Court Opinions

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Recent opinions released by Georgia's Appellate courts
DuBose v. State, S16A1299; S16A1300
Supreme Court of Georgia, Criminal Case (9/12/2016, 9/26/2016)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE: Murder, Aggravated Assault, Firearms Offense, Sentencing, Merger, Jury Charges
The modified merger rule, which holds that, when a defendant is found guilty of voluntary manslaughter, he cannot also be convicted of felony murder based on the same underlying acts, was inapplicable, because the felony murder for which the defendant was sentenced was predicated on the unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and the trial court properly sentenced him for felony murder.
Robinson v. State, S16A1274
Supreme Court of Georgia, Criminal Case (9/12/2016, 9/26/2016)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE: Murder, Firearms Offense, Effective Assistance of Counsel
The evidence supported the defendant's convictions for malice murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon after he shot and killed a man who had hit him with a brick, as the evidence showed there was "an interval between the provocation and the killing sufficient for the voice of reason and humanity to be heard."
Ellis v. State, S16A1251
Supreme Court of Georgia, Criminal Case (9/12/2016, 9/26/2016)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE: Murder, Armed Robbery, Statement, Miranda Rights
The trial court did not err in admitting the defendant's statement to police into evidence, even though officers did not specifically re-read the defendant his Miranda rights after he had waived them in a prior interview, because the defendant was properly informed of his Miranda rights in the previous interview, reminded of those rights prior to speaking with law enforcement and freely and voluntarily agreed to waive them thereafter.
Dallow v. Dallow, S16A1210
Supreme Court of Georgia, Civil Case (9/12/2016, 9/26/2016)
FAMILY LAW: Visitation Rights, Modification
There was some evidence to support the trial court's decision modifying the father's visitation rights to require him to arrange visitation with the17-year-old child at times that were mutually agreeable.
Harris v. State, S16A1188
Supreme Court of Georgia, Criminal Case (9/12/2016, 9/26/2016)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE: Murder, Firearms Offense, Evidence Tampering, Jury Charges, Voluntary Manslaughter
There was no evidence that the defendant acted solely as the result of a passion that was "sudden" and "irresistible" when he fatally shot his wife, and the trial court therefore did not err in failing to charge the jury on voluntary manslaughter.
Anderson v. Anderson, S16A1052; S16X1053
Supreme Court of Georgia, Civil Case (9/12/2016, 9/26/2016)
TRUSTS AND ESTATES: Power of Attorney, Estate Assets
Because there was record evidence which, if believed, would establish that the decedent expressly directed his son, as his attorney-in-fact, to use his power of attorney to execute deeds conveying certain real property to the decedent's children six days before his death, there was a genuine issue of disputed fact pertaining to the son's legal authority to execute the deeds, and the trial court erred in granting partial summary judgment to the decedent's widow on her claim to set those deeds aside.
Williams v. State, S16A0965
Supreme Court of Georgia, Criminal Case (9/12/2016, 9/23/2016)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE: Murder, Contributing to the Deprivation of a Minor, Demurrers
The Court concluded that O.C.G.A. § 16-12-1, as it applies to felony contributing to the deprivation or delinquency of a minor, does not qualify as a predicate offense for felony murder.
Bryson v. Jackson, S16A1023
Supreme Court of Georgia, Criminal Case (9/12/2016, 9/23/2016)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE: Habeas Corpus, Effective Assistance of Counsel, Murder
Because the habeas petitioner failed to show that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance, he could not show that he suffered actual prejudice resulting from his appellant counsel's failure to preserve the issue of trial counsel's performance on direct appeal, and the habeas court erred in granting his petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
Gens v. White, S16A1005
Supreme Court of Georgia, Civil Case (9/12/2016, 9/23/2016)
REAL PROPERTY: Quiet Title
The trial court erred in finding that the appellant was equitably estopped from pursuing any claim to the real property at issue.
Leslie v. State, S16A0992
Supreme Court of Georgia, Criminal Case (9/12/2016, 9/23/2016)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE: Murder, Guilty Plea
The trial court properly denied the defendant's "Motion to Void Illegal Sentence," which the trial court properly construed as a motion to withdraw a guilty plea, because the defendant untimely filed it outside the term of court in which he entered his guilty plea.
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