Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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Appellant Michael Terry filed a pro se out-of-time appeal of his conviction for multiple charges involving the murder of his wife, Juanita Terry. Terry shot and killed his wife before turning the gun on himself. The police responded to a 911 call from the Terrys’ 13-year-old son and found and injured Terry and his wife. Terry pled guilty to two counts of felony murder, and one count each of aggravated assault, aggravated battery, and cruelty to children in the first degree. Terry argued he received ineffective assistance of appellate counsel and that the trial court erred in refusing to allow him to withdraw his plea. The Georgia Supreme Court determined Terry’s motion to withdraw the plea was filed outside of the term of court in which the plea was entered and was thus untimely. Pretermitting whether Terry raised a valid claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, the Court determined he was not entitled to appointed counsel to assist with the untimely motion to withdraw his plea. As the trial court explained to Terry at the hearing on the motion, his only available means to withdraw his plea was through habeas corpus proceedings. View "Terry v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Appellant Valentino Jackson was convicted of felony murder and associated crimes in connection with the shooting death of Willie Bailey. On appeal, Jackson argued the State engaged in prosecutorial misconduct during closing argument and that his trial counsel rendered constitutionally ineffective assistance. Finding no error, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed. View "Jackson v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Appellant Dominique Stuckey was convicted of malice murder and first-degree arson after he killed his grandmother, Velma Stuckey, and set her and her house on fire. In this appeal, he claimed his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance in four ways. The Georgia Supreme Court found none of those claims had merit, and affirmed the conviction. View "Stuckey v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Devasko Lewis was found guilty of malice murder and other crimes arising out of the 2014 shooting death of Kerry Glenn following a botched murder-for-hire scheme. Lewis challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to support his convictions, and argued the trial court erred in denying his motion for a new trial based on a witness’ recantation of testimony presented a trial. Lewis also challenged the sentence he received. Finding no merit to any of Lewis’ challenges, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed. View "Lewis v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Jordan Coleman was convicted by jury for the malice murder of Alvin Hall and related crimes. He appealed, arguing among other things, that there was insufficient evidence of venue and that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel. The victim’s body was found in Newton County, but a witness testified that Coleman shot the victim at a house in Dekalb County. With respect to Coleman’s venue argument, the Georgia Supreme Court concluded the witness’ testimony supported the jury’s determination that venue in Newton County was proper. Finding no other error, the Supreme Court affirmed Coleman’s conviction. View "Coleman v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Appellant Brian Brewner was convicted of murder and numerous other crimes in connection with a 2014 home invasion in which victim Adam Schrier was shot and killed and two other victims were injured. Brewner appealed, arguing he was denied his constitutional right to be present at certain stages of the proceedings; that the trial court erred in admitting certain evidence; that his trial counsel provided constitutionally ineffective assistance; and that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. Finding no reversible error, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed. View "Brewner v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Michael Rice pled guilty to felony murder in connection with the shooting death of James Abney, Jr. Rice appealed, claiming the trial court erred when it denied his motion to withdraw his plea. Rice also argued he was denied the effective assistance of counsel. Upon review of the record and briefs, the Georgia Supreme Court found no reversible error and affirmed the conviction. View "Rice v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Acting pro se, Marshae Brooks appealed the trial court’s denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty plea to murder and other charges, denial of his motion for an out-of-time appeal of his convictions, and denial of his motion for appellate counsel. Because the trial court previously had rejected Brooks’s earlier motion for an out-of-time appeal of his convictions, the court properly denied his subsequent motion for an out-of-time appeal. Because his motion to withdraw his plea was untimely, the trial court should have dismissed, rather than denied, that motion, and the Georgia Supreme Court vacated the trial court’s order on that motion and remand for entry of the appropriate order. Because Brooks’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea was untimely, and because indigent defendants generally are not entitled to the assistance of counsel to prosecute a motion for an out-of-time appeal, the trial court properly denied his request for counsel. View "Brooks v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Appellant Marcus Payne was tried by jury and found guilty of malice murder, felony murder, criminal attempt to commit murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and criminal trespass, in the shooting of his estranged wife, Brandi Payne, and her companion, Evan Campbell. He appealed, arguing the trial court erred in refusing to give his requested jury instructions. Finding no reversible error, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed. View "Payne v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Appellant Curtis Kuhn was tried and convicted of murder and related offenses in connection with the shooting death of his step-father, Robert Donald “Don” May II. On appeal, Kuhn argued the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions and that he was entitled to have his original trial judge preside over his motion for new trial proceedings. Finding no reversible error, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed. View "Kuhn v. Georgia" on Justia Law