Of Counsel

Legal Notes on Georgia and The South

Huge Court Update

Posted by Maggie on September 5, 2007

Convictions Upheld: 11 

Remanded with instructions: 2 

Gorham v. State: If you haven’t gotten familiar with the felony/misdemeanor theft issues regarding value, here’s a good place to start.  The appellate courts have been very hard on the State to show the value of items taken in theft cases.  This one involves theft of some number of DVD’s where no evidence was presented as to how many DVD’s there actually were.  There are also some great cases out there regarding how you prove value.  Also some good stuff here on restitution, though this case doesn’t vacate the restitution order as no objection was made.

State v. Lamb: Defendant was convicted of Sexual Battery as a lesser of Child Molestation for alleged touching of a 15-year-old girl.  Trial court allowed Motion for New Trial because evidence was admitted of a similar transaction and counsel did not impeach the witness with prior convictions of theft and forgery.  Counsel claimed that the defendant had agreed to get the criminal record of the witness himself.  Court holds that no matter who the task is delegated to, the ultimate responsibility rests with trial counsel.  Court also found that the conviction of the lesser included instead of the greater charge shows some doubt on the part of the jury, making it more likely the outcome could have been different.

Salinas-Gomez v. State: Court upholds a conviction involving spanish-speaking defendant who had Miranda translated by a spanish-speaking cop.  May be useful for future translation cases.  It looks like the cop was thorough here.

Lester v. State: Court says when an officer does a pat down, feels something in a pocket that “crunches” and is inside a plastic bag, and the officer says that this “usually” turns out to be narcotics, the officer can reach in the pocket and seize the item.  This sounds totally off to me.


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