The Georgia Court of Appeals was established in 1906 and is the intermediate appellate court for the state. Fifteen judges serve across five divisions in the Georgia Court of Appeals. This court has statewide appellate jurisdiction over all cases except for serious felonies such as murder. Those cases go directly to the Supreme Court.
When any of the lower court decisions are challenged, they first go to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals is not a trial court; it uses a three-judge panel to review the previous court’s decision, all evidence, trial transcripts, oral arguments and briefs presented by both sides, and then they make a decision. Their decision is called an “opinion.” Only if two of the three judges agree does the decision stand and get published. The purpose of an appeal is to make sure no errors were made when interpreting and carrying out the law in the previous trial.
Georgia’s Court of Appeals does offer e-filing for attorneys so they can present briefs and other evidence into the court record before the appeal is processed. Attorneys must be registered users, and there are fees involved to use this service. Additionally, the Court of Appeals website has a case search area so that lawyers can look up information and precedent cases/opinions if needed. They also have citizen guides and frequently asked questions if anyone wants to learn more about the Georgia Court of Appeals process or needs to navigate the system for their own case. There are fees involved when appealing a case.
Most Court of Appeals cases are allowed an oral argument where each attorney has a specific amount of time (usually between 10 and 30 minutes) to present the points of the case and where they believe errors were made.