Georgia Court of Appeals

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The Georgia Court of Appeals is the intermediate appellate court in Georgia. It was established in 1906 and has twelve judges who serve in four divisions.

The Court of Appeals has statewide appellate jurisdiction of all cases except those involving constitutional questions, land title disputes, the construction of wills, murder, election contests, habeas corpus, extraordinary remedies, divorce and alimony and cases where original appellate jurisdiction lies with the superior courts. The Court of Appeals may certify legal questions to the Supreme Court.


Georgia Court of Appeals
Court information
Judges:   12
Judicial selection
Method:   Non-partisan election of judges
Term:   6 years
Active judges

Gary Andrews  •  Sara Doyle  •  Herbert Phipps  •  John Ellington  •  Yvette Miller  •  Anne Barnes  •  Stephen Dillard  •  Michael P. Boggs  •  William M. Ray, II  •  Chris McFadden  •  Carla W. McMillian  •  Elizabeth Branch  •  


There are twelve judges on the court. Judges serve six-year terms beginning the next January 1st after their election. Judges who are appointed to fill vacancies serve "until January 1 of the year following the next general election which is more than six months after such person's appointment." [1]

JudgeTermAppointed byParty
Judge Gary Andrews1991-2014
Presiding Judge Sara Doyle2009-2014
Presiding Judge Herbert Phipps1999-2018Gov. Roy Barnes
Chief Judge John Ellington1999-2018Gov. Roy Barnes
Presiding Judge Yvette Miller1999-2018Gov. Roy Barnes
Presiding Judge Anne Barnes1999-2016
Judge Stephen Dillard2010-2018Gov. Sonny Perdue
Judge Michael P. Boggs2011-2018Gov. Nathan Deal
Judge William M. Ray, II2012-presentGov. Nathan Deal
Judge Chris McFadden2011-2016
Judge Carla W. McMillianGov. Nathan Deal
Judge Elizabeth Branch2012-2014Gov. Nathan Deal

Former judges

Chief judge

John Ellington is the current Chief Judge.

At one time, the Chief Judge was elected by the Court and served in that capacity at the pleasure of the Court. The position of Chief Judge is now rotated, usually for a two-year term, on the basis of seniority of tenure on the Court. By statutory authorization the Chief Judge appoints a Presiding Judge for each of the four divisions.


The first proposal to create a court of appeals was made in 1895 at a Georgia Bar Association meeting. In "Relief of the Supreme Court of Georgia: Is the Remedy One or More Intermediate Courts?," Volume Twelve, Page 23 of the Georgia Bar Association Reports, Z. D. Harrison, then Clerk of the Georgia Supreme Court argued: "Let the Legislature establish a competent intermediate court, a court which will command the confidence and respect of the bar and of the people, and establish it, too, upon such terms as will make its entrance easy so that every litigant and suitor can enter this court upon terms quite as easy as those upon which he can now enter the Supreme Court by writ of error."

Eleven years later, the bar association's campaign succeeded. On July 31, 1906, a bill to submit to the electorate an Amendment to the State Constitution, "to provide for the establishment of a Court of Appeals, and to define its powers and jurisdiction; . . . ," was approved almost unanimously.

Under the proposed constitutional amendment, the jurisdiction of the two appellate courts in civil cases depended upon the identity of the trial court in which the case originated; while the Supreme Court was given exclusive jurisdiction in capital felonies. The Court of Appeals was mandated to certify to the Supreme Court all state and federal constitutional questions and was privileged to "certify any other question of law concerning which it desires the instruction of the Supreme Court for proper decision." Although the amendment also provided that "[t]he decisions of the Supreme Court shall bind the Court of Appeals as precedents," each was designated a court of final jurisdiction.

The amendment was ratified by the electorate at the general election of October 3, 1906.


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Ray, II
CandidateIncumbencyPrimary VoteElection Vote
RayWilliam M. Ray, II Yes   
CandidateIncumbencyPrimary VoteElection Vote
Carla W. McMillian Yes   
CandidateIncumbencyPrimary VoteElection Vote
DoyleSara Doyle Yes   
CandidateIncumbencyPrimary VoteElection Vote
BranchElizabeth Branch Yes   
CandidateIncumbencyPrimary VoteElection Vote
AndrewsGary Andrews Yes   


CandidateIncumbencyPrimary VoteElection Vote
PhippsHerbert Phipps   ApprovedAYes99%   ApprovedA
EllingtonJohn Ellington   ApprovedAYes99%   ApprovedA
BoggsMichael P. Boggs   ApprovedAYes99%   ApprovedA
DillardStephen Dillard   ApprovedAYes99%   ApprovedA
MillerYvette Miller   ApprovedAYes99.7%   ApprovedA