Georgia Criminal Appellate Law Blog Offering Insight and Commentary on Appellate Law and Criminal Trial Practice

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Rhetoric Aside, Most Inmates Have Cell Phones

Posted in Uncategorized

Over at Grits for Breakfast, is a post discussing that, while cell phones are rampant in Texas prisons, there are few prosecutions. The writer references a comprehensive story about the number of cell phones seized in Texas versus few actual prosecutions for those offenses. The Texas Tribune reports: Prison officials said one challenge was linking the… Continue Reading

Harvard Medical Professor would Take Firing Squad over Lethal Injection

Posted in News, Uncategorized

A professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School told the Washington Post that “Given these recurring problems with lethal injections, if I had to be executed, I would choose a firing squad.” That article and one in the ABA Journal details the problems with supply of lethal injection drugs throughout the nation.

Using the Ga. Supreme Court’s Website to Prepare for Argument / Stay Current on the Law

Posted in Supreme Court of Georgia, Uncategorized

Yesterday, I assisted with an oral argument at the Supreme Court of Georgia. I was on the 2pm calendar (The Court usually sits in two sessions). As I often do when I have an afternoon calendar, I watched the 10am session online. I’ve written before about the value of watching other cases  on the calendar… Continue Reading

How These Cases Can Start

Posted in Uncategorized

Earlier this week, I had a court appearance in Camden County, Georgia. Camden County is as far South as you can go on I-95 in Georgia without being in the Jacksonville, Florida, area. We have family close to there. So, I took my four-year-old son with me for a little time with his grandparents while… Continue Reading

New Field Sobriety/Miranda Case Important at Several Levels

Posted in Georgia Court of Appeals, Opinions and Analysis, Uncategorized

The Court of Appeals, with a panel made up of Judges Dillard, Ellington, and Phipps, has reversed an order granting a motion to suppress from the State Court of Fayette County. I write about this case because it further develops the law in the area of Miranda and field sobriety testing and because it illustrates… Continue Reading

My Controversial Talk on Typography (No Kidding)

Posted in Georgia Court of Appeals, Supreme Court of Georgia, Uncategorized, Writing

If you read this blog regularly, it is no secret that I am a recent convert and evangelist for Matthew Butterick’s Typography for Lawyers. I have a long way to go in my legal writing before I reach a point of mastery, but I am happy to be paying attention. One of the chairs for… Continue Reading

SCOTUS Requires Effective Assistance at Plea Bargain Stage: Absurd?

Posted in Opinions and Analysis, Uncategorized

Today, the Supreme Court released two opinions that define standards for defense lawyers during criminal plea bargains. First, in Lafler v. Cooper, No. 10-209, 566 U.S. ___ (2012), recall that Cooper was charged with assault with intent to murder and possession of a firearm. Cooper rejected a plea bargain after his attorney (wrongly) informed him… Continue Reading

Erroneous Verdict Form = New Trial

Posted in Opinions and Analysis, Supreme Court of Georgia, Uncategorized

On Tuesday, the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a Fulton man’s convictions would be reversed due to an improperly worded verdict form. Cheddersingh v. State, S11A1929. In 2008, Soniel Cheddersingh was convicted of malice murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and possession of firearm by… Continue Reading

My Reply to the Circuit Public Defender

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship, News, Opinions and Analysis, Uncategorized

To catch you up to speed, I recently blogged about GPDSC’s recent argument to the Supreme Court of Georgia that public defenders should have the right to represent clients in the same circuit public defender’s office even when there is a conflict in the representation. Mr. Samuel Merritt, a Circuit Public Defender disagreed. I posted… Continue Reading

Judges at Appellate Practice Section Luncheon Laud New Governor’s Support of Judiciary

Posted in News, Uncategorized

The Appellate Practice Section of the State Bar of Georgia convened as part of the Georgia Bar’s mid-year meeting. In spite of the fact that many participants came over from the swearing-in of Judge Boggs to the Court of Appeals, the luncheon was lively and well-attended. Originally intended to be a candidates’s forum for candidates… Continue Reading

Amanda Knox, the Appeals Process, and Moneyball

Posted in News, Opinions and Analysis, Preservation of Error, Uncategorized

Today, my recent post on Amanda Knox was quoted by Ronald V. Miller in his Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog. He picks up on my point about the Knox case and other high-profile cases with an unexpected result. For clients and potential clients, such cases reinforce the often mistaken idea that, if you keep on slugging until… Continue Reading

When Judges Tell Juries About Appeals

Posted in Opinions and Analysis, Uncategorized

There’s an old bright line rule about whether judges should mention the appellate process to juries. The subtext is that you shouldn’t do it at all. The literal rule is that you shouldn’t do it in a way suggesting that the defendant is going to lose the trial. The Supreme Court recently reaffirmed on old… Continue Reading

Granted Petitions on Criminal Cases for the Month of September

Posted in News, Opinions and Analysis, Supreme Court of Georgia, Uncategorized

The Supreme Court has granted two petitions for certiorari and one application for discretionary appeal so far this month. Below is an overview of each case Bunn v. State In its Order granting Cert., from September 6, 2011, the Court notes that it is particularly concerned with the following issue: Does the Child Hearsay Statute… Continue Reading

What Do Appellate Lawyers Do

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship, Uncategorized

Leave this blog right now and run, don’t walk, over to the Appellate Record and read Kendall Gray’s blog post on what distinguishes appellate lawyers from trial lawyers. A presentation he gave to visitors to his firm from China inspired this post. It provides the simplest explanation of the key differences between the two types… Continue Reading

Two New Cases Warn Lawyers to Tend to the Record on Appeal

Posted in Record on Appeal, Uncategorized

Two recent cases from the Court of Appeals demonstrate the need to put the appellate record together in a reasonable time period, the need to respond to post-trial motion regarding the record with the statutory time frame, and to be vigilant that the record stays together as the case moves its way through the court… Continue Reading

New UGA Law Review Article Takes Georgia to Task for the Way We Handle IAC Claims

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship, Motion for New Trial, News, Opinions and Analysis, Uncategorized

I returned from vacation pleased to find in my in basket at the office a copy of Ryan C. Tuck’s article from the Georgia Law Review on the confusing state of the law as it relates to ineffective assistance of counsel in Georgia. The article is titled “Ineffective-Assistance-of-Counsel Blues: Navigating the Muddy Waters of Georgia… Continue Reading

Video Arraignments are a Step in the Right Direction

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship, Motion for New Trial, Oral Argument, State Habeas Corpus, Supreme Court of Georgia, Uncategorized

Above the Law has a good recent post on the use of video arraignments and how judges find that the process makes them feel safer. I don’t know whether video Arraignments make the process any safer or not. But the process certainly makes the process more efficient. In fact, many of the rituals of court… Continue Reading

Lessons I Learned from This Month’s Appellate Losses

Posted in Georgia Court of Appeals, Supreme Court of Georgia, Uncategorized

It’s been a bad month for my most recent crop of Supreme Court cases, both in terms of cases where I represent the party and in cases where I am amicus counsel. But I try to learn from them all. And here’s my takeaway from the month. To have and cite a case is not… Continue Reading

Author of study of Georgia criminal justice system has died

Posted in Uncategorized

Alyson Palmer at the Fulton Daily Report has noted the passing of David C. Baldus. Mr. Baldus authored a study in 1986 showing that, in 2,000 murder cases in Georgia in the 1970s, defendants accused of killing white victims were more than four times as likely than defendants accused of killing black victims. That study… Continue Reading

Judge Christopher McFadden Offers Advice on Requesting Oral Argument

Posted in Oral Argument, Uncategorized

How do you make the most compelling possible case for oral argument in the Georgia Court if Appeals? According to Judge Christopher McFadden, it is important to draft a self-contained request that summarizes the key issues in the case. It is important also to explain exactly how argument will assist the court under the unique… Continue Reading

Georgia JQC Sweeps Another Judge’s Conduct Under the Rug

Posted in Uncategorized

It appears that the best place in the State to skirt the edge of the law is the judicial chambers of a Georgia court. If your crime catches the attention of the Judicial Qualification Commission and they investigate first, then you might lose your job. But that’s about it. Brian K. Finnicum, the Editor of… Continue Reading