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

Monthly Archives: July 2010

A Very Disturbing Appellate Sanction Story

Posted in News, Writing

Jay O’Keeffe, in his blog reports that he is bothered by a recent development involving a lawyer who has been summoned to show cause and explain comments he made in a lower court transcript about the Virginia Supreme Court. Bothered is a mild way to describe my reaction to the story. Put more accurately, I… Continue Reading

Ceremony for Clerk of Georgia Court of Appeals Offers Glimpse into Political Climate

Posted in Georgia Court of Appeals, News

These have been difficult days for the judiciary and for the Court of Appeals in particular. There are three openings on the Court and two branches of government that seem to view the court system as an inconvenient hurdle standing in the way of law enforcement. Add to the mix the fact that yesterday was… Continue Reading

Appeals Law is Often About Turning Down Cases

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship

In the past week, I sat down with two potential clients and their families to discuss taking an appeal. I thought one case was “winnable,” and one I thought was not. I put “winnable” in quotation marks because defining a win in appeals law is difficult. In one case , the prospective client recently entered… Continue Reading

Atlanta Mayor’s Office Supplies Budgeted More Money than Public Defender

Posted in News

Donovan X. Ramsey at The Public Square, a Blog on Atlanta Politics and News, reports that the City of Atlanta’s Public Defender’s Office receives less money for indigent defense than the Atlanta Mayor’s Office receives for office supplies.  The Atlanta PD’s office is allocated about $1.1 million dollars for use in defending a projected 16,500 cases… Continue Reading

Client Autonomy on the Front Lines as a Georgia Appeals Lawyer

Posted in News, Opinions and Analysis

From Bob Mabry at his blog, Courts and Writing, I learned about an article by University of Georgia law professor Erica J Hashimoto in the latest issue of the Boston University Law Review. According to Professor Hashimoto, the criminal client should have a complete right to represent himself at trial and on appeal. Also, when… Continue Reading

A Key to Success on Georgia Appeals is to Really Know Your Audience

Posted in Oral Argument, Supreme Court of Georgia, Writing

When I succeed in my brief writing or at oral argument (I measure success by writing a good brief and by fluid conversational delivery at argument — not necessarily by result), it is because I stop to think about my audience. More particularly, I remember that my audience includes a set of staff attorneys and… Continue Reading

11th Circuit: Lawsuit Against Clayton County, GA DA Can Move Forward

Posted in 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, News

Bill Rankin at the AJC reports that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a Federal District Court’s dismissal against former Clayton County District Attorney for an alleged violation of his First Amendment right to Free Speech. This is the latest chapter in what was a debacle of a tenure for. Mrs. Scott as… Continue Reading

Honorable Debra Bernes Dies at 54

Posted in Georgia Court of Appeals, News

The Honorable Debra Bernes has died of cancer at the age of 54. Bill Rankin at the Atlanta Journal Constitution has posted an article on her passing and her career. Judge Bernes will be remembered for many things including her illustrious, albeit too short career on the Georgia Court of Appeals. Before beginning her service on the Georgia… Continue Reading

A New Approach to Felony Murder and a New Template to Attack Precedent in Georgia

Posted in Opinions and Analysis, Supreme Court of Georgia

There are two big stories in the Georgia Supreme Court’s decision in Jackson v. State. The first is that the rule of causation for felony murder that had been in place for thirty years has been changed. The second is that the majority has provided a framework for any appellant to use in future cases… Continue Reading

Timing Problems for Getting Retained on Georgia Appeals

Posted in Preservation of Error, Writing

One of the problems with appellate law is that clients either show up too late or early. Some clients show up too late and too early. Too late is after the trial attorney has screwed things up, after a deadline has passed, or after the client took things into his own hands and dabbled in… Continue Reading

AJC and Politifact Rate Georgia Attorney General Campaign Ad False

Posted in News

Rob Teilhet’s controversial ad has made state and national news. According to the AJC and PolitiFact, the ad is “false.”  In an interview with done by Andy Peters with the Fulton Daily Report, Mr. Teilhet claims that he is more experienced than candidate Ken Hodges on the issues that matter most to being Attorney General…. Continue Reading

Hames Case From Ga. Supreme Court Haunts Original Lawyer

Posted in State Habeas Corpus, Supreme Court of Georgia

The Walton County Examiner features an interview with Anthony Carter, Joshua Hames’s original lawyer. Mr. Hames just had his conviction for felony murder related to a hunting accident over seven years ago, reversed on appeal In that interview, Mr. Carter explains that the case still haunts him and that he followed it after he was… Continue Reading

Hodges: Rival Attorney General Candidate is Sleazy

Posted in News

As I predicted a few days ago, the Attorney General race has made a decidedly ugly turn. Mr. Hodges has responded with an attack ad of his own, referring to the fact that a newspaper (check out the source: it’s Creative Loafing, available on the news-stand outside your local head shop or artsy pizza joint)… Continue Reading

Supreme Court of Georgia Changes Approach to Sentencing After Appeal

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

 In Adams v. State.pdf, the Supreme Court of Georgia held that it is appropriate for a sentencing judge, after a reversal for judicial error, to impose a greater sentence on an individual count as long as the sentence in the aggregate is not increased. The dissent, consisting of three justices, reasons that the Court’s holding… Continue Reading

Superior Court Judge Says Georgia Indigent Defense is Broken

Posted in News

Before today, I had never seen an Order styled “Court’s Analysis of Indigent Defense System.” Judge J. David Roper of Richmond County, Georgia entered this document into the record on the same day that he entered a consent order involving a suit between the Southern Center for Human Rights and the Georgia Public Defender Standards… Continue Reading

Passing of Former Chief Justice of Georgia Supreme Court

Posted in Supreme Court of Georgia

The Atlanta Journal and Constitution reports that Harold Nelson Hill, Jr., former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice, passed away at his lake home on July 5. Senior U.S. District Court Judge Willis Hunt called him “a stellar member of the Supreme Court.” Justice Hill began serving on the Supreme Court in 1975 and served as… Continue Reading

Campaign for Georgia’s Attorney General Taking Ugly Turn

Posted in News

The Huffington Post reports that Rob Teilhet, a democratic candidate running for Georgia state attorney general is about to unroll a controversial ad accusing his primary opponent and elected district attorney from Albany, Georgia, that allowed a police officer to go free for the murder of Kenneth Walker. The ad features Mr. Walker’s mother narrating… Continue Reading

Grand Jury Investigation Questions Georgia Court Reporter Fees

Posted in News, Record on Appeal

The Atlanta Journal reports that a Cobb County, Georgia, grand jury has serious concerns about the fact that court reporters in that county earn a salary and also charge the county and private attorneys highway robbery fees to produce transcripts. The article evokes all sorts of thoughts for me about the frustrations that accompany getting… Continue Reading

Jamie Weis Appeal Puts Georgia’s Criminal Justice System on Trial

Posted in Opinions and Analysis, Supreme Court of Georgia

Adam Liptak’s recent editorial in the New York Times will provide comfort for those of us who have watched the legislature and governor gut indigent defense in Georgia and attack the judiciary systematically. At the same time, it is a little embarrassing to read about the system that I love so much and wonder what… Continue Reading