Ga. High Court Rule Change To Limit Improper Direct Appeals
Atlanta Appellate attorney Laurie Webb Daniel spoke with Law360 about a rule change by the Supreme Court of Georgia that requires appellants to show up front the basis for invoking the court's jurisdiction. Georgia's Supreme Court has exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all cases involving the novel construction of the U.S. or Georgia constitutions as well as all cases in which the constitutionality of a statute, ordinance or constitutional provision is challenged. The court already required petitioners to include a statement of jurisdiction in their briefs, but according to Chief Justice David Nahmias, sometimes those statements were not specific or did not cite the trial record. Ms. Daniel, who chairs Holland & Knight's national Appellate Team, explained the rule change serves more to reduce the court's administrative burden - it rejects jurisdiction in cases lacking preservation of a constitutional issue, so by requiring record citations from the outset, the court can more quickly assess filings.
"Raising a constitutional question is one of the issues that conveys supreme court jurisdiction without having to get a certiorari grant, but only if the issue has been preserved by raising it in the trial court with an adverse ruling by that court," she commented. "I think this rule resulted from too many people claiming supreme court jurisdiction via a constitutional question without having met the preservation prerequisite."