Court Opinions

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Recent opinions released by Georgia's Appellate courts
In the Interest of C. M. B., A15A2070
Georgia Court of Appeals, Criminal Case (1/11/2016, 2/9/2016)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE: Juveniles, Delinquency Petition
In an issue of first impression under the new Juvenile Code, the Court considered how to calculate the 72-hour period under O.C.G.A. § 15-11-521 subsection (a) during which the State must file a delinquency petition following a detention hearing, and concluded that the first day when the juvenile court signed the detention order does not count toward the calculation and intervening Saturdays and Sundays do not count toward the calculation.
Plantation Pipe Line Co. v. Stonewall Ins. Co., A15A1359
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (11/20/2015, 2/9/2016)
INSURANCE LAW: Notice of Claim, Coverage
Although the trial court properly found that the insured failed to comply with a notice provision in the excess liability insurance policy, such failure did not negate coverage under that policy because the policy did not expressly stipulate that compliance with the notice provision was a condition precedent to coverage and the insurer failed to show that as a matter of law it was prejudiced by the insured's failure to provide reasonably prompt notice.
Springer v. State, A14A0598
Georgia Court of Appeals, Criminal Case (1/12/2016, 2/9/2016)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE: Mutually Exclusive Verdicts, Involuntary Manslaughter, Aggravated Assault, Firearms Offense, Lesser Included Offense, Intent, Jury Charges
Where the evidence authorizes a finding that a defendant's reckless conduct is an included crime in an aggravated assault, verdicts finding him guilty of both of those offenses are not mutually exclusive.
Phillips v. Harmon, A14A0188
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (12/17/2015, 2/9/2016)
TORTS: Medical Malpractice, Negligence
The duty to preserve relevant evidence arises when litigation is reasonably foreseeable to the party in control of the evidence.
Olvera v. University Sys. of GA's Bd. of Regents, S15G1130
Supreme Court of Georgia, Civil Case (2/1/2016, 2/8/2016)
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: Sovereign Immunity
Sovereign immunity barred the declaratory judgment action filed by non-U.S. citizen college students, who were beneficiaries of the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and sought a declaration that they were entitled to in-state tuition at institutions in the University System of Georgia.
Barrow v. Mikell, S15G1168
Supreme Court of Georgia, Civil Case (2/1/2016, 2/8/2016)
APPEALS: Timeliness
The appellant filed a timely petition for judicial review of the denial of his application for a new driver's license after his license was canceled.
GeorgiaCarry.Org Inc. v. James, S15A1901
Supreme Court of Georgia, Civil Case (2/1/2016, 2/8/2016)
JUDGES: Mandamus, Recusal
Because one appellant's claim for costs and attorney fees in a mandamus action was moot and the other appellant lacked standing, it was incumbent upon the trial court to dismiss their claims, and the Supreme Court therefore remanded the case to the trial court with direction that it vacate the grant of summary judgment to the appellee and enter an order of dismissal.
Smith v. State, S15A1705
Supreme Court of Georgia, Criminal Case (2/1/2016, 2/8/2016)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE: Murder, Armed Robbery, Firearms Offense, Sentencing, Merger, Right to Be Present at Trial, Effective Assistance of Counsel
Although the defendant had the right to be present during the discussion that led to a prospective juror's removal for cause, he acquiesced in the juror's removal in his absence, as he was present in the courtroom on four later occasions when the juror's removal was expressly noted but he raised no question or concern about her removal.
Seabolt v. Norris, S15A1692
Supreme Court of Georgia, Criminal Case (2/1/2016, 2/5/2016)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE: Habeas Corpus, Effective Assistance of Counsel, Murder, Aggravated Assault, Firearms Offense
The habeas court erred in ruling that the petitioner's appellate counsel was ineffective in failing to argue that the trial judge improperly limited trial counsel's closing argument to one hour and in ruling that appellate counsel would have succeeded on a claim that trial counsel was ineffective in failing to object to alleged comments about the petitioner's right to remain silent; however, the habeas court properly found that appellate counsel was ineffective in failing to argue that the trial court erred in not charging the jury on involuntary manslaughter as a lesser included offense of malice murder.
White v. State, S15A1826
Supreme Court of Georgia, Criminal Case (2/1/2016, 2/5/2016)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE: Murder, Firearms Offense, Party to Crime, Effective Assistance of Counsel
Evidence that the defendant drove the shooter by the crime scene twice, slowed down while the shooter fired shots into a crowd and then sped off was sufficient to authorize the jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was a party to the crimes.
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