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Michael Miller was tried by jury and convicted of murder and other crimes in connection with the shooting death of Shawnita. Miller appealed, arguing that an error in the poll of the jury required his convictions be set aside, and asserting that his prosecution for the crimes of which he was convicted other than murder was barred by the statute of limitations. Finding no reversible error, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed. View "Miller v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Al Neeley was convicted by jury of malice murder and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, all relating to the shooting death of Shelton Brooks. His amended motion for a new trial was denied, and he appealed, arguing the evidence presented against him at trial was insufficient to support his convictions, and that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. Finding no reversible error after a review of the trial court record, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed. View "Neely v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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In an election contest for a seat on the Baker County Board of Education, the Georgia Supreme Court granted the application for interlocutory appeal filed by Brendette Williams, who challenged the trial court’s denial of her motion to dismiss the contest petition filed by Sharon Heard, her opponent in the primary election. The Court concluded Heard’s challenge to the primary election was now moot, and therefore vacated the trial court’s order and remanded this case for the contest action to be dismissed. Furthermore, the Court concluded that because the trial judge did not meet the requirements of OCGA 21-2-523 (b) to preside over this action, upon remand, a judge meeting such requirements had to be selected to preside over entry of the dismissal. View "Williams v. Heard" on Justia Law

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Husband Ricky Lockamy and Wife Margie Lockamy were divorced in 2009 pursuant to a final decree that incorporated the parties’ settlement agreement. The settlement agreement provided that Wife would receive 40% of Husband’s “military retirement” payments. The trial court awarded these payments as an equitable division of marital property, and it did not award any alimony to Wife. In March 2010, the Navy informed Husband that the payments he thought were for military retirement were actually disability benefit payments and that those payments could not be divided with Wife. As a result, Husband promptly stopped making payments to Wife provided under the “military retirement” provision of the settlement agreement. Six years later, Wife filed a motion to reform the divorce decree to provide for the original 60% to 40% division of the payments from the Navy that the parties originally thought were for Husband’s retirement. The trial court determined, among other things, in an order entered in 2016, that, because Husband’s disability benefits could not be divided as marital property, it would enforce the parties’ original intent to divide those payments by reforming the decree to award alimony to Wife. The Georgia Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s grant of the motion to reform, finding the trial court was not authorized to modify the divorce decree pursuant to Wife’s motion, as the motion to reform the decree was untimely. Wife was not authorized to file an actual petition for a revision of “alimony” here, as it was undisputed that she was not awarded alimony in the original divorce decree. View "Lockamy v. Lockamy" on Justia Law

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Joseph Arnold was convicted by jury of the murder of Gerald Osborne and the unlawful possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Arnold appealed, contending: (1) the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions; (2) the trial court erred when it denied his motion for pretrial immunity; and (3) that it erred when it limited his voir dire of prospective jurors. Upon review of the record and briefs, the Georgia Supreme Court found no reversible error and affirmed. View "Arnold v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Appellant Charles Wilson was convicted of murder and related offenses in connection with the 2012 shooting death of Jesse Howard. Wilson appealed, asserting various errors in the adjudication of his motion for new trial, insufficiency of the evidence, evidentiary error, and improper refusal to bifurcate the trial of certain counts. The Georgia Supreme Court concluded that though none of Wilson’s enumerations had merit, the Court did find an error in his sentencing. The Court therefore affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for resentencing. View "Wilson v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Appellant Maurilio Martinez appealed his convictions for the rape and murder of Joy Morris. Appellant argued on appeal: (1) the evidence was insufficient to convict him of rape; (2) trial counsel was ineffective when he failed to move for a directed verdict on the rape charge; and (3) the trial court erred when it overruled his objection to certain comments the prosecutor made during closing argument. . Finding no reversible error, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed. View "Martinez v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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In case number S17A0931, Demetrius Daniels appealed his convictions and sentences for felony murder, violations of the Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, in connection with the death of Alvin Hunt; in companion case number S17A0932,Tobias Thomas appealed his convictions and sentences for the felony murder of Bernardino Perez, violations of the Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, armed robbery, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, in connection with multiple criminal incidents. The evidence showed that Daniels and Thomas were members of a local street gang known as the “Forrest Hill Boyz,” and were tried together, with four other defendants, for their roles in various crimes that took place in and around Moultrie. Both alleged procedural errors and claimed ineffective assistance of trial counsel; Thomas also challenged the sufficiency of the evidence presented against him. After reviewing both cases, the Georgia Supreme Court found no reversible error and affirmed both defendants’ convictions. View "Daniels v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Appellant Patrick O’Connor appealed the grant of summary judgment to Appellees Fulton County and its County Manager, Richard Anderson, on his claims for breach of contract, mandamus relief, and attorney fees. O’Connor was hired in 1996 as the CFO/Finance Director for Fulton County. O’Connor was an unclassified, at-will employee, and, though the Finance Director position was originally an “on-range position” (i.e., one that is on a pay scale), it was later changed to a set-rate position, which has a salary specifically approved by either the County Manager or the Fulton County Board of Commissioners (“the Board”). In October 2014, the Board appointed O’Connor as Interim County Manager. Just a few months later, however, O’Connor was removed from that position and given the option to resign as Finance Director or be fired; O’Connor refused to resign, and the Board terminated his employment. The trial court granted summary judgment to Appellees, concluding that the personnel regulations did not create an employment contract and that, even if they had, Personnel Regulation 300-4 (7) did not apply to O’Connor. The trial court also concluded that, because O’Connor could not prevail on his underlying breach-of-contract claim, he was not entitled to mandamus relief or attorney fees. Finding no reversible error in the trial court’s judgment, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed. View "O'Connor v. Fulton County" on Justia Law

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James Anderson was found guilty of felony murder and other crimes arising out of the shooting death of Franklin Burch. Appellant argued the trial court erred in denying his motion for new trial because during voir dire one of the jurors, identified by his initial “H.,” improperly concealed his connection to the case and his bias toward the victim. Appellant contended a defendant is entitled to a new trial based on juror misconduct if the defendant is able to demonstrate that: “(1) the juror failed to answer honestly a material question on voir dire and (2) a correct response would have provided a valid basis for a challenge for cause.” Appellant also argued he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel because in his opinion, trial counsel: (1) failed to ask questions on voir dire that would have uncovered the reasons why juror H. was not qualified to sit on the jury, including the extent of his relationships with persons involved with the case, his personal bias, and his personal handling and viewing of evidence; and (2) failed to conduct an adequate investigation of the defense that the rifle fired accidentally as a result of a struggle between appellant and the victim, and in failing to present expert testimony that would have supported that defense. Finding no reversible error, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed Anderson’s conviction. View "Anderson v. Georgia" on Justia Law