The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday unanimously reversed a decision by the Georgia Court of Appeals related to a lawsuit in which a woman was jailed in Houston County for a speeding fine she had already paid.
Camille Harrell sued Houston County and Sentinel Offender Services, a private probation company, for allegedly violating her constitutional right to be free from false arrest and false imprisonment after the July 2005 incident.
She sought a jury trial. However, Fulton County State Court dismissed the lawsuit. Harrell, who lives in Clayton County, appealed twice to the Georgia Court of Appeals.
In June 2009, the state Court of Appeals reversed the Fulton County State Court decision and found that “the Houston County State Court routinely issued invalid arrest warrants at Sentinel’s request,” according to a summary of cases provided to the media by the Georgia Supreme Court’s Office of Public Affairs. The appellate court’s decision was appealed.
On Monday, the Georgia Supreme Court found that the appellate court improperly addressed the appeal because "a party is not entitled to a second appeal from a single order." The decision, written by Justice P. Harris Hines, stated that Harrell lost her chance to appeal a lower court's dismissal of her lawsuit against the county.