Georgia Supreme Court

Nick NeSmith / WABE

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal will soon appoint three new judges to the state’s appeals court, possibly adjusting the political bent of a body that’s been subject to an increased caseload as the state grows. 

The Court of Appeals of Georgia is the second-highest ranking court in the state beneath the Georgia Supreme Court. 

Its decisions almost always are the final word in a case, except for the small percentage of cases that move on to the Georgia Supreme Court. 

Georgia Supreme Court building
Nick Nesmith / WABE


The Georgia Supreme Court heard arguments Monday over a state statute that dictates how “sexually dangerous predators” are classified.

Scott Gregory was designated a “sexually violent predator” in 2013, which is the highest risk designation and requires him to wear an electronic monitor for the rest of his life. Gregory was convicted for exposing himself and performing a sexually explicit act via webcam to an individual he believed was a 14-year-old girl, according to court documents. 

Georgia Supreme Court building
Nick Nesmith / WABE

Changes could be coming to how Georgia's two highest courts operates. 

Gov. Nathan Deal signed an executive order Thursday creating a commission to reexamine the jurisdictions of the Supreme Court of Georgia and the Court of Appeals.  

Peachtree Pine homeless shelter in Atlanta
Allison Guillory / WABE

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says he wants to tear down the Peachtree-Pine homeless shelter, long mired in a legal battle with the city and business community, to make room for a police and fire station.

Speaking Tuesday to members of the Commerce Club, Reed said his move stems from a combination of public safety and health issues. He says the shelter is one of the “leading sites for tuberculosis in the nation,” according to conversations and data he received from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An aerial view of the newly-named SunTrust Park.
Atlanta Braves


The Georgia Supreme Court has upheld the authorization of up to $397 million in bonds to build a new baseball stadium for the Braves in Cobb County.

Three Cobb County residents opposed the authorization and appealed a Cobb County Superior Court ruling approving the bond issuance to the high court.

The unanimous opinion published Monday says an intergovernmental contract used to authorize the bonds is valid, that the issuance of the bonds does not violate Georgia's Constitution or revenue bond laws and that the process used to validate the bonds was not improper.

Hemy Zvi Neuman is escorted into court to be arraigned on murder charges Jan. 5, 2011, in DeKalb, Georgia. Neuman was arrested and charged in the fatal shooting of a businessman who was killed in the parking lot of a Dunwoody preschool minutes after he dr
David Goldman / Associated Press

The Georgia Supreme Court has reversed the conviction of a man who was involved in a love triangle that led to a killing outside an Atlanta-area preschool.

The court announced the 6-1 decision involving Hemy Neuman in an opinion released Monday morning.

A jury in March 2012 found Neuman guilty but mentally ill in the November 2010 killing of Russell "Rusty" Sneiderman. Neuman worked with Sneiderman's wife, Andrea, and was her supervisor.

J. Tyler Raphael Sheets (center) with his adoptive mother, Monica Sheets (right) and Bobbi Jo Lorah, RN, his private-duty nurse who provides care for chronically ill children at home or at school.
Christiana Care /

The Georgia Supreme Court heard arguments Monday on whether or not in-home care providers are entitled to earning a minimum wage under state law.

In 2013, a group of in-home care providers filed a lawsuit in DeKalb County against the company Southern Home Care Services, a home health care company that employs workers to provide in-home care services to the elderly and those with disabilities.

The workers claimed they weren’t getting paid Georgia’s minimum wage of $5.15 an hour after they factored in the time they traveled during the work day between job sites.

Georgia's highest court has tossed the death sentence given to a man convicted in a hotel maid's slaying.

A Georgia Supreme Court decision published Monday upheld a lower court's ruling vacating Gregory Walker's death sentence.

The lower court found Walker's attorneys didn't provide evidence about Walker's life that could have led to him being spared the death penalty.

The state could seek another sentencing trial.

Peachtree Pine homeless shelter in Atlanta
Allison Guillory / WABE

Updated June 2, 2015, 4:15 p.m. to include details from oral arguments

The Georgia Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday that could decide if a homeless shelter in downtown Atlanta will eventually shut down. 

The Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless at Peachtree and Pine has been fighting eviction since 2010, when it faced foreclosure. It had defaulted on a loan of $900,000.

Why The Supreme Court Is Hearing A 28-Year-Old Ga. Case

May 28, 2015
Phil Roeder /

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in a 1987 Georgia death penalty case in which Floyd County prosecutors are accused of racially discriminating against prospective black jurors.

The nation’s highest court will decide the issue in the case of Timothy Foster, an African-American man sentenced to death by an all-white jury in the 1986 murder of 79-year-old Queen Madge White in Rome, Georgia.

Sarah Turberville is a senior counsel with the non-partisan Constitution Project, which studies death penalty cases like the Foster case.

Georgia Dome Atlanta Falcons stadium construction.
Brenna Beech / WABE

The Georgia Supreme Court has unanimously upheld a plan to use millions in taxpayer revenue to help build Atlanta Falcons stadium.

The opinion, which the Court published Monday, says the City of Atlanta’s financing structure for the $1.4 billion stadium does not violate the state Constitution. The ruling upheld a decision by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville back in May.

Georgia Supreme Court in Atlanta
Nick NeSmith / WABE

In Georgia, at least 38 inmates were released from jail and thousands of warrants were dismissed last month.      

That’s because the Supreme Court of Georgia decision said judges can no longer allow private probation companies to put sentences on hold when probationers fail to respond or pay the required fees.

Michelle Wirth/WABE News

If the Pink Pony wants to remain a totally nude strip club that sells alcohol it will have to relocate. That’s based on a Georgia Supreme Court ruling Monday in favor of the city of Brookhaven. In the ruling, the court upheld a lower court decision dismissing the lawsuit. The strip club sued Brookhaven after the newly created city passed a law last year prohibiting completely naked dancing combined with alcohol.

Michell Eloy / WABE News

Can the recently incorporated city of Brookhaven stop long-standing strip club the Pink Pony from combining the sale of alcohol and nude dancing?  

That’s the question now in front of the Georgia Supreme Court after the justices Monday heard arguments over the constitutionality of an ordinance stipulating just that.

Speaking before the justices Monday, Brookhaven attorney Scott Bergthold said the new city’s law is legally sound.

Could a recent ruling on the constitutionality of voter ID requirements affect Georgia’s law?

That’s the question after a federal judge in Wisconsin earlier this week struck down a law requiring voters to show a state photo ID at polls, a policy in place in about half the U.S. states, including Georgia.

In his ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman said Wisconsin’s voter ID law violates the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act, adding the law disproportionately affects minority and low-income individuals.

Supreme Court of Georgia

The Supreme Court of Georgia is making changes to the way lawyers are allowed to advertise.

We have all heard the fast-talking ads: “If you’ve been hurt in a car wreck, call me. One call, that’s all.”

But if that fast-talking is too fast to understand, it will no longer be allowed under the new rules of professional conduct ordered by the Supreme Court of Georgia. Also against the new rules: tiny print so small you are unable read it and actors playing lawyers (or clients) without telling you they are actors.

Atlanta-based criminal defense attorney Steve Scarborough says the state’s high court (above) had no choice but to overturn the criminal charge.
Georgia Supreme Court

  This week, the Supreme Court of Georgia unanimously reversed a Cherokee County court’s ruling.

The state’s high court threw out criminal charges against a man for sending an unsolicited nude photo through a cell phone.

WABE’s Rose Scott has more on the ruling.

In December of 2012, Charles Leo Warren, III sent a text message via cell phone to Shari Watson.

That text message contained a photo of Warren’s tattooed genitals.

According to authorities it was an unsolicited picture.

  Lawyers for death row inmate Warren Lee Hill, Junior, went before the Supreme Court of Georgia today trying to get the state’s secrecy law about its execution drug ruled unconstitutional.

  The law lets state officials withhold all information about the source of the execution drug it plans to use. Hill’s lawyers say they need information to decide whether to mount a claim that the drug might cause needless suffering. The Attorney General’s office argues that the secrecy laws protect the pharmacies.

Ga. House of Reps.

The chief justice of Georgia’s Supreme Court says it remains too difficult for low-income people to access the courts.

“Georgia’s judicial system is sound and strong for those who can afford a lawyer,” said Chief Justice Hugh Thompson. “Too many Georgians can't afford legal representation and too many go without civil legal services.”

He delivered the message Wednesday before a joint session of the Legislature during the annual State of the Judiciary address.

Thompson said courts are seeing more and more people representing themselves.

The Georgia Supreme Court sided with Gov. Nathan Deal and Kia Motors in an open records battle over hiring documents for a Kia manufacturing plant in West Point. In the lawsuit, several unemployed, union auto workers accused Kia and state officials of creating a screening and hiring process that excluded union workers.

Start-up charter schools in the Atlanta Public School district won’t be required to help the school system pay off more than $500 million dollars in pension debt. That’s after Monday’s unanimous ruling by the Georgia Supreme Court.

Macon Telegraph

  On Tuesday, June 25, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  Section 4 laid out a formula for deciding the states, including Georgia, that are covered by the pre-clearance rules.  That means Georgia had to get pre-approval from the Justice Department for changes to its political subdivisions or election rules.

Courtesy: CNN

The Georgia Supreme Court Monday unanimously upheld the murder conviction of former DeKalb Co. Deputy Sheriff Derrick Yancey. 

Yancey was convicted in 2010 of shooting to death his wife and a day laborer. Yancey claimed the hired hand shot his wife while stealing money from her, and that he shot the day laborer in self-defense.

But blood spatter evidence, among other clues, pointed to Yancey as the culprit.

He fled the area, and was later found in Belize.  Upon his return to Atlanta for trial, a jury found him guilty.

Rep. Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta), Ga. House Minority Leader
Georgia General Assembly

On Monday, April 15, the Georgia Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion that could have major effects on the state's system of providing defense attorneys for impoverished criminal suspects.  

The high court ruled that co-defendants charged together in a criminal case could not be sent to the same public defender's office--if one of the lawyers in that office said he or she found a conflict of interest in having the office defend more than one person in the same case.

Supreme Court of Georgia

On Monday, the Supreme Court of Georgia accepted federal judge Richard Story’s request to address the question of whether the governor exceeded his authority and violated the state constitution when he removed six members of the DeKalb Board of Education.

Two Courts Issue Stays Of Execution For Hill

Feb 19, 2013
Warren Lee Hill, Jr.
Georgia Department of Corrections

Updated 7:10pm

Within a half hour of the scheduled 7pm execution of Georgia death row inmate Warren Lee Hill, Jr., two courts issued stays of execution.

In an email to WABE, Brian Kammer, one of Hill’s attorneys, says one stay came from the Georgia Court of Appeals. Kammer says the other came from the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

Denis O'Hayer/WABE News

  The Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court urged Georgia lawmakers to move ahead with a major overhaul of the system for treating and punishing young offenders.

In her annual State of the Judiciary address at the State Capitol on Thursday, February 7th, Chief Justice Carol Hunstein said Georgia’s current get-tough approach to young offenders is expensive and ineffective.  And she said most kids in trouble have not committed violent crimes.

On Monday, Feb. 4, the Georgia Supreme Court issued two major opinions on crime and punishment.  Both decisions were unanimous.  

One upheld the state's process of changing the drugs it uses in executions.  The other decision dismissed the charges against a man accused of the kidnapping, sexual abuse, and murder of a young girl.  The Supreme Court found the suspect's right to a speedy trial had been violated.  

Deal to fill Georgia Supreme Court seat

Jun 3, 2012

One of Governor Nathan Deal's next big appointments involves the Georgia Supreme Court. On Friday, Deal received the names of seven people recommended for a soon to be vacant seat on the state’s highest court.