Publication Date


Document Type



Behind the bench of the Supreme Court of Georgia, there is a phrase inscribed on the wall: Fiat justitia ruat caelum, Latin for “Let justice be done, though the heavens may fall.” This motto serves as a daily reminder that justice must be served, regardless of the consequences. It is often said that the judiciary’s role is to apply the law as it exists. As such, judges must refrain from allowing their emotions to dictate their decisions—even when those decisions have unpleasant consequences. Because the legal profession is self-regulated, its rules and regulations are only as effective as the professionals who enforce them. Respecting and adhering to the judicial process, even when the end result is difficult to accept, is service to the legal profession in its ultimate form.

The Supreme Court of Georgia decided Bowman v. State on February 21, 2023. Applying Georgia law, the court determined that the defendant, once convicted of child molestation, was to be discharged and acquitted due to a procedural misstep at trial. To many, it is likely bothersome that a criminal may be able to walk free due to a technicality. However, these technicalities are what ensure that defendants are treated fairly and equally under the law. They allow justice to be done, though the heavens may fall.