John O. Cole

Publication Date


Document Type

Survey Article


The Georgia appellate courts wrote opinions in over 500 cases during the year of the survey period, most of which were in the court of appeals. The volumes in question in this survey are positively bloated with criminal appeals. Reading through them is a depressing experience for two reasons. First, something seems amiss in a system in which so many attorneys, judges, law clerks, other officials, printers, and trees participate in an appellate process that for the most part changes nothing and has no effect on the litigants. Second, while some of the appeals are meritless to the point of frivolity, many have some colorable merit, and a lesser number have real merit. The court of appeals seems to have as a goal, not to guard against abuses in the trial processes around the state and insure that justice is done, as would seem appropriate, but to find a way, no matter how strained, to defend the convictions in the lower courts or to overturn acquittals when possible. The Supreme Court of Georgia needs to find a way to intervene in some of these areas. I start with a litany of cases in the area of search and seizure that demonstrate, I think, a disturbing lack of concern for established constitutional principles and the individual rights of our citizenry.