Screven County, originally the home to the Yuchi Indians, was formed from parts of Burke and Effingham Counties in 1793. The county was named for Brigadier General James Screven, a Revolutionary War commander, veteran of the Battle of the Riceboats, and US Senator. During the early years of Screven County, the Screven County Superior Court was housed in the private residences of Benjamin Lanier of Rocky Ford and
Benjamin Warren of Beaverdam Creek.
When Jacksonborough was established county seat in 1847, the Georgia General Assembly commissioned the building of a small courthouse for the Superior Court. Jacksonborough, a stagecoach stop on the road from Savannah to Augusta, had developed a bad reputation over the years for unruliness and drinking and when most of the city was burnt down it was never rebuilt thus forcing the legislature move the county seat to nearby Sylvania in 1847. Unfortunately, Sylvania’s courthouse met with a similar fate; first being burnt down in 1864 by Union soldiers, then burning down in a fire that consumed much of Sylvania in 1869. After nearly 30 years without a courthouse, Sylvania constructed a new courthouse that served the citizens of Screven County from 1897 to 1963. In 1964, Screven County commissioned the building of a new modern courthouse which still is in use today.
The Superior Court is Screven County’s general jurisdiction trial court. It has exclusive, constitutional authority over felony cases, divorce, equity and cases regarding title to land. The exclusive jurisdiction of this court also covers such matters as declaratory judgments, habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warranto and prohibition. The Superior Court corrects errors made by lower courts by issuing writs of certiorari; for some lower courts, the right to direct review by the Superior Court applies. Unlike most circuits, the Superior Courts of the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit also exercise Juvenile Court jurisdiction.