Judicial Branch of the Georgia State Government

Judicial Branch of the
Georgia State Government
SS8CGC4 The student will analyze
the role of the judicial branch in
Georgia state government.
Explain the structure of the court system in Georgia
including trial and appellate procedures and how
judges are selected.
b. Explain the difference between criminal law and civil
Describe the adult justice system, emphasizing the
different jurisdictions, terminology, and steps in the
criminal justice process.
Describe ways to avoid trouble and settle disputes
Georgia Judicial Branch
This branch of government has a role to:
a. Interpret the laws of the state of Georgia
Protect the legal and civil rights of citizens
through “due process.”
Enforce the laws of the state in court
Terminology of the Justice System
Criminal courts try violators of the law; civil courts
handle arguments between citizens.
Grand juries hear cases to determine if enough evidence
is present to “officially charge” or indict the accused;
Trial juries hear cases to judge whether the accused is
guilty or not guilty (beyond a reasonable doubt)
Trial courts handle the original criminal or civil cases;
while Appellate courts hear cases that are appealed from
lower-ranking courts
Structure of Georgia’s Justice System
State Supreme Court
Court of Appeals
Superior Courts
Trial Court/Juvenile Court/Probate Court/Magistrate Court
State Supreme Court
Georgia’s highest court (oversee all judges and
lawyers in the state)
An appellate court (reviews civil and criminal cases
from trial courts and Court of Appeals)
Reviews challenges to the constitutionality of state
Reviews all death penalty cases in the state of
Judges and Qualifications
Seven justices (Leah Ward Sears--Chief Justice)
Lawyer for seven years
State Supreme Court
Selection of Judges and Terms
Selected by voters in state-wide nonpartisan
Serve 6-year terms
Justices select chief Justice
State Court of Appeals
An Appellate court by handling appeals concerning civil
and trail cases from superior, state, and juvenile courts
Judges and Qualifications
12 justices
Lawyer for seven years
Selection of Judges and Terms
Elected by voters in state-wide nonpartisan election
Serve six-year terms
Justices select the chief justice
Superior Courts
Mainly handles felony criminal cases or major civil cases
(i.e. divorce)
Jury Trial
County election laws
Judges and Qualifications
193 judges
Lawyer for seven years and 30 years old
Selection of Judges and terms
Voter within circuit select in nonpartisan election
4-year terms
State Trial Courts
71 county-level courts
Jury trials
Hears original misdemeanor and traffic violation cases
Judges and Qualifications
193 judges
Lawyer for seven years and 30 years old
Selection of Judges and Terms
Nonpartisan elections within county
4-year terms
Juvenile Courts
Hears cases involving youths who are 17 years old and
younger (unruly or delinquent)
Judges and Qualifications
120 judges
Lawyers for five years and 30 years old
Selection of Judges
Appointed by Superior Court judge
4-year terms
Probate Courts
159 county courts
Hears cases involving wills, estates, guardian rights, and marriage
Jury Trials
Judges and Qualifications
159 judges
Must be high school grad. and 25 years old
Lawyer for seven years in larger counties
Selection of Judges and Terms
Partisan election within county
4-year terms
Magistrate Court
159 county courts
Hears civil cases under $15,000 (“People’s Court”)
Issues arrest and search warrants
Judges and Qualifications
159 chief magistrates and 354 magistrates
Must be high school grads. And 25 years old
Selection of Judges and terms
Most Chief magistrates elected in county-wide election
4-year terms
Other magistrates appointed by chief magistrate
Whose case is it anyways?
There are numerous trial and appellate courts within the state of Georgia. Each has their own duties and
jurisdictions over who tries which case.
Match the letter and court level or jury below to the appropriate scenario or court case that court would handle
a.) State Supreme Court
b.) Court of Appeals
c.) State Trial Courts
d.) Juvenile Court
e.) Probate Court
f.) Magistrate Court
g.) Grand Jury
h.) Trial Jury
i.) Superior Court
Determine whether or not there is enough evidence to “officially charge” or indict an individual with a crime.
Citizens challenge a law claiming it violates the civil rights of others. _______
A 14 year old is charged with shoplifting.________
Family members argue over who should inherit their deceased father’s house and property. ______
An individual appeals a guilty verdict claiming their trial or jury was unfair. ________
Neighbors argue over property damage of $5,000. ________
The accused is charged and on trial for first degree murder. ________
Reviews case where an individual has been found guilty of murder and sentenced to the death penalty. _______
Oversees rules of ethics and personal conduct among lawyers and judges within the state of Georgia. _______
An aunt and uncle wish to acquire official guardian rights for their niece or nephew. _______
Accused is charged with petite theft. ________
Youth is truant at school and ran away from home. ______
The accused passed a number of “bad checks.” ______
Hears the case of someone who is a first time DUI offender. _______
Police want to obtain a warrant to search an individual’s house or business. _______
A group of an individual’s peers judge whether he or she is guilty or not. _____
Steps in the Criminal Justice
#1 Arrest
**Miranda Rights
#2 Initial Appearance
**Must happen within 48 to 72 hours
(prevent someone from being “forgotten
in Jail”)
**notified of charges
**bail set
**attorney appoint if defendant does not
have one
#3 Preliminary Hearing
**Prosecution presents evidence
**in felony cases, a grand jury determines if
there is enough evidence to “indict”
**or if nor enough, grand jury “acquits” the
#4 Arraignment
**defendant pleads:
1. guilty (skips trial)
2. not guilty
3. nolo centendre “No contest” (guilty
gharge does not go on record, but
defendant serves a sentence)
**plea bargain occurs
#5 Trial
**Several rights are:
1. trial by jury (6th amendment)
2. right to attorney, not to incriminate
self, and present evidence (5th
3. right to public trial and confront
accusers (7th amendment)
**burden of proof on persecution
**right to appeal case
#6 Presentence Hearing
**hearing to determine the sentence the
accused will received
**court investigators, victims, and defense
will present arguments
#7 Sentencing
**Judge announces defendents punishment
1. imprisonment
2. probation
3. fines
4. restitution to victims
**protection of cruel and unusual
punishment (8th amendment)