administrative Office of the Courts, which shall serve as the staff for the Judicial Council.

(Ga. L. 1973, p. 288, § 3.)

15-5-23. Director of Administrative Office of the Courts.

The Judicial Council shall appoint a director of the Administrative Office of the Courts who shall serve at the pleasure of the Judicial Council. The director shall be the executive head of the Administrative Office of the Courts and shall perform such duties as provided in Code Section 15-5-24 or as may be delegated to him by the Judicial Council. The director shall devote his full time to his official duties. The director shall receive compensation and expenses as authorized by the Judicial Council. With the approval of the Judicial Council, the director shall appoint such assistants and clerical and secretarial employees as are necessary to enable him to perform his duties and shall fix their compensation.

(Ga. L. 1973, p. 288, § 4.)

RESEARCH REFERENCES

ALR.

- What Constitutes "Point Source" of Pollution Subject to Control by Provisions of Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C.A. § 1362(14)), 29 A.L.R. Fed. 3d 10.

15-5-24. Duties of Administrative Office of the Courts.

Under the supervision and direction of the Judicial Council, the Administrative Office of the Courts shall perform the following duties:

  1. Consult with and assist judges, administrators, clerks of court, and other officers and employees of the court pertaining to matters relating to court administration and provide such services as are requested;
  2. Examine the administrative and business methods and systems employed in the offices related to and serving the courts and make recommendations for necessary improvement;
  3. Compile statistical and financial data and other information on the judicial work of the courts and on the work of other offices related to and serving the courts, which data and information shall be provided by the courts;
  4. Analyze data relating to civil cases and on or before the first day of October each year provide such data, analysis, or both data and analysis to the courts and agencies of the judicial branch, agencies of the executive branch, and the chairpersons of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Judiciary;
  5. Examine the state of the dockets and practices and procedures of the courts and make recommendations for the expedition of litigation;
  6. Act as fiscal officer and prepare and submit budget estimates of state appropriations necessary for the maintenance and operation of the judicial system;
  7. Formulate and submit recommendations for the improvement of the judicial system;
  8. Perform such additional duties as may be assigned by the Judicial Council; and
  9. Prepare and publish in print or electronically an annual report on the work of the courts and on the activities of the Administrative Office of the Courts.

(Ga. L. 1973, p. 288, § 5; Ga. L. 2000, p. 850, § 4; Ga. L. 2010, p. 838, § 10/SB 388; Ga. L. 2017, p. 632, § 2-3/SB 132.)

The 2017 amendment, effective January 1, 2018, substituted the present provisions of paragraph (4) for the former provisions, which read: "Analyze data relating to civil cases collected pursuant to subsection (b) of Code Section 9-11-3 and subsection (b) of Code Section 9-11-58 and provide such data, analysis, or both data and analysis to the courts and agencies of the judicial branch, agencies of the executive branch, and the General Assembly;".

Cross references.

- Development and operation of civil case information system, § 15-6-97.1.

Administrative Rules and Regulations.

- Legal assistance to families victimized by domestic violence project, Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, Grants of Judicial Council of Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts, Rule 297-1-.01.

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Editor's notes.

- In light of the similarities of the statutory provisions, decisions under Ga. L. 1945, p. 155 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Power to investigate Board of Pardons and Paroles.

- It is not possible to deduce from any of the duties enumerated in Ga. L. 1945, p. 155, the power of making an investigation of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles by the Judicial Council. 1948-49 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 415 (decided under Ga. L. 1945, p. 155).

15-5-25. Effect of article on authority of courts.

This article shall not be construed as limiting or affecting the authority of any court.

(Ga. L. 1973, p. 288, § 6.)

15-5-26. Proposals for pilot programs involving nonuniform courts.

  1. Any proposal for a pilot program of limited duration involving courts which are not uniform within their classes, as authorized by Article VI, Section I, Paragraph X of the Constitution, shall be submitted to the Judicial Council for review and evaluation before it is considered by the General Assembly.
  2. Such a proposal may be submitted by any of the following:
    1. The Governor;
    2. A member of the General Assembly;
    3. The chief judge of one of the courts affected by such proposal; or
    4. The governing authority of a county affected by such proposal.
  3. Such a proposal shall be submitted to the Judicial Council during the year preceding the year in which a bill establishing a pilot program is considered by the General Assembly.
  4. The Judicial Council shall adopt policies and procedures regarding the submission and evaluation of such proposals which shall set out, at a minimum, the form and contents of the submission, the recommended date for submission, and internal procedures for developing recommendations regarding proposals. The Judicial Council shall make copies of its policies and procedures regarding submissions available upon request to members of the General Assembly, members of the judiciary, county governing authorities, and the public.
  5. The Judicial Council shall submit to the General Assembly a report evaluating each such proposal submitted and recommending adoption, adoption after modification, or rejection of each such proposal by the General Assembly. The Judicial Council shall provide the report or reports to the members of the General Assembly no later than December 31 of the year prior to consideration of a bill establishing any pilot projects in the General Assembly.

(Code 1981, §15-5-26, enacted by Ga. L. 1996, p. 1077, § 1.)

ARTICLE 3 COURT DOCUMENTS

Law reviews.

- For article, "Courts: Juvenile Justice Reform," see 30 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 63 (2013).

15-5-40. Letter-sized paper to be accepted.

Any pleading or other document filed in any court of record may be prepared on letter-sized paper; and no clerk of any court of record shall refuse to accept for filing any pleading or other document for the reason that it is on letter-sized paper.

(Code 1981, §15-5-40, enacted by Ga. L. 1983, p. 531, § 1; Ga. L. 1984, p. 22, § 15.)

Cross references.

- Format of documents, Rules of the Supreme Court of the State of Georgia, Rule 17.

Filing with clerk's office, Rules of the Court of Appeals of the State of Georgia, Rule 1.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Cited in Best Jewelry Mfg. Co. v. Reed Elsevier Inc., 334 Ga. App. 826, 780 S.E.2d 689 (2015).

ARTICLE 4 COURT COST OVERPAYMENTS

Law reviews.

- For article, "Courts: Juvenile Justice Reform," see 30 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 63 (2013).

15-5-50. Minimum amount for refund.

No court of record in this state shall be required to refund any overpayment of court costs in an amount not exceeding $5.00 or to collect any due court costs in an amount of less than $5.00 over the initial filing fee.

(Code 1981, §15-5-50, enacted by Ga. L. 1984, p. 1149, § 2.)

ARTICLE 5 COUNCIL OF SUPERIOR COURT JUDGES

Law reviews.

- For article, "Courts: Juvenile Justice Reform," see 30 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 63 (2013).

15-5-60. Contract for administrative functions, services, and equipment.

The Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia shall be authorized to provide for or contract for administrative functions, services, and equipment necessary for the fulfillment of the responsibilities of the superior courts with funds appropriated or otherwise available for the operation of the superior courts of the state.

(Code 1981, §15-5-60, enacted by Ga. L. 1987, p. 622, § 1; Ga. L. 2008, p. 577, § 1/SB 396.)

ARTICLE 6 GEORGIA COURTS AUTOMATION COMMISSION

Cross references.

- Development and operation of civil case information system, § 15-6-97.1.

Law reviews.

- For article, "Courts: Juvenile Justice Reform," see 30 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 63 (2013).

15-5-80. Definitions.

As used in this article, the term:

  1. "Commission" means the Georgia Courts Automation Commission.
  2. "Council" means the advisory council to the commission.

(Code 1981, §15-5-80, enacted by Ga. L. 2005, p. 60, § 15/HB 95.)

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2005, p. 60, § 15/HB 95, renumbered former Code Section 15-5-80 as present Code Section 15-5-80.1.

15-5-80.1. Georgia Courts Automation Commission.

  1. There shall be a Georgia Courts Automation Commission.The commission created in this article shall be a successor to the Georgia Courts Automation Commission created by 1990 Resolution Act No. 98; HR 849; Ga. L. 1990, p. 979.
  2. The commission shall consist of 11 members.One member shall be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia or his designee; and the remaining members shall be appointed by the Chief Justice as follows:
    1. One Judge of the Court of Appeals of Georgia;
    2. Three superior court judges;
    3. One superior court clerk;
    4. One state court judge;
    5. One juvenile court judge;
    6. One probate court judge;
    7. One magistrate court judge; and
    8. One municipal court judge.

      All members of the commission shall serve at the pleasure of the Chief Justice.

  3. The Chief Justice shall appoint the chairman of the commission, and the commission shall elect a vice chairman who shall preside in the absence of the chairman.The commission may elect such other officers as it deems advisable and shall establish such quorum, attendance, and other rules as it deems necessary for the most efficient operation of the commission. The commission may meet at such times and places within the state as the commission deems necessary.
  4. All members of the commission shall serve without compensation but may be reimbursed for travel and other expenses in carrying out their official duties in the same manner as other state officials and employees.Members of the commission who are state officials or employees shall be reimbursed for such expenses from funds of their respective state departments and agencies. All members of the commission who are not state officials or employees shall be reimbursed for such expenses from funds appropriated or otherwise available to the judicial branch of state government.

(Code 1981, §15-5-80, enacted by Ga. L. 1991, p. 634, § 1; Code 1981, §15-5-80.1, as redesignated by Ga. L. 2005, p. 60, § 15/HB 95.)

15-5-81. Advisory council to commission.

  1. There shall be an advisory council to the Georgia Courts Automation Commission. The advisory council shall consist of the director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation or the director's designee, the commissioner of corrections or the commissioner's designee, the commissioner of community supervision or the commissioner's designee, the commissioner of public safety or the commissioner's designee, the chairperson of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles or the chairperson's designee, the director of the Administrative Office of the Courts or the director's designee, the director of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council or the director's designee, the director of the Governor's Office for Children and Families or the director's designee, and the executive director of the Georgia Technology Authority or the executive director's designee.
  2. The members of the advisory council shall be notified of and entitled to attend all meetings of the commission and shall be afforded an opportunity to review and comment on all proposed official actions of the commission other than actions relating solely to the internal organization and internal affairs of the commission.
  3. All members of the advisory council shall serve without compensation but may be reimbursed for travel and other expenses in carrying out their official duties in the same manner as other state officials and employees. Members of the advisory council who are state officials or employees shall be reimbursed for such expenses from funds of their respective state departments and agencies.All members of the advisory council who are not state officials or employees shall be reimbursed for such expenses from funds appropriated or otherwise available to the judicial branch of state government.

(Code 1981, §15-5-81, enacted by Ga. L. 1991, p. 634, § 1; Ga. L. 1992, p. 6, § 15; Ga. L. 2002, p. 1323, § 1; Ga. L. 2005, p. 60, § 15/HB 95; Ga. L. 2008, p. 568, § 10/HB 1054; Ga. L. 2008, p. 577, § 2/SB 396; Ga. L. 2015, p. 422, § 5-6/HB 310.)

Cross references.

- Programs and protection for children, T. 49, C. 5, A. 6.

Code Commission notes.

- Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1991, "director" was substituted for "Director" near the end of subsection (a).

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2008, p. 568, § 1/HB 1054, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "This Act may be cited as the 'Children and Family Services Strengthening Act of 2008.'"

Ga. L. 2008, p. 568, § 2/HB 1054, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "The General Assembly finds that well-intentioned efforts over the years have resulted in the creation of several agencies focused on preventing child abuse and juvenile delinquency, on serving at-risk families and troubled youth, and on promoting the improvement of our state's child welfare system. The General Assembly further finds that the work of some of these agencies overlaps, and that the at-risk families and troubled children of Georgia will be more efficiently and effectively served by consolidating the Children and Youth Coordinating Council with the Children's Trust Fund Commission, by placing the functions of the Georgia Child Fatality Review Panel under the supervision of the Child Advocate for the Protection of Children, and by encouraging these consolidated agencies to collaborate to create a consistent vision for serving the needs of our state's families in need."

Ga. L. 2015, p. 422, § 6-1/HB 310, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part, that the amendment by this Act shall apply to sentences entered on or after July 1, 2015.

Law reviews.

- For article on the 2015 amendment of this Code section, see 32 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 231 (2015).

15-5-82. Authority of commission; appointment of committees.

  1. The commission shall be authorized to:
    1. Define, implement, and administer a state-wide courts automation system including data collection, networking, data storage, retrieval, processing, and distribution;
    2. Coordinate and cooperate with the state's chief information officer with regard to planning, implementation, and administration of a state-wide courts automation system to take advantage of existing state resources where possible;
    3. Participate in agreements, contracts, and networks necessary or convenient for the performance of the duties specified in this paragraph and paragraph (2) of this subsection and for the release of the information from civil case filing and disposition forms;
    4. Administer federal, state, local, and other public or private funds made available to it for implementation of the courts automation system;
    5. Coordinate state-wide strategies and plans for incorporating county and local governments into the courts automation system, including review of requirements of the several state agencies for documents, reports, and forms and the consolidation, elimination, or conversion of such documents, reports, and forms to formats compatible with electronic transmittal media;
    6. Establish policies and procedures, rules and regulations, and technical and performance standards for county and local government access to the courts automation system network; and
    7. Offer advisory services to county and local governments to assist in guiding their efforts toward automating their court procedures and operations.
  2. The chairperson of the commission may designate and appoint committees to perform such functions as he or she may determine to be necessary. The commission may, either by itself or through such committees, hold hearings, conduct investigations, and take any other action necessary or desirable to implement the courts automation system in a deliberate, effective, and timely manner. The commission shall make an annual report of its progress to the Chief Justice, the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
  3. The commission may use the funds available to it for providing to the judicial branch, officials, authorities, agencies, or instrumentalities of this state or a political subdivision of this state access to data bases which are beneficial to the operation of the courts and are accessible through the commission or through the Georgia Technology Authority, provided that access to any such data base shall be conditioned upon the consent of the department, agency, or other entity having the right to grant such access. The commission may also expend funds as necessary for appropriate access to such data bases by the courts.
  4. Nothing in this article shall be so construed as to require any office of a court to accept additional workload generated by establishment of an electronic transfer of information capability from any other office of the county or local government, including court offices. Each such office shall continue to have sole responsibility for transmitting information required of it, either manually or electronically.

(Code 1981, §15-5-82, enacted by Ga. L. 1991, p. 634, § 1; Ga. L. 1992, p. 6, § 15; Ga. L. 2000, p. 850, § 5; Ga. L. 2001, p. 4, § 15; Ga. L. 2017, p. 632, § 2-4/SB 132.)

The 2017 amendment, effective January 1, 2018, deleted former paragraph (a)(3), which read: "Receive electronic data from the civil case filing and disposition forms that are required to be filed in civil cases pursuant to subsection (b) of Code Section 9-11-3 and subsection (b) of Code Section 9-11-58 and that are transmitted to the commission by the Georgia Superior Court Clerks' Cooperative Authority in a format and media agreed to by the commission and the authority;"; deleted former paragraph (a)(4), which read: "Compile the civil filings and dispositions data, and provide such data to the Administrative Office of the Courts;"; redesignated former paragraph (a)(5) as present paragraph (a)(3); substituted "paragraph (2) of this subsection" for "paragraphs (2), (3), and (4) of this subsection" in the middle of paragraph (a)(3); and redesignated former paragraphs (a)(6) through (a)(9) as present paragraphs (a)(4) through (a)(7), respectively.

Code Commission notes.

- Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2000, "the" was substituted for "the the" following "such data to" in paragraph (a)(4) and "Georgia Technology Authority" was substituted for "GeorgiaNet Authority" in the first sentence of subsection (c).

15-5-83. Commission assigned to Supreme Court; authority to receive and expend appropriations.

  1. The commission shall be assigned for administrative purposes to the Supreme Court, in the same manner as executive branch agencies are assigned to executive branch departments under Code Section 50-4-3.
  2. The commission is authorized to receive and expend such appropriations as may be expressly provided by the General Assembly together with such federal funds and other funds as may be made available from public or private sources.

(Code 1981, §15-5-83, enacted by Ga. L. 1991, p. 634, § 1.)

ARTICLE 7 GEORGIA COUNCIL OF COURT ADMINISTRATORS

Law reviews.

- For article, "Courts: Juvenile Justice Reform," see 30 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 63 (2013).

15-5-100. Creation of Georgia Council of Court Administrators.

  1. As used in this Code section, the term "council" means the Georgia Council of Court Administrators.
  2. There is created the Georgia Council of Court Administrators. The council shall be composed of the full-time court administrators and managers of all courts within this state. The council is authorized to organize itself and to develop a constitution and bylaws. The council is authorized to elect such officers, including an executive committee, as it shall deem advisable to carry out its duties and responsibilities. The council is authorized to appoint advisory committees and establish the membership and duties thereof. In addition to the full-time members of the council, the council is authorized to provide for special classes of nonvoting memberships for honorary members, students and teachers of court administration, and those persons who have retired from positions involving the administration and management of courts.
  3. It shall be the purpose of the council to effectuate the responsibilities conferred upon it by law, to further the improvement of the courts and the administration of justice, to assist the court administrators and managers throughout the state in the execution of their duties, and to promote and assist in the training of court administrators, managers, and support personnel.
  4. Expenses of the administration of the council shall be paid from state funds appropriated for that purpose, from federal funds available to the council for that purpose, or from other appropriate sources.
  5. The council shall be a legal entity and an agency of the State of Georgia; shall have perpetual existence; may contract; may own property; may accept funds, grants, and gifts from any public or private source for use in defraying the expenses of the council; may adopt and use an official seal; may establish a principal office; may employ such administrative or clerical personnel as may be necessary and appropriate to fulfill its necessary duties; and shall have other powers, privileges, and duties as may be reasonable and necessary for the proper fulfillment of its purposes and duties.

(Code 1981, §15-5-100, enacted by Ga. L. 1997, p. 1536, § 1; Ga. L. 2005, p. 60, § 15/HB 95.)

CHAPTER 5A STATE-WIDE BUSINESS COURT

Effective date.

- This chapter became effective May 7, 2019.

Law reviews.

- For article on the 2019 enactment of this chapter, see 36 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 1 (2019). For annual survey on trial practice and procedure, see 71 Mercer L. Rev. 305 (2019). For article, “2019 Legislative Review,” see 24 Ga. St. B.J. 28 (June 2019).

15-5A-1. Establishment.

There shall be a state-wide business court as provided for in Article VI of the Constitution of this state to be known as the Georgia State-wide Business Court. Nothing in this chapter shall preclude a superior court from creating or continuing an existing business court division for its circuit on or after May 7, 2019, or preclude a state court from creating or continuing an existing business court division on or after the May 7, 2019, in the manner provided by law.

(Code 1981, §15-5A-1, enacted by Ga. L. 2019, p. 845, § 1-1/HB 239.)

Code Commission notes.

- Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2019, "May 7, 2019," was substituted for "the effective date of this chapter" in two places in the second sentence.

15-5A-2. Terms of court; location; presiding judge; venue; transferring of case.

  1. The terms of court for the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall be the same as the terms of court for the Supreme Court.
  2. The Georgia State-wide Business Court shall sit at the seat of government in Atlanta or shall sit in Macon-Bibb County and shall conduct proceedings and trials in locations as provided for in this Code section.
    1. All cases before the Georgia State-wide Business Court may have pretrial proceedings conducted at the seat of government, in Atlanta, in Macon-Bibb County, or, in the sole discretion of the judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court to whom the case is assigned, conducted via video, telephone, or other efficient technological means as may be deemed necessary or useful to conserve the resources of the parties or the court.
    2. At the request of any party to a case, the judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court to whom the case is assigned may, in his or her sole discretion, conduct any pretrial proceeding in the county in which the trial of such case shall be conducted pursuant to the Constitution of this state.
  3. The judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court to whom a case is assigned shall preside over a bench trial unless any party requests a jury trial. If such request is made, the judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court to whom the case is assigned shall preside over such jury trial. Any trial of a case before the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall take place in the county where venue is proper pursuant to subsection (e) of this Code section.
  4. Proper venue in the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall be as provided:
    1. In Code Section 9-10-93 or 14-2-510 or as otherwise prescribed by law or the Constitution of this state when initiating a civil action that has not already been filed in superior court or state court; provided, however, that, if more than one venue is proper, then the party initiating the civil action in the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall select among the proper venues at the time of filing in the Georgia State-wide Business Court;
    2. In the pleadings, if proper, that initiated the civil action in superior court or state court when petitioning the Georgia State-wide Business Court for removal or transfer; provided, however, that, if venue is improper in the pleading that initiated the civil action in superior court or state court, then venue shall be set by the Judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court; or
    3. By the parties when all parties agree on the proper venue.
  5. When the judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court is disqualified from presiding over a case or proceeding pursuant to the Georgia Code of Judicial Conduct or Code Section 15-1-8, the case shall be transferred to another judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court, if applicable, and if no other judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court may preside over such case, then the Supreme Court shall order a sitting judge of the Court of Appeals, the superior court, or the state court to sit by designation as a judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court.

(Code 1981, §15-5A-2, enacted by Ga. L. 2019, p. 845, § 1-1/HB 239.)

15-5A-3. Authority of court.

  1. Except as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section, pursuant to the process provided for in Code Section 15-5A-4, the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall have authority to:
    1. Exercise concurrent jurisdiction and the powers of a court of equity, to the extent that such powers are exercised:
      1. Notwithstanding the amount in controversy, where equity relief is requested in claims:
        1. Arising under Part 1 of Article 1 of Chapter 9 of Title 9, the "Georgia Arbitration Code";
        2. Arising under Part 2 of Article 1 of Chapter 9 of Title 9, the "Georgia International Commercial Arbitration Code," for which an application may be made to a court of this state;
        3. Arising under Article 27 of Chapter 1 of Title 10, the "Georgia Trade Secrets Act of 1990";
        4. Involving securities, including, but not limited to, disputes arising under Chapter 5 of Title 10, the "Georgia Uniform Securities Act of 2008";
        5. Arising under Title 11, the "Uniform Commercial Code";
        6. Arising under Chapter 2 of Title 14, the "Georgia Business Corporation Code";
        7. Arising under Chapter 8 of Title 14, the "Uniform Partnership Act";
        8. Arising under Chapter 9 of Title 14, the "Georgia Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act";
        9. Arising under Chapter 9A of Title 14, the "Uniform Limited Partnership Act";
        10. Arising under Chapter 11 of Title 14, the "Georgia Limited Liability Company Act";
        11. That relate to the internal affairs of businesses, including, but not limited to, rights or obligations between or among business participants regarding the liability or indemnity of business participants, officers, directors, managers, trustees, or partners;
        12. Arising under federal law over which courts of this state have concurrent jurisdiction;
        13. Where the complaint includes a professional malpractice claim arising out of a business dispute;
        14. Involving tort claims between or among two or more business entities or individuals as to their business or investment activities relating to contracts, transactions, or relationships between or among such entities or individuals;
        15. For breach of contract, fraud, or misrepresentation between businesses arising out of business transactions or relationships;
        16. Arising from e-commerce agreements; technology licensing agreements, including, but not limited to, software and biotechnology license agreements; or any other agreement involving the licensing of any intellectual property right, including, but not limited to, an agreement relating to patent rights; and
        17. Involving commercial real property; and
      2. Where damages are requested the amount in controversy shall be at least:
        1. One million dollars for claims under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph involving commercial real property; or
        2. Five hundred thousand dollars for claims under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph not involving commercial real property;
    2. Have supplemental jurisdiction over all pending claims that are so related to the claims in cases provided for under paragraph (1) of this subsection that such pending claims form part of the same case or controversy;
    3. Punish contempt by fines not exceeding $1,000.00, by imprisonment not exceeding 20 days, or both; and
    4. Exercise such other powers, not contrary to the Constitution, as are or may be given to such a court by law.
  2. The Georgia State-wide Business Court shall not have authority to exercise jurisdiction over claims arising under federal or state law, as applicable, involving:
    1. Physical injury inflicted upon the body of a person or death;
    2. Mental or emotional injury inflicted upon a person;
    3. Physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with the body of a person;
    4. A threat of physical violence toward another person;
    5. Matters arising under Title 19;
    6. Residential landlord and tenant disputes;
    7. Foreclosures;
    8. Individual consumer claims involving a retail customer of goods or services who uses or intends to use such goods or services primarily for personal, family, or household purposes; provided, however, that this paragraph shall not be construed to preclude the court from exercising jurisdiction over mass actions or class actions involving such individual consumer claims; or
    9. Collections in matters involving a family owned farm entity as defined in Code Section 48-5-41.1 or an individual farmer.

(Code 1981, §15-5A-3, enacted by Ga. L. 2019, p. 845, § 1-1/HB 239.)

15-5A-4. Process for bringing a claim before court; filings.

  1. Except as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section, all claims provided for under Code Section 15-5A-3 may only come before the Georgia State-wide Business Court by:
    1. Any party filing a pleading with the Georgia State-wide Business Court to initiate a civil action that is not already pending in superior court or state court unless any defendant within 30 days after receipt by all defendants, through service of process, of a copy of the initial pleading setting forth the claim for relief upon which such action is based objects and petitions the Georgia State-wide Business Court to transfer such action to the superior court or state court with which venue is otherwise proper. The judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall then compel transfer of the case to such superior court or state court, unless the action involves a contract claim or dispute where all parties are business entities and such contract provides that such dispute shall come before the Georgia State-wide Business Court;
    2. All parties to a civil action already filed in superior court or state court agreeing to remove the action to the Georgia State-wide Business Court and then filing such agreement with the Georgia State-wide Business Court, provided that the petition for removal is filed within 60 days of such action being filed in superior court or state court; or
    3. Any party to a civil action already filed in superior court or state court filing with the Georgia State-wide Business Court a petition to transfer such action to the Georgia State-wide Business Court; provided, however, that:
      1. Such a petition to transfer is filed within 60 days after receipt by all defendants, through service of process as provided in Code Section 9-11-4, of a copy of the initial pleading setting forth the claim for relief upon which such action is based. The judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court, after considering the petition to transfer and all timely responses from the other party or parties in the case, shall thereafter determine whether the case is within the jurisdiction of the Georgia State-wide Business Court, and with a presumption that the civil action remain in the court of filing, the judge may enter an order compelling the transfer of the case to the Georgia State-wide Business Court unless a party objects within 30 days of the filing of the petition to transfer; or
      2. Such a petition to transfer is filed within 60 days after receipt by all defendants, through service of process as provided in Code Section 9-11-5 or as otherwise provided by law, of a copy of an amended pleading, motion, order, or other document from which the party petitioning to transfer may first ascertain that the case is transferable. The judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court, after considering the petition to transfer and all timely responses from the other party or parties in the case, shall thereafter determine whether the case is within the jurisdiction of the Georgia State-wide Business Court, and with a presumption that the civil action remain in the court of filing, the judge may enter an order compelling transfer of the case to the Georgia State-wide Business Court unless a party objects within 30 days of the filing of the petition to transfer.
  2. Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this Code section, the Georgia State-wide Business Court may transfer to the appropriate superior court or state court any and all claims filed in the Georgia State-wide Business Court and may reject acceptance of any and all petitions to transfer or petitions for removal to the Georgia State-wide Business Court, even if such claims are within the jurisdiction of the Georgia State-wide Business Court.
  3. Notwithstanding any other law, when the superior court or state court where a claim is pending receives a certified copy of an order issued by the Georgia State-wide Business Court transferring or removing such civil action to the Georgia State-wide Business Court pursuant to paragraph (2) or (3) of subsection (a) of this Code section, such superior court or state court shall certify the transfer or removal from the superior court or state court to the Georgia State-wide Business Court.
    1. A pleading, petition, or other document as provided in subsection (a) of this Code section that is filed with the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall be deemed filed as of the time of its receipt by the filing service provider of the Georgia State-wide Business Court.
    2. Where such pleading, petition, or other document is filed within an applicable statute of limitations, such filing shall toll that applicable statute of limitations and such statute of limitations shall remain tolled until the date that the Georgia State-wide Business Court accepts or rejects acceptance of the pleading, petition, or other document as provided in subsection (a) of this Code section.

(Code 1981, §15-5A-4, enacted by Ga. L. 2019, p. 845, § 1-1/HB 239.)

15-5A-5. Filing fees; fees submitted to state treasury.

  1. The fee for filing a case with, or having a case transferred or removed to, the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall be $3,000.00, to be paid by:
    1. The party or parties filing the action in, or seeking transfer to, the Georgia State-wide Business Court under paragraph (1) or (3) of subsection (a) of Code Section 15-5A-4; or
    2. An equal allocation across all parties to an agreement seeking removal of the case to the Georgia State-wide Business Court under paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of Code Section 15-5A-4.
  2. All fees collected by the clerk of the Georgia State-wide Business Court pursuant to this Code section shall be the property of the state and the same shall be paid into the state treasury.

(Code 1981, §15-5A-5, enacted by Ga. L. 2019, p. 845, § 1-1/HB 239.)

15-5A-6. Number of judges and divisions; operational date; qualifications for judge.

  1. The Georgia State-wide Business Court shall consist of one judge and one division.
  2. The court shall commence operations on January 1, 2020, and may commence accepting cases on August 1, 2020.
  3. No individual shall be a judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court unless, at the time of his or her appointment, he or she has:
    1. Been a resident of this state and a citizen of the United States for at least seven years;
    2. Been admitted to practice law in this state for at least seven years; and
    3. At least 15 years of legal experience as an attorney or judge in complex business litigation, which experience shall be presumed by law as being met by virtue of appointment and approval under Code Section 15-5A-7.

(Code 1981, §15-5A-6, enacted by Ga. L. 2019, p. 845, § 1-1/HB 239.)

15-5A-7. Appointment of judges; initial appointment and term; service area.

  1. The judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall be appointed by the Governor, subject to approval by a majority vote of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a majority vote of the House Committee on Judiciary. The Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Judiciary shall be authorized to meet jointly or separately, while in or out of a legislative session, as called in the discretion of each such chairperson, with notice provided by the chairpersons to such committee members, to consider the approval of such appointment.
    1. The initial judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall be appointed by July 1, 2019, and approved by December 31, 2019, or within three months of the Governor's appointment, whichever is later, and the judge shall serve an initial term beginning on August 1, 2020.
    2. Beginning on January 1, 2020, such initial judge may perform the administrative duties required for establishing the Georgia State-wide Business Court and, if so, shall receive compensation as a judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court beginning on such date and for such purposes.
      1. The judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall serve for a term of five years and may be reappointed for any number of consecutive terms so long as he or she meets the qualifications of appointment at the time of each appointment and shall be reappointed and reapproved in the same manner as provided for in subsection (a) of this Code section.
      2. Vacancies in the office of judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall be filled by appointment and approval in the same manner as provided for in subsection (a) of this Code section.
    3. The judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall be deemed to serve the geographical area of this state.

(Code 1981, §15-5A-7, enacted by Ga. L. 2019, p. 845, § 1-1/HB 239.)

15-5A-8. Judicial oath and supplemental oath.

Before entering on the duties of his or her office, the judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall take the oath required of all civil officers in addition to the following oath:

"I swear that I will administer justice without respect to person and do equal rights to the poor and the rich and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent on me as judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court, according to the best of my ability and understanding, and agreeably to the laws and Constitution of this state and the Constitution of the United States. So help me God."

(Code 1981, §15-5A-8, enacted by Ga. L. 2019, p. 845, § 1-1/HB 239.)

15-5A-9. Salary and compensation of judges.

    1. The annual salary of the judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall be as specified in Code Section 45-7-4. Such salary shall be paid in equal monthly installments.
    2. The judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall receive expenses and allowances as provided for in Code Section 45-7-20. If the judge resides 50 miles or more from where the Georgia State-wide Business Court sits, such judge shall also receive a mileage allowance for the use of a personal motor vehicle when devoted to official business as provided for in Code Section 50-19-7, for not more than one round trip per calendar week to and from the judge's residence and where the Georgia State-wide Business Court sits by the most practical route, during each regular and extraordinary session of court. In the event the judge travels by public carrier for any part of a round trip as provided above, such judge shall receive a travel allowance of actual transportation costs for each such part in lieu of the mileage allowance. Transportation costs incurred by the judge for air travel to and from the judge's residence to where the Georgia State-wide Business Court sits shall be reimbursed only to the extent that such costs do not exceed the cost of travel by personal motor vehicle. All allowances provided for in this paragraph shall be paid upon the submission of proper vouchers.
    3. If the judge resides 50 miles or more from where the Georgia State-wide Business Court sits, such judge shall also receive the same daily expense allowance as members of the General Assembly receive, as set forth in Code Section 28-1-8, for not more than 35 days during each term of court. Such days shall be utilized only when official court business is being conducted. All allowances provided for in this paragraph shall be paid upon the submission of proper vouchers.
  1. The salary provided for in subsection (a) of this Code section shall be the total compensation to be paid by the state to the judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court and shall be in lieu of any and all other amounts to be paid from state funds.

(Code 1981, §15-5A-9, enacted by Ga. L. 2019, p. 845, § 1-1/HB 239.)

15-5A-10. Authority to make rules and revisions; creation of panel for revisions; guidelines for acceptance of cases; required rules.

  1. The judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall have responsibility for creating and, when needed, making revisions to the rules of the Georgia State-wide Business Court and submitting such rules and revisions to the Supreme Court for approval prior to such rules or revisions taking effect; provided, however, that such rules shall conform to Chapter 11 of Title 9, the "Georgia Civil Practice Act," where related and applicable.
  2. The judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court is authorized to empanel a commission of up to eight individuals, who may be judges, to assist the judge in the creation or revision of such rules; provided, however, that such individuals shall not receive compensation for being empaneled but may receive a daily expense allowance and travel cost reimbursement in the amount specified in Code Section 45-7-21.
  3. Such rules may include a matrix or guidelines for the acceptance of cases by the Georgia State-wide Business Court, including, but not limited to, such factors as the amount in controversy, the existence of novel or complex legal issues, and anticipated discovery issues needing the intervention of the Georgia State-wide Business Court.
  4. Such rules shall include:
    1. Guidelines and procedures for the filing of pleadings, petitions, motions, and all other documents, electronically or otherwise, with the Georgia State-wide Business Court; and
    2. A reasonable time within which the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall issue a decision on a matter before the court.

(Code 1981, §15-5A-10, enacted by Ga. L. 2019, p. 845, § 1-1/HB 239.)

15-5A-11. Clerk; appointment; term; compensation.

  1. There shall be a clerk of the Georgia State-wide Business Court. Such clerk shall be appointed by the Governor, subject to approval by a majority vote of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a majority vote of the House Committee on Judiciary. The Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Judiciary shall be authorized to meet jointly or separately, while in or out of a legislative session, as called in the discretion of each such chairperson, with notice provided by the chairpersons to such committee members, to consider the approval of such appointment.
    1. The initial clerk of the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall be appointed and approved by July 31, 2020, and shall serve an initial term beginning on August 1, 2020.
      1. The clerk of the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall serve for a term of five years and may be reappointed for any number of consecutive terms and shall be reappointed and reapproved in the same manner as provided for in subsection (a) of this Code section.
      2. Vacancies in the office of clerk of the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall be filled by appointment of the Governor in the same manner as provided for in subsection (a) of this Code section.
  2. The annual compensation of the clerk of the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall be equal to the annual compensation provided for the clerk of the Court of Appeals.

(Code 1981, §15-5A-11, enacted by Ga. L. 2019, p. 845, § 1-1/HB 239.)

15-5A-12. Location of offices; designation of electronic filing system.

  1. The offices of the judge and clerk of the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall sit at the seat of government in Atlanta or shall sit in Macon-Bibb County pursuant to subsection (b) of Code Section 15-5A-2.
  2. The judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court, in coordination with the clerk of the Georgia State-wide Business Court, shall be responsible for designating an electronic filing system.

(Code 1981, §15-5A-12, enacted by Ga. L. 2019, p. 845, § 1-1/HB 239.)

15-5A-13. Appointment of law assistants; role.

  1. The judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall be authorized to appoint law assistants for the use of the court and to remove them at pleasure. Each law assistant of the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall have been admitted to the bar of this state as a practicing attorney; provided, however, that an individual who graduated from law school but who is not a member of the bar of this state may be appointed as a law assistant so long as he or she is admitted to the bar of this state within one year of such appointment.
  2. It shall be the duty of a law assistant to attend all sessions of the court, if so ordered, and generally to perform the duties incident to the role of law assistant.

(Code 1981, §15-5A-13, enacted by Ga. L. 2019, p. 845, § 1-1/HB 239.)

15-5A-14. Employment and compensation of other personnel.

The judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court may employ and fix the salaries of stenographers, clerical assistants, and such other employees as may be deemed necessary by the court; and the salaries therefor shall be paid by the clerk from the amount appropriated by the General Assembly for such purposes.

(Code 1981, §15-5A-14, enacted by Ga. L. 2019, p. 845, § 1-1/HB 239.)

15-5A-15. Purchasing of supplies.

The Georgia State-wide Business Court shall purchase such books, pamphlets, or other publications, whether in hard copy or digital format, and such other supplies and services as the judge of the Georgia State-wide Business Court may deem necessary. The costs thereof shall be paid by the clerk out of the amount appropriated by the General Assembly for such purposes.

(Code 1981, §15-5A-15, enacted by Ga. L. 2019, p. 845, § 1-1/HB 239.)

15-5A-16. Assignment for budgetary and administrative purposes.

The Georgia State-wide Business Court shall be a budget unit as defined in Part 1 of Article 4 of Chapter 12 of Title 45, the "Budget Act"; provided, however, that the Georgia State-wide Business Court shall be assigned for administrative purposes only to the Court of Appeals.

(Code 1981, §15-5A-16, enacted by Ga. L. 2019, p. 845, § 1-1/HB 239.)

CHAPTER 6 SUPERIOR COURTS

Article 1 General Provisions.
Article 2 Clerks of Superior Courts.
Cross references.

- Generally, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. IV.

Compensation and allowances for judges of superior courts, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. VII, Para. V and T. 45, C. 7.

Proceedings before superior court for validation of bonds of counties or municipalities, § 36-82-20 et seq.

Proceedings to validate revenue bonds issued under "Revenue Bond Law", § 36-82-73 et seq.

Transfer of cases, Uniform Transfer Rules.

ARTICLE 1 GENERAL PROVISIONS

Law reviews.

- For article, "Courts: Juvenile Justice Reform," see 30 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 63 (2013).

15-6-1. Composition of judicial circuits.

The entire state is divided into judicial circuits, in reference to the jurisdiction and sessions of the superior courts, as follows:

  1. Alapaha Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Atkinson, Berrien, Clinch, Cook, and Lanier;
  2. Alcovy Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Newton and Walton;

    (2.1) Appalachian Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Fannin, Gilmer, and Pickens;

  3. Atlanta Judicial Circuit, composed of the County of Fulton;
  4. Atlantic Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Bryan, Liberty, McIntosh, Tattnall, Evans, and Long;
  5. Augusta Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Burke, Columbia, and Richmond;

    (5.1) Bell-Forsyth Judicial Circuit, composed of the County of Forsyth;

  6. Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit, composed of the County of Cherokee;
  7. Brunswick Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Appling, Camden, Glynn, Wayne, and Jeff Davis;
  8. Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Chattahoochee, Harris, Marion, Muscogee, Talbot, and Taylor;
  9. Cherokee Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Bartow and Gordon;
  10. Clayton Judicial Circuit, composed of the County of Clayton;
  11. Cobb Judicial Circuit, composed of the County of Cobb;
  12. Conasauga Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Murray and Whitfield;
  13. Cordele Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Dooly, Wilcox, Crisp, and Ben Hill;
  14. Coweta Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Carroll, Coweta, Heard, Meriwether, and Troup;
  15. Dougherty Judicial Circuit, composed of the County of Dougherty;

    (15.1) Douglas Judicial Circuit, composed of the County of Douglas;

  16. Dublin Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Laurens, Johnson, Twiggs, and Treutlen;
  17. Eastern Judicial Circuit, composed of the County of Chatham;

    (17.1) Enotah Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Towns, Union, Lumpkin, and White;

  18. Flint Judicial Circuit, composed of the County of Henry;
  19. Griffin Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Spalding, Pike, Upson, and Fayette;
  20. Gwinnett Judicial Circuit, composed of the County of Gwinnett;
  21. Houston Judicial Circuit, composed of the County of Houston;
  22. Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Catoosa, Dade, Chattooga, and Walker;
  23. Macon Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Bibb, Crawford, and Peach;
  24. Middle Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Emanuel, Jefferson, Washington, Toombs, and Candler;
  25. Mountain Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Habersham, Rabun, and Stephens;
  26. Northeastern Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Hall and Dawson;
  27. Northern Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Elbert, Hart, Madison, Oglethorpe, and Franklin;
  28. Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Baldwin, Greene, Jasper, Jones, Morgan, Putnam, Wilkinson, and Hancock;
  29. Oconee Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Dodge, Montgomery, Pulaski, Telfair, Bleckley, and Wheeler;
  30. Ogeechee Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Bulloch, Effingham, Jenkins, and Screven;
  31. Pataula Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Clay, Early, Miller, Quitman, Randolph, Terrell, and Seminole;

    (31.1) Paulding Judicial Circuit, composed of the County of Paulding;

  32. Piedmont Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Barrow, Jackson, and Banks;

    (32.1) Rockdale Judicial Circuit, composed of the County of Rockdale;

  33. Rome Judicial Circuit, composed of the County of Floyd;
  34. South Georgia Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Baker, Calhoun, Decatur, Grady, and Mitchell;
  35. Southern Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Brooks, Colquitt, Echols, Lowndes, and Thomas;
  36. Southwestern Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Lee, Macon, Schley, Stewart, Sumter, and Webster;
  37. Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit, composed of the County of DeKalb. The judges of the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit, when the business of the circuit does not require their attention, may aid in the disposition of the business of the Atlanta Judicial Circuit;
  38. Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Haralson and Polk;
  39. Tifton Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Tift, Irwin, Worth, and Turner;
  40. Toombs Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Glascock, Lincoln, McDuffie, Taliaferro, Warren, and Wilkes;

    (40.1) Towaliga Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Butts, Monroe, and Lamar;

  41. Waycross Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Pierce, Coffee, Charlton, Ware, Bacon, and Brantley; and
  42. Western Judicial Circuit, composed of the Counties of Clarke and Oconee.

(Orig. Code 1863, § 46; Code 1868, § 44; Ga. L. 1869, p. 20, §§ 1, 3; Ga. L. 1870, p. 37, § 1; Ga. L. 1870, p. 38, § 1; Ga. L. 1871-72, p. 32, § 1; Code 1873, § 42; Ga. L. 1874, p. 43, § 1; Ga. L. 1880-81, p. 112, § 1; Code 1882, § 42; Ga. L. 1884-85, p. 108, §§ 1, 4; Ga. L. 1887, p. 48, §§ 1, 2; Ga. L. 1890-91, p. 95, § 1; Civil Code 1895, § 4339; Ga. L. 1897, p. 44, § 2; Ga. L. 1899, p. 49, § 1; Ga. L. 1905, p. 52, § 2; Ga. L. 1905, p. 55, § 2; Ga. L. 1905, p. 58, § 2; Ga. L. 1905, p. 60, § 2; Ga. L. 1905, p. 62, § 1; Ga. L. 1905, p. 63, § 2; Ga. L. 1906, p. 28, § 1; Ga. L. 1906, p. 50, § 1; Ga. L. 1907, p. 67, § 1; Ga. L. 1907, p. 70, § 1; Ga. L. 1909, p. 94, § 1; Ga. L. 1909, p. 102, § 1; Ga. L. 1909, p. 107, § 1; Ga. L. 1910, p. 63, § 1; Civil Code 1910, § 4870; Ga. L. 1911, p. 81, § 1; Ga. L. 1911, p. 87, § 1; Ga. L. 1912, p. 38, § 1; Ga. L. 1912, p. 41, § 1; Ga. L. 1912, p. 101, § 1; Ga. L. 1913, p. 64, § 1; Ga. L. 1914, p. 23, § 2; Ga. L. 1914, p. 27, § 1; Ga. L. 1914, p. 29, § 1; Ga. L. 1914, p. 33, § 1; Ga. L. 1916, p. 62, § 1; Ga. L. 1917, p. 44, § 1; Ga. L. 1917, p. 69, § 1; Ga. L. 1919, p. 68, § 1; Ga. L. 1919, p. 109, § 1; Ga. L. 1919, p. 110, § 1; Ga. L. 1920, p. 19, § 1; Ga. L. 1920, p. 34, § 1; Ga. L. 1920, p. 38, § 1; Ga. L. 1920, p. 48, § 1; Ga. L. 1920, p. 52, § 1; Ga. L. 1923, p. 68, § 1; Ga. L. 1923, p. 76, § 1; Ga. L. 1924, p. 39, § 1; Code 1933, § 24-2501; Ga. L. 1949, p. 266, § 7; Ga. L. 1950, p. 23, § 7; Ga. L. 1951, p. 184, § 6; Ga. L. 1952, p. 84, § 1; Ga. L. 1956, p. 95, § 5; Ga. L. 1958, p. 125, § 4; Ga. L. 1960, p. 110, § 6; Ga. L. 1963, p. 182, § 12; Ga. L. 1964, Ex. Sess., p. 7, § 7; Ga. L. 1964, Ex. Sess., p. 220, § 1; Ga. L. 1969, p. 427, § 7; Ga. L. 1972, p. 152, § 7; Ga. L. 1980, p. 563, §§ 1, 7; Ga. L. 1982, p. 439, §§ 1, 3; Ga. L. 1983, p. 761, § 2; Ga. L. 1984, p. 22, § 15; Ga. L. 1992, p. 1786, § 2; Ga. L. 1998, p. 220, § 1; Ga. L. 1999, p. 67, §§ 11, 12; Ga. L. 2002, p. 405, § 3-1.)

Cross references.

- Authority of General Assembly as to composition of judicial circuits, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. I, Para. VII.

Code Commission notes.

- Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1998, paragraph (18.1) was redesignated as paragraph (5.1).

Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2008, "and" was added at the end of paragraph (41).

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 1983, p. 761, § 1, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for creation of a new judicial circuit of the superior courts of this state, to be known as the Appalachian Judicial Circuit, which circuit shall be composed of the Counties of Fannin, Gilmer, and Pickens, and further provided for the offices of the judge of the superior court and district attorney of the Appalachian Judicial Circuit.

Ga. L. 1992, p. 1786, § 1, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for creation of the Enotah Judicial Circuit, for the offices of the judge and district attorney, and for the transfer of pending litigation from the superior courts of Towns, Lumpkin, and White counties.

Ga. L. 1992, p. 1786, § 5, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "For the purposes of the appointment of the judges and district attorney of the Enotah Judicial Circuit to take office on July 1, 1992, this Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without his approval. For all other purposes, this Act shall be effective on July 1, 1992." The effective date of this Act was April 6, 1992.

Ga. L. 1998, p. 220, § 9, not codified by the General Assembly, creates the Bell-Forsyth Judicial Circuit and provides for transfer of certain matters to the superior court of that circuit from the superior court of Forsyth County which were pending at such time as it was part of the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit.

Ga. L. 1998, p. 220, § 10, subsections (b) and (c), not codified by the General Assembly, provide that: "(b) If there is no judge of the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit in office on July 1, 1998, who is a resident of Forsyth County, this Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval for the purposes of the appointment of the initial judge of the Bell-Forsyth Judicial Circuit pursuant to subsection (d) of Section 8 of this Act, except that the provision of Section 1 of this Act which decreases the number of judges in the Blue Ridge Circuit shall become effective December 31, 2000, upon the expiration of the terms of office of the judges of the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit.

"(c) Except as provided in subsections (a) and (b) of this section and notwithstanding the provisions of Code Section 1-3-4.1, this Act shall become effective July 1, 1998." The references to Section 1 and Section 8 of this Act in Ga. L. 1998, p. 220, § 10, should probably be to Section 2 and Section 9, respectively, of that Act.

Ga. L. 1999, p. 67, §§ 1-10, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for creation of the Towaliga Judicial Circuit, for the offices of the judge and district attorney, for the transfer of pending litigation from the superior courts of Butts, Monroe, and Lamar counties, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2002, p. 405, §§ 1-1 through 2-4, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the creation of the Paulding Judicial Circuit, for the offices of the judge and district attorney, for the transfer of pending litigation from the Superior Court of Paulding County at the time it was a part of the Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit, and other similar matters.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Code section is an alphabetical list of circuits.

- This section simply listed in alphabetical order the various judicial circuits and gave the counties composing the different circuits. Norris v. McDaniel, 207 Ga. 232, 60 S.E.2d 329 (1950).

Banishment as condition of probation must be to at least one entire judicial circuit.

- Although the legislature has expressly provided that banishment is a valid term and condition of probation, the trial court cannot banish a probationer to any area within the state that does not consist of at least one entire judicial circuit. Because Toombs County was part of the five-county Middle Judicial Circuit, which also included Emanuel, Jefferson, Washington, and Candler Counties, the trial court was not statutorily authorized to banish the defendant from the entire state, except for Toombs County. Regent v. State, 333 Ga. App. 350, 774 S.E.2d 213 (2015), vacated on other grounds, 339 Ga. App. 885, 795 S.E.2d 190 (Ga. Ct. App. 2016).

Cited in Sellers v. City of Summerville, 81 Ga. App. 406, 58 S.E.2d 855 (1950); Barfield v. Aiken, 209 Ga. 483, 74 S.E.2d 100 (1953); Barksdale v. Ricketts, 233 Ga. 60, 209 S.E.2d 631 (1974); Whiddon v. State, 160 Ga. App. 777, 287 S.E.2d 114 (1982); State v. Thompson, 284 Ga. App. 744, 644 S.E.2d 889 (2007); Terry v. Hamrick, 284 Ga. 24, 663 S.E.2d 256 (2008); Spence v. State, 295 Ga. App. 583, 672 S.E.2d 538 (2009); Cosby v. Lewis, 308 Ga. App. 668, 708 S.E.2d 585 (2011); Luangkhot v. State, 292 Ga. 423, 736 S.E.2d 397 (2013).

15-6-2. Number of judges.

The number of judges for each of the superior courts for each of the judicial circuits shall be as follows: (1) Alapaha Circuit ..................................................2 (2) Alcovy Circuit ...................................................5 (2.1) Appalachian Circuit ............................................3 (3) Atlanta Circuit .................................................20 (4) Atlantic Circuit .................................................4 (5) Augusta Circuit ..................................................8 (5.1) Bell-Forsyth Circuit ...........................................3 (6) Blue Ridge Circuit ...............................................3 (7) Brunswick Circuit ................................................5 (8) Chattahoochee Circuit ............................................7 (9) Cherokee Circuit .................................................4 (10) Clayton Circuit .................................................5 (11) Cobb Circuit ...................................................10 (12) Conasauga Circuit ...............................................4 (13) Cordele Circuit .................................................3 (14) Coweta Circuit ..................................................7 (15) Dougherty Circuit ...............................................3 (15.1) Douglas Circuit ...............................................3 (16) Dublin Circuit ..................................................3 (17) Eastern Circuit .................................................6 (17.1) Enotah Circuit ................................................3 (18) Flint Circuit ...................................................3 (19) Griffin Circuit .................................................5 (20) Gwinnett Circuit ...............................................11 (21) Houston Circuit .................................................3 (22) Lookout Mountain Circuit ........................................4 (23) Macon Circuit ...................................................5 (24) Middle Circuit ..................................................2 (25) Mountain Circuit ................................................2 (26) Northeastern Circuit.............................................5 (27) Northern Circuit ................................................3 (28) Ocmulgee Circuit ................................................5 (29) Oconee Circuit ..................................................3 (30) Ogeechee Circuit ................................................3 (31) Pataula Circuit .................................................2 (31.1) Paulding Circuit ..............................................3 (32) Piedmont Circuit ................................................4 (32.1) Rockdale Circuit ..............................................2 (33) Rome Circuit ....................................................4 (34) South Georgia Circuit ...........................................2 (35) Southern Circuit ................................................5 (36) Southwestern Circuit ............................................3 (37) Stone Mountain Circuit .........................................10 (38) Tallapoosa Circuit ..............................................2 (39) Tifton Circuit ..................................................2 (40) Toombs Circuit ..................................................2 (40.1) Towaliga Circuit ..............................................2 (41) Waycross Circuit ................................................4 (42) Western Circuit ..................................................4

(Ga. L. 1982, p. 3, § 15; Ga. L. 1982, p. 428, §§ 1, 5; Ga. L. 1982, p. 434, § 1; Ga. L. 1982, p. 436, § 1; Ga. L. 1982, p. 439, §§ 1, 4; Ga. L. 1982, p. 501, §§ 1, 2; Ga. L. 1983, p. 761, § 3; Ga. L. 1984, p. 22, § 15; Ga. L. 1984, p. 434, § 1; Ga. L. 1984, p. 451, § 5; Ga. L. 1984, p. 469, § 1; Ga. L. 1984, p. 472, § 1; Ga. L. 1986, p. 160, § 1; Ga. L. 1986, p. 163, § 1; Ga. L. 1986, p. 417, § 1; Ga. L. 1986, p. 423, § 4; Ga. L. 1987, p. 279, § 9; Ga. L. 1987, p. 331, § 1; Ga. L. 1987, p. 410, § 1; Ga. L. 1987, p. 1145, § 1; Ga. L. 1988, p. 223, § 1; Ga. L. 1988, p. 234, § 1; Ga. L. 1989, p. 180, § 1; Ga. L. 1989, p. 188, § 1; Ga. L. 1989, p. 196, § 1; Ga. L. 1989, p. 200, § 1; Ga. L. 1989, p. 203, § 1; Ga. L. 1989, p. 205, § 1; Ga. L. 1990, p. 471, § 1; Ga. L. 1990, p. 474, § 1; Ga. L. 1990, p. 489, § 1; Ga. L. 1990, p. 497, § 2; Ga. L. 1991, p. 276, § 1; Ga. L. 1991, p. 278, § 1; Ga. L. 1991, p. 280, §§ 1, 12; Ga. L. 1991, p. 288, § 1; Ga. L. 1992, p. 328, § 1; Ga. L. 1992, p. 1668, § 1; Ga. L. 1992, p. 1786, § 3; Ga. L. 1992, p. 2067, § 1; Ga. L. 1992, p. 2776, §§ 1, 12; Ga. L. 1995, p. 1077, § 1; Ga. L. 1998, p. 220, §§ 2, 3; Ga. L. 1999, p. 40, § 1; Ga. L. 1999, p. 49, § 1; Ga. L. 1999, p. 67, §§ 13, 14; Ga. L. 2000, p. 205, § 1; Ga. L. 2001, p. 1060, §§ 1, 2; Ga. L. 2002, p. 405, §§ 3-2, 3-3; Ga. L. 2002, p. 851, § 1; Ga. L. 2005, p. 964, § 1-1/HB 97; Ga. L. 2006, p. 1024, § 1-1/HB 1073; Ga. L. 2007, p. 695, § 1-1/HB 118; Ga. L. 2008, p. 491, § 1-1/HB 1163; Ga. L. 2012, p. 166, § 1-1/SB 356; Ga. L. 2013, p. 570, §§ 1-1, 2-1/HB 451; Ga. L. 2014, p. 189, §§ 1-1, 2-1/HB 742; Ga. L. 2015, p. 919, § 2-2/HB 279; Ga. L. 2016, p. 183, § 1/HB 804; Ga. L. 2017, p. 191, § 1/HB 138; Ga. L. 2019, p. 4, § 1/HB 21; Ga. L. 2019, p. 504, § 1/HB 28.)

The 2017 amendment, effective January 1, 2018, substituted "5" for "4" at the end of paragraph (26).

The 2019 amendments. The first 2019 amendment, effective April 2, 2019, for purposes of making the initial appointments of the judges to fill the superior court judgeships created by this Act, and effective January 1, 2020, for all other purposes, substituted "11" for "10" at the end of paragraph (20). The second 2019 amendment, effective May 6, 2019, for purposes of making the initial appointments of the judges to fill the superior court judgeships created by this Act, and effective January 1, 2020, for all other purposes, substituted "5" for "4" at the end of paragraph (19).

Cross references.

- Authority of General Assembly with regard to designation of number of judges for judicial circuits, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. I, Para. VII.

Code Commission notes.

- Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1998, paragraph (18.1) was redesignated as paragraph (5.1).

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 1999, p. 40, §§ 2-5, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Northeastern Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (26) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignity, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 1999, p. 49, §§ 2-9, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Southwestern Circuit as authorized by paragraph (36) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, compensation, salary, county supplement, expense allowance, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 1999, p. 67, §§ 1-10, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the creation of the Towaliga Judicial Circuit, for the offices of the judge and district attorney, for transfer of pending litigation from the superior courts of Butts, Lamar, and Monroe counties, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2000, p. 205, §§ 2-6, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Atlanta Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (3) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignity, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2000, p. 205, §§ 7-10, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Bell-Forsyth Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (5.1) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignity, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2000, p. 205, §§ 11-17, as amended by Ga. L. 2013, p. 570, § 4-1/HB 451, and by Ga. L. 2013, p. 896, § 1/HB 506, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (8) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignity, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2000, p. 205, §§ 18-22, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Cobb Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (11) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignity, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2000, p. 205, §§ 23-28, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (38) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignity, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2000, p. 205, §§ 29-32, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Towaliga Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (40.1) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignity, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2001, p. 1060, §§ 3-7, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Augusta Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (5) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignity, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2001, p. 1060, §§ 8-16, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Gwinnett Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (20) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignity, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2001, p. 1060, §§ 17-22, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Rome Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (33) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignity, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2001, p. 1060, §§ 23-26, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Atlanta Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (3) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignity, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2002, p. 851, §§ 2-8, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Alcovy Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (2) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignity, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2005, p. 964, §§ 2-1 through 6-11/HB 97, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Appalachian Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (2.1), the Cherokee Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (9), the Flint Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (18), the Gwinnett Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (20), and the Southern Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (35) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignity, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2006, p. 1024, §§ 2-1 through 7-10/HB 1073, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit, the Coweta Judicial Circuit, the Houston Judicial Circuit, and the Paulding Judicial Circuit and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignity, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2006, p. 1024, § 8-1/HB 1073, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that nothing in this Act shall be deemed to limit or restrict the inherent powers, duties, and responsibilities of superior court judges provided by the Constitution and statutes of the State of Georgia.

Ga. L. 2007, p. 695, §§ 2-1 through 2-5/HB 118, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Cobb Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (11) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignity, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2007, p. 695, §§ 3-1 through 3-7/HB 118, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Cordele Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (13) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignity, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2007, p. 695, §§ 4-1 through 4-11/HB 118, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Dublin Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (16) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignity, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2007, p. 695, §§ 5-1 through 5-10/HB 118, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Enotah Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (17.1) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignity, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2007, p. 695, §§ 6-1 through 6-9/HB 118, as amended by Ga. L. 2012, p. 166, § 4-1/SB 356, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Gwinnett Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (20) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignity, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2007, p. 695, § 7-1/HB 118, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to limit or restrict the inherent powers, duties, and responsibilities of superior court judges provided by the Constitution and statutes of the State of Georgia."

Ga. L. 2008, p. 491, §§ 2-1 through 4-10/HB 1163, as amended by Ga. L. 2010, p. 566, §§ 1-3/HB 1140, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Alcovy Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (2), the Atlanta Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (3), and the Brunswick Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (7) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignities, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2008, p. 491, § 5-1/HB 1163, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to limit or restrict the inherent powers, duties, and responsibilities of superior court judges provided by the Constitution and statutes of the State of Georgia."

Ga. L. 2012, p. 166, §§ 2-1 through 2-9/SB 356, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Bell-Forsyth Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (5.1) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignities, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2012, p. 166, §§ 3-1 through 3-10/SB 356, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Piedmont Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (32) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignities, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2012, p. 166, § 5-1/SB 356, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to limit or restrict the inherent powers, duties, and responsibilities of superior court judges provided by the Constitution and statutes of the State of Georgia."

Ga. L. 2013, p. 570, §§ 1-2 through 1-4/HB 451, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, thereby increasing to seven the number of judges of said circuit.

Ga. L. 2013, p. 570, §§ 2-2 through 2-4/HB 451, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Oconee Judicial Circuit, thereby increasing to three the number of judges of said circuit.

Ga. L. 2014, p. 189, §§ 1-2 through 1-11/HB 742, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Coweta Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (14) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignities, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2014, p. 189, §§ 2-2 through 2-13/HB 742, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Waycross Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (41) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignities, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2015, p. 919, §§ 2-2 through 2-13/HB 279, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Western Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (42) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignities, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2015, p. 919, § 4-1(c)/HB 279, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "(c)(1) For purposes of making the initial appointments of the judge to fill the superior court judgeship created by Part II of this Act, Part II of this Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or its becoming law without such approval.

"(2) For all other purposes, Part II of this Act shall become effective on April 1, 2016." This Act was signed by the Governor on May 6, 2015.

Ga. L. 2016, p. 183, §§ 2 through 11/HB 804, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Clayton Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (10) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignities, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2017, p. 191, §§ 2 through 5/HB 138, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Northeastern Circuit as authorized by paragraph (26) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignities, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2019, p. 4, §§ 2 through 11/HB 21, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Gwinnett Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (20) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignities, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2019, p. 504, §§ 2 through 12/HB 28, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the appointment of an additional judge to the Griffin Judicial Circuit as authorized by paragraph (19) and provided for terms, election of successors, powers, duties, dignities, jurisdiction, privileges, immunities, and other similar matters.

Law reviews.

- For article, "Annual Survey of Georgia Law: June 1, 2015 - May 31, 2016: Special Contribution: Open Chambers Revisited: Demystifying the Inner Workings and Culture of the Georgia Court of Appeals," see 68 Mercer L. Rev. 1 (2016).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Challenge under the Voting Rights Act (42 U.S.C.

§ 1973c) to the statutes which created additional superior court judgeships. - Brooks v. Georgia State Bd. of Elections, 790 F. Supp. 1156 (S.D. Ga. 1990).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Salary supplements.

- County could not provide for the payment of a lesser salary supplement from county funds for a newly appointed judge than that which the county provided for incumbent judges when the General Assembly provided that any salary supplements enacted by a county would also be applicable to the additional judge. 2002 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U2002-1.

Equal treatment amongst judges for support services.

- Fulton County's obligation to accord equal treatment to all superior court judges of the Atlanta Judicial Circuit is applicable to all county funded support services, including staffing (e.g., law clerks, secretaries, court reporters, case managers and the like) and the operating budget required for a superior court judge to properly perform his or her constitutional and statutory duties. 2002 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U2002-6.

15-6-3. Terms of court.

The terms of court for the superior courts for each of the judicial circuits shall commence as follows:

(1) A LAPAHA CIRCUIT:

Atkinson County - First Monday in April and October.

Berrien County - First Monday in February and August.

Clinch County - Third Monday in March and September.

Cook County - Second Monday in January and July.

Lanier County - Fourth Monday in April and October;

provided, however, that if any term of court in the Alapaha Circuit begins on an official state holiday, the term of court shall commence on the following Tuesday; and if any other day within the term of court shall be an official state holiday, the court shall be closed for that holiday.

(2) A LCOVY CIRCUIT:

Newton County - Second and third Mondays in January, April, July, and October.

Walton County - First and second Mondays in February, May, August, and November.

(2.1) A PPALACHIAN CIRCUIT:

Fannin County - Second Monday in May and second Monday in November.

Gilmer County - Second Monday in April and second Monday in October.

Pickens County - Second Monday in March and second Monday in September.

(3) A TLANTA CIRCUIT:

Fulton County - First Monday in January, March, May, July, September, and November.

(4) A TLANTIC CIRCUIT:

Bryan County - Third Monday in March and first Monday in November.

Evans County - First Monday in February and first Monday in August.

Liberty County - Second Monday in February and September.

Long County - First Monday in March and third Monday in August.

McIntosh County - Third Monday in May and first Monday in December.

Tattnall County - Third Monday in April and October.

(5) A UGUSTA CIRCUIT:

Burke County - Fourth Monday in April and October.

Columbia County - Fourth Monday in March and September.

Richmond County - Third Monday in January, March, May, July, September, and November.

(5.1) B ELL-FORSYTH CIRCUIT:

Forsyth County - Second Monday in March, July, and November.

(6) B LUE RIDGE CIRCUIT:

Cherokee County - Second Monday in January, May, and September.

(7) B RUNSWICK CIRCUIT:

Appling County - Second and third Mondays in February and third and fourth Mondays in October.

Camden County - First Monday in April and November.

Glynn County - Second Monday in March and September.

Jeff Davis County - First and second Mondays in March; fourth Monday in September; and first Monday in October.

Wayne County - Third and fourth Mondays in April and November.

(8) C HATTAHOOCHEE CIRCUIT:

Chattahoochee County - Fourth Monday in March and September.

Harris County - Second Monday in January, May, and September.

Marion County - Fourth Monday in April and October.

Muscogee County - First Monday in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

Talbot County - Second Monday in March and November and third Monday in August.

Taylor County - Second Monday in February, June, and October.

(9) C HEROKEE CIRCUIT:

Bartow County - First Monday in February, May, August, and November.

Gordon County - First Monday in March, December, and June; and second Monday in September.

(10) C LAYTON CIRCUIT:

Clayton County - First Monday in February, May, August, and November.

(11) C OBB CIRCUIT:

Cobb County - Second Monday in January, March, May, July, September, and November.

(12) C ONASAUGA CIRCUIT:

Murray County - Second Monday in February and August.

Whitfield County - Second Monday in January and July.

(13) C ORDELE CIRCUIT:

Ben Hill County - Second and third Mondays in January; first, second, and third Mondays in April; third and fourth Mondays in June; and third and fourth Mondays in September and Monday following.

Crisp County - Third and fourth Mondays in February and Monday following; third and fourth Mondays in May; first, second, and third Mondays in August; and second and third Mondays in November.

Dooly County - First and second Mondays in February; fourth Monday in April and Monday following; third and fourth Mondays in July; and third and fourth Mondays in October.

Wilcox County - Second and third Mondays in March; fourth Monday in August and Monday following; and first and second Mondays in December.

(14) C OWETA CIRCUIT:

Carroll County - Second Monday in January and first Monday in April and third Monday in June and first Monday in October.

Coweta County - First Monday in March and first Tuesday in September.

Heard County - Third Monday in March and September.

Meriwether County - Third Monday in February, May, August, and November.

Troup County - First Monday in February, May, August, and November.

(15) D OUGHERTY CIRCUIT:

Dougherty County - Second Monday in January, March, May, July, September, and November.

(15.1) D OUGLAS CIRCUIT:

Douglas County - Second Monday in April and October.

(16) D UBLIN CIRCUIT:

Johnson County - Third Monday in March, June, September, and December.

Laurens County - Fourth Monday in January, April, July, and October.

Treutlen County - Third Monday in February and August.

Twiggs County - Second Monday in January, April, July, and October.

(17) E ASTERN CIRCUIT:

Chatham County - First Monday in March, June, September, and December.

(17.1) E NOTAH CIRCUIT:

Towns County - January 1 and July 1.

Union County - January 1 and July 1.

Lumpkin County - Fourth Monday in February and August.

White County - First Monday in April and October.

(18) F LINT CIRCUIT:

Henry County - Fourth Monday in January, April, and October and second Monday in July.

Griffin Circuit:

Fayette County - Second Monday in March and second Monday in September.

Pike County - Second Monday in March and second Monday in September.

Spalding County - Second Monday in March and second Monday in September.

Upson County - Second Monday in March and second Monday in September.

(20) G WINNETT CIRCUIT:

Gwinnett County - First Monday in March, June, and December and second Monday in September.

(21) H OUSTON CIRCUIT:

Houston County - First Monday in January, April, July, and October.

(22) L OOKOUT MOUNTAIN CIRCUIT:

Catoosa County - First Monday in March and second Monday in September.

Chattooga County - First Monday in February and August.

Dade County - First Monday in April and second Monday in October.

Walker County - First Monday in May and November.

(23) M ACON CIRCUIT:

Bibb County - First Monday in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

Crawford County - Third and fourth Mondays in March and October.

Peach County - First and second Mondays in March and August and third and fourth Mondays in November.

(24) M IDDLE CIRCUIT:

Candler County - First and second Mondays in February and August.

Emanuel County - Second Monday in January, April, July, and October.

Jefferson County - Second Monday in May and November.

Toombs County - Fourth Monday in February, May, August, and November.

Washington County - First Monday in March, June, September, and December.

(25) M OUNTAIN CIRCUIT:

Habersham County - January 1 and July 1.

Rabun County - January 1 and July 1.

Stephens County - January 1 and July 1.

(26) N ORTHEASTERN CIRCUIT:

Dawson County - First Monday in March and second Monday in September.

Hall County - Second Monday in January, April, and July, and first Monday in October.

(27) N ORTHERN CIRCUIT:

Elbert County - Third Monday in January and fourth Monday in July.

Franklin County - Third Monday in March and September.

Hart County - Third Monday in February and August.

Madison County - Third Monday in April and October.

Oglethorpe County - Third Monday in May and November.

(28) O CMULGEE CIRCUIT:

Baldwin County - Second Monday in January, April, July, and October.

Greene County - Fourth Monday in January, April, August, and November.

Hancock County - Fourth Monday in March and September.

Jasper County - Second Monday in February, May, August, and November.

Jones County - First Monday in February and August and third Monday in April and October.

Morgan County - First Monday in March, June, September, and December.

Putnam County - Third Monday in March, June, September, and December.

Wilkinson County - Fourth Monday in February, first Monday in April and October, and third Monday in August.

(29) O CONEE CIRCUIT:

Bleckley County - Second Monday in March and July and fourth Monday in October, and there shall be a grand jury for each term.

Dodge County - Third Monday in February, first Monday in June, and last Monday in September, and there shall be a grand jury for each term.

Montgomery County - First Monday in February and second Monday in August, and there shall be a grand jury for each term.

Pulaski County - Second Monday in April and September and first Monday in December, and there shall be a grand jury for each term.

Telfair County - Third Monday in March and August and first Monday in November, and there shall be a grand jury for each term.

Wheeler County - Last Monday in January and first Monday in August, and there shall be a grand jury for each term.

(30) O GEECHEE CIRCUIT:

Bulloch County - First Monday in February, May, August, and November.

Effingham County - First Monday in June and December.

Jenkins County - First Monday in March and September.

Screven County - Second Monday in January and first Monday in April, July, and October.

(31) P ATAULA CIRCUIT:

Clay County - Second Monday in March and September.

Early County - Second Monday in January and July.

Miller County - Third Monday in February and August.

Quitman County - Fourth Monday in March and September.

Randolph County - Second Monday in May and November.

Seminole County - Third Monday in April and October.

Terrell County - First Monday in June and December.

(31.1) P AULDING CIRCUIT:

Paulding County - Second Monday in January and July.

(32) P IEDMONT CIRCUIT:

Banks County - First Monday in February and August; and there shall be a grand jury for each term, but the grand jury shall not be required to be impaneled in the first day of each term.

Barrow County - First Monday in February and August; and there shall be a grand jury for each term, but the grand jury shall not be required to be impaneled in the first day of each term.

Jackson County - First Monday in February and August; and there shall be a grand jury for each term, but the grand jury shall not be required to be impaneled in the first day of each term.

(32.1) R OCKDALE CIRCUIT:

Rockdale County - First Monday in January, April, July, and October.

(33) R OME CIRCUIT:

Floyd County - Second Monday in January, March, July, and September and first Monday in May and November.

(34) S OUTH GEORGIA CIRCUIT:

Baker County - Third Monday in January and July.

Calhoun County - Last Monday in May and November.

Decatur County - First Monday in May and November.

Grady County - Third Monday in March and September.

Mitchell County - Third Monday in April and October.

(35) S OUTHERN CIRCUIT:

Brooks County - First Monday in April and October.

Colquitt County - First Monday in February and August.

Echols County - First Monday in February and August.

Lowndes County - First Monday in March and first Tuesday immediately following first Monday in September.

Thomas County - First Monday in April and October.

(36) S OUTHWESTERN CIRCUIT:

Lee County - Fourth Monday in April and October.

Macon County - Second Monday in May and November.

Schley County - Second Monday in February and August.

Stewart County - Third Monday in March and September.

Sumter County - Fourth Monday in February, May, and August and the Monday following the fourth Thursday in November.

Webster County - Second Monday in January and July.

(37) S TONE MOUNTAIN CIRCUIT:

DeKalb County - First Monday in January, March, May, July, September, and November.

(38) T ALLAPOOSA CIRCUIT:

Haralson County - Third Monday in January and August.

Polk County - Third Monday in March and July;

provided, however, that in the Tallapoosa Circuit, if the Monday set for the term of court to begin is a legal holiday, the term of court shall commence on the Tuesday next following that Monday.

(39) T IFTON CIRCUIT:

Irwin County - Second Monday in February and second Monday in August.

Tift County - Second Monday in March and second Monday in September.

Turner County - Second Monday in April and second Monday in October.

Worth County - Second Monday in January and second Monday in July.

(40) T OOMBS CIRCUIT:

Glascock County - Third Monday in February, May, August, and November.

Lincoln County - Fourth Monday in January, third Monday in April, fourth Monday in July, and third Monday in October.

McDuffie County - Second Monday in March, June, September, and December.

Taliaferro County - Fourth Monday in February, May, August, and November.

Warren County - Third Monday in January and first Monday in April, July, and October.

Wilkes County - First Monday in February, May, August, and November.

(40.1) T OWALIGA CIRCUIT:

Butts County - Second Monday in January, April, July, and October.

Lamar County - Second Monday in March, June, September, and December.

Monroe County - Second Monday in February, May, August, and November.

(41) W AYCROSS CIRCUIT:

Bacon County - Third Monday in April and October.

Brantley County - Fourth Monday in February and August.

Charlton County - Second Monday in February and August.

Coffee County - Second Monday in March and September.

Pierce County - Third Monday in March and September.

Ware County - Second Monday in April and October.

provided, however, that the grand jury shall not be required to be impaneled on the first day of each new term but upon a date and time as scheduled by the court.

(42) W ESTERN CIRCUIT:

Clarke County - Second Monday in January, April, July, and October.

Oconee County - Second Monday in March and September.

(Ga. L. 1982, p. 3, § 15; Ga. L. 1982, p. 439, §§ 1, 5; Ga. L. 1982, p. 536, § 2; Ga. L. 1982, p. 546, § 1; Ga. L. 1983, p. 3, § 12; Ga. L. 1983, p. 405, § 1; Ga. L. 1983, p. 415, § 1; Ga. L. 1983, p. 418, § 1; Ga. L. 1983, p. 761, § 4; Ga. L. 1984, p. 22, § 15; Ga. L. 1984, p. 331, § 1; Ga. L. 1984, p. 351, § 1; Ga. L. 1984, p. 439, § 1; Ga. L. 1984, p. 440, § 1; Ga. L. 1984, p. 498, § 1; Ga. L. 1985, p. 281, § 1; Ga. L. 1986, p. 230, § 1; Ga. L. 1986, p. 1526, § 1; Ga. L. 1987, p. 2, § 1; Ga. L. 1987, p. 37, § 1; Ga. L. 1987, p. 250, § 1; Ga. L. 1987, p. 294, § 1; Ga. L. 1987, p. 295, § 1; Ga. L. 1987, p. 296, § 1; Ga. L. 1988, p. 257, § 1; Ga. L. 1988, p. 258, § 1; Ga. L. 1988, p. 551, § 1; Ga. L. 1989, p. 283, § 1; Ga. L. 1990, p. 920, § 2; Ga. L. 1991, p. 372, § 1; Ga. L. 1992, p. 1786, § 4; Ga. L. 1993, p. 447, § 1; Ga. L. 1993, p. 805, § 1; Ga. L. 1994, p. 360, § 1; Ga. L. 1994, p. 1052, § 1; Ga. L. 1996, p. 829, § 1; Ga. L. 1998, p. 220, § 4; Ga. L. 1999, p. 67, § 15; Ga. L. 1999, p. 81, § 15; Ga. L. 1999, p. 158, § 1; Ga. L. 2000, p. 1242, § 1; Ga. L. 2000, p. 1312, § 1; Ga. L. 2002, p. 405, § 3-4; Ga. L. 2002, p. 468, §§ 1, 3; Ga. L. 2006, p. 701, § 1/SB 264; Ga. L. 2006, p. 873, §§ 1, 2/HB 1496; Ga. L. 2006, p. 893, § 1/HB 1423; Ga. L. 2007, p. 47, § 15/SB 103; Ga. L. 2007, p. 89, § 1/SB 177; Ga. L. 2007, p. 278, § 1/HB 53; Ga. L. 2008, p. 324, § 15/SB 455; Ga. L. 2009, p. 847, § 1/HB 216; Ga. L. 2013, p. 570, § 3-1/HB 451; Ga. L. 2014, p. 482, § 1/SB 386; Ga. L. 2018, p. 231, § 1/HB 808; Ga. L. 2019, p. 313, § 1/HB 296.)

The 2018 amendment, effective January 1, 2019, deleted "second Monday in" preceding "October" in subparagraph (41)(A); substituted "February and August" for "January and second Monday in September" in subparagraph (41)(B); in subparagraph (41)(C), substituted "Second" for "Fourth", and substituted "August" for "September"; in subparagraph (41)(D), substituted "Second" for "Third", and substituted "September" for "October"; substituted "Third Monday in March and September" for "First Monday in May and first Monday in December" in subparagraph (41)(E); substituted "Second Monday in April and October" for "First Monday in April and second Monday in November" in subparagraph (41)(F); and substituted "the grand jury shall not be required to be impaneled on the first day of each new term but upon a date and time as scheduled by the court" for "if any term of court in the Waycross Circuit begins on an official state holiday, the term of court shall commence on the following Tuesday; and if any other day within the term of court shall be an official state holiday, the court shall be closed for that holiday" in the proviso of the ending undesignated paragraph of paragraph (41).

The 2019 amendment, effective July 1, 2019, substituted "Second Monday in January, April, and July, and first Monday in October" for "First Monday in May and November and second Monday in January and July" in subparagraph (26)(B).

Code Commission notes.

- Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1998, paragraph (18.1) was redesignated as paragraph (5.1).

Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1999, punctuation was revised in subparagraphs (29)(B) and (29)(C) and in subparagraph (40.1)(A).

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 1999, p. 67, §§ 1-10, not codified by the General Assembly, provided for the creation of the Towaliga Judicial Circuit, for the offices of the judge and district attorney, for transfer of pending litigation from the superior courts of Butts, Lamar, and Monroe counties, and other similar matters.

Ga. L. 2002, p. 468, § 4, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "As Section 2 of this Act provides for the Tifton Judicial Circuit, the November, 2002, term of court in Irwin County shall continue until the second Monday in February, 2003; the December, 2002, term of court in Tift County shall continue until the second Monday in March 2003; the October, 2002, term of court in Turner County shall continue until the second Monday in April 2003; and the October, 2002, term of court in Worth County shall continue until the second Monday in January, 2003." The reference to Section 2 of the Act should be to Section 3 of the Act.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

General Consideration

Equal protection.

- O.C.G.A. § 15-6-3, combined with O.C.G.A. § 17-7-171, does not deprive defendants of equal protection of the law despite the possibility of relatively longer trial waitings than in those circuits with more terms of court per year. Henry v. State, 263 Ga. 417, 434 S.E.2d 469 (1993).

Ga. L. 1996, p. 627, which establishes two terms of court for the City Court of Atlanta, is constitutional and does not violate equal protection. Cross v. State, 272 Ga. 282, 528 S.E.2d 241 (2000).

When the legislature deals with superior courts in fixing the terms at which the courts are to be held in the several counties, the legislature does so by general and not by special legislation. Burge v. Mangum, 134 Ga. 307, 67 S.E. 857 (1910); Geer v. Bush, 146 Ga. 701, 92 S.E. 47 (1917); Geer v. Colquitt Hdwe. & Furn. Co., 146 Ga. 811, 92 S.E. 515 (1917); Norris v. McDaniel, 207 Ga. 232, 60 S.E.2d 329 (1950).

Act fixing terms of a superior court and providing for attendance of grand juries thereat is a general law. Long v. State, 160 Ga. 292, 127 S.E. 842 (1925); Brown v. State, 242 Ga. 602, 250 S.E.2d 491 (1978).

Effect of amendment changing dates of terms of court.

- Amendment of O.C.G.A. § 15-6-3, so as to change the dates of commencement of terms of court, was not an ex post facto law as applied to the defendant, who was not at any time entitled to discharge and acquittal of the offenses with which the defendant was charged. Aspinwall v. State, 201 Ga. App. 203, 410 S.E.2d 388 (1991).

If, due to an error in the enactment, an amendment changing the terms of court from four to two had not gone into effect at the time the defendant moved for acquittal, the defendant was entitled to acquittal for failure to try the defendant within the term when the defendant's speedy trial demand was made. Houston v. State, 217 Ga. App. 783, 459 S.E.2d 583 (1995).

Reconvening did not require re-swearing.

- Although alternate jurors were substituted during the January term of court, the defendant pointed to no evidence that the January grand jury was ever formally discharged from the jury's duties prior to the end of the grand jury's term, thus, it continued to act within the jury's term of court and remained empowered to act until the last day of the jury's term and did not need to be re-sworn prior to returning to the defendant's second indictment. Durden v. State, 299 Ga. 273, 787 S.E.2d 697 (2016).

Speedy trial demand untimely.

- Defendant was indicted for felony murder and other charges during the June 2014 term of the trial court; the defendant did not file a valid demand in that term or the subsequent September 2014 term; and the December 2014 term began on December 1, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15-6-3(20), making the defendant's December 5 speedy trial demand untimely under O.C.G.A. § 17-7-171(a). Johnson v. State, 300 Ga. 252, 794 S.E.2d 60 (2016).

Cited in May v. State, 179 Ga. App. 736, 348 S.E.2d 61 (1986); Wade v. State, 258 Ga. 324, 368 S.E.2d 482 (1988); Lowery v. State, 188 Ga. App. 411, 373 S.E.2d 261 (1988); Housing Auth. v. Parks, 189 Ga. App. 97, 374 S.E.2d 842 (1988); Parks v. Gwinnett County, 190 Ga. App. 807, 380 S.E.2d 77 (1989); Kirk v. State, 194 Ga. App. 801, 392 S.E.2d 249 (1990); Holbrook v. General Elec. Capital Corp., 196 Ga. App. 382, 396 S.E.2d 253 (1990); Campbell v. State, 199 Ga. App. 25, 403 S.E.2d 882 (1991); Huff v. State, 201 Ga. App. 408, 411 S.E.2d 60 (1991); Bailey v. State, 209 Ga. App. 390, 433 S.E.2d 610 (1993); Groom v. State, 212 Ga. App. 133, 441 S.E.2d 259 (1994); McIver v. State, 212 Ga. App. 670, 442 S.E.2d 855 (1994); McKnight v. State, 215 Ga. App. 899, 453 S.E.2d 38 (1994); Baldwin v. State, 242 Ga. App. 205, 529 S.E.2d 201 (2000); Brooks v. State, 257 Ga. App. 515, 571 S.E.2d 504 (2002); Capital Cargo, Inc. v. Port of Port Royal, 261 Ga. App. 803, 584 S.E.2d 54 (2003); Cook v. State, 262 Ga. App. 446, 585 S.E.2d 743 (2003); Smith v. State, 263 Ga. App. 414, 587 S.E.2d 787 (2003); Masters v. Clark, 269 Ga. App. 537, 604 S.E.2d 556 (2004); Brown v. State, 275 Ga. App. 281, 620 S.E.2d 394 (2005); State v. Hitchcock, 285 Ga. App. 140, 645 S.E.2d 631 (2007); Kaiser v. State, 285 Ga. App. 63, 646 S.E.2d 84 (2007); LaFette v. State, 285 Ga. App. 516, 646 S.E.2d 725 (2007); Ingram v. State, 286 Ga. App. 662, 650 S.E.2d 743 (2007), overruled on other grounds by State v. Lane, 2020 Ga. LEXIS 98 (Ga. 2020); Chishti v. State, 288 Ga. App. 230, 653 S.E.2d 830 (2007); Sallins v. State, 289 Ga. App. 391, 657 S.E.2d 309 (2008); Smith v. State, 283 Ga. 376, 659 S.E.2d 380 (2008); Jones v. State, 290 Ga. App. 490, 659 S.E.2d 875 (2008); Haupt v. State, 290 Ga. App. 616, 660 S.E.2d 383 (2008); Maples v. State, 293 Ga. App. 232, 666 S.E.2d 609 (2008); Coleman v. State, 293 Ga. App. 251, 666 S.E.2d 620 (2008); Taylor v. Peachbelt Props., 293 Ga. App. 335, 667 S.E.2d 117 (2008); Dasher v. State, 285 Ga. 308, 676 S.E.2d 181 (2009); Smith v. State, 297 Ga. App. 300, 676 S.E.2d 750 (2009); Tyner v. State, 298 Ga. App. 42, 679 S.E.2d 82 (2009); Thompson v. State, 286 Ga. 889, 692 S.E.2d 379 (2010); Walker v. State, 290 Ga. 696, 723 S.E.2d 894 (2012); PHF II Buckhead LLC v. Dinku, 315 Ga. App. 76, 726 S.E.2d 569 (2012), cert. denied, No. S12C1257, 2012 Ga. LEXIS 1041 (Ga. 2012); Sanusi v. Cmty. & S. Bank, 330 Ga. App. 198, 766 S.E.2d 815 (2014); Williams v. State, 331 Ga. App. 46, 769 S.E.2d 760 (2015); Charles v. State, 338 Ga. App. 688, 791 S.E.2d 584 (2016); Williams v. State, 339 Ga. App. 158, 793 S.E.2d 485 (2016); Brock v. RES-GA SCL, LLC, 340 Ga. App. 194, 796 S.E.2d 914 (2017); Blackmon v. Pena, 345 Ga. App. 7, 812 S.E.2d 112 (2018); Patterson v. State, 347 Ga. App. 105, 817 S.E.2d 557 (2018); Cason v. State, 348 Ga. App. 828, 823 S.E.2d 357 (2019); Gray v. State, 351 Ga. App. 703, 832 S.E.2d 857 (2019).

Motions and Judgments

Effect of motion filed before end of term.

- Trial court did not err when the court modified an order granting defendant's motion for a new trial since the modification was made after the expiration of the term in which the order was entered and the state's motion for reconsideration, which sought to revive the conviction, was filed before the end of the term in which the court entered the order granting a new trial. Platt v. State, 200 Ga. App. 784, 409 S.E.2d 878, cert. denied, 200 Ga. App. 897, 409 S.E.2d 878 (1991).

Employee's motion for reconsideration of the dismissal of the employee's petition for judicial review of a denial of unemployment benefits, and the Fulton County Superior Court's order concerning the employee's motion, were untimely because the motion and decision were filed after the term of court in which the initial denial was made. Fed v. Butler, 327 Ga. App. 637, 760 S.E.2d 642 (2014).

After expiration of the term at which a judgment is entered, it is out of the power of the court to modify and revise the judgment in any matter of substance or in any matter affecting the merits; however, a default judgment may be set aside when the limited requirements of O.C.G.A. § 9-11-60(d)(2) are met. Lee v. Restaurant Mgt. Servs., 232 Ga. App. 902, 503 S.E.2d 59 (1998).

Regardless of whether O.C.G.A. § 17-10-1(f) applied to defendant's December 2003 motion to set aside a sentence, that motion, filed four-and-one-half years after the sentence was imposed, was far too late; the motion was not filed in the term in which the sentence was entered, within a year of the date upon which the sentence was imposed, nor within 120 days of the trial court's receipt of a direct-appeal remittitur. Reynolds v. State, 272 Ga. App. 91, 611 S.E.2d 750 (2005).

Trial court erred by entering a second final decree of divorce pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 9-11-60(g) after the term of court in which the first final decree had been entered had already expired because there were no clerical mistakes made with respect to the first final decree; the alleged mistake by the clerk, if any, related to the clerk's failure to file the husband's premature motion for new trial and had nothing to do with any alleged clerical errors in the first order and, accordingly, the trial court could not "correct" any mistake relating to the handling of the husband's motion for new trial by issuing a "corrected" second order based on a first order that contained no clerical mistakes. Tremble v. Tremble, 288 Ga. 666, 706 S.E.2d 453 (2011).

Assuming that a clerk made a "clerical mistake" by failing to later stamp file a husband's premature motion for new trial as a "response" to the trial court's first final decree of divorce, such a clerical mistake could not be "corrected" by the trial court issuing a second final divorce decree after the May term of court had ended; in order for a clerical mistake to be corrected, the clerical mistake must appear and be corrected in the actual judgment, order, or other part of the record in which the mistake has arisen, O.C.G.A. § 9-11-60(g). Tremble v. Tremble, 288 Ga. 666, 706 S.E.2d 453 (2011).

Buyer of property at a sheriff's sale who was awarded attorney's fees against the former owner and the owner's attorney's limited liability partnership (LLP) was not entitled to amend the judgment to include the attorney and the attorney's later-formed limited liability company (LLC) because it did not seek to amend the order until a year later, outside the term of court of the original order. The addition of the attorney and the substitution of the LLP was substantive. Davis v. Crescent Holdings & Invs., LLC, 336 Ga. App. 378, 785 S.E.2d 51 (2016).

Court was without authority to vacate order outside of the term in which the order was entered.

- Superior court was without jurisdiction to entertain an untimely motion to withdraw a guilty plea, filed outside the term of court in which the plea was entered; hence, the trial court properly denied the relief sought. Davis v. State, 274 Ga. 865, 561 S.E.2d 119 (2002).

Defendant's motion to vacate and set aside an order denying the defendant's motion in arrest of judgment was properly denied after the motion to vacate was filed 11 months after the denial of the motion in arrest of judgment, which was well beyond the respective terms of court in which the judgment of conviction and the denial of the motion in arrest of judgment were entered. Smith v. State, 257 Ga. App. 468, 571 S.E.2d 446 (2002).

Trial court improperly vacated the court's own order outside of the term in which the order was entered, so the order vacating the initial order was a nullity, but, as the initial order, which denied an application to modify or vacate an arbitration award, did not address a counterclaim seeking to confirm the arbitration award, it was not a final order, and so the later order confirming the award was affirmed. Tanaka v. Pecqueur, 268 Ga. App. 380, 601 S.E.2d 830 (2004).

Because the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to modify a sentence in a term other than the term in which the sentence was imposed, and there was no claim that the sentence entered was void, an order vacating one sentence and reinstating another sentence was vacated and the matter was remanded with instructions for the trial court to dismiss the action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Barthell v. State, 286 Ga. App. 160, 648 S.E.2d 412 (2007).

Trial court properly denied a motion to withdraw a guilty plea to two counts of armed robbery because the motion was made after expiration of the term of court under O.C.G.A. § 15-6-3(11) in which the defendant was sentenced; thus, the trial court did not have jurisdiction to rule on the motion. Williams v. State, 301 Ga. App. 849, 689 S.E.2d 124 (2010).

Order dismissing the defendant's motion to withdraw a guilty plea was affirmed because the trial court properly vacated only a discrete portion of the sentence relating to an improper parole condition and the remainder of the sentence was still in force; thus, the defendant had no absolute right to withdraw the plea since the motion to withdraw had to be filed within the term of court in which sentencing under the plea occurred. Thompson v. State, 348 Ga. App. 807, 824 S.E.2d 685 (2019).

Incorrectly styled motion timely filed due to court term.

- When a trial court issued a child support order on February 14, 2012 and the father filed a motion for relief on February 28, 2012, the father's motion (although incorrectly styled a motion for J.N.O.V.) was timely as a new trial motion under O.C.G.A. § 5-5-40; it was also timely because, in DeKalb County, the January term of court ran from the first Monday in January until the first Monday in March, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15-6-3(37). Wheeler v. Akins, 327 Ga. App. 830, 761 S.E.2d 383 (2014).

Other

Withdrawal of guilty pleas.

- Trial court properly denied defendant's motion to modify the defendant's sentence for theft by taking because, even assuming that defendant's motion could be treated as a motion to withdraw defendant's guilty plea, the court lost jurisdiction to grant the motion on that basis when the term of court in which the defendant was sentenced expired. Martin v. State, 266 Ga. App. 190, 596 S.E.2d 705 (2004).

Trial court lacked jurisdiction to allow the defendant to withdraw the defendant's guilty plea when the term of court in which that defendant was sentenced expired. Tabatabaee v. State, 266 Ga. App. 462, 597 S.E.2d 518 (2004).

Because the term of court when the defendant was sentenced expired, the trial court lacked jurisdiction to allow the defendant to withdraw a guilty plea. Thompson v. State, 279 Ga. App. 375, 631 S.E.2d 422 (2006).

Because Crisp County had multiple terms of court each year, and eight years passed before the defendant sought to withdraw the defendant's guilty plea, the trial court had no authority to permit the defendant to withdraw the plea. Brown v. State, 280 Ga. 658, 631 S.E.2d 687 (2006).

Because Rockdale County had four terms of court each year, and two full years passed before the defendant sought to withdraw a guilty plea, the trial court had no jurisdiction to permit withdrawal of the plea. Turner v. State, 281 Ga. 435, 637 S.E.2d 384 (2006), overruled on other grounds by Collier v. State, 834 S.E.2d 769, 2019 Ga. LEXIS 708 (Ga. 2019).

Defendant's challenge of the trial court's denial of the defendant's motion to withdraw the defendant's guilty plea failed because the defendant's motion was filed after the expiration of the term of court in which the plea was entered. Belcher v. State, 304 Ga. App. 645, 697 S.E.2d 300 (2010).

Plea counsel did not perform deficiently for failing to investigate a robbery charge in another county because the defendant's only available means to withdraw the defendant's guilty plea to the robbery charge was through habeas-corpus proceedings; the defendant's first mention of any challenge to the defendant's plea of guilty to the robbery charge was well beyond the term of court in which the defendant was sentenced. Murray v. State, 307 Ga. App. 621, 705 S.E.2d 726 (2011).

Because the court of appeals was unable to determine from the record upon which of two Mondays the May term of Walton Superior Court began, the court assumes, without deciding, that the defendant's motion to withdraw a guilty plea was timely filed; the language of O.C.G.A. § 15-6-3(2)(B) indicates that there are four terms in Walton County, Georgia and the superior court is authorized to begin the court's terms on either of those two Mondays. Burnett v. State, 309 Ga. App. 422, 710 S.E.2d 624 (2011).

Trial court lacked jurisdiction to entertain a defendant's motion to withdraw the defendant's guilty plea because, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15-6-3(39)(A), the defendant's motion was filed three weeks beyond the term of court in which the defendant was sentenced. Additionally, trial counsel was not required to advise the defendant of the effects of parole on the sentence. Hall v. State, 313 Ga. App. 670, 722 S.E.2d 392 (2012).

Defendant's attorney did not waive demand by agreeing to continuance.

- Although a defendant's attorney agreed to a continuance in early December 2004, there was no evidence that the attorney agreed to continue the case past that term of court, which, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15-5-3, did not end until February 2005, and in which the case could have been tried and was required to be tried following defendant's speedy trial demand under O.C.G.A. § 17-7-170 in the prior court term. Thornton v. State, 301 Ga. App. 784, 689 S.E.2d 361 (2009).

15-6-4. Qualifications of judges.

  1. No individual shall be judge of the superior courts unless, at the time of his or her election, he or she has attained the age of 30 years, has been a citizen of the state for three years, has practiced law for seven years, and is a member in good standing with the State Bar of Georgia and has been duly reinstated to the practice of law in the event of his or her disbarment therefrom.
  2. The office of any superior court judge shall be vacated upon the disbarment or suspension from the practice of law of such judge by the Supreme Court whether voluntary or involuntary and upon order of the Supreme Court providing for such removal from office.

(Orig. Code 1863, § 234; Code 1868, § 228; Code 1873, § 238; Code 1882, § 238; Civil Code 1895, § 4312; Civil Code 1910, § 4836; Code 1933, § 24-2603; Ga. L. 1964, p. 363, § 1; Ga. L. 2017, p. 152, § 1/HB 88.)

Cross references.

- Qualifications of judges of superior courts, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. VII, Para. II.

Law reviews.

- For article, "The Selection and Tenure of Judges," see 2 Ga. St. B. J. 281 (1966).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Plaintiff's challenge to the trial judge is without merit since it is not contested that this trial judge did not meet the qualifications to serve as a superior court judge. Moore v. American Suzuki Motor Corp., 203 Ga. App. 189, 416 S.E.2d 807 (1992).

O.C.G.A. §§ 15-1-8,15-6-4, and15-19-58 did not conflict with one another so as to be unconstitutional because § 15-1-8 provided that judges should not be disqualified from sitting in a proceeding because the judge was a policyholder of any mutual insurance company, § 15-6-4 provided for qualifications for state superior court judges, and § 15-19-58 allowed the state bar to seek injunctive relief against parties engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. Alyshah v. Georgia, F. Supp. 2d (N.D. Ga. Sept. 1, 2006), aff'd, 230 Fed. Appx. 949 (11th Cir. Ga. 2007).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Confirmation by Senate not necessary.

- Individuals who are appointed by the Governor to the office of judge of the superior court, judge of the superior court emeritus (now senior judge), solicitor general (now district attorney), and solicitor general emeritus (now district attorney emeritus) do not have to be submitted to the state Senate for confirmation. 1960-61 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 101.

Part-time judges or referees.

- Both part-time judges of the magistrate court and part-time referees of the juvenile court may be assigned to hear cases in the superior court so long as they meet the qualifications of judges of the superior court as provided in O.C.G.A. § 15-6-4. 1989 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U89-7.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 46 Am. Jur. 2d, Judges, §§ 5, 6.

Disqualification of Trial Judge for Cause, 50 POF3d 449.

C.J.S.

- 48A C.J.S., Judges, §§ 20, 21.

ALR.

- Validity and construction of constitutional or statutory provisions making legal knowledge or experience a condition of eligibility for judicial office, 71 A.L.R.3d 498.

15-6-4.1. Election of judges.

Each judge of the superior courts shall be elected by the electors of the judicial circuit in which the judge is to serve.

(Code 1981, §15-6-4.1, enacted by Ga. L. 1987, p. 328, § 1.)

15-6-5. Restrictions on practice of law.

Following their election, the judges of the superior courts are prohibited from practicing law in any of the courts of this state, provided that they may practice until their qualification in any case in which they may have been actually employed before their election. They are also prohibited from practicing as attorneys, proctors, or solicitors in any district or circuit courts of the United States after their election or while in commission.

(Laws 1824, Cobb's 1851 Digest, p. 90; Laws 1843, Cobb's 1851 Digest, p. 91; Code 1863, § 235; Code 1868, § 229; Code 1873, § 239; Code 1882, § 239; Civil Code 1895, § 4313; Civil Code 1910, § 4837; Code 1933, § 24-2607.)

Cross references.

- Regulation of practice of law generally, § 15-19-50 et seq.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Judge of superior court subject to disbarment proceedings.

- That a lawyer is also a judge of the superior court and hence a constitutional officer and must have practiced law seven years at the time of the judge's election and is prohibited from practicing law while serving as judge does not mean that the judge cannot at the same time be disbarred and the judge's license to practice law canceled as provided in former Code 1933, Ch. 5, T. 9 (see now O.C.G.A. § 15-19-30 et seq.). The two proceedings are provided for the accomplishment of entirely different results. Gordon v. Clinkscales, 215 Ga. 843, 114 S.E.2d 15 (1960).

Cited in Deutz-Allis Credit Corp. v. Phillips, 183 Ga. App. 760, 360 S.E.2d 29 (1987); Seay v. Cleveland, 270 Ga. 64, 508 S.E.2d 159 (1998); Miller v. Lomax, 333 Ga. App. 402, 773 S.E.2d 475 (2015).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Duties of district attorney constitute practice of law.

- Although a solicitor general (now district attorney) has only the state for a client in the performance of public duties, the solicitor general (now district attorney) is necessarily a "partisan in the cases" when appearing on behalf of the state; these duties do constitute the practice of law. 1965-66 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 66-189.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 46 Am. Jur. 2d, Judges, § 46.

C.J.S.

- 48A C.J.S., Judges, § 48.

ALR.

- What amounts to practice of law within contemplation of constitutional or statutory provision which makes such practice a condition of eligibility to a judicial office or forbids it by one holding a judicial position, 106 A.L.R. 508.

Propriety and permissibility of judge engaging in practice of law, 89 A.L.R.2d 886.

Validity and application of state statute prohibiting judge from practicing law, 17 A.L.R.4th 829.

15-6-6. Oath of judges.

Before entering on the duties of their office, superior court judges must take the oath required of all civil officers and in addition they must take the following oath:

"I swear that I will administer justice without respect to person and do equal rights to the poor and the rich and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent on me as judge of the superior courts of this state, according to the best of my ability and understanding, and agreeably to the laws and Constitution of this state and the Constitution of the United States. So help me God."

(Orig. Code 1863, § 229; Code 1868, § 223; Code 1873, § 237; Code 1882, § 237; Civil Code 1895, § 4311; Civil Code 1910, § 4835; Code 1933, § 24-2605.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Duties as to bond issuance.

- Duties of judge of superior court with respect to issuance of bonds by counties or other political subdivisions are set forth in the statutes. Clinkscales v. State, 102 Ga. App. 670, 117 S.E.2d 229 (1960).

Motion for mistrial must be made at time of objectionable remarks.

- Because a landlord did not waive a tenant's obligation to obtain casualty insurance, the tenant did not move for a mistrial based on the trial court's alleged objectionable remarks under O.C.G.A. §§ 9-10-7 and15-6-6, and the trial court's jury instructions were proper, the trial court did not err in denying the tenant's motions for a JNOV or a new trial. Mahsa, Inc. v. Al-Madinah Petroleum, Inc., 276 Ga. App. 890, 625 S.E.2d 37 (2005).

Cited in Clemon v. State, 218 Ga. 755, 130 S.E.2d 745 (1963); Pfeiffer v. State, 173 Ga. App. 374, 326 S.E.2d 562 (1985).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 46 Am. Jur. 2d, Judges, § 10.

C.J.S.

- 48A C.J.S., Judges, § 23.

ALR.

- Powers of judge who has attained constitutional age limit, 25 A.L.R. 27.

Civil liability of judicial officer for malicious prosecution or abuse of process, 64 A.L.R.3d 1251.

15-6-7. Effect of attachment of county to different judicial circuit.

A person who has been elected a judge of the superior courts of any circuit cannot be deprived of his office by attachment of the county in which he resides to a different judicial circuit; such person may continue to discharge the duties of his office as though he resided in the circuit.

(Orig. Code 1863, §§ 33, 236; Code 1868, §§ 31, 230; Code 1873, §§ 31, 240; Code 1882, §§ 31, 240; Civil Code 1895, § 4314; Civil Code 1910, § 4838; Code 1933, § 24-2608.)

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Cited in Stokes v. Fortson, 234 F. Supp. 575 (N.D. Ga. 1964).

15-6-8. Jurisdiction and powers of superior courts.

The superior courts have authority:

  1. To exercise original, exclusive, or concurrent jurisdiction, as the case may be, of all causes, both civil and criminal, granted to them by the Constitution and laws;
  2. To exercise the powers of a court of equity;
  3. To exercise appellate jurisdiction from judgments of the probate or magistrate courts as provided by law;
  4. To exercise a general supervision over all inferior tribunals and to review and correct, in the manner prescribed by law, the judgments of:
    1. Magistrates;
    2. Municipal courts or councils;
    3. Any inferior judicature;
    4. Any person exercising judicial powers; and
    5. Judges of the probate courts, except in cases touching the probate of wills and the granting of letters of administration, in which a jury must be impaneled;
  5. To punish contempt by fines not exceeding $1,000.00, by imprisonment not exceeding 20 days, or both; and
  6. To exercise such other powers, not contrary to the Constitution, as are or may be given to such courts by law.

(Laws 1799, Cobb's 1851 Digest, p. 1135; Code 1863, § 242; Code 1868, § 236; Code 1873, § 246; Code 1882, § 246; Civil Code 1895, § 4320; Penal Code 1895, § 791; Civil Code 1910, § 4849; Penal Code 1910, § 791; Code 1933, § 24-2615; Ga. L. 1982, p. 974, §§ 1, 2; Ga. L. 1983, p. 884, § 3-10; Ga. L. 1987, p. 3, § 15; Ga. L. 2013, p. 561, § 1/SB 66.)

Cross references.

- Judicial dissolution of corporations, § 14-2-1430 et seq., § 14-3-1430 et seq.

Exercise of contempt power generally, § 15-1-4.

Requirement of availability of one judge in each circuit on primary or election days, § 21-2-412.

Jurisdiction of superior courts to hear cases pertaining to primary or election contests, § 21-2-523.

Proceedings before superior courts regarding exercise of power of eminent domain generally, § 22-2-130 et seq.

Jurisdiction of superior courts over questions regarding determination of legal heirs and their interests, § 53-4-30.

Law reviews.

- For article, "Jury Trials in Contempt Cases," see 20 Ga. B. J. 297 (1957). For survey article on legal ethics, see 34 Mercer L. Rev. 197 (1982). For article, "Contempt of Court in Georgia," see 23 Ga. St. B. J. 66 (1987). For annual survey of legal ethics decisions, see 58 Mercer L. Rev. 239 (2006). For article, "How Not to Get Thrown in Jail," see 22 Ga. Bar. J. 17 (June 2017).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

General Consideration

Power of superior court is limited by this section. General Teamsters Local 528 v. Allied Foods, Inc., 228 Ga. 479, 186 S.E.2d 527 (1971), cert. denied, 405 U.S. 1041, 92 S. Ct. 1313, 31 L. Ed. 2d 582 (1972).

Power to issue injunctions.

- Superior courts are empowered to issue injunctions, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. I, Para. IV; O.C.G.A. § 15-6-8, and nothing in O.C.G.A. § 48-4-40(1) deprives the courts of that power in the arena of redemption of property following a tax sale. Am. Lien Fund, LLC v. Dixon, 286 Ga. 562, 690 S.E.2d 415 (2010).

Trial court had subject matter jurisdiction over a landowner's action seeking an interlocutory injunction requiring neighbors to move the neighbor's dock because the neighbors did not point to any federal law that would preempt the trial court as an appropriate forum for adjudicating the rights and remedies of the parties; there was no Congressional intent to preclude state action concurrently with the statutory and regulatory scheme establishing the authority of the Army Corps of Engineers over docks on the lake where the parties lived. Dillon v. Reid, 312 Ga. App. 34, 717 S.E.2d 542 (2011).

Jurisdiction of the superior courts is clearly defined by the Georgia Constitution and former Code 1873, § 246 (see now O.C.G.A. § 15-6-8). Trial of misdemeanor cases may be conferred upon inferior courts. Porter v. State, 53 Ga. 236 (1874).

Judicial powers historically vested in superior courts.

- Superior courts have forever in history been the great reservoir of judicial power in which the judicial powers of the state were vested, and however other courts might be erected as a relief to it, to take cognizance of minor matters, the practice has been uniform to retain in this tribunal concurrent, and generally, even supervisory power over them. Smith v. State, 62 Ga. App. 733, 9 S.E.2d 714 (1940).

Limitation on supervisory control of superior courts.

- Supervisory control of the superior court over inferior judicatories exists only for specified purposes, viz., either to correct errors in their proceedings in a particular case, or to command them to fulfill their official duties in such a case when, from any cause, a defect of legal justice would ensue from a failure or improper discharge of such duties; or to prohibit or arrest illegal proceedings by any officer of such courts when no other legal remedy or relief is given, and when such interference is required by some principle of right, necessity, and justice. This jurisdiction is exercised by writs designated by the statutes, such as the writ of certiorari, mandamus, or prohibition. Darden v. Ravan, 232 Ga. 756, 208 S.E.2d 846 (1974), overruled on other grounds Ricks v. State, 303 Ga. 567, 814 S.E.2d 318, 2018 Ga. LEXIS 288 (2018).

Jurisdiction over habeas corpus cases by all courts.

- All superior courts have jurisdiction over subject matter of habeas corpus cases or cases in nature of habeas corpus. Hopkins v. Hopkins, 237 Ga. 845, 229 S.E.2d 751 (1976).

Jurisdiction over felony trials.

- O.C.G.A. § 15-6-8 vests superior courts with exclusive subject matter jurisdiction over all felony trials. Goodrum v. State, 259 Ga. App. 704, 578 S.E.2d 484 (2003).

State did not have the right to appeal sentences imposed by the trial court contrary to a plea agreement under O.C.G.A. § 5-7-1(a)(6) because the sentences were not void; the sentences were within the 20-year range of punishments for robbery and aggravated assault, O.C.G.A. §§ 16-5-21(b) and16-8-40(b), and the trial court had jurisdiction over the case, pursuant to Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. IV, Para. I, and O.C.G.A. § 15-6-8(1). State v. Harper, 279 Ga. App. 620, 631 S.E.2d 820 (2006) was overruled. State v. King, 325 Ga. App. 445, 750 S.E.2d 756 (2013).

Subject matter jurisdiction over employment cases.

- Superior courts have subject matter jurisdiction over timely Title VII claims under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 filed pursuant to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission notification to the claimant that, the federal prerequisites for suit having been fulfilled, suit may be filed. Collins v. DOT, 208 Ga. App. 53, 429 S.E.2d 707 (1993).

Subject matter jurisdiction of breach of contract and fraud action.

- Superior court had jurisdiction of an action for breach of contract and fraud involving an agreement between an employer and employee, even though the agreement provided that the parties "submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts." Bradley v. British Fitting Group, Plc, 221 Ga. App. 621, 472 S.E.2d 146 (1996).

Subject matter jurisdiction over probate matter.

- Trial court had subject matter jurisdiction to review the probate court's decision under Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. IV, Para. I and O.C.G.A. § 15-6-8(4)(E) to deny probate of the decedent's 1988 will and the parties' waiver of the statutory right to a jury trial did not deprive the trial court of subject matter jurisdiction to deny probate of the will. Mosley v. Lancaster, 296 Ga. 862, 770 S.E.2d 873 (2015).

Superior courts have concurrent jurisdiction with all inferior courts over misdemeanors. Smith v. State, 62 Ga. App. 733, 9 S.E.2d 714 (1940); Allen v. State, 85 Ga. App. 887, 70 S.E.2d 543 (1952); Lee v. State, 222 Ga. App. 389, 474 S.E.2d 281 (1996).

Extent of concurrent jurisdiction with magistrate courts.

- Superior court is a court of general jurisdiction, and has concurrent jurisdiction with the justices' (now magistrate) courts in all civil cases if the amount involved is less than $100.00 (now $2,500.00). Phillips v. Rawls, 46 Ga. App. 200, 167 S.E. 189 (1932) (See now O.C.G.A. § 15-10-2 for jurisdiction of magistrate courts.)

Court first acquiring jurisdiction of prosecution retains jurisdiction.

- While this section granted superior courts the power to exercise concurrent jurisdiction with inferior tribunals, the court first acquiring jurisdiction of the prosecution retained the jurisdiction to the exclusion of the others, so long as the court did not voluntarily and legally abandon the jurisdiction. McAuliffe v. Outz, 139 Ga. App. 62, 227 S.E.2d 807 (1976).

Superior court to review decisions only when presented under proper writ.

- This section empowered the superior courts only to review the proceedings of inferior courts when the question was presented under the proper statutory writ, and if the court finds the proceedings to be irregular or invalid, to remand to the tribunal having jurisdiction of the case for reconsideration in accordance with the court's instructions. McAuliffe v. Outz, 139 Ga. App. 62, 227 S.E.2d 807 (1976).

Removing record from inferior court.

- Entire record cannot be removed from inferior court to superior court by notice to officers to produce the record, or by a subpoena duces tecum directed to and served upon the court. In re Lester, 77 Ga. 143 (1886).

Authority to order expert evaluation of criminal defendant.

- Superior court of the county in which defendant was convicted of murder had authority, on defendant's motion for new trial, to order an expert evaluation of defendant, who was incarcerated beyond the boundaries of the county in which the court sat. Zant v. Brantley, 261 Ga. 817, 411 S.E.2d 869 (1992).

Defendant in city court may apply to superior court.

- If a suit for damages arising ex contractu is pending in a city court, the defendant, in order to avail oneself of an equitable setoff, may apply to the superior court to enjoin the proceeding in the city court and take jurisdiction of the entire controversy. Bibb Basket Co. v. Eufaula Bank & Trust Co., 42 Ga. App. 394, 156 S.E. 310 (1930).

Review of recorder's court decision lies in the superior court by writ of certiorari. McMillian v. City of Rockmart, 653 F.2d 907 (5th Cir. 1981).

Power of judge to appoint foreperson of grand jury.

- In the absence of a statute to the contrary, the judge of the superior court has inherent power as the presiding officer of the court to appoint the foreperson of a grand jury from the number of those duly selected and required to serve. This authority vested in the judge by law is not affected by the custom of permitting the members of the grand jury to elect a foreperson. Peeples v. State, 178 Ga. 675, 173 S.E. 850 (1934).

Local Act providing for bill of exceptions (see now O.C.G.A. §§ 5-6-49 and5-6-50) from city court to superior court is unconstitutional. Pope v. Jones, 79 Ga. 487, 4 S.E. 860 (1887), overruled on other grounds Ricks v. State, 303 Ga. 567, 814 S.E.2d 318 (2018).

Regulation of prices by court of products made and sold in this state not permitted. Southern Ice & Coal Co. v. Atlantic Ice & Coal Corp., 143 Ga. 810, 85 S.E. 1021 (1915).

Breach of payment bond contract.

- Subcontractor's action against surety for breach of payment bond contract, bad faith, and attorney fees was within superior court's subject matter jurisdiction. Harry S. Peterson Co. v. National Union Fire Ins. Co., 209 Ga. App. 585, 434 S.E.2d 778 (1993).

Subject matter jurisdiction over business dispute.

- In an action brought by a partner against another, the court did not err by vacating a consent order that incorporated a settlement agreement as the trial judge to whom the case had been reassigned had subject matter jurisdiction to vacate the previously entered order since the trial judge had subject matter jurisdiction over a cause of action pending before the court and control over orders and judgments during the term or following the term if the case is still pending. Further, since no final order had been entered in the matter and the case remained pending, the trial court had authority to reconsider the ruling made on the consent order, vacate the order, and order that the matter proceed to trial, irrespective of whether the case has been reassigned to a different trial judge. Internal Med. Alliance, LLC v. Budell, 290 Ga. App. 231, 659 S.E.2d 668 (2008).

Protection of judgments.

- Trial court was empowered to protect a judgment the court entered by enjoining an arbitration proceeding on the grounds of res judicata and collateral estoppel. Mitcham v. Blalock, 268 Ga. 644, 491 S.E.2d 782 (1997).

Review by writ of certiorari precluded.

- Defendant's petition for writ of certiorari was fatally and fundamentally flawed since the petition did not recite the provisions of the county statute under which the defendant was convicted, which prohibited loitering for drug-related purposes; thus, the appellate court had no context within which to review the evidence. Collier v. Merck, 261 Ga. App. 831, 584 S.E.2d 1 (2003).

Appellate jurisdiction lacking.

- Since the superior court did not have appellate jurisdiction over rulings of a state court, there was no error in the state court's failure to process an appeal to the superior court within 10 days. Columbus Transmission Co. v. Murry, 277 Ga. App. 243, 626 S.E.2d 202 (2006).

Cited in Pullen v. Cleckler, 162 Ga. 111, 132 S.E. 761 (1926); Jones v. State, 39 Ga. App. 1, 145 S.E. 914 (1928); Brooks v. Sturdivant, 177 Ga. 514, 170 S.E. 369 (1933); Department of Indus. Relations v. Travelers' Ins. Co., 177 Ga. 669, 170 S.E. 883 (1933); Gavant v. Berger, 182 Ga. 277, 185 S.E. 506 (1936); Robitzsch v. State, 189 Ga. 637, 7 S.E.2d 387 (1940); Womack v. Celanese Corp. of Am., 205 Ga. 514, 54 S.E.2d 235 (1949); Alred v. Celanese Corp. of Am., 205 Ga. 371, 54 S.E.2d 240 (1949); Aiken v. Richardson, 210 Ga. 728, 82 S.E.2d 646 (1954); Fletcher v. Daniels, 211 Ga. 403, 86 S.E.2d 232 (1955); Rockefeller v. First Nat'l Bank, 213 Ga. 493, 100 S.E.2d 279 (1957); Hunt v. McCollum, 214 Ga. 809, 108 S.E.2d 275 (1959); Clarke County Sch. Dist. v. Madden, 99 Ga. App. 670, 110 S.E.2d 47 (1959); Cadle v. State, 101 Ga. App. 175, 113 S.E.2d 180 (1960); Holcomb v. Johnston, 216 Ga. 765, 119 S.E.2d 355 (1961); Henderson v. State Bd. of Exmrs., 221 Ga. 536, 145 S.E.2d 559 (1965); Stevenson v. Stevenson, 222 Ga. 47, 148 S.E.2d 388 (1966); Burson v. Bishop, 117 Ga. App. 602, 161 S.E.2d 518 (1968); Smith v. Robinson, 122 Ga. App. 693, 178 S.E.2d 697 (1970); Durham v. Spence, 228 Ga. 525, 186 S.E.2d 723 (1972); Bowen v. Bowen, 230 Ga. 670, 198 S.E.2d 862 (1973); Moody v. State, 131 Ga. App. 355, 206 S.E.2d 79 (1974); Wall v. Coleman, 393 F. Supp. 826 (S.D. Ga. 1975); McAuliffe v. Outz, 139 Ga. App. 62, 227 S.E.2d 807 (1976); Moody v. Mendenhall, 238 Ga. 689, 234 S.E.2d 905 (1977); Schuehler v. Pait, 239 Ga. 520, 238 S.E.2d 65 (1977); Wall v. T.J.B. Servs., Inc., 147 Ga. App. 364, 248 S.E.2d 685 (1978); Spruell v. State, 148 Ga. App. 99, 250 S.E.2d 807 (1978); Mitchell v. Excelsior Sales & Imports, Inc., 243 Ga. 813, 256 S.E.2d 785 (1979); Hopkins v. Hopkins, 244 Ga. 70, 257 S.E.2d 902 (1979); Goldgar v. Galbraith, 155 Ga. App. 429, 270 S.E.2d 833 (1980); Price v. Gibson, 246 Ga. 815, 272 S.E.2d 716 (1980); Mann v. State, 160 Ga. App. 527, 287 S.E.2d 325 (1981); Dunaway v. Clark, 536 F. Supp. 664 (S.D. Ga. 1982); Kariuki v. DeKalb County, 253 Ga. 713, 324 S.E.2d 450 (1985); General Accident Ins. Co. v. Wells, 179 Ga. App. 440, 346 S.E.2d 886 (1986); Smith v. Orkin Exterminating Co., 258 Ga. 705, 373 S.E.2d 740 (1988); Rowe v. Rowe, 195 Ga. App. 493, 393 S.E.2d 750 (1990); Hall v. State, 200 Ga. App. 585, 409 S.E.2d 221 (1991); Duffet v. E & W Properties, Inc., 208 Ga. App. 484, 430 S.E.2d 858 (1993); In re Mauldin, 242 Ga. App. 350, 529 S.E.2d 653 (2000); Harvey v. Lindsey, 251 Ga. App. 387, 554 S.E.2d 523 (2001); Johnson v. State, 258 Ga. App. 33, 572 S.E.2d 669 (2002); Manders v. Lee, 338 F.3d 1304 (11th Cir. 2003); Southeast Serv. Corp. v. Savannah Teachers Props., 263 Ga. App. 513, 588 S.E.2d 310 (2003); In the Interest of P.W., 289 Ga. App. 323, 657 S.E.2d 270 (2008); Durham v. Durham, 291 Ga. 231, 728 S.E.2d 627 (2012).

Contempt

Applicability to separate contemptuous acts.

- O.C.G.A. § 15-6-8 is applicable to each separate act found by trial judge to be contemptuous. In re Pruitt, 249 Ga. 190, 288 S.E.2d 208 (1982).

Breach of restraining order.

- This section applies when breach of temporary restraining order treated as single act, and costs may be awarded. Warner v. Martin, 124 Ga. 387, 52 S.E. 446, 4 Ann. Cas. 180 (1905).

Inapplicability to continuing contempt.

- This section did not apply to a refusal to deliver funds or property to receiver appointed by court pending litigation. Cobb v. Black, 34 Ga. 162 (1865).

This section does not apply if the doing of an act is necessary to the administration of justice, and breach is treated as continuing. Howard v. Durand, 36 Ga. 346, 91 Am. Dec. 767 (1867); Drakeford v. Adams, 98 Ga. 722, 25 S.E. 833 (1896).

This section does not apply to a continuing contempt resulting from failure to comply with order requiring payment of alimony. Tindall v. Westcott, 113 Ga. 1114, 39 S.E. 450, 55 L.R.A. 225 (1901); Gray v. Gray, 127 Ga. 345, 56 S.E. 438 (1907).

Failure or refusal to comply with an order of court requiring the payment of alimony and attorney's fees was a continuing contempt, and the court may enter a judgment that the party so refusing be imprisoned until the party shall comply. In such case, the time of imprisonment was not within the limitation of this section that the duration of imprisonment must not exceed 20 days. Adkins v. Adkins, 242 Ga. 248, 248 S.E.2d 646 (1978).

Mother held in criminal contempt.

- Order holding a mother in criminal contempt was upheld on appeal as a result of the mother's interference with the father's visitation time and since the trial court did not exceed the limit of 20 days of imprisonment as set forth in O.C.G.A. § 15-6-8(5), the punishment imposed did not exceed that which was authorized. Stanford v. Pogue, 340 Ga. App. 86, 796 S.E.2d 313 (2017).

Failure to pay ordered child support.

- Parent who willfully refuses to pay child support which the parent is able to pay and which is required by an order of court may be found guilty of either civil or criminal contempt of court, or both. Ensley v. Ensley, 239 Ga. 860, 238 S.E.2d 920 (1977).

Party who has failed to pay child support under a court order when the party has the ability to pay may be found guilty of civil or criminal contempt and incarcerated under either. Hughes v. Georgia Dep't of Human Resources, 269 Ga. 587, 502 S.E.2d 233 (1998).

Lack of money and property impacting contempt.

- Trial court erred in continuing the incarceration of a party for civil contempt since the party lacked the ability to purge oneself because the party lacked money and property. Hughes v. Georgia Dep't of Human Resources, 269 Ga. 587, 502 S.E.2d 233 (1998).

Continuous contempt.

- Confinement may be extended indefinitely if the contempt is continuous. In re Pruitt, 249 Ga. 190, 288 S.E.2d 208 (1982).

Incarceration for over 20 days.

- If the trial court ordered a party incarcerated for more than 20 days, the contempt order should have contained sufficient facts to support the court's finding of more than one contemptuous act. Gay v. Gay, 268 Ga. 106, 485 S.E.2d 187 (1997).

Contempt proceedings require due process.

- Punishment of barring an attorney from a division of a superior court is not available for criminal contempt; the superior court's power to punish is limited by O.C.G.A. § 15-6-8. In re Siemon, 264 Ga. 641, 449 S.E.2d 832 (1994).

Defenses to contempt.

- Defenses to both civil and criminal contempt are that the order was not sufficiently definite and certain, was not violated, or that the violation was not willful (e.g., inability to pay or comply). Schiselman v. Trust Co. Bank, 246 Ga. 274, 271 S.E.2d 183 (1980).

Counterclaim to contempt petition not permitted.

- In a proceeding wherein a neighbor filed a contempt petition against another neighbor and the responding neighbor filed a counterclaim to the petition, the trial court upheld the finding of contempt on the part of the responding neighbor with regard to that party failing to comply with prior orders of the trial court in the parties' long-standing boundary dispute, but reversed the contempt finding with regard to the petitioning neighbor on the counterclaim. The trial court erred in allowing the responding neighbor to file a counterclaim to the contempt petition as a contempt proceeding was an ancillary matter related to the primary action and was more in the nature of a motion proceeding, not a situation where a pleading was allowed. Reece v. Smith, 292 Ga. App. 875, 665 S.E.2d 918 (2008).

Distinction between civil and criminal contempt.

- If the contemnor is imprisoned for a specified unconditional period, the purpose is punishment and thus the contempt is criminal. If the contemnor is imprisoned only until the contemnor performs a specified act, the purpose is remedial and hence the contempt is civil. Ensley v. Ensley, 239 Ga. 860, 238 S.E.2d 920 (1977).

Most important factor in distinguishing civil and criminal contempt is the purpose of the contempt judgment. If the judgment's purpose is to coerce the contemnor into compliance with the court's order or to compensate the complainant for losses sustained, then the proceeding is civil; on the other hand, if the judgement's purpose is to punish or to vindicate the authority of the court, then the proceeding is criminal. Hopkins v. Jarvis, 648 F.2d 981 (5th Cir. 1981).

Despite the Georgia Supreme Court previously suggesting the ex-husband could be assessed for damages and repairs to the rental property, such a remedy could no longer serve the purpose of civil contempt to obtain future compliance with the divorce decree since the rental property was foreclosed upon and sold; thus, future compliance was no longer at issue and the trial court was authorized to impose unconditional criminal punishment for the ex-husband's prior acts of contumacy. Sponsler v. Sponsler, 353 Ga. App. 627, 838 S.E.2d 921 (2020).

Treating civil contempt as criminal contempt.

- Court may find that contempt proceedings originated and pursued by party seeking civil contempt should be treated as one for criminal contempt. Schiselman v. Trust Co. Bank, 246 Ga. 274, 271 S.E.2d 183 (1980).

Findings of fact and conclusions of law are not required in motion for contempt. Adkins v. Adkins, 242 Ga. 248, 248 S.E.2d 646 (1978).

General phrasing of notice sufficient as to both civil and criminal charges.

- If a person is on notice that the person is being tried for contempt and the movant seeks "such other sanctions as is appropriate to ensure the enforcement and the observance" of the court's order or seeks "such other relief as may be appropriate," the contemnor is on notice that the proceeding is both civil and criminal in nature and that criminal sanctions may be imposed in an appropriate case. Schiselman v. Trust Co. Bank, 246 Ga. 274, 271 S.E.2d 183 (1980).

When omission of word "criminal" in notice of contempt not fatal.

- Omission of the word "criminal" in a notice of contempt proceeding is not fatal if the notice fully describes the conduct charged, there is no showing that the contemnor was prejudiced by the failure to clearly denominate the nature of the contempt proceeding, and the contemnor was accorded all rights due a defendant in a criminal contempt proceeding. Schiselman v. Trust Co. Bank, 246 Ga. 274, 271 S.E.2d 183 (1980).

Appeal must be filed with application pursuant to § 5-6-35. - Notice of appeal from a judgment of contempt regarding a domestic relations decree (finding violations by harassment, abuse, threats, assaults, annoyances, and willful refusal to make house payments as ordered), which judgment imposed a 20-day unconditional imprisonment, must be dismissed for failure to file an application for appeal pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 5-6-35(a)(2). Russo v. Manning, 252 Ga. 155, 312 S.E.2d 319 (1984).

Attorney fees.

- Trial court was authorized to award attorney fees in a contempt action arising out of a divorce and alimony case, but the court should not have made payment a condition for purging the contempt without first allowing a reasonable time to pay the fees. Gay v. Gay, 268 Ga. 106, 485 S.E.2d 187 (1997).

Attorney fees are not awardable in conjunction with a citation for criminal contempt. Rolleston v. Cherry, 237 Ga. App. 733, 521 S.E.2d 1, cert. denied, 528 U.S. 1046, 120 S. Ct. 580, 145 L. Ed. 2d 482 (1999).

Contempt order requiring the plaintiff to pay $ 17,296.53 in attorney fees and litigation costs under O.C.G.A. § 9-15-14 was affirmed on appeal because the trial court expressly stated that the amount was intended to prevent future violations of, and to coerce compliance with, the injunction issued against the plaintiff and no case law prohibited such a civil contempt sanction. Shooter Alley, Inc. v. City of Doraville, 341 Ga. App. 626, 800 S.E.2d 588 (2017).

Attorney fees cannot be awarded.

- Trial court does not have authority to award attorney fees as punishment for contempt. Ragsdale v. Bryan, 235 Ga. 58, 218 S.E.2d 809 (1975).

Power of the superior court to punish contempt is limited by O.C.G.A. § 15-6-8, and there is no power to award attorney fees in contempt proceedings. DeKalb County v. Bolick, 249 Ga. 843, 295 S.E.2d 92 (1982); Eckerd Corp. v. Fayette County Bd. of Tax Assessors, 220 Ga. App. 454, 469 S.E.2d 285 (1996); Johnson v. Kaplan, 225 Ga. App. 53, 483 S.E.2d 292 (1997).

Attorney fees are not included in the permissible sanctions for contempt and may not be awarded. Rapaport v. Buckhead, 234 Ga. App. 363, 506 S.E.2d 690 (1998).

Attorney fees not permissible sanction for criminal contempt.

- Contempt sanction against the redeeming creditor in the amount of $5,000.00 was vacated as the sanction related to the award of attorney fees as attorney fees were not permissible sanctions for criminal contempt, nor were attorney fees awardable in conjunction with a citation for criminal contempt. J. Michael Vince, LLC v. SunTrust Bank, 352 Ga. App. 791, 835 S.E.2d 809 (2019).

Attorney held in contempt.

- "Sentence" of criminal defense attorney in trial court's order to conduct oneself properly as an attorney was actually the method by which the attorney could purge oneself of the contempt. Nothing in O.C.G.A. § 15-6-8(5) prohibits such an order. In re Booker, 195 Ga. App. 561, 394 S.E.2d 791 (1990).

Because the attorney's motion hearings in one county conflicted with what the attorney thought would be the simple entry of a plea in a second county, but the matter in the second county went to trial (partly because of the attorney's lack of communication with the client), and the attorney failed to appear, or give the second county seven days notice or prompt notice of the conflict, a contempt conviction was proper, a $500 fine, and a requirement to complete 25 hours of community service was not excessive. In re Holt, 262 Ga. App. 730, 586 S.E.2d 414 (2003).

Sanction included removal of attorney from appointed counsel list.

- After a trial court held defendant, an attorney, in contempt for allegedly intentionally misstating information about a client during a bond hearing, the trial court acted within the court's authority under O.C.G.A. § 15-6-8(5) in directing that defendant's name was to be removed from the county appointed counsel list as the sanction simply addressed the administration of the court's business. In re Schoolcraft, 274 Ga. App. 271, 617 S.E.2d 241 (2005).

Suspension of sheriff not authorized.

- Superior court was authorized to inflict summary punishment for contempt predicated upon the willful failure of a sheriff, an officer of the court, to obey an oral direction by the court to transfer a defendant to a jail in another county, but was not authorized to temporarily suspend the sheriff, an elected officer, from the position as sheriff. In re Irvin, 171 Ga. App. 794, 321 S.E.2d 119 (1984), modified on other grounds, 254 Ga. 251, 328 S.E.2d 215 (1985).

Willful violation of court order by sheriff.

- Trial court did not err in finding a sheriff in criminal contempt for willful violation of the court's order directing the sheriff to transport to the county courthouse four named criminal defendants imprisoned at the county jail for the purpose of hearings in criminal cases because the trial court was empowered to determine that the orderly administration of justice required the presence of the four prisoners at the courthouse and to order the sheriff to transfer the prisoners from the jail to the courthouse; the order