Copyright

Structure & Processes of the Georgia Judicial Branch

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: How Georgia Citizens Can Participate in Government

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 The Georgia Judicial Branch
  • 0:45 Municipal Courts
  • 1:32 State Courts
  • 3:37 Appellate Courts
  • 5:05 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed Speed
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

In this lesson, you will explore the levels and divisions within the Georgia judicial branch, and discover how the state protects the law. Then, test your understanding with a brief quiz.

The Georgia Judicial Branch

Everyone knows that when devils are looking for souls to steal, they head down to Georgia and trick people into elaborate fiddle contests. But theft is illegal in Georgia, and so these devils get themselves into all sorts of trouble and have to answer to the Georgia judiciary, the branch of the state government responsible for upholding the law. Georgia's justice system is intricate and complex, and so they have an entire state agency responsible for administering the courts, called the judicial council. Let's take a look at the many levels of Georgia's judiciary, but try to stay out of trouble, you devil you.

Municipal Courts

When devils go down to Georgia and get into legal trouble, they may have to answer to one of several different courts, depending on the violation. Let's start at the bottom. Every town that has its own town government is called a municipality, and each municipality has its own municipal courts that uphold town laws and prosecute violations. Georgia has roughly 400 municipal courts, and they can charge fines, issue warrants, and conduct preliminary hearings against minor criminal offenses. Say that this little devil built extra buildings on his property that violate local building codes. Well, now he's going to face fines and penalties, and the municipal courts can order him to remove the structure.

State Courts

In most of Georgia, each of the courts at the next level after municipal have jurisdiction over an entire county, although they are operated by the state. There are two real distinctions in these types of courts: those with juries and those without. Courts without juries are called magistrate courts, since decisions are made by a magistrate or judge. These courts mostly deal with small civil claims, like minor lawsuits, county ordinance violations and misdemeanor account fraud, or bad checks. Juvenile courts, which are courts for people under the age of 17, are also without juries.

More serious crimes are charged in courts with juries, which also include several sub-types. Probate courts are used to resolve disputes in wills and estates, issue marriage licenses, and appoint legal guardians. Seventy of Georgia's 159 counties also have a state court that prosecutes misdemeanors, traffic offenses, and civil action cases. However, the most powerful court in every county is the superior court, where cases involving felonies, divorce, and property disputes are taken to trial. These are the courts where people are tried for crimes against the state, like breaking major laws.

Say that each of these three devils broke a law. The first wrote a series of bad checks, but they weren't enough to be a felony. He's prosecuted in a magistrate court and is fined. The second little devil broke a law by trespassing on someone's property. This isn't bad enough to deserve more than a year in prison, so it's a misdemeanor, and he's prosecuted by a state court. The third little devil was caught trying to steal a soul during a fiddle contest, and that's a major crime punishable by more than a year in prison, which makes it a felony. So, that devil goes to trial before a superior court.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support