Case Assistance

Criminal Cases
If you require assistance or information regarding a pending criminal case assigned to Judge Abbot, please contact her Criminal Case Manager, Jessica Easley at 652-7135.

Civil Cases
If you require assistance or information regarding a pending civil case assigned to Judge Abbot, please contact her Administrative Assistant, Angela Hollinger at 652-7162.


Judge Abbot's Chambers

Please read these two important notices before proceeding.

I. Court Reporters
Court Reporters record court proceedings for a fee that is prescribed by law.  They also transcribe proceedings upon request.  Anyone requesting a copy of a transcript must pay the per page cost, except where the requesting party is indigent.  Court Reporters are always present in criminal proceedings and habeas corpus hearings.  

A Court Reporter will appear for Civil and Family Law Cases only if a party requests a court reporter to be present to record the proceedings. The request must be made to the Office of the Court Reporter, 912-652-7168, prior to the day of the hearing. Failure to have a court reporter present to report your case may have an adverse effect on your ability to appeal the ruling of the court.

The party requesting the court reporter is responsible for full payment unless the other party(ies) agree to share the cost.

II. Mediation
By a Standing Order of the Chatham County Superior Court Judges, most Civil and Family Law cases must be mediated before a pretrial conference or final hearing.  Click here to download the Standing Order.

Parties are responsible for complying with this Standing Order before requesting a pretrial conference or final hearing.

For more information visit the Savannah Mediation Center and the Alternative Dispute Resiloution Division (ADR).

Jury Trials
Request by letter to the judge.  You will receive notice of a pretrial hearing and will be expected to complete and consolidate the Pretrial Order required by the Uniform Superior Court Rules.

Bench Trials   
Request by letter to the judge.  You will receive a trial docket showing all the cases scheduled for a date certain.

Motion Hearings
Request by letter or by pleading in the form of a request for oral argument.  Please note that Judge Abbot does not routinely grant hearings on motions other than where a hearing must be granted if requested, e.g., motions for summary judgment.  With respect to any other motions, write a letter to the judge explaining why you believe an oral hearing should be held. You will be sent a written notice of the date and time for the motion. Oral arguments are usually held in chambers. Typically, only the lawyers appear for oral argument. Please notify the judge's secretary if you have any special requests such as a request that parties be present or if you anticipate a large number of attorneys to be involved. Arrangements for appearance by speaker phone can be made for out-of-town attorneys if you request such an appearance prior to the hearing date.

Magistrate Court Appeals
Request by letter.  If no jury trial is demanded, the case will be placed on a bench trial calendar.

Habeas Corpus
For all habeas proceedings by a person in State custody, the judge will send out a scheduling order to the parties giving notice of date of the hearing.  The judge's office will make arrangements for federal prison inmates to participate by speaker phone. A court reporter will be present for all post-conviction habeas hearings.

Adoptions
All uncontested adoption hearings are scheduled by the Clerk of Court’s office. Click here for the Clerk of the Court's Contact Information. They are always held in the judge’s chambers.  Feel free to bring family and friend but be aware that there are space limitations.

Temporary Hearings
Judge Abbot does not give out temporary hearing dates by telephone. To obtain a temporary hearing, present a Rule Nisi (Show Cause) Order with a blank for the date and time to the judge’s secretary. She will fill out the order and return it to you for filing and service.  Please refer to Uniform Superior Court Rule 24 for the notice period, filing requirements and forms including the Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit. 

Final Hearings in Uncontested Divorces and other Uncontested Domestic Matters
Judge Abbot usually conducts the hearings in uncontested (settled or unopposed) cases on Friday mornings at 9:30 a.m.  To obtain a hearing, call Judge Abbot’s office.  You will be given a date verbally. You will not receive any written notice; however, the Judge’s office will send an unrepresented party (other than those requesting the hearing) written notice of the hearing date.

All documents required to finalize any case involving custody and support must be completed and signed by both parties.  Both parties must attend the Transitional Parenting Seminar conducted at the Mediation Center.

Parties representing themselves are strongly urged to attend the Family Law Workshop at the Mediation Center for assistance. 

Family Violence Act Temporary Protective Orders Hearings
Ex parte (petitioner present only) - also known as the 30 day hearing.

The forms for Family Violence Act petitions are available at the websites of the Georgia Family Violence Commission, Georgia Legal Services and the Administrative Office of the Courts of Georgia

12 Month Hearings
Judge Abbot’s secretary will provide a date for the 12 month hearing at the time of the ex parte hearing.

Bench or Jury Trials
These must be requested in writing to the Judge.  A letter will be sufficient. You will receive a bench trial docket containing all the cases to be heard on a date certain. If a jury trial is requested, a pretrial order and hearing will be necessary.  Judge Abbot may require use of a domestic relations pretrial order.

Child Support and Parenting Plan Information
Uniform Rule 24 contains the form for parenting plans.  Click here to find the Uniform Superior Court Rules.

Child Support Worksheets may be downloaded at the website for the Georgia Commission on Child Support

Other information about child support is available at the website for the Office of Child Support Services and the Chatham County District Attorney’s Office website.

All questions about scheduling criminal cases should be directed to Judge Abbot’s case manager, Jessica Easley, at 912-652-7135.

Judge Abbot’s Criminal Case Management System is as follows:

All cases in which there is no attorney of record will be assigned to Calendar Call.  All cases in which there is an attorney of record at the time of filing in Superior Court will be assigned to Status Conferences.  The Defendant's presence is required at Calendar Call.  Only counsel shall attend Status Conferences.

The primary purpose of the Status Conference is to discuss the cases and initiate plea negotiations.  Preferably, the State should be prepared to present written petitions for negotiated pleas at or before the Status Conference.  At the Status Conference, cases shall be set for one of the following events: Plea Hearing, Pretrial Conference or Trial Docket Call.

Defendant's presence is required at the Pretrial Conference at which the Defendant will be arraigned.  Defendants who are in pretrial detention will not be brought to the courtroom for Trial Docket Call unless specifically requested.  At the Trial Docket Call, cases will be assigned trial dates.  The State's policy, unless altered in special circumstances, is to withdraw negotiated plea offers unless accepted by the time of the Trial Docket Call.

Motion hearings will be assigned once a motion is filed and a hearing is specifically requested.
   
Bond Hearings
You must first obtain a bond assignment from Case Management which is located on the 3rd floor of the Courthouse. If a bond hearing is assigned to Judge Abbot, bring the written assignment  to Judge Abbot’s office. A hearing date will be supplied by her secretary.  Most bond hearings are held in chambers unless the Defendant’s presence has been requested prior to the day of the bond hearing in writing to Judge Abbot’s primary deputy sheriff, Anthony Davis, by delivering the request to the judge’s office no later than 3:00 p.m. on the day prior to the bond hearing..

Important information about notice of hearings
It is the Defendant’s obligation and responsibility to notify Case Management in writing, through his or her attorney, of any change of address and to notify his or her bonding company.  Failure to provide a correct address may result in missing a court hearing which will result in the issuance of an arrest warrant. 

Ex parte (one-sided) Communications
Under very rare circumstances, a judge may speak with a party on one side of a case without the other present; for instance in family violence matters and in emergency situations involving child custody.  In all other instances, all parties must be present to address the judge. 

Any letter or other document must be sent to all parties or their lawyer and the letter or document must show that all parties or their lawyers have been sent a copy.  Failure to do so will result in the mail or document being returned to you and it will result in no action being taken by the judge on your request.

Legal Advice and Assistance
Please do not expect to be able to speak with Judge Abbot on the telephone as that would be considered an ex parte communication.  None of Judge Abbot’s staff will relay messages to her about the merits of a case as that also would be considered improper under the rules of ethics.

Neither the judge nor her secretary, case manager and staff attorney can assist you with any legal matter though they will guide you as to procedural matters such as how to obtain a hearing.

Visit Georgia Legal Services Program at www.glsp.org for more information.

Visits to the Judge’s Office
Due to security procedures, only lawyers or those who have been given an appointment are permitted into a judge’s office.  If you need to deliver documents that do not require a signature, they may be left at the security desk.  Runners are permitted to bring rule nisis, bond hearing petitions and similar pleadings to the judge’s secretary.

Exceptions to this procedure are made where it is necessary to conduct a hearing in chambers.

Judge Abbot will issue a ruling in most bench trials from the bench and will direct the attorney for the moving party to prepare a draft of the order, send it to the opposing counsel or unrepresented party and then to the judge for her signature. 

In cases of motions for summary judgment, other complex motions and cases which cannot be decided from the bench, the judge will issue an order as quickly as possible depending on how complicated the issues or how large the record or both. 

The judge’s office sends out copies of all orders upon filing to all parties or their counsel.

It is never a wise idea to represent one’s self in a court action even if you are a trained attorney. Persons who represent themselves are usually referred to by the Latin term , “pro se,” which is pronounced “pro say.” Every litigant should make every effort to obtain legal advice from a lawyer. However, sometimes, people do choose to represent themselves. Pro se litigants are expected to learn about the law, to file the proper pleadings and documents and to conduct themselves in court as if he or she were an attorney. If you do represent yourself, be aware that the judge and her staff cannot advise you about the law or assist you other than with routine information such as that set out in this website.


Judge Abbot's Judicial Biography

Louisa Abbot is currently serving as Judge of Superior Court of Chatham County, Eastern Judicial Circuit, having been appointed to that position in October 2000 and elected to four-year terms in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

Judge Abbot is a native of Georgia and has lived here in this State most of her life. She is descended from a long line of lawyers and judges and believes the rule of law is one of most significant achievements of civilization. She has lived in Savannah since 1982, where she began her legal career, first as a law clerk to the Honorable Avant Edenfield, Judge of the United States District Court, then practicing law with several firms. She also clerked in Superior Court for Chief Judge Perry Brannen, Jr.

Judge Abbot has been deeply involved in activities associated with the legal profession. She is past-president of the Savannah Bar Association and past-president of the Georgia Bar Foundation, a charitable organization that provides financial support for civil legal services for the poor and other worthy endeavors. She served 6 years on the Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution. She sits on the Georgia Child Support Commission by appointment of the Governor. She is Chairperson of the Uniform Rules Committee of the Council of Superior Court Judges. Currently, she is Administrative Judge for the 1st Judicial Administrative District. She has been recognized for her service to the Family Law Section of the Bar which awarded her the Joseph T. Tuggle, Jr. Professionalism Award for the year 2002.

She has also received other honors, including the Distinguished Service Award, 1993, presented by the Savannah Jaycees, the Robert E. Robinson Award, 1993, presented by the Younger Lawyer's Section of the Savannah Bar Association, and the 2004 Woman of Achievement award given by the Oglethorpe Business & Professional Women's Club. She was one of ten recipients from across the state of the 2004 Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service.
She is a graduate of the Leadership Georgia Class of 2002.

Judge Abbot has been committed to serving others in the Savannah/Chatham County community. She is past President of the Rotary Club of Savannah. She has served on the United Way Board, the Chatham-Savannah Homeless Authority, which she chaired for two years, Senior Citizen's Inc., Junior Achievement and other boards. She was on the Board of Curators for the Georgia Historical Society, chairing the Georgia Heritage Celebration Committee in 2003. She is past Chairperson of the Chatham Savannah Citizen Advocacy Board, an organization with she has been affiliated for over 20 years. She is a director of the Queensborough Company, a bank holding company based in Louisville, Georgia.

She is an elder at First Presbyterian Church where she taught Sunday School for more than 20 years.

She is married and has two children.