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

Monthly Archives: August 2010

How to Lose Your Appeal: Ignore the Court’s Rules / Make the Court Find Your Argument

Posted in Opinions and Analysis, Writing

It’s one thing to get practice tips from judges at a seminar or in a bar publication. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Yvette Miller has some tips in appellate advocacy in this Month’s Georgia Bar Journal (PDF page 28 – worth the wait for it to download). It’s quite another thing to get advocacy advice… Continue Reading

11th Circuit Reverses Conviction on Failure to Charge on Reliance on Advice

Posted in 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, Opinions and Analysis, Preservation of Error

Professor Ellen S. Podgor reports in her White Collar Criminal Prof Blog that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed several convictions in Kottwitz.pdf because of a trial court’s failure to charge the jury on the defendants’s good faith reliance upon an accountant’s advice. The Court has also held that, regardless of the strength… 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

E-filing in the Georgia Court of Appeals versus the Supreme Court

Posted in Georgia Court of Appeals, Supreme Court of Georgia

I have been E-filing in the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Georgia Supreme Court since both courts started offering it. I can’t tell you enough about how great it is to be able to upload a pdf rather than do all of the other archaic stuff that is involved in paper filing a brief…. Continue Reading

Georgia Court of Appeals to Tack on “Convenience Fee” for E-filing

Posted in Georgia Court of Appeals, News

Yesterday, I E-filed two briefs in the Georgia Court of Appeals. At the log in screen I was greeted by a message from the clerk’s office indicating that they are going to tack on a $15.00 “convenience fee” for every case you e-file in the Georgia Court of Appeals, effective September 6. The explanation offered… Continue Reading

It Isn’t Done Until You Have Communicated in Georgia Appeals and Habeas Cases

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship

Scott Greenfield wrote a good story a few days ago in his blog, Simple Justice. I say “good” in the sense that it made me evaluate the part of practicing law where it can be easiest to drop the ball.  In the post, he tells the story of a call he received from the relative… Continue Reading

GPDSC is Getting a Lawyer to Investigate Itself

Posted in News

R. Robin McDonald is on a roll. She reports in the Fulton Daily Report’s ATLAW Blog that The Georgia Public Defender Standards Council has retained the previous president of the State Bar of Georgia “to investigate whether an affair between former Griffin Superior Court Judge Paschal English and Kim Cornwell, a Griffin Circuit public defender,… Continue Reading

Second Song About People Who Need an Appeals Lawyer

Posted in News

Last week’s song was about a guy moments away from the ultimate penalty. This week’s song is about a man with some interesting multi-jurisdictional issues whose central crime is “borrowing” a car. But he also awaits trial in California, it appears. No appeal here, necessarily, but perhaps it might be good to work out some… Continue Reading

21 Judges Disciplined by Georgia’s Star Chamber, the JQC

Posted in News

Robin McDonald’s article poses the question of why the Georgia’s Judicial Qualifications Commission has zapped so many judges this year. The simple answer is that they deserved it. But, read a little more, and the story is pretty disturbing.  While the commission has taken out some judges who had it coming, I can’t say that… Continue Reading

CLE Opportunities for Criminal Appeals and Habeas Lawyers in Georgia

Posted in News

There are some great CLEs coming up in the next few weeks and months for lawyers who do trial, appellate, or habeas practice. They range from the National to the local, but all of them will have something to offer. NACDL’s Free Seminar on Padilla v. Kentucky. The Seminar is Titled “Padilla in Practice: Your… Continue Reading

Managing Motions for Mistrial in Georgia to Preserve Them for Appeal

Posted in Preservation of Error, Record on Appeal

So, I just got finished reading a transcript on a case I am appealing. Halfway through the trial, a witness for the State said something highly improper. Counsel moved for a mistrial. These moments in the reading of a transcript are a little like watching a really close college football game, because I am pulling… Continue Reading

Kemp Investigating Qualifications of Georgia Court of Appeals Candidate

Posted in Georgia Court of Appeals, News

According to a post by Alyson Palmer at ATLAW Blog, the Secretary of State’s Office is picking up where Atlanta Lawyer Justin Chaney left off. A month ago, Mr. Chaney challenged Adrienne Hunter-Strothers’s candidacy arguing that she had not been a member of the State Bar of Georgia long enough to be a candidate for… Continue Reading

Sheepish or Sarcastic: It all Looks the Same on the Record

Posted in Preservation of Error

Picking up on yesterday’s theme, I have been thinking more about why lawyers don’t make good records on appeal. So, I’m going to take a stab at it, and this stab is applicable to criminal trials only. As far as I know, civil practitioners have their own reasons for not preserving a good record for… Continue Reading

How to Make the Transcript More Fun to Read

Posted in Preservation of Error

The average trial transcript handled by the average criminal trial attorney is a sad sight to behold. All of my client’s hopes turn on what is said in this document and often, I am sad to say, on what is not said in this document. There is one word that makes the difference between dead… Continue Reading

Weekend Music About People who Need a Criminal Appellate Lawyer

Posted in Supreme Court of Georgia

Music is replete with songs about people who had some bad stuff happen to them at their trial and who need an appellate lawyer. So, I am kicking off a weekly series featuring songs about people who need a good criminal appeals or habeas lawyer. To kick things off, let’s listen to Steve Earle from… Continue Reading

What to Do if You’re Not the First Lawyer on the Case

Posted in Motion for New Trial, Preservation of Error

Another lawyer contacted me about a case she is working on. She wasn’t the trial counsel. She wasn’t the lawyer on the motion for new trial. In fact, one lawyer handled the trial. A second lawyer handled the motion for new trial. She was hired after the motion for new trial was denied but just… Continue Reading

Georgia Judicial News: Judges Gone Wild Edition

Posted in News, Preservation of Error

I don’t want to bury the lead. So, here it is. There must be enough error out there in Georgia to win a slew of appeals. Georgia judges must be messing up on hearsay, the Fourth Amendment, and jury charges. All those things are hard. Many of them, so far this year, are messing up… Continue Reading

Preserve the Record Alert: Felon in Possession Statutes are Low-Hanging Fruit

Posted in News, Opinions and Analysis, Preservation of Error

Douglas A. Berman, Professor at Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University reports at his blog, Sentencing Law and Policy, that the Seventh Circuit has suggested that a non-violent felon might prevail on a Second Amendment challenge if he brings an as-applied challenge to the Federal Felon in Possession statute (18 U.S.C. Section 922(g)(1)))…. Continue Reading

Use Good Story Technique in your Next Appellate Brief

Posted in Writing

Who doesn’t like a good story? We start liking them before we know how to read. Trial lawyers generally know that juries like them. But what about appellate writing? Is there a place for story in the appellate brief or at oral argument?There is, and if you start weaving elements of story into your appellate… Continue Reading

Republican Run-Off for Georgia Attorney General Devolves into Dealth Penalty Smackdown

Posted in News

I’ve been talking about the Democratic side of the Attorney General election for too long. But what about the Republic side? Georgia is such a red state, that the Democratic ticket is largely irrelevant anyway. Meanwhile, the Republicans are in a run-off. And, as Republicans are apt to do when they square off, the candidates… Continue Reading

Good Appellate Writing is Not Stuffy or Formalistic

Posted in Writing

I love Kendall Gray’s piece on Brevity and the use of conjunctions to start sentences. I, too, learned never to begin a sentence with But or And. It seemed like good advice at the time. But now I have learned that it is not a law of physics.  He quotes Professor Wayne Scheiss, who presented… Continue Reading

Are Law Review Articles Relevant in Georgia or 11th Circuit Appellate Decisions?

Posted in Writing

Kirk Jenkins, at The Appellate Strategist Blog, poses an interesting question. Does Legal Scholarship Have an Impact on the Work of the Courts? The ABA and some judges say no, and a recent study says yes. Mr. Jenkins quotes United States Chief Justice John Roberts who recently characterized legal scholarship as not “particularly helpful” in… Continue Reading

U.S. v. Irey: The Return of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines in the 11th Circuit

Posted in 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, News, Opinions and Analysis

There is a moment in most great horror movies where the evil presence/bad guy/ghost/homicidal maniac takes out a character who has it coming. For a moment, the audience applauds the wicked antagonist. Think of Jason from Friday the 13th taking out a weaselly teen or the scene in Jurassic Park where the velociraptors eat Dennis… Continue Reading