Are you confused about all the judges in your first ballot? Here is our guide to court voting

Editor’s note: When you vote, you see a lot of judges on your ballot – but who are they? News outlets tend to ignore judges for (re) election because 1) Georgian judges are impartial and 2) ruling judges are generally re-elected.

For ordinary people, there is not much information for individual candidates on how fairly they decide cases or how quickly they resolve them. This guide provides basics about Georgian judges and resources for evaluating your local judge. We hope to provide even more information about the candidates for judges in the next elections.

If you have ever been fined, divorced, sued for a child or worked as an executor, you have always contacted a judge.

Judges control our lives, yet they only get a glimpse of the ballot and a pencil move, because few voters know much about them or what they actually do. In fact, about one in four American voters passes the race completely Choose your judgesan impartial website that informs voters about the election.

That is why so many judges spend a loooong time on the bench. For example, of the 16 judges who took part in the Fulton County Model Ballot, 14 of the judges are incumbent.

But who you choose as your boss, state, magistrate, or post-will judge can be much more critical to your daily life than the races with the highest amount of money. They have a bigger impact – just ask anything Every year, 236,000 different people are booked in local prisons in Georgia.

So why not go to the polls for candidates elected as armed judges? Atlanta Civic Circle is here to help with this clarifier.

Georgian judicial system

The Georgian Judiciary ideally interprets the laws of our state for the administration of justice. All judicial elections in Georgia are impartial. There are two courts of appeal in our state court where you can appeal a lower court decision. They are Supreme Court of Georgia and Georgia Court of Appeal.

There are five types of courts in Georgia: Supreme, State, Magistrates’, Probate and Juvenile Courts.

– By the judges higher and state courts serve four years and have at least seven years’ legal experience.

Inheritance court judges also serve four years, but in smaller counties they do not have to be lawyers. In counties with more than 96,000 inhabitants, they must have practiced law for at least seven years.

Magistrates’ Court judges do not have to be lawyers and their conditions are different. They must be at least 25 years old and have a high school diploma.

– You can’t see juvenile court evaluate candidates on their ballot because they are not elected, except in Floyd County. Otherwise, juvenile judges shall appoint the senior judges of their county for a term of four years. They must have at least five years’ experience as a lawyer.

The state judicial system is supervised Judicial Council. Its task is to develop a policy for the administration and improvement of supreme courts. The staff of the agency shall be employed by the Council AdministrationThe Judicial Council and is chaired by the President of the Supreme Court of Georgia (President of the Council) and the President (Vice-President of the Council).

Functions of each court

Higher courts are the general courts of the 49 judicial districts of Georgia, each covering one or more counties. (For example, the Atlanta Judicial Circuit is just Fulton County.) They deals with civil and high-level criminal matters, as well as divorces, custody and maintenance of a child, and land disputes. The higher courts deal with all criminal cases involving juvenile justice, including the death penalty. They can also deal with misdemeanors, especially in smaller counties.

Supreme courts is the highest court in each county, but not every county has it. They hear a variety of civil matters, including commercial disputes, as well as criminal misdemeanor cases.

Inheritance courts administer wills and estate; appoint and supervise guardians and caretakers; and to issue marriage and weapons permits. In counties where there is no state court, post-testament courts may hear traffic offenses and other misdemeanors, as well as violations of state gambling and fishing laws. Some probation officers act as county election observers.

Juvenile courts deal with many cases involving children. These include cases of child deprivation, such as the removal of a child from the family and foster family, and cases of crime, such as rampant behavior or dropping out of school.

Magistrates’ courts They are often referred to as “people’s courts” because they help citizens to represent themselves without a lawyer in disputes with other people. Each of Georgia’s 159 counties has a magistrates’ court and can be faster, more affordable, and more efficient in cases involving $ 15,000 or less. These courts do not hold jury courts.

Municipal courts are city-level courts. They are often the only contacts with the judiciary. (Think of a traffic court.) These are Georgia’s busiest courts, with more than 380 judges handling more than 1.2 million cases a year.

What to look for in a judge

The judges of each court are responsible for ensuring that the law is followed in each case. The American Bar Association Recommends eight criteria for evaluating state court judges: honesty, legal knowledge and skills, work experience, judge’s temperament, diligence, health, financial responsibility and civil service.

There are a number of factors that need to be avoided. Choose your judges offers a more practical approach. This suggests you look at the candidate:

  • Educational and professional background. How long has the candidate been in this position? How long has the person worked as a lawyer? Did they work for a national defense firm or a large law firm? The last question may be the most revealing when telling a voter how this candidate evaluates cases.
  • Confirmations from neutral organizations. Newspapers and national or local bar associations give more neutral assessments.
  • Endorsements by policy groups. These groups are more problem-oriented. Chambers of commerce tend to favor business and thus support Republican candidates, while working groups tend to favor Democratic candidates.
  • Judicial philosophy. Political signs do not really help to understand how judges decide cases. Instead, consider whether the candidate tends to interpret the law in a way that would benefit the plaintiff seeking damages from large corporations, or whether the candidate tends to protect corporations from such lawsuits. Lawyers and law schools use the term “textualist” to describe judges who try to follow the literal language of the statute. Conversely, other judges may interpret the law more broadly to include newer issues that arise. Both types of judges can be called “activists” depending on their point of view.
  • Previous case decisions. Judges do not easily tell the public how they vote in elections, but they leave a mark. For example, what is their history of decisive environmental incidents – or what are the issues that matter to you? See how Select Your Judges does it recommendations.

Just so you knoww

How Georgian judges are elected: Party – free elections

Conditions for Judges of the State Supreme Court: 6 years

Number of judges in the state Supreme Court: 9

Overall victory rate for incumbents in the U.S. Supreme Court (2008-2020): 93%

Georgia’s winning rate (2008-2020): 100%

Sources: Choose your judges, Ballotpedia.


Want to know more about the Georgian judiciary and its races? Check out Ballotpedia here for information on individual judges.

Here is a Guide to the Georgian Judicial System that the state judiciary is prepared to orient new legislators.

See the website of the Georgia Administrative Court here. It supports state, probate, magistrate and municipal courts.

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