Robert L. Russell III, Chief Judge
Post Office Box 581
|The superior court, Georgia’s general jurisdiction trial court, has exclusive, constitutional authority to preside over felony cases and cases regarding title to land, divorce and equity. Their exclusive jurisdiction also covers such matters as declaratory judgments, habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warranto and prohibition. The superior court corrects errors made by lower courts by issuing writs of certiorari; for some lower courts, the right to direct review by the superior court applies.
Superior courts are organized into 45 judicial circuits varying in size and population, as well as in the number of judges serving them. Each county has its own superior court, though judges may serve in more than one county. Numbers of superior court judges per circuit range from two judges in each of 21 circuits to 15 judges authorized for the Atlanta Judicial Circuit. Bryan County shares four superior court judges with the other five counties of the Atlantic Judicial Circuit (Evans, Liberty, Long, McIntosh and Tattnall counties). They are David L. Cavender (Chief Judge), Robert L. Russell, III, Charles P. Rose, Jr., and D. Jay Stewart. A. "Ronnie" Rahn III serves as senior superior court judge. A chief judge handles the administrative tasks for each circuit.
This court's case load is divided into two divisions, civil and criminal, with a case assignment system used in both for equally distributing the caseload to the four judges. Each division requires and provides for jury trials in which jurors are selected and impaneled to decide issues between parties. Twelve person juries are required for all cases, unless the parties agree to proceed with as few as eleven jurors.
Superior court judges are elected to four year terms in non-partisan, circuit-wide races. To qualify as a superior court judge, a candidate must be at least 30 years old, a citizen of Georgia for at least three years and have been authorized to practice law for at least seven years. Senior superior court judges, who have retired from the bench and who have attained senior status, may hear cases in any circuit at the request of the local judges or an administrative judge.
An adjunct of the superior court is the State Probation Office, a division of the Georgia Department of Offender Rehabilitation. The probation office is part of a circuit wide probation office. Probation officers employed by the department are required by law to supervise any person convicted of a felony offense in which a sentence of probation is adjudged. The chief probation officer is appointed by the chief judge of the circuit.
Rebecca G. Crowe serves as the Clerk of Superior Court.