Cuzzort v. State, S99A1120.

CourtSupreme Court of Georgia
Writing for the CourtHUNSTEIN, Justice.
Citation271 Ga. 464,519 S.E.2d 687
PartiesCUZZORT v. The STATE.
Docket NumberNo. S99A1120.,S99A1120.
Decision Date13 September 1999

519 S.E.2d 687
271 Ga. 464


No. S99A1120.

Supreme Court of Georgia.

September 13, 1999.

519 S.E.2d 688
Christopher A. Townley, Rossville, for appellant

Herbert E. Franklin, Jr., District Attorney, for appellee.

HUNSTEIN, Justice.

Appellant Terry Lee Cuzzort was indicted in the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit on charges of aggravated stalking. According to the method of case assignment established in that circuit, Cuzzort's case was assigned to a judge and placed on the court calendar by the district attorney. Cuzzort filed a series of pretrial motions challenging the system of assigning judges and calendaring cases presently employed in the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit, all of which were denied in a consolidated order. The trial court issued a certificate of immediate review and this Court granted Cuzzort's application for interlocutory appeal to determine whether the case assignment method employed in the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit violates Uniform Superior Court Rule 3.1. Finding that it does, we reverse.

1. Uniform Superior Court Rule 3.1 provides, in pertinent part,

3.1 Method of Assignment. In multi-judge circuits, unless a majority of the judges in a circuit elect to adopt a different system, all actions, civil and criminal shall be assigned by the clerk of each superior court according to a plan approved by such judges to the end that each judge is allocated an equal number of cases.

The State contends the case assignment system used in the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit is the most efficient for a rural circuit with multiple counties and judges, and the random case assignment method proposed in USCR 3.1 is impracticable. Under the plain language of the rule, multi-judge circuits may adopt a different method subject to the approval of a majority of the circuit's judges. Lumpkin v. Johnson, 270 Ga. 392(1), 509 S.E.2d 621 (1998); Cobb County v. Campbell, 256 Ga. 519, 350 S.E.2d 466 (1986) (applying Rule 3.1 of the Uniform State Court Rules). Certainly, "judges, in their capacity as members of the judiciary, have the inherent authority to determine their own internal operating procedure for the selection of which of them shall hear cases.... [Cit.]" Lumpkin, supra at 394, 509 S.E.2d 621. Accordingly, we do not take issue with the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit's decision to adopt a more efficient system. The precise method of assigning and calendaring cases adopted by a multi-judge circuit,...

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16 cases
  • State v. Gales, S-04-015.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Nebraska
    • March 18, 2005 comport with due process, by preventing any person from choosing the judge to whom an action is to be assigned. Cf. Cuzzort v. State, 271 Ga. 464, 519 S.E.2d 687 In short, the law clearly provides that selection of the members of the three-judge sentencing panel will be random, and there......
  • Mondy v. Magnolia Advanced Materials, Inc., S17G1478
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • June 4, 2018
    ...meaning of USCR 21); Foster v. Gidewon, 280 Ga. 21 (1), 622 S.E.2d 357 (2005) (evaluating plain meaning of USCR 17.1); Cuzzort v. State, 271 Ga. 464 (1), 519 S.E.2d 687 (1999) (evaluating plain meaning of USCR 3.1). When we construe such authority on appeal, our review is de novo. Hankla v.......
  • Undisclosed LLC v. State, S17A1061
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • October 30, 2017
    ...according to its terms [and] to give words their plain and ordinary meaning [.]" (citation and punctuation omitted)); Cuzzort v. State, 271 Ga. 464, 464, 519 S.E.2d 687 (1999) (evaluating plain meaning of a Uniform Superior Court Rule). The State contends that such consideration will show t......
  • Stewart v. the State., A11A0474.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • July 6, 2011
    ...on which the State is ready, but the ultimate decision of whether or not to do so rests solely with the trial judge. See Cuzzort v. State, 271 Ga. 464, 464(3), 519 S.E.2d 687 (1999) (“While a trial judge may in his discretion call cases out of order, under [OCGA] § 17–8–1, the district atto......
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