Starting April 4th, the majority of Court dockets went back to being held in person. All attorneys should check their notice cards carefully, and if there is any confusion please contact the assigned Judge's staff. In lieu of providing a hard copy of motions and responses to the clerk's office as outlined in USCR 6.1, attorneys practicing in the Eastern Judicial Circuit shall provide a hard copy of their motions and responses directly to the assigned Judge's staff, specifically where a ruling or hearing date is being sought and the document is greater than three pages in length, including exhibits.
Pursuant to Uniform Superior Court Rule 6.1 when utilizing the e-filing system, the attorney or party shall notify the opposing parties and the assigned Judge, including their staff, by e-mail of the motion or response no later than 24-hours after e-filing.
Additionally, pursuant to Uniform Superior Court Rule 4.10, all attorneys practicing in the Eastern Judicial Circuit shall notify the Judge and their staff immediately upon the settlement or dismissal of any civil actions.
John E. Morse, Jr.
133 Montgomery Street
Savannah, Georgia 31401
Phone: (912) 652-7236
Fax: (912) 652-7361
Primary Case Manager - Criminal
We are humbled and privileged to have been serving you for over twenty seven (27) years. You have entrusted us with the charge to handle your matters as fairly and efficiently as possible. To this end, this webpage is intended to assist you in having your matter addressed. Please understand there may be matters or questions we cannot address or answer. Likewise, we may not be able to resolve your issue instantaneously. However, we will endeavor to assist you as best as possible. If there is any information you deem pertinent to place on this website or any suggestion(s) you wish to make, feel free to forward to the office.
John E. Morse, Jr., Judge
Superior Court, EJC
With the conversion to e-filing in most civil matters, it is important to remember that unless the judge is served a copy of a motion, response, request, notice, etc., BY THE ATTORNEY, no ruling will be forthcoming.
Uniform Superior Court Rule 6 remains unchanged in its requirement in circuits such as the Eastern Judicial Circuit with individual judge assignment, that the attorney provide a copy of motions and associated materials for the judge:
Rule 6. MOTIONS IN CIVIL ACTIONS Rule 6.1. Filing In civil actions every motion made prior to trial, except those consented to by all parties, when filed shall include or be accompanied by citations of supporting authorities and, where allegations of unstipulated fact are relied upon, supporting affidavits, or citations to evidentiary materials of record. In circuits utilizing an individual assignment system, the clerk shall promptly upon filing furnish a copy provided by the attorney of such motions and related materials to the judge.
Furthermore, USCR 4.10 requires the attorney to notify the judge of dismissals. Imagine the dismay of the court when it belatedly discovers that a matter upon which the judge and staff attorney have been working has been dismissed unbeknownst to the court.
Documents filed in through eFileGA are not automatically sent to the assigned judge. It is solely and entirely the responsibility of counsel to supply the court with motions, responses, notices and other matters the attorney desires the court to consider.
It is the duty of the attorney to submit the motion, dismissal or other matter to the judge by doing so at the time of e-filing by selecting Courtesy Copy and entering the email address of the staff attorney assigned to the judge OR by delivering only one copy a hard copy of the motion AND PROPOSED ORDER where appropriate — by whatever means, e.g., mail, fax, hand-delivery most convenient copy.
It is apparent that many matters are simply being filed with the clerk and not transmitted to the assigned judge. If, therefore, you are awaiting a ruling in a matter and have not received one, you need to determine whether the assigned judge is even aware of the matter. In other words, absent compliance with the Uniform Superior Court Rules, you should not expect a ruling.
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.
Parties are responsible for complying with this Standing Order before requesting a pretrial conference or final hearing.
TO PRO SE (SELF-REPRESENTED) PARTIES
The resolution of your case can be greatly hampered if you fail to produce the necessary financial forms (information), Child Support worksheets and Parenting Plan information requested.
All questions about scheduling criminal cases should be directed to Judge Morse's case manager, Stephanie Small, at 912-652-3063. Please be advised a Pretrial Scheduling Order will be entered in your case that will have very important deadlines that have to be adhered to.
Judge Morse'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.
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.
Please do not expect to be able to speak with Judge Morse on the telephone for legal advice or on the merits of your case as that would be considered an ex parte communication. Judge Morse's staff will not relay messages to him about the merits of a case as that also would be considered improper under the rules of ethics.
Neither the judge nor his 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 about possibly obtaining legal advice.
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 nisi, bond hearing petitions and similar pleadings to the judge's secretary.
ANY DOCUMENTS OR CORRESPONDENCE DELIVERED TO THE JUDGE'S OFFICE OR CHAMBERS SHOULD HAVE A COVER LETTER AS TO WHAT IS REQUESTED AND COMPLETE RETURN INFORMATION, SUCH AS NAME, ADDRESS, TELEPHONE NUMBER AND EMAIL ADDRESS.
Failure to provide sufficient return information may cause delays in your matter being addressed.
Exceptions to this procedure are made where it is necessary to conduct a hearing in chambers.
Judge Morse will issue a ruling in most bench trials from the bench and will direct the attorney for the prevailing 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 are not be decided from the bench due to the volume of evidence or having to consult the transcript of the proceedings , the judge will issue an order as quickly as possible depending on the nature of the issues, how large the record, other matters on his docket, or all of the aforementioned.
The judge's office sends out copies of all orders upon filing to all parties or their counsel via email.
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.
A case may be removed from a show cause docket in one of the following manners:
Failure to appear may result in dismissal with prejudice, striking of pleadings or entry of default judgment.
Instructions for virtual Webex hearings can be found here: