Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Georgia

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Phillip Bailey appealed the denial of his motion for leave to pursue an out-of-time appeal. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Bailey pleaded guilty in 2007 to the murder of Jess Sharp and an aggravated assault upon Lamar Sharp, for which Bailey was sentenced to imprisonment for life for the murder and a concurrent term of imprisonment for 20 years for the aggravated assault. He did not bring a timely appeal from the judgment of conviction entered upon his plea. More than eleven years later, Bailey filed a motion for leave to pursue an out-of-time appeal. In his motion, Bailey alleged, among other things, that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel in connection with his plea and that his plea was involuntary. Bailey did not allege, however, that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel in connection with his failure to bring a timely appeal. Nor did he allege that his failure to bring a timely appeal was attributable to any other error of constitutional magnitude. The trial court denied his motion without an evidentiary hearing. The Georgia Supreme Court concluded after review of the trial record, that the trial court was right to deny the motion. View "Bailey v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Robert Moss appealed his conviction for murder in connection with the 2010 shooting death of Rosa Mae Brown. Moss challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to support his conviction and contended that the trial court abused its discretion by denying his motion for change of venue. Finding no such abuse, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed. View "Moss v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Lamaris Grier was convicted by jury for two murders and related crimes. He appealed, contending: (1) the evidence was insufficient to support the verdict; (2) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to improper testimony and closing argument; and (3) the prosecutor engaged in misconduct. Finding no reversible error, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed. View "Grier v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Jehaziel Carter was convicted of malice murder, financial-transaction card fraud, and other crimes in connection with the shooting death of Eric Chepkuto. On appeal, Carter argued the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions, and in particular, the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for financial-transaction card fraud. The trial court record revealed Chepkuto was found dead in the apartment he shared with his wife rom a gunshot to the face. A review of Chepkuto’s cell phone and bank records led police to Carter, who was unemployed and living with his cousin at the time. Chepkuto’s work phone was found behind the couch where Carter slept. Carter’s backpack contained paperwork and other items belonging to Carter, as well as ammunition and a gun that was later determined to have fired the bullet that killed Chepkuto. Bank records and other evidence show five attempts to access money from an ATM using Carter's debit card were made; a purchase was made for an item costing close to $4,000; the receipt listed Carter's e-mail address, and specified the item was to be delivered to the address of the mother of Carter's child. The Georgia Supreme Court reversed on the fraud count, finding the evidence was legally sufficient to exclude every reasonable hypothesis other than Carter’s guilt and to authorize a rational trier of fact to find beyond a reasonable doubt that Carter was guilty of the crimes of which he was convicted, other than the financial-transaction card fraud. But because the evidence was legally sufficient to support the jury’s guilty verdicts on the other counts, the Court affirmed Carter’s remaining convictions. View "Carter v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Appellant Tyrone Davis challenged his convictions for felony murder and a firearm offense in connection with the shooting death of Keith Moses. He contended the evidence was legally insufficient to support his convictions; the trial court erred in denying his pretrial motion to suppress his custodial statement to the police; the trial court erred in denying his motion to prevent a document reflecting a co-defendant’s sentence from going out with the jury during deliberations; and he was denied the effective assistance of counsel at trial. Finding no reversible error, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed. View "Davis v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Cameron Carter was convicted by jury of malice murder of Ashey Garry and other offenses. Carter claims on appeal that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Specifically, Carter argued that, although his trial counsel raised objections to the admission of what he characterized as three juvenile court disposition orders, she “failed to object as to the specific form and content of the dispositions,” thereby allowing the jury improper access to the details of Carter’s sentencing. Carter contended his counsel was deficient because the sentencing information in the three exhibits was not admissible, and he was prejudiced because, as to Exhibit 64, the disposition order showed that the juvenile court determined that he should be detained “to protect the person or property of other[s] or the child,” and Exhibits 68 and 70 showed that he was sentenced to serve significant time on probation and had been ordered to pay numerous fines. The Georgia Supreme Court found that Carter could not carry his burden of showing "a reasonable probability that, but for counsel’s unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different. . . . Although circumstantial, the evidence of Carter’s guilt was strong." Therefore, the Supreme Court concluded the trial court did not err in denying his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. View "Carter v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Robert Williams was convicted of murder and the unlawful possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He appealed pro se the denial of his motion to recuse and the apparent denial of his motion to vacate an earlier order, in which the trial court refused his motion to correct certain transcripts. Finding no cognizable claim of error presented by Williams in this appeal, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed the judgment below. View "Williams v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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In 2014, Montravious Bradley entered a non-negotiated guilty plea to murder and other offenses in connection with the death of Jerrick Jackson during the armed robbery of Jackson and his fiancee, Kimberly Little. After entry of judgment, Bradley filed a timely motion to withdraw his guilty plea, contending that his guilty plea was not knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily entered. The trial court denied the motion. Bradley appealed, arguing the trial court failed to advise him of the sentencing range for murder and felony murder, but advised him instead only of the maximum sentence authorized for those offenses, and that the trial court therefore improperly failed to advise him of the direct consequences of entering a guilty plea. Finding no reversible error, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed, except that it vacated in part to correct a sentencing error. View "Bradley v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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In 1999, appellant Donald Davis pled guilty to the murder of Shereka Smith, for which he was convicted and sentenced. Davis did not timely pursue a direct appeal. Following his unsuccessful pursuit of a writ of habeas corpus, he filed a motion for an out-of-time appeal of his conviction, which the trial court denied. Davis appealed that denial to the Georgia Supreme Court. "[F]rustrating Davis’s present effort to obtain an out-of-time appeal is the doctrine of res judicata." The Court found that Davis filed a habeas petition in 2002, and the habeas court denied Davis relief. Although Davis did not “plainly raise in the [petition for writ of habeas corpus] the issues he raises now, there is no reason he could not have.” Therefore, because the trial court was precluded from considering this claim, it did not err in denying Davis’s motion for out-of-time appeal. View "Davis v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Shane Collett appealed his convictions for malice murder and concealing the death of another in connection with the 2012 death of nine-year-old Skylar Dials. Collett challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to support these convictions and argues that the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury on the lesser-included offense of reckless conduct or on mistake of fact. The Georgia Supreme Court found the evidence was sufficient and the instructions were unwarranted. View "Collett v. Georgia" on Justia Law