Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Georgia

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Albert and Ashley Debelbot were convicted of malice murder for the death of their infant daughter, McKenzy. The Debelbots each argued the evidence was insufficient to sustain their convictions, that their respective trial attorneys rendered constitutionally ineffective assistance, and that their convictions cannot stand for other reasons. The Georgia Supreme Court concluded that the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions of both Albert and Ashley. But while the Court was “deeply troubled” by at least two of the claims of ineffective assistance of counsel, the nature of the trial court record prevented meaningful review of all of those claims. Therefore, the Court vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "Debelbot v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Michael Blaine was tried on a 38-count indictment and convicted of numerous offenses, including murder, in connection with a string of robberies that took place between October 2005 and September 2006. Blaine appealed, arguing that the prosecutor made improper statements during closing arguments, that he was denied his rights to due process and access to the courts, and that he was denied effective assistance of counsel. Finding no error, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed. View "Blaine v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Following a jury trial, Jerome Coast was convicted of malice murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon during the commission of a crime in connection with the shooting death of Michael James. Coast appealed, contending the trial court abused its discretion by denying his request to represent himself on the sole basis that the request came after his trial had begun. Finding no reversible error, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed. View "Coast v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Appellant Akeem Johnson appealed his convictions stemming from the shooting death of Jamon Middleton and the aggravated assault of Emory Graham. On appeal, appellant alleged his trial counsel rendered constitutionally ineffective assistance. After review of the trial court record, the Georgia Supreme Court found no reversible error and affirmed Johnson's convictions. View "Johnson v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Following a jury trial, Reco Dehaven West, a/k/a Rico, was found guilty of malice murder and other offenses arising out of a home invasion that resulted in the shooting death of Nicolas Jackson II. On appeal, West argued the trial court erred in admitting evidence that he conspired and attempted to improperly influence a juror in his trial. He also claimed the evidence was insufficient to enable a rational trier of fact to find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of armed robbery and of felony murder predicated on the armed robbery. Finding no reversible error, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed. View "West v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Appellant Nicholas Brooks was convicted of felony murder and other crimes in connection with the shooting death of Jason Blount. Appellant contended the evidence presented at his trial was legally insufficient to overcome his defense of coercion; the prosecutor committed misconduct by introducing into evidence an edited version of Appellant’s video-recorded police interview; and that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to object to the admission of the recording and by inadequately informing him of his right to testify. The Georgia Supreme Court determined appellant’s claims were meritless, so it affirmed. View "Brooks v.Georgia" on Justia Law

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In September 2014, Appellant Angelo Dennard was convicted of murder and associated crimes related to the shooting death of his estranged wife, Diana Cruz-Sagrero. On appeal, Dennard contended there was insufficient evidence to support his convictions for two counts of cruelty to children in the third degree and that evidence of a prior felony conviction was wrongfully admitted. Finding no reversible error, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed. View "Dennard v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Demario Ware was convicted of felony murder during the commission of an armed robbery in connection with the shooting death of Vernon Forrest. On appeal, Ware argued the trial court erred when it gave the pattern jury instruction on felony murder instead of his requested instruction on proximate causation, and by replacing a juror during deliberations. The Georgia Supreme Court disagreed upon review of the trial court record and affirmed. View "Ware v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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In 2015, a jury found Appellee Dolonte Tedder guilty of murder and other crimes in connection with the shooting death of Quleon Glass. In January 2017, Tedder filed a motion for new trial, which included arguments that he received ineffective assistance of counsel in several regards, that insufficient evidence supported the jury’s verdict on a count of criminal gang activity, and that the State committed a Brady violation. In September 2017, the trial court granted Tedder’s motion for new trial on the ground of ineffective assistance of counsel due to trial counsel’s failure to introduce expert testimony that would have contradicted part of the State’s theory of the case. It did not rule on Tedder’s other enumerated grounds for a new trial. The State appealed that decision. The Georgia Supreme Court found the trial court erred in granting a new trial. Consequently, the Court reversed the order granting Tedder a new trial and remanded this case to the trial court for consideration of the remaining grounds for new trial set forth in Tedder’s amended motion. View "Georgia v. Tedder" on Justia Law

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Appellee DeJuan Spratlin was convicted of malice murder and a firearm offense in connection with the shooting death of Edward Cobb. The trial court granted Spratlin a new trial on the ground that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to seek the exclusion of testimony and comments about his post-arrest silence. The State appealed that ruling. The Georgia Supreme Court determined there was not a reasonable probability that, but for the limited deficient performance by Spratlin’s trial counsel, the jury at his trial would have reached a different result. The Court therefore reversed the trial court’s order granting Spratlin a new trial. View "Georgia v. Spratlin" on Justia Law