To date, Georgia has had ten constitutions. The present constitution took effect in 1983 and is the basic framework for Georgia government. Laws passed by the state government are second only to the United States Constitution. The constitution is broadly classified into the executive, legislative and judiciary branches.
The judiciary branch deals with the three kinds of courts, the limited jurisdiction courts, general jurisdiction court and the appellate jurisdiction courts, and deals with all other matters pertaining to the law.
The judges in these courts are selected through elections; however, the judges of the general jurisdiction court and the appellate courts are selected on a non-member basis. A district attorney elected for a term of four years by a general election heads each judicial network in the state.
Georgian limited jurisdiction courts are broadly classified further into four categories: juvenile courts, magistrate courts, probate courts and the state courts for the counties. One interesting thing about the state of Georgia is that each of the counties in the state has one of these courts, along with a state county court, and the final decision is made by judges rather than by a jury.
All the general trial cases are filed in the general jurisdiction court, which is the superior court. This is a regular court wherein the jury passes a verdict after hearing the case. The judge’s decision usually depends on the jury’s final verdict.
Appellate jurisdiction courts are of two kinds, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. An appeal can be placed in the appellate courts if the judgment orders passed by either the limited jurisdiction or the general jurisdiction court judges do not satisfy the losing party, and they wish to raise certain issues about the final verdict in front of a higher authority. The Supreme Court is the highest reigning body, consisting of seven justices. It takes care of the state laws or election-related appeals while the Court of Appeals is used to handle the rest of the appeal cases.
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