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Appellant Hunter Mason Davis was tried before a jury and found guilty of felony murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony in the shooting death of Angelo Larocca. He appealed, asserting multiple claims of error. The Georgia Supreme Court vacated Davis’ sentences on the felony murder counts. “Because both [felony] murder counts involved the same victim, one of the guilty verdicts was vacated by operation of law.” View "Davis v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Lowell and Janice Register were shareholders of Register Communications, Inc. Green Bull Georgia Partners, LLC threatened to foreclose on property that had been pledged to secure the debts of Register Communications. The Registers sued Green Bull. In connection with their lawsuit, the Registers sought an interlocutory injunction to prohibit any foreclosure pending final judgment. At first, the trial court provisionally granted some injunctive relief, but after further consideration, it concluded that an injunction pending final judgment was not warranted, and it set aside the injunction that it previously had entered. The Registers appealed the order setting aside the interlocutory injunction, and they asked the trial court for an injunction at least to prohibit any foreclosure pending the resolution of their appeal. The trial court granted an injunction pending appeal, and in this case, Green Bull appealed the entry of that injunction. The Georgia Supreme Court found no abuse of discretion in the grant of the injunction, and affirmed the trial court. View "Green Bull Partners, LLC v. Register" on Justia Law

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Prisoner Jomeka Pope appealed pro se an order denying his “motion to vacate a void and illegal sentence,” “motion to withdraw Alford (guilty) plea,” and “motion for appointment of counsel.” Pope contended that his sentence of life without the possibility of parole was void under former OCGA 17-10-32.1, because the sentencing court failed to comply with it. The Georgia Supreme Court agreed. As to the propriety of the superior court’s denial of Pope’s motion to withdraw his Alford (guilty) plea and his motion for appointment of counsel, such rulings were inextricably linked to the court’s erroneous denial of Pope’s motion to vacate his sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. The superior court denied his motion to withdraw the Alford (guilty) plea based primarily upon its finding that the motion was untimely as it was filed more than two years after Pope’s sentence was imposed, and it denied his motion for appointment of counsel after finding that Pope had no right to the appointment of counsel because his motion to withdraw his plea was untimely. Because the superior court’s denial of these motions was premised on timeliness in relation to sentencing, and the Supreme Court determined that Pope’s sentence of life without the possibility of parole was void ab initio, such motions had to be reconsidered. However, the vacating of Pope’s sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole will not render his pleas on the remaining counts subject to withdrawal as a matter of right. View "Pope v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Jerrick Atkinson was tried by jury and found guilty of malice murder, aggravated assault, attempted armed robbery, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and various other offenses in connection with the shooting death of Wayne Edwards. In his pro se appeal, Atkinson raised thirty separate enumerations of error relating to the sufficiency of the evidence, his sentence, and other matters that transpired before and at trial and during his sentencing, and he raised twenty-three separate grounds of alleged ineffective assistance of his trial counsel. The Georgia Supreme Court affirmed Atkinson’s convictions, but it also vacated a portion of his sentence in order to rectify an issue relating to the merger of certain counts against him for sentencing purposes. View "Atkinson v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Appellants Travon Menefee and Christian Williams appealed their convictions for malice murder and related crimes stemming from a “drug deal gone bad” which resulted in the death of Antonias Williams (no relation to appellant). The Georgia Supreme Court affirmed in part, vacated in part and remanded to address errors in sentencing. View "Menefee v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Wife Tracy Hardin was granted a discretionary appeal of the grant of partial summary judgment to Husband John Hardin in this divorce case. The issue on appeal was whether the trial court erred in concluding as a matter of law that certain disability benefits issued pursuant to an insurance policy are non-marital property and are not subject to equitable division. Finding that it did not, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment. View "Hardin v. Hardin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Stuttering Foundation, Inc. (“Foundation”) leased office space in a commercial development in Glynn County owned by Lucas Properties Holdings III, LLC (“Lucas”). In 2015, Lucas filed an application for rezoning of the property to construct an addition to the rear of one of the existing buildings in the development, the building in which the Foundation leased its office. It also sought approval of a site plan for the proposed construction. Both were approved in March 2016. For various reasons, the Foundation opposed the new development and filed a petition for judicial review of the rezoning application and Site Plan, or in the alternative, for mandamus reversing the County’s approval. Both the County and Lucas filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on its merits. The trial court entered an order granting the County’s motion to dismiss, concluding that the Foundation lacked standing to raise its objections to the rezoning. The Georgia Supreme Court agreed with the trial court that the Foundation demonstrated no right to contest the rezoning decision. Lucas’s motion to dismiss was a nullity and therefore vacated. View "The Stuttering Foundation of America, Inc. v. Glynn County" on Justia Law

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Appellant Gregory Walker, Jr. was convicted of malice murder and other crimes in connection with the shooting death of Roger Clark. He contended on appeal that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions; that the trial court committed plain error in failing to charge the jury on voluntary manslaughter and defense of habitation; that the trial court abused its discretion in excluding testimony at trial and at the motion for new trial hearing; and that Appellant received ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Finding no reversible error, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed. View "Walker v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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A jury found appellant Stephen Bailey guilty but mentally ill on all thirteen counts of an indictment filed in connection with the stabbing deaths of Ursula Peterson and her adult daughter Dominique Martin, who were his upstairs neighbors. Bailey argued on appeal that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress evidence, denying his Jackson-Denno motion, and refusing to give an instruction on voluntary manslaughter. Finding no error, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed. View "Bailey v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Appellant Joe Lee Waye appealed the denial of his amended motion for out of-time appeal of his conviction and sentence on his plea of guilty to malice murder. In 1996, Waye entered a negotiated plea under which he pled guilty to one count of malice murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment for the 1991 murder of victim Tim Worley. In exchange for Waye’s plea, the State agreed to the dismissal of additional charges related to the murder (as well as separate pending drug charges) and agreed not to seek the death penalty. Twenty years later, Waye filed a pro se motion to correct his sentence. That motion was denied, and Waye did not initiate a timely appeal. Instead, Waye filed a pro se motion seeking leave to file an out-of-time direct appeal of his conviction, contending that his guilty plea was invalid. Subsequently, Waye amended his motion for out-of-time appeal, so that he could also seek leave to appeal the trial court’s denial of his motion to correct sentence. The trial court denied both motions. Finding no error with the trial court’s decision, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed. View "Waye v. Georgia" on Justia Law