What is Superior Court?
The Superior Courts of the State of Georgia are the trial courts of general jurisdiction which means that the Superior Courts hear criminal, civil, equity and family law cases. Superior Courts have exclusive jurisdiction of some kinds of cases; for instance, a felony criminal case and a divorce can only be heard in a Superior Court. The Chatham County Superior Court is in the Eastern Judicial Circuit, one of fifty circuits in the State of Georgia. The Eastern Judicial Circuit is comprised solely of Chatham County, Georgia which includes the cities of Savannah, Tybee Island, Pooler, Garden City, Port Wentworth, Bloomingdale, Thunderbolt, and Vernonburg.
The judges of the Eastern Judicial Circuit are elected constitutional officers of the State of Georgia. The Superior Court of Chatham County is composed of six (6) judges who are elected by the citizens of Chatham County to a term of four (4) years. Should an unexpected vacancy occur during a judge's term the Governor of Georgia will make an appointment to fill the vacancy. Currently, the Honorable Penny Haas Freesemann is the Chief Judge of Superior Court. Judge Freesemann's role responsibility as Chief Judge is in addition to her daily court agenda and as Chief Judge she oversees the administrative aspects of the court in addition to presiding at various ceremonial functions.
The Court Organization
The Judges of Superior Court play a key role as public servants in terms of donating their time and professional expertise beyond their daily courtroom case related responsibilities. They have emphasized their public mindedness by donating their time to a variety of special public activities and community organizations. In addition, the Judges share in the sponsorship of mock trials and Law Day activities which are held at the Judicial Center. The Judges also remain active within their profession and attend legal seminars with their colleagues from other Superior Courts throughout the State of Georgia.
The mission of the Judges, judicial staff and the Court Administrator's staff is to serve the public in a fair, accessible, accountable, efficient and timely manner. The Court's employees, in serving the citizens of Chatham County, take pride in their work and they seek to uphold the public's trust and confidence which has been delegated to them as public employees.
For more information about Superior Courts of Georgia, visit the Council of Superior Court Judges: georgiasuperiorcourts.org.