Justia Constitutional Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Georgia

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The Georgia Supreme Court determined the Court of Appeals applied the wrong legal analysis in deciding that the four counts of child molestation of which Akeem Scott was found guilty did not merge. The Supreme Court, therefore, granted Scott’s petition for a writ of certiorari to address that issue, vacated the Court of Appeals’ opinion, and remanded for that court to determine and apply the unit of prosecution for the crime of child molestation in deciding how many convictions and sentences for that crime could be imposed on Scott. View "Scott v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Eddie Robinson was convicted of malice murder and other crimes in connection with the 2005 shooting death of Kenyon Beaty. On appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court, Robinson claimed he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel. After review of his case from the trial court record, however, the Supreme Court affirmed Robinson’s convictions, and found a remand was unwarranted. View "Robinson v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Alvonte Mack appealed after a jury convicted him of malice murder and felony possession of a firearm in connection with the 2014 shooting death of Benjamin Webber. Mack argued on appeal that the trial court erred by admitting a detective’s recorded comments that addressed the ultimate issue in the case and by admitting a third party’s comment to a post on Mack’s Facebook page. He also contended his trial counsel was ineffective: (1) in handling the third party’s comment on the Facebook post; (2) in handling testimony relating to the accidental nature of the shooting; and (3) for failing to object to the State’s closing argument. The Georgia Supreme Court affirmed because the trial court did not err in admitting the detective’s testimony, the admission of the third-party comment was harmless, and to the extent that trial counsel’s performance may have been deficient, it was not prejudicial. View "Mack v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Appellant Jacquez Laquan Worthen appealed his 2014 conviction for felony murder in connection with the shooting death of Robert Lee Parrish, Jr. Worthen argued the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction as a party to the shooting and that the trial court abused its discretion in admitting gang evidence over his objection. Finding no reversible errors, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed. View "Worthen v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Hassan Williams was killed on July 17, 2012. On February 7, 2013, a grand jury jointly indicted Alvin Davis, III, Chaquel Cook, Kimberly Williams, and Kiera Graham for malice murder, felony murder predicated on armed robbery and aggravated assault, armed robbery, aggravated assault, hijacking a motor vehicle, arson in the first degree, and cruelty to children in the first degree for committing the offenses of murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault, and arson in the presence of a child. Davis appealed the trial court’s denial of his motion for a new trial, arguing the evidence was insufficient to convict him on all charges and because he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. The Georgia Supreme Court determined that the evidence was sufficient to authorize a rational jury to find Davis guilty of the crimes for which he was convicted, and that Davis was not denied the effective assistance of counsel, thus affirming the trial court and Davis’ convictions. View "Davis v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Appellant John Blackwell filed a pro se motion for out-of-time appeal approximately four years after the trial court denied a timely motion to withdraw his guilty plea to murder and crimes stemming from the murder. The trial court denied that motion summarily and without holding a hearing. As the Attorney General conceded, the Georgia Supreme Court was compelled to vacate the trial court’s order and remand the case for the trial court to hold a hearing to determine whether Blackwell was entitled to an out-of-time appeal due to the ineffective assistance of his motion-to-withdraw counsel. View "Blackwell v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Rico Orlando Walker was convicted by jury for the 2006 murder of Steven Harley and other crimes. On appeal, he contended he received ineffective assistance of counsel. The Georgia Supreme Court concluded, after review of the trial court record, that Walker made no showing as to how he may have been prejudiced by his trial counsel’s alleged failures. Therefore, the Court affirmed his conviction. View "Walker v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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In 2005, Appellant Calvin Foster shot and killed his estranged wife, Daphne Foster (“Daphne”). He was tried and convicted of malice murder and a firearm offense in 2006, but the Georgia Supreme Court reversed the convictions in Foster v. State, 656 SE2d 838 (2008). In 2009, Appellant was retried and convicted of the same offenses. After long delays in post-trial proceedings, he appealed, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to support his convictions and that the trial court gave inconsistent jury instructions. Finding no reversible error this time, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Foster v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Jamal Foreman was tried by jury and convicted of murder and other crimes in connection with the fatal shooting of Wreno Dantoine Fain. Foreman appealed, arguing the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions, he was denied due process when the State suppressed exculpatory evidence, and that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel when his lawyer failed to adequately investigate and present evidence to support an alternative theory of the crime. Finding no reversible error, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed. View "Foreman v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Betty Jacobs was convicted by jury for the murder of her ex-husband, Davis Jacobs, and possession of a handgun during the commission of a crime. On appeal, she argued she received ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Finding no reversible error, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed. View "Jacobs v. Georgia" on Justia Law