Court Opinions

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Recent opinions released by Georgia's Appellate courts
McLeod v. Clements, S14G1225
Supreme Court of Georgia, Civil Case (6/29/2015, 7/6/2015)
REAL PROPERTY: Covenant Appurtenant, Chain of Title
The Court affirmed the trial court's grant of partial summary judgment in a dispute over the appellant's entitlement to water from a well on the appellee's land at no cost pursuant to a purported covenant running with the land, as the appellee had no actual or constructive knowledge of a 1971 water agreement.
Stone v. Stone, S15F0064
Supreme Court of Georgia, Civil Case (6/29/2015, 7/6/2015)
FAMILY LAW: Child Custody, Divorce
The trial court erred in awarding joint legal custody of the child to the father and the maternal grandmother, as Georgia statutory law supports joint custody arrangements only between parents.
Phillips v. Harmon, S14G1868; S14G1893; S14G1895
Supreme Court of Georgia, Civil Case (6/29/2015, 7/6/2015)
TORTS: Medical Malpractice, Negligence
The medical malpractice plaintiffs were entitled to a new trial following a verdict in favor of the hospital defendants, because the trial court responded to a note from the jury during deliberations regarding their inability to reach a verdict without ever advising the parties or their counsel that the communication had taken place.
State v. Springer, S14G1539
Supreme Court of Georgia, Criminal Case (6/29/2015, 7/6/2015)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE: Mutually Exclusive Verdicts, Involuntary Manslaughter, Aggravated Assault, Intent
The Court overruled Jackson v. State and its progeny in holding that the defendant's convictions for aggravated assault and involuntary manslaughter based on reckless conduct were not mutually exclusive.
Bharadia v. State, S14G1149
Supreme Court of Georgia, Criminal Case (6/29/2015, 7/2/2015)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE: Extraordinary Motion for New Trial, Burglary, Aggravated Sodomy, Aggravated Sexual Battery
The trial court properly denied the defendant's extraordinary motion for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence, since he failed to show the essential requirement that the delay in obtaining the DNA identification evidence from gloves used during the crimes was not caused by a lack of due diligence.
Dailey v. State, S15A0587
Supreme Court of Georgia, Criminal Case (6/29/2015, 7/2/2015)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE: Murder, Jury Charges
The trial judge's comments to defense counsel in the jury's presence, although unnecessary, in no way constituted the type of direct comment on the substance or weight of the evidence that runs afoul of O.C.G.A. § 17-8-57.
Pena v. State, S15A0430
Supreme Court of Georgia, Criminal Case (6/29/2015, 7/2/2015)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE: Murder, Statement, Self-Defense, Jury Charges, Battered Person Syndrome, Jury Selection, Effective Assistance of Counsel
The evidence supported the defendant's convictions for malice murder and related crimes, as the jury was entitled to reject his self-defense claim.
Fleming v. State, S14G1811
Supreme Court of Georgia, Criminal Case (6/29/2015, 7/2/2015)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE: Drug Program, Plea Bargain, Sentencing
The defendant was not entitled to sentence credit for time she spent in a drug court program before she was terminated from the program for failure to comply with its terms, conditions and rules.
Eshleman v. Key, S14G1173
Supreme Court of Georgia, Civil Case (6/29/2015, 7/2/2015)
TORTS: Dog Bite, Negligence, Immunity
The defendant police officer/canine handler was entitled to official immunity in the plaintiff's negligence action after the officer's assigned canine escaped from a kennel at her home and attacked a child.
Morris v. State, S15A0488
Supreme Court of Georgia, Criminal Case (6/29/2015, 7/1/2015)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE: Murder, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Firearms Offense, Recidivist
The trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to allow trial counsel to stipulate to the defendant's status as a convicted felon, since the defendant's prior convictions for aggravated assault and interference with government property were not of a "nature likely to inflame the passions of the jury," and the only evidence presented about the prior convictions was certified copies of the final dispositions.
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