Court Opinions

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Recent opinions released by Georgia's Appellate courts
Marquez v. State, S15A1459
Supreme Court of Georgia, Criminal Case (2/8/2016, 2/11/2016)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE: Murder, Firearms Offense, Severance
The defendant failed to show that the trial court abused its discretion in denying his motion to sever his murder trial from that of his co-defendant.
Otis v. State, S15A1717
Supreme Court of Georgia, Criminal Case (2/8/2016, 2/11/2016)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE: Double Jeopardy, Mistrial, Murder, Insanity
Double jeopardy barred retrial after the trial court erroneously sua sponte declared a mistrial when the murder defendant failed to provide notice before trial of his intent to present evidence of mental illness solely through lay witnesses.
Tarpley v. State, S15A1457
Supreme Court of Georgia, Criminal Case (2/8/2016, 2/11/2016)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE: Murder, Voluntary Manslaughter, Justification, Jury Charges, Discovery, Effective Assistance of Counsel
The trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to allow the defendant to introduce evidence of the victim's prior acts of violence, as the defendant failed to establish a prima facie case of justification.
Scudder v. State, S15A1312
Supreme Court of Georgia, Criminal Case (2/8/2016, 2/11/2016)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE: Murder, Firearms Offense, Sentencing, Merger, Right to Be Present at Trial, Jury Charges, Effective Assistance of Counsel
The trial court erroneously concluded that the defendant's convictions on two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony merged with the other crimes for which he was sentenced, since the unlawful possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime is a crime distinct from the predicate felony.
State v. Andrade, S15G0866
Supreme Court of Georgia, Criminal Case (2/8/2016, 2/10/2016)
APPEALS: Dismissal, State's Appeal, Notice of Appeal, Jurisdiction
The State timely filed its appeal from the trial court's order granting the defendant's motion to suppress his incriminating statements to law enforcement within 30 days of the entry of the order pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 5-7-1 subsection (a) (4).
In the Matter of Robert B. Eddleman, S16Y0125
Supreme Court of Georgia, Civil Case (2/8/2016, 2/10/2016)
LEGAL PROFESSION: Public Reprimand, Attorney-Client Relationship, Conflict of Interest, Fee Dispute, Professionalism
A divided Supreme Court accepted an attorney's petition for voluntary discipline and imposed a public reprimand for his admitted violations of Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct 1.7 and 5.3.
In the Matter of Stephen B. Taylor, S15Y1766; S15Y1767
Supreme Court of Georgia, Civil Case (2/8/2016, 2/10/2016)
LEGAL PROFESSION: Disbarment
The Supreme Court disbarred an attorney for his violations of Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4, 1.16 and 9.3 arising from his abandonment of two clients' criminal matters.
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.
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