Sanks v. Georgia

PETITIONER: Sanks et al.
RESPONDENT: Georgia et al.
LOCATION: Ohio State Bar Association

DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1970-1971)

CITATION: 401 US 144 (1971)
ARGUED: Dec 08, 1969
REARGUED: Nov 17, 1970 / Nov 18, 1970
DECIDED: Feb 23, 1971

Facts of the case


Media for Sanks v. Georgia

Audio Transcription for Oral Reargument - November 17, 1970 in Sanks v. Georgia
Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 08, 1969 in Sanks v. Georgia

Audio Transcription for Oral Reargument - November 18, 1970 in Sanks v. Georgia

Warren E. Burger:

We will continue with number 28, Sanks against Georgia, Mr. Evans -- oh, Mr. Padnos you have not finished your presentation in chief I do.

Michael D. Padnos:

Thank you Mr. Chief Justice, if I may just respond to Justice White’s question of yesterday.

We have done -- have researched and we have found what I suspect some members of the Court may already have known there is in fact a savings statute in Georgia.

There is indeed a constitutional provision that says that law shall not have retroactive effect.

The -- upon my quote from the typical case and there are number of cases that make very clear that in our case the -- Mrs. Sanks and Mrs. Momman will be subjected double damages.

But a typical case language and the typical case says, law as proscribe for the future unless a statute either expressly or by necessary implication, that’s language that used throughout the cases, shows that the general assembly intended that it operate retroactively it will be given only prospective applications.

Particularly, relevant case in this context --

Warren E. Burger:

Mr. Padnos, excuse me, you’ll have to keep you paper away from the microphone.

Michael D. Padnos:


What was the citation of that case?

Michael D. Padnos:

That is Anthony v. Penn, 212 Georgia 292.

The statutory provision is the Constitution which is part of the Georgia Code and as cited this Georgia Code annotated 2-302.

The statutory provision that says laws proscribe only for the future.

They cannot impair the obligation of contracts nor usually have a retrospective application is Georgia Code annotated 102-104.

The closest case we were able to find for this -- on this issue is the case of Leathers v. Turner 75 Georgia Appeals 62, that’s a 1947 case and it involved the new NIL that was enacted in Georgia at that time and the debtor in that case was attempting to have his rights determine under the old Act and the court said that only -- and the creditor was asserting that his rights would appear under the new Act and the court decided for the debtor and said, only when there is very express language in the new statute that says that the rights created under the new statue replaced the rights under the old Act only with such express language does the new Act apply and there is no express language in this case in the new Georgia statute, the rights of the debtor -- of Mrs. Sanks will be determined by the old statute.

What’s the page number of that case?

Michael D. Padnos:

That case is page 62, 75 Georgia Appeals 62, it’s a 1947 case.

I might say in further reference to mootness since I know how much that concerns the Court that that raises a very interesting side issue that again I haven’t thought of and your question stimulated our thinking about that.

If 305 is clearly applicable in this case and I think I feel it was persuaded that it is.

The 305 is clearly applicable, it’s very interesting what happened, should this Court decide that 305 is constitutional.

If you decide the 305 is constitutional or let’s just present that, the case goes back down presumably because the substance of issues haven’t been raised yet and at that point under 305, the landlord will be entitled to a double rent judgment.

The only way the tenant will be able to do anything about the double rent judgment is if she goes in under 303 assuming that you will not decide 303 or decide adversely or she will have to go in under 303 and post the double-rent bond.

When I talked yesterday, I was fairly certain that 303 was not applicable in this case, I think that’s been kind of opened up by your questionings.

So, I think the 303, if you hold 305 constitutional, we’re going to be stuck with 303 as well and I think the point that makes is that what you’re faced with and what we’ve dealing with is the whole statutory scheme of 303 and 305.

And I think they really can’t be separated, one must be understood even in this narrow case is this, they must be understood together.

Anyway, you conclude the cases included I take it.

Michael D. Padnos:

I conclude the cases.

On the other hand, in order for this liability to be imposed upon your client, the landlord must take additional affirmative actions, is that correct?

Michael D. Padnos:

As I understand, Georgia procedure sir, all the landlord has to do is go in to court after your decision and ask for judgment just literally walk into the court and ask for judgment.

Now, if we and we will not be able to assert affirmative defenses without filing the above.