Georgia Supreme Court

Courtesy of Atlanta Botanical Garden

Gun rights group Georgia Carry can move forward with its lawsuit against the Atlanta Botanical Garden's policy that bans patrons with weapons.

A Fulton County Superior Court had dismissed the suit, saying there weren't enough allegations to take legal action.

But on Monday, the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously said that was the wrong decision.

The case will now go back to the Fulton County Superior Court, where the judge will have to rule on the merits of the claim and not just dismiss it for procedural reasons.

Georgia’s highest court Monday threw out the life-without-parole sentence of a man convicted of murder in a gang-related crime spree.

Robert Veal was found guilty in the 2010 murder of Charles Boyer, who was gunned down during a robbery in Virginia Highland. He was also found guilty of raping a Grant Park woman during another robbery, among other crimes. At the time, Veal was only 17 and a half years old – legally, a juvenile.

While the Supreme Court of Georgia didn't reverse Veal's guilty verdicts, it did toss his sentence.

Exterior shots of the Georgia Supreme Court
Alison Guillory / WABE

Georgia's Supreme Court ruled Monday on Clark Atlanta University's lawsuit against Invest Atlanta, which planned to buy properties it now appears Morris Brown wasn't legally allowed to sell. 

Clark Atlanta University was right to sue. That's the state Supreme Court's decision on land Clark Atlanta deeded to Morris Brown College in 1940, stipulating the property be used for "educational purposes." 

Denis O'Hayer / WABE

  

 One of Georgia's Supreme Court justices has vivid memories of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.  

David Nahmias clerked for Scalia in the early '90s.  

In a conversation in his chambers at the state Supreme Court, Nahmias remembered Scalia as a demanding, but kind boss, who -- for all the controversy surrounding him -- tried to get everything right.  

Speaking with Denis O'Hayer, Nahmias also reflected on the ways in which Scalia changed the Supreme Court's decision-making process, and he answered questions about his own future. 

A woman pleaded with the Georgia Supreme Court not to let the man accused of killing her mother go free because of a judge's mistake during his murder trial.

But the high court on Monday said a judge can't set a new trial for Geary Otis after having erroneously declared a mistrial in his case nearly two years ago. Otis is charged with murder in the slaying of 75-year-old Mary Oliver and aggravated assault in an attack on 71-year-old Emmanuel Surry.

Elly Yu / WABE

This week, the state Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit by some Georgia students who were brought to this country illegally, when they were children. They wanted to pay in-state rates for college tuition because they live here and have legal protection against deportation under the federal program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals -- often called DACA.   But the court found the Board of Regents has legal protection of its own -- a shield against lawsuits like this.  It's an old legal concept called sovereign immunity.

Elly Yu / WABE

This story has been updated at 1:15 p.m. to reflect new information. 

The state Supreme Court on Monday ruled against a group of immigrant students who were seeking in-state tuition at Georgia’s public colleges and universities. The students are young people who were brought to the country illegally as children.

The court rejected the students’ appeal, ruling that the university system’s Board of Regents is immune from the lawsuit under what’s known as “sovereign immunity,” a legal doctrine that protects state agencies from being sued.

Courtesy of the Supreme Court of Georgia

Georgia’s highest court could soon see major changes in how it operates. State Supreme Court Chief Justice Hugh Thompson told lawmakers Wednesday about the need for modernizing the court and changing some of its jurisdiction.

“This time next year, with your support, we will have put into place an historic shift in the types of cases handled by the Supreme Court of Georgia,” Thompson said in his State of the Judiciary address.

bullcitydogs / https://www.flickr.com/photos/bullcitydogs

What's the value of a family pet? 

That question is at the center of a case that will be argued before the Georgia Supreme Court Tuesday.

A Fulton County couple claims the kennel Barking Hound Village gave their dog medication that resulted in its death.

They want to be paid back for veterinary costs as well as emotional damages and sued the company for $67,000.

Barking Hound Village is appealing the case. It argues it should be responsible only for the market-value of the pet, which is "nominal," according to the kennel, since it was a mixed breed.

Georgia Supreme Court building
Nick Nesmith / WABE

A group of home care workers in Georgia have won a fight to get paid the state's minimum wage. In a ruling Monday, the state Supreme Court declared that in-home care providers who are hired by a third-party company are not exempt from minimum wage protections under state law.

In 2013, a group of in-home care providers in DeKalb County sued their employer, Southern Home Care Services, arguing the company wasn't paying them minimum wage after factoring in the hours they worked traveling to and from patients' homes.

Alison Guillory / WABE

The Georgia Supreme Court ruled Monday the Peachtree-Pine homeless shelter in downtown Atlanta can take their case to a jury. The Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless has been fighting foreclosure and eviction since 2010, having been in default with its lenders. 

The high court ruled that a jury can now decide if the foreclosure sale of the downtown shelter was legal. Lawyers for the Task Force have argued wrongful foreclosure, and the sale in 2010 was not conducted properly.

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 / flickr.com/ChristianaCare

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 / flickr.com/tabor-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.

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