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The state's Court system is a multi-tiered organization starting with the Supreme Court of Georgia, then the Georgia Court of Appeals, followed by Superior Courts, State Courts, Juvenile Courts, Magistrate Courts, Probate Courts, and Municipal Courts. This state has a website called the Georgia Judicial Gateway where they bring together all types of legal resources including information on all the courts, the clerk's office, e-filing options, filing fees, legal advice, the sex offender registry, FAQs, state agency information, corrections information and dozens of other court-related topics, all in one place. The Judicial Council is the administrative office of that branch and handles communications and support.
Each type of court solves a specific problem, and although Superior Courts are general jurisdiction trial courts, the others are limited jurisdiction with a focus in their area of expertise. The Empire State of the South has 370 Municipal Courts with 352 judges. The state has 159 Magistrates with 159 judges. There are 159 Probate Courts with 159 judges presiding. Along with those, there are 159 Juvenile courthouses and 94 judges with 18 associate judges serving them. This state also has 70 State Courts with 128 judges and 49 Superior Courts served by 211 judges. The state has five divisions of the Court of Appeals with 15 judges and 9 Supreme Court justices.
GA honors the United States Freedom of Information Act, and therefore most all public records are readily available to the general public. GA has online access to most cases through PeachCourt including dockets, pleadings, motions, and decisions. Additionally, by visiting the courthouse individuals can gain access to the evidence presented in cases, official recordings, trial transcripts and more. However, some juvenile cases and records may be unavailable. Judges have the discretionary authority of which records to keep sealed from public view. Child support hearings and juveniles charged with felonies will be available. Expunged records will not be open to public scrutiny.
The Peach State has embraced technology by partnering with PeachCourt as its vendor for e-filing. They offer this service for all of their courts. Users must have an account and register to sign up before using it. On the justice website, they also have a “Statewide Minimum Standards and Rules for Electronic Filing” document for guidance and a couple of resources on the rules to follow when filing electronically. Patrons of the justice system may also file forms, motions, briefs, objections, and evidence in person at any of the court locations. The GA courts website has forms to download for every type of court in the state.
Want to quickly and easily search hundreds of GA public records? Use the Infotracer tool to lookup anyone in the GA court case system using only a name search. Find thousands of court cases in this state, including Fulton County, Gwinnett County, DeKalb County, Atlanta, and the entire state! Thanks to the State of Georgia Open Records Act O.C.G.A. §50-18-70 et seq., the public has open access to criminal records, family records, property records, civil cases, bankruptcies, marriages, divorces and more!
Anyone may conduct a public record search privately without a reason or authorization. Almost all public records will be available except those that are sealed by the court like juvenile court records. You can visit the Clerk of Superior Court to get records in person or search the .gov website online.
Using Infotracer, you can get free instant access to public records from almost all types of courts in the state. Using a simple GA records name search will yield results from superior courts, state, juvenile, magistrate, and probate courts, along with real estate transactions, and municipal courts.
In 2012, the Georgia courts received 3,341,169 filings. In 2016, the number of filings increased by 3.6% and counted 3,462,550 filings and had 2,211,055 outgoing cases
|Court Type||Incoming Caseloads|
Domestic relations caseload of Georgia at year end of 2016 has decreased by 14.3% compared to the last 5 years.
|Year||Domestic Relations Caseload||Total Statewide Caseload|
The number of criminal cases in Georgia courts counts to 448,888, with 86,965 felony cases and 361,923 misdemeanors accordingly.
|Year||Criminal Caseload||Misdemeanor Caseload||Felony Caseload|
The state's Superior Courts are the highest trial courts in the state and have general jurisdiction over both civil and criminal cases. These courts hear both jury and non-jury trials. This court also has exclusive jurisdiction over felony cases (including the death penalty), divorce, titles to real property matters and equity cases. Other types of cases resolved in this court are misdemeanors, contract disputes, and premises liability, along with “declaratory judgments, habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warranto, and prohibition.” These courts act as an appellate court for some lower courts in the state.
Established in 1970, the state's State Courts are limited jurisdiction courts for the state. The state is divided into 8 court districts. Some of these courts exercise jurisdiction over all misdemeanors and civil cases regardless of the amount. Some focus on traffic violations. If the Superior judge has exclusive jurisdiction, then those issues are handled there instead of State Court. The Empire State of the South has split these courts further into “accountability courts” that specialize in things like DUIs, and technology and communication. These courts have their own website with dozens of resources and information on the judges that preside.
The state's juvenile judicial system is specifically designed to protect children and provide guidance and decision making in difficult family situations. The types of cases handled in these courts are delinquency, dependency, parental rights, emancipation, substance abuse (both children and adults) child abuse or neglect and mental health issues. These courts work closely with the Department of Family and Children Services and Department of Juvenile Justice, along with “local school districts, district attorneys’ offices, public defenders’ offices, mental health providers, and stakeholders in the community to provide the services, supervision, resources, and representation as required by statute.”
The Probate Courts are specialized courts with exclusive, original jurisdiction over matters of probate such as wills, estates, guardianships, mental health cases, and other related issues. Their mission is to “support our communities by protecting the rights, personal information, and property of our neighbors, and by helping those Georgians who are unable to protect themselves.” Some other duties of the GA Probate are to oversee conservatorships and to issue marriage and weapons carry licenses. Some of these courts even resolve traffic offenses and misdemeanor cases. Additionally, other probate judges manage vital records. Each of these courts in the state is unique.
Also called “the people’s courts” Magistrate Courts help residents help themselves. It is typically less expensive and quicker to use a this type of court than other types. Cases heard in Magistrate judicial tribunals are self-represented, and their website offers a lot of advice, resources, and forms to help patrons navigate the system. The types of cases heard in these courts are civil cases involving $15,000 or less. They also process some minor criminal offenses, county ordinance violations, bad check cases, distress warrants, and dispossessory writs. They also hold preliminary hearings, issue search and arrest warrants along with summonses. There are 159 of these courts in this state.
The state's Municipal Courts are the busiest in the state, logging 1,200,000 cases per year. They have more than 380 judges presiding over legal issues. The types of cases heard in Municipal Court are preliminary hearings, municipal ordinance violations, possession of marijuana (of 1oz or less) and shoplifting cases. These courts also issue criminal warrants. To qualify to be a Municipal Court judge here, someone must be a practicing attorney. They also must undergo specific training before taking their seat. These judges are typically appointed by the mayor or they may be elected into the position.