Georgia Supreme Court to Legislature – “No, no.”

Essentially that is the message that is being sent. You may recall an earlier report by Pete Randall that detailed a fee increase from 1.50 a page to 10.00 a page for preparation of record and transcript to the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.

Well it seems the Georgia Supreme Court finds the increase in the hinderance of one’s ability to seek justice. Accrdingly they have found a way of mitigating the fee until the legislature reconvenes and takes up this issue again.

On Tuesday, the Georgia Supreme Court changed its rules to allow an appeal to be sent directly to the high court instead of being prepared through the local clerk of courts.

“The whole purpose of this is to make sure the people of Georgia continue to have access to their appellate courts,” Hunstein said. “It is a stopgap measure until the legislature reconvenes next year.”

The rule only applies to the Georgia Supreme Court and not the Georgia Court of Appeals, which handles the majority of appeals in Georgia.

Gainesville attorney Wyc Orr, one of many critical of the fee increases, said he hoped the Georgia Court of Appeals follows suit by allowing the clerk’s office to be bypassed in the preparation of appeals.

“Unless they do, it’s fair to say many of the onerous consequences of this fee increase will still be in effect,” Orr said.

The Gainesville Times has the full story. Again, this fee incease was part of HB 1055 which increased a number of fees accross the state. This is likely not the last we will hear of HB 1055 as more people and local officials encounter the various fee increases.

9 comments

  1. B Balz says:

    Anyone ever figure out who slipped the fee increase language into HB1055, at the last?

    • EthicsEther says:

      If Bill summaries approximated the truth many “special interest” groups who are affected by specific legislation would have the chance to respond. As it is now, the on line summaries of bills are an out and out dishonety. The summary of HB 1055 discussed DUI fees. However, it may well have been one of the largest tax increases, certainly in Agriculture known to the state. The fee bill was done just to help out the bad budget Perdue perpetuated. Cutting entitlements and waste is necessary to balance budgets, particularly when revenue is down.

      Columbus, GA Rep. Richard Smith, AKA, RINO, was the chief architect, per his own braggart admission. He is running again unopposed. His many special interest dollars, membership to the Commerce Club, and his special interest payment for his $2400 mo. Atlanta apt., alongside his double collecting of per diem, are interesting miscellany of his personna!

      He is a walking contradiction of a little man, a former tree counter in Columbus, GA, he portends a modest “fixed income” existence while living high on special interest money. He double collects per diem while dining on $100 dinners and living well while doubling the agriculture licensing fees for small time farmers. Yet and still his contradictions hold consistent in his charge of only $100 for huge chemical companies to obtain chemical label licenses. All for the big guy while he pretends to be among the working class.

  2. Lady Thinker says:

    Death penalty cases are the only ones that I recall get an automatic review without having to go through the Court of Appeals. Does anyone know of any others?

    • Dash Riptide says:

      Now all you have to do is address your appeal to the Supreme Court and get your appendix up there before the Supremes transfer it all to the Court of Appeals.

      Not that I’m suggesting anyone do that. Because that would be wrong.

    • About 15% of the cases bypass the Court of Appeals and go directly to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court handles cases involving constitutional construction, construction of a treaty, title to land, equity, wills, habeas corpus, extraordinary remedies, divorce and alimony, questions certified by certain other courts, and all murder cases. The other 85% go to the Court of Appeals. So it is vital that the Court of Appeals follow the Supreme Court’s lead.

      According to Chief Judge Yvette Miller, who is quoted in Thursday’s Daily Report, some members of the Court of Appeals are reluctant to implement a rule similar to the Supreme Court’s, because they think doing so would be contrary to their duty to “follow the law.” But by adopting its rule, the Supreme Court has necessarily determined that the appellate courts do have the lawful authority – and therefore the responsibility – to implement a solution. As an academic matter, that determination is subject to dispute. But the Court of Appeals is an inferior appellate court; it cannot legitimately dispute the Supreme Court’s determination. The Court of Appeals can only discharge or fail of its responsibility.

    • I was thinking the “No, no” you might say when waving a finger at someone younger or an animal. A playful, “You’re wrong – but you aren’t in trouble yet.”

      No means Yes. Yes means No. You say Goodbye, and I say Hello. Who decides who decides who decides who decides?

  3. The crisis has been averted.

    The Court of Appeals has now incorporated into its rules the Supreme Court rule that circumvents the $10/page charge. The Supreme Court rule, which is adapted from a bar proposal I drafted, allows party-created records. The rule adopted by the Court of Appeals is even more important than the one adopted by the Supreme Court, because most appeals go first to the Court of Appeals.

    The rule adopted by the Court of Appeals provides, “Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in these rules, this Court will accept for consideration on the merits of any appeal any record or substitute therefor which the Supreme Court of Georgia accepts under its rules.”

    The Court of Appeals acted in the nick of time. The first cost bills under the new statute are coming due now.

    Contrary to the implication of the title of this thread, these rules are not defiance of the legislature. On the contrary, several leaders of the General Assembly, acknowledging their mistake in passing the $10/page fee, urged the appellate courts to adopt such rules. According to the AJC, Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs), chair of the house Judiciary Committee, acknowledged the legislature’s mistake and described the Supreme Court rule as “a great solution” that “could be a permanent one.”

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