Of Counsel

Legal Notes on Georgia and The South

Court Update

Posted by Maggie on September 18, 2007

Convictions Affirmed: 7

Other:
1 Conviction Vacated, 4 Remaining Convictions Affirmed.

Nichols v. State, A07A0865. In an Agg. Child Molestation trial, the prosecution introduced evidence of prior incidents involving kissing and touching between the defendant and the victim from two years before the incident on trial. No prior notice given to defense counsel for a similar transaction. But the Court lets it in as “prior difficulties.” Unfortunately, that is not the issue on appeal. Defense counsel didn’t object, and the Appeals Court says that this isn’t ineffective assistance. There was a Motion for New Trial but it’s unclear whether the similar transaction issue was ever appealed.

Cail v. State, A07A1332. Motion for New Trial filed in 1995. Not ruled on until 2007, when an amended motion was filed. Appellate court finds that since they don’t agree with any of the grounds in the delay, there’s no prejudice. I’d argue that the passing of time may have affected appellate’s counsel’s ability to investigate all potential grounds for appeal.

Pitts v. State, A07A1242. A juror lived on the same street where the victim was dumped and flagged down help. He drove past that location all the time and thought about the incident regularly. Juror says “it would be hard” to be fair, then turns around and says he can, etc. Judge rehabilitates juror with one question and seats him. Appellate Court upholds. (I understand the need not to interrogate jurors, but after how much this guy went back and forth, I hate to see it all come down to one question from the Judge.)

Johnson v. State, A07A1288. Make sure you throw an objection in there! When the prosecutor asked leading questions to an accomplice who did not want to testify, counsel merely said, “I guess I’m trying to wonder where [the prosecutor] is going. The witness says he doesn’t want to testify so is he trying to . . . impeach[] him or what is he doing[?] I don’t know.” Appellate Court finds no error preserved.

In the Interest of B.R., A07A1577. No venue was established by testimony. However, Court finds because officers gave their employment as Liberty County and the Court must assume they were properly exercising their duties, venue is now established. Don’t like this precedent at all.

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