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Georgia State Code
Title      17
Chapter      10  
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Title 17, Chapter 10, Section 6 (17-10-6)

(a) In any case, except cases in which the death penalty is imposed or cases involving a serious violent felony as defined in subsection (a) of Code Section 17-10-6.1, in which a sentence of 12 or more years, or several consecutive sentences which total 12 or more years, has been fixed and imposed by a judge, without a jury, the defendant shall have the right to have the sentence or sentences reviewed by a panel of three superior court judges to determine whether the sentence or sentences so imposed are excessively harsh. Consideration shall be given in the review to the nature of the crime for which the defendant has been convicted and to the defendant's prior criminal record. Any defendant seeking a review of such sentence or sentences shall make application therefor within 30 days of the date on which the sentence was imposed by a judge of the superior court or after the remittitur from the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court affirming the conviction is made the judgment of the sentencing court, whichever occurs last. The application shall be filed with the clerk of the superior court in which the sentence was imposed. Upon the filing of an application the clerk shall transmit the same to the three-judge panel created under this Code section within ten days of the date on which the application was filed. For such service, the clerk shall receive the fees prescribed in Code Section 15-6-77 from the funds of the county, except where the clerk is on a salary. It shall be the duty of the judge imposing the sentence and any probation officer to transmit, within ten days of the filing of an application for review of a sentence, a copy of any presentence or postsentence report prepared by the probation officer, including the record of the defendant, to the three-judge panel.

(b) For the purpose of reviewing sentences, as provided by this Code section, there is created a panel of three superior court judges, to be appointed by the superior court judge then serving as president of The Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia. Judges so appointed shall serve for a term of three months and until their successors are duly appointed and qualified. Judges so appointed shall receive their actual expenses incurred in the performance of their duties on the panel but shall receive no additional compensation. The expenses shall be paid from funds appropriated to, or otherwise available to, the judicial branch of state government. The panel shall be furnished offices, supplies, materials, and secretarial assistance required for the performance of their duties by the state. The panel shall meet at the state capital at such times as may be required for the review of sentences, provided that all applications for review of sentences shall be heard within three months from the date on which they are filed. No judge appointed to a panel shall review a sentence which he has imposed on the trial of the case in the superior court or participate in any such review. If such a case is brought before the panel, the president of The Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia shall have the authority to appoint an additional superior court judge as a member of the panel for the review of the case.

(c) The three-judge panel provided for by this Code section shall have the authority to review sentences upon application of the defendants in such cases. In the review of the sentences the defendant and the district attorney shall have the right to present written argument relative to the sentence imposed and the harshness or justification thereof. If, in the opinion of the panel, the sentence imposed by the trial judge is too harsh or severe in light of all of the circumstances surrounding the case and the defendant, and in light of the defendant's past history, the panel shall have the authority to issue an order reducing the sentence originally imposed by the trial judge. The panel shall not have the authority, however, to reduce any sentence to probation or to suspend any sentence. The panel shall not be required to file written opinions but shall file a copy of any order or remittitur reducing a sentence with the superior court which originally imposed the sentence.

(d) The reduction of a sentence or the refusal to reduce a sentence by the panel shall not be reviewable. The provisions for review of sentences provided by this Code section shall not be deemed to affect the right to appeal or any practices, procedures, or time limitations relative to appeals to appellate courts. A defendant shall not have the right to file more than one application for a review of a sentence, and any order issued by the panel reducing or refusing to reduce any sentence covered by an application shall be binding on the defendant and the superior court which imposed the sentence.

(e) This Code section shall not apply to cases in which the death penalty is imposed.

(f) This Code section shall not apply to sentences imposed in misdemeanor cases or cases in which a life sentence is imposed for murder.

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