Of Counsel

Legal Notes on Georgia and The South

Archive for August, 2007

Friday in the GA Court of Appeals

Posted by Maggie on August 20, 2007

Convictions Affirmed: 2

Deprivations Reversed: 1

Of Note:

Tiggs v. State: A show-up ID from a witness who was face-to-face with the robber for “three or four seconds” gave “ample opportunity” to view.  While there are other strong factors for an ID, I don’t think the Court should be playing it up quite so much especially with all that we’re learning about faulty ID’s.

In the Interest of S.M.W.: Believe it or not, the DFCS worker recommended termination of the parent’s rights due to transportation difficulties.  After Dad did everything he was asked to do, and it was quite a bit.  Dad is employed, negative for drugs, has a good relationship with the child.  But the juvenile court terminated Dad’s rights because he had 3 jobs and 3 homes in a year.  Cases like these make me thank whatever higher being there may be for appellate courts.  I’ve seen several of these crazy deprivations overturned lately.  Some of these juvenile courts need to get it together.


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Monday’s AJC

Posted by Maggie on August 20, 2007

For those who may not be locals, the Atlanta paper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, known as the AJC, has something of a reputation for under-reporting crime–unless it’s in a white neighborhood.  Some stories of note from today’s AJC after the jump (and one little tidbit about an Atl law firm from law.com)…

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Watts v. FIU, No. 05-13852

Posted by Maggie on August 18, 2007

It’s certainly a lovely thing to already have a reader-contributed-story when you’ve only been going for a day or so. So thanks to Adam for a bizarre 11th Circuit case released yesterday.

The basic facts involve a master’s student in a social work program in what’s basically a work-study sort of program. One of these where you have to put in a certain number of practice hours before graduation. All the trouble of this lawsuit comes from one rather insignificant thing. While counseling a patient, he recommended a bereavement support group and, noticing the patient’s religious persuasion on their form, included church as one of the places such a support group may be. For this, he is kicked out of the program, and thus can’t graduate.

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Let the Arkansas Jokes Begin…

Posted by Maggie on August 17, 2007

Southerners have pretty strong state loyalty.  They also tend to be vehemently against their surrounding states.  Georgia disses Alabama, who picks on Mississippi, etc.  Back in Texas, I know Arkansas was the most commonly attacked. 

But this is just making it too easy.

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Blog Props

Posted by Maggie on August 17, 2007

While I certainly enjoy blawgs that take in information from everywhere, I particularly enjoy those that have the resources to hone in on one important case.

One example was the blog following the Enron trial at the Houston Chronicle’s website. As someone who never felt comfortable with what exactly was happening with the Enron scandal, the blog was required reading for me. The blogger did a great job of distilling hours of testimony into what was important and translating it for a layman.

Another blog I’ve enjoyed more recently is Durham-in-Wonderland, following the repercussions of the Duke Lacrosse Scandal. If you haven’t seen the recent post on Nifong’s letter surrendering his license, you should definitely stop by. Another great example of someone taking the time to really inform. If you have time to read through the archives, the blog is a fascinating read.

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Dipping a Toe Into the Blog Pool

Posted by Maggie on August 17, 2007

I’ve been lurking around the Criminal Law blogs for some time now, and I’ve finally decided to go ahead and throw my hat in.  I’m doing this for a few reasons, but mostly to do my best to keep up to date with appellate rulings.  In my former days as a Public Defender, it was virtually impossible for me to find the time to keep up with rulings.  So I see these reviews as a service of sorts to my many PD friends still out there toiling away thanklessly.  (Hopefully not completely thanklessly.  During my own time in the public sector I got one thank you card from the mother of a client who’d always been rather rude and a variety of letters from inmates which mostly said, “You have a nice smile.”)

 Ideally, I’d like to add other Southern states to the roundup, and would be welcome to add other contributors who wouldn’t mind helping out.  I’ll try and figure out how to throw in other rulings of note.  But I do feel that particularly public criminal defense in the South is having a rough time of it these days and needs more visibility.  I’ll certainly be checking in on the new PD system in New Orleans and the ongoing funding issues for PD’s in Georgia.

 According to my plans, I’ll also cover other issues of note.  I’m hoping to check in soon with the status of the Sex Offender lawsuit by the Southern Center for Human Rights, which I haven’t heard about for a while.  I also hope to keep up with Civil Rights law, particularly in the 1st Amendment arena, which is one of my personal passions. 

My own daily reads are listed in the blawgroll.  I generally stick to blogs that are interesting and updated often and I hope to operate the same way.  An early thanks to I Was the State for noticing my little link to them so quickly. 

Thanks for reading,


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Thursday at the Court of Appeals

Posted by Maggie on August 17, 2007

Affirm Conviction: 7

Reverse Conviction: 1

Reverse Grant of Motion to Suppress: 1

Of Note:

Mattox v. State, A07A1695.  After refusing to allow testimony referring to evidence of the defendant’s Department of Corrections ID card as prejudicial, the court found it wasn’t really that prejudicial anymore after they let in some similar transaction evidence.  So the more prejudicial evidence you have, the more you’re able to get in, apparently.  But I suppose the real lesson here is don’t leave your ID in a truck you broke into.

Calloway v. State, A07A1160.  Court allows a similar transaction in a child molestation case that took place 26 years before the incident at trial.  Another practical lesson here: if you and one of your children has already been molested by a family member, don’t let them go near your other kids.

Thomas v. State, A07A1062.  Reverse conviction from bench trial when warrant gave wrong address and no other supporting identifying information describing the premises.

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