A CITIZEN S GUIDE TO FILING APPEALS IN THE COURT OF .

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A CITIZEN’S GUIDE TOFILING APPEALS IN THECOURT OF APPEALS OFGEORGIANOTE:(1) This guide is intended for pro-se parties. There are significant filingdifferences between attorneys and pro-se parties. Attorneys must e-file allfilings and pro-se parties must submit paper filings.(2) Parties must check the latest statutes and Court rules – this guide may nothave the latest information.(3) This guide ONLY applies to cases where the notice of appeal or applicationto appeal is filed on or after January 1, 2017.January 20172

TABLE OF CONTENTSI. Introduction . . .4A. General Information about the Court of Appeals .5B. Important Definitions .8C. Helpful Resources .12II. Appealing a Case: Overview . .13III. Types of Appeals .15A. Direct Appeals .15B. Discretionary Appeals.16C. Interlocutory Appeals.19IV. Motions. . .21A. Motions for Extension of Time to File a Brief.21B. Motions for Reconsideration.21C. Request to Argue .22V. Briefs.22A. Appellant’s Brief . 22B. Appellee’s Brief .23C. Appellant’s Reply Brief.24VI. Court Decisions and Post-Judgment Options . . .24VII. Miscellaneous Procedures . 25A. Filing Documents in the Court of Appeals . 25B. Costs . .263

C. Docketing.25VIII. Index of Sample Forms and Attachments.26Form 1: Notice of Appeal—Civil .27Form 2: Notice of Appeal—Criminal .28Form 3: Pauper’s Affidavit .29Form 4: Notice of Intention to Petition for Writ of Certiorari.31Form 5: Notice of Filing of Petition for Certiorari .32Form 6: Discretionary/Interlocutory Application . 33Form 7: Appellant’s Brief . 35Form 8: Appellee’s Brief . .36IX. Attachments.37A. Checklist for Appellant’s Brief .37B. Checklist for Appellee’s Brief .40C. Checklist for Discretionary Appeal Application .42D. Checklist for Interlocutory Appeal Application . .44E. O.C.G.A. § 5-6-34 Judgments/Rulings Directly Appealable .46F. O.C.G.A. § 5-6-35 Cases Requiring Application for Appeal . .49G. Chart of Procedure to File a Direct Appeal.52H. Chart of Procedure to File a Discretionary or InterlocutoryApplication .54I. Important Deadlines.554

I. INTRODUCTIONThis guide is intended to assist self-represented parties (parties who decide not to obtain a lawyer)by providing general information regarding the appeals process in Georgia and laying out the basicprocedural steps that must be followed in appealing to the Court of Appeals of Georgia. This guideis not legal advice and may not be cited as legal authority. Parties are strongly encouraged toobtain a lawyer to represent them in an appeal. The rules are complicated, and there are importantdeadlines that must be followed. The failure to follow rules or meet deadlines may – and oftendoes – result in losing an appeal. Such failure may also result in documents being returned forcorrection. For parties who decide to represent themselves, it is important to read – and understand– the Georgia laws regarding appeals and all the Court rules. This guide should be used along withthose relevant Georgia statutes and Court rules, which will be referenced throughout this guide.This guide is not all-inclusive. This guide is not a substitute for reading and understanding theGeorgia Rules of Appellate Procedure.You are not permitted to file pleadings on behalf of anyone other than yourself unless you are alicensed attorney admitted to practice in this Court. A corporation must be represented by alicensed attorney and may not be represented by an employee, director, or officer of thecorporation. See Eckles v. Atlanta Technology Group, Inc., 267 Ga. 801 (1997). Although youhave the constitutional right in the State of Georgia to represent yourself, the unauthorized practiceof law in Georgia – representing someone else – is forbidden and may subject you to criminalpenalties. O.C.G.A. § 15-19-51.Contact by any party with a judge of this Court or any member of a judge’s staff is strictlyforbidden. All communication with the Court shall be by written documents filed with the Courtalong with copies mailed to (served upon) opposing counsel and any unrepresented parties.Additionally, staff of the Clerk of the Court (the “Clerk’s office”) are not permitted to givesuggestions or legal advice or make any specific recommendations regarding how you shouldpursue your appeal or defend against an appeal.Please note that all documents filed by pro-se parties must be in a paper format. Attorneyspracticing before the Court must submit all documents electronically.4

A.GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE COURT OF APPEALSThe Court of Appeals of Georgia is the intermediate appellate court for the State of Georgia. TheCourt has fifteen judges and they are divided into five divisions. Each division, which is a panelof three judges, is headed by a presiding judge. Generally, an appeal will be decided only by athree-judge panel, who will review the record, the briefs, and the relevant law. If all judges on thepanel agree on how the appeal should be decided, they will issue an opinion/judgment. If they donot all agree, the Court may be expanded to additional judges who will decide the case. In somecases, all fifteen judges of the Court will decide an appeal.The Court of Appeals of Georgia reviews appeals from the trial courts in which jurisdiction is notexclusively reserved to the Supreme Court of Georgia or other courts. The jurisdiction of eachcourt is discussed later.The Clerk’s office of the Court of Appeals of Georgia is open Monday through Friday from 8:30a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The office is closed on all state holidays and during times of inclementweather. Notice of weather closures is posted on the Court’s website under the announcements tab.The address is:Court of Appeals of GeorgiaClerk of Court47 Trinity Avenue, Suite 501Atlanta, Georgia 30334.Telephone: 404-656-34505

Below is a chart that outlines the basic structure of the court system in Georgia and thejurisdiction of each court. Check for legislative changes as the information below is based uponlegislation effective on January 1, 2017.THE GEORGIA COURT SYSTEMBb COURTMUNICIPALJurisdiction (limited):Ordinance violations;criminal preliminaries;traffic.A small number of specialcourt, authorized by theGeorgia Constitution,which have limited civil orcriminal jurisdictionthroughout a designatedcounty. Final judgmentsfrom municipal courts ofColumbus County directlyappealable. Ga. L. 1983 p.4443MAGISTRATE COURTPROBATE COURTJurisdiction (limited):Search and arrest warrants,felony and misdemeanorpreliminaries, countyordinances violations, civilclaims of 15,000 or less,dispossessory, distresswarrants.Jurisdiction (limited):Extensive jurisdiction inprobate of wills,administration of estates,appointment of guardians,involuntary hospitalizations,marriage licenses.Traffic in some counties.JUVENILE COURTJurisdiction (limited):Deprived, unruly, ordelinquent juveniles.Juvenile traffic.No jury trials.No jury trials.STATE COURTJurisdiction (limited):Civil law actions exceptcases within the exclusivejurisdiction of superior court.Misdemeanors, traffic, felonypreliminaries.Jury trials.SUPERIOR COURTJurisdiction (general):Civil law actions, misdemeanors, and other cases.Exclusive jurisdiction over cases of divorce, title to land, equity,and felonies.Jury trials.Counties with population over96,000 where probate judge isattorney practicing at leastseven years.Jury trials.COURT OF APPEALS15 Judges: Jurisdiction: Title to land. Wills. *ExtraordinaryRemedies. *Equity. Divorce. Alimony. Election Contests. Allother cases in which the Supreme Court has no exclusiveappellate jurisdiction.* Unless a sentence of death was, or could be imposed.Appellate jurisdiction over cases in which Supreme Court has noexclusive appellate jurisdiction.SUPREME COURT9 Justices.6Jurisdiction:Constitutional issues.Habeas Corpus. Convictionsof Capital Felonies. CertifiedQuestions and Certiorari fromthe Court of appeals.

APPELLATE COURT JURISDICTION CHARTYou may refer to the chart below and the most recent legislation to determine whether to appealto the Georgia Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals.Court of AppealsTitle to landWills*Extraordinary RemediesSupreme Court*EquityWhat Court to File YourAppeal In?DivorceConstitutional IssuesAlimonyHabeas CorpussElection ContestsConvictions of CapitalFeloniesAll other cases in whichthe Supreme Court hasno exclusive appellatejurisdiction* Unless a sentence ofdeath was, or could be,imposed.7Certified Questions andCertiorari from theCourt of Appeals

On January 1, 2017, O.C.G.A 15-3-3.1 became effective. It states that, “Pursuant to Article VI,Section VI, Paragraph III of the Constitution of this state, the Court of Appeals rather than theSupreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction in the following classes of cases:(1) Cases involving title to land;(2) All equity cases, except those cases concerning proceedings in which a sentence of death wasimposed or could be imposed and those cases concerning the execution of a sentence of death;(3) All cases involving wills;(4) All cases involving extraordinary remedies, except those cases concerning proceedings inwhich a sentence of death was imposed or could be imposed and those cases concerning theexecution of a sentence of death;(5) All divorce and alimony cases; and(6) All other cases not reserved to the Supreme Court or conferred on other courts.(b) This Code section shall not otherwise affect the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court or theCourt of Appeals."This statute will assist you in determining whether to make your notice of appeal to the SupremeCourt or the Court of Appeals. Similarly, it will assist in your determination of where to fileyour application for discretionary appeal.8

B.IMPORTANT DEFINITIONSThe following are definitions of common terms used during the appellate process. They aresignificant in understanding the appellate process and in preparing an appeal.APPEAL – A review by the Court ofAppeals of Georgia of what happened in thetrial court to determine whether any mistakesof law occurred, and, if so, whether the partywho filed the appeal is entitled to have thejudgment of the trial court reversed, vacated,remanded (sent back to the trial court forfurther proceedings), or otherwise changed.(in accordance with Rule 6) the opposingparty or parties with a copy of a documentprior to its filing with the Court. TheCertificate of Service must be dated andsigned by the party filing the document, andit must contain the name and completemailing address of the opposing party orparties. No document will be accepted forfiling without a Certificate of Service.APPELLANT – A party who appeals fromthe trial court’s decision.CITATION – A reference to legal authority,which includes cases that have already beendecided by a court (“case law”), statutes, andparts of the state and federal constitutions.These references should be used in support ofarguments explaining a party’s position. Acitation can also reference documents orspecific facts that are included in the record.APPELLEE – A party against whom anappeal is taken and who responds to theappeal.APPELLANT’S BRIEF – The documentthat the appellant submits to the Court toexplain why the lower court made the wrongdecision. This is the first brief submitted tothe Court following the docketing notice.CIVIL CASE – A case involving a disputebetween two or more parties in which aplaintiff is requesting the Court to grant someform of relief due to an injury that theplaintiff has suffered because of the actionsof the defendant party.APPELLEE’S BRIEF – The document thatthe appellee submits to the Court in responseto the appellant’s initial brief, generallyexplaining why the lower court’s decisionwas right and arguing that the Court ofAppeals should uphold that decision.COURT OF APPEALS – The intermediatelevel court in Georgia. This Court hearsappeals of cases that have been adjudicated inthe lower trial courts.BRIEF – A written statement that explainsthe arguments of a party to an appeal.DECISION – The written decision of thecourt that explains the reasons why the courtruled the way it did.CERTIFICATEOFIMMEDIATEREVIEW – A certificate signed by the trialjudge that signifies that the trial court’s order,decision, or judgment that is not directlyappealable is of such importance to the casethat immediate review should be had.DEFENDANT – The party being sued orcharged with a crime.DISCRETIONARY APPLICATION –There are certain types of cases in which aparty does not have the right to a directCERTIFICATE OF SERVICE – Astatement by a party that he or she has served9

appeal. For these types of cases, a party mustfirst obtain permission to file a direct appealby means of an application. These case types,and the procedures that must be followed tofile an application for discretionary appeal,are set out in O.C.G.A. § 5-6-35. O.C.G.A. §42-12-1 (the Prisoner Litigation Reform Actof 1996) sets out another type of case thatmust be initiated by filing a discretionaryapplication.if the trial court grants a Certificate ofImmediate Review. See Rule 30.JUDGMENT OR ORDER – A ruling madeby the trial court judge. This decision usuallycomes at the end of a case and is in favor ofone of the parties. An order or judgment mustbe in writing and must be entered (meaning ithas been filed with the clerk of the trial court)before the Court of Appeals will havejurisdiction to consider an appeal from thatorder or judgment. Sometimes a judgment ororder may be issued before the trial isfinished or the “final judgment” is issued.These orders can be appealed only by way ofan interlocutory application.DOCKET – An organized list ofproceedings in a case that includes thedocuments that have been filed with the clerkof the lower court and the dates on which theywere filed.ENUMERATION OF ERRORS – Theportion of the appellant’s brief thatspecifically states what the appealing partyclaims is error committed by the trial courtand states the place in the record or transcriptwhere each error occurred. This should bePart II of the appellant's brief.JURISDICTION – The power or authoritygiven to the Court of Appeals by the GeorgiaConstitution and laws of this State to hear andresolve particular types of appeals. For thejurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Georgiaand the Court of Appeals of Georgia, see Art.VI, Sec. V, Para. III and Art. VI, Sec. VI,Para. I through VI of the 1983 StateConstitution.FILE STAMP – The official stamp of aclerk’s office that indicates the date on whichthat document was recorded as filed with theclerk.LITIGANTS – The persons who areinvolved in a lawsuit.INDIGENT – Someone who is unable to paythe costs and fees related to a case due tofinancial hardship.MOTION – A written request asking theCourt to take some action or issue a specificruling or order.INTERLOCUTORY APPLICATION –Generally, a case must have been completelyresolved in the lower court before a litigantmay file an appeal. An interlocutoryapplication is a request to the Court ofAppeals to permit an appeal to be filed froman order of the trial court even though the trialcourt has not yet entered its final order orjudgment in the case. An order that is notfinal is an interlocutory order, and it may beappealed by an interlocutory application onlyMOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION –A motion asking the Court to reconsider oneof its orders or opinions. Motions forreconsideration must be physically receivedby the Court by 4:30 p.m. on the tenth dayafter the order or opinion was issued. TheCourt may shorten this time period. See Rule37.MOVANT – The party who asks the Courtto do something by filing a motion.10

NOTICE OF APPEAL – The document thatis required to be filed in the trial court toinitiate a direct appeal. In most cases, it mustbe filed within 30 days of the entry of theorder or judgment being appealed. Indispossessory cases, the notice of appealmust be filed within seven days. For forms ofnotices of appeals, see Form 1 and Form 2(attached) and review O.C.G.A. § 5-6-51 andO.C.G.A. § 44-7-56.PLAINTIFF – A party who starts a lawsuitby filing a complaint.PRECEDENT – A previously decided casethat is recognized as binding on future casesthat have similar facts and/or legal issues.PRO SE – A person, not represented by anattorney, who is representing himself orherself in a I – A document filed with theCourt of Appeals to alert the Court that aparty intends to apply for a writ of certiorariwith the Supreme Court of Georgia, i.e., arequest the Supreme Court to review thedecision of the Court of Appeals. See Form4.RECORD –A compilation of the pleadings,evidence, and other documents filed in thetrial court, including any motions, orders,judgments, or transcripts filed in the case. Ina notice of appeal, a party must designate theportions of the record to be prepared forreview by the Court of Appeals.REMITTITUR – A document issued by theCourt of Appeals of Georgia to the trial courtthat returns jurisdiction to the trial court andshows the final judgment of the Court ofAppeals, either reversing or affirming thetrial court’s decision.OPINION – An opinion or decision is thewritten finding of the Court in a particularappeal.ORAL ARGUMENT – The oralpresentation of a party’s position regardingan appeal to a panel of judges. Permission fororal argument must be requested by theparties and granted by the Court. While oralargument is welcomed by the Court, mostappeals are decided on briefs alone, withoutoral argument. See Rule 28.REPLY BRIEF – A document that issometimes submitted to the Court by theappellant, explaining why the argumentsmade in the appellee’s brief are not valid. Anappellant’s brief and respondent’s brief arealways required to be submitted for a case onappeal. However, the Court does not requirean appellant to submit a reply brief; suchbriefs are optional.PAUPER’S AFFIDAVIT (Affidavit ofIndigence) – An affidavit stating under oathand under penalty of perjury that the party isunable to pay the filing fee. A pauper’saffidavit must be sworn to before a notarypublic and s

The Court of Appeals of Georgia reviews appeals from the trial courts in which jurisdiction is not exclusively reserved to the Supreme Court of Georgia or other courts. The jurisdiction of each court is discussed later. The Clerk’s office of the Court of Appeals of Georgia is

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