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

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Storytelling: The Why and the How

Posted in Trial Techniques, Uncategorized, Writing

One of my favorite bloggers on trial advocacy is Mark Bennett. Mark has written a series of great posts at Simple Justice, Scott Greenfield’s blog on the topic of opening statements. Mark offers 11 rules for better opening statements. One tip is to limit your opening statement to fifteen minutes. From experience, this is a… Continue Reading

All Jail Visits Should Be Like This

Posted in Uncategorized

Last night, I attended the Griffin Historical Society’s “Drink in History” event at the old Griffin Jail, featuring the fine products of the Jailhouse Brewery. I had spent my entire afternoon at the new Spalding County Courthouse, and this event was in a building that was once the old Spalding County Courthouse, from approximately 1860 unit… Continue Reading

The Weekend Perfection Wasn’t an Obstacle

Posted in Uncategorized

At the beginning of the summer, I signed up for a marathon in Chattanooga. And I spent most of June through August training for it. At about the halfway point in my training (mid-August), school started back. Then I had a fairly slammed schedule of deadlines and work-related things. As a result, I began missing… Continue Reading

Irma Update

Posted in Uncategorized

Our office is structurally fine, but our power is out. It also appears that our phones are out. If you are trying to to reach us today, please email me at skey@millerandkeylaw.com. I am checking email frequently there. Work has not stopped though. I have sought out the friendly dry environs of a coffee shop… Continue Reading

Look at Your Approach and not Just Your Result

Posted in Uncategorized

I spent last Friday and Saturday in a certification class so that I can be an assistant coach on my son’s clay shooting team for the upcoming season. The class consisted of a classroom component and a hands-on component at a local gun club. There, we alternated between shooting at targets and coaching our partner in… Continue Reading

Adding the Appellate Guy

Posted in News, Uncategorized

Robert Mueller recently made a serious move. He brought in an appellate guy. Michael Dreeben has argued 100 cases in the United States Supreme Court and has been with the Solicitor General’s office since 1988. The move indicated, even to the people at Fox News, that things are about to get serious. This investigation now… Continue Reading

Were Briefs Better in the 40s-60s? If So, Why?

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing

Today, I attended a continuing legal education seminar featuring Ross Guberman. Ross is the author of Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation’s Top Advocates. When his book first came out, I briefly reviewed it and interviewed Ross here on the blog. I have enjoyed Ross’s book immensely and have used it as a… Continue Reading

Updates on Cases, Media, Editing

Posted in News, Uncategorized

Today, I had the honor to be interviewed by Celeste Headlee, the host of Georgia Public Broadcasting’s On Second Thought. We talked about the Georgia Supreme Court’s recent set of cases, both criminal and civil. Check out today’s show. Listen to the whole thing of skip to minute 30 for my segment on the cases…. Continue Reading

The Dark Side of Referrals

Posted in Attorney-Client Relationship, Uncategorized

A few days ago, Seth Godin wrot about referrals and their true meaning in a profession. When they work well, a referral comes with it a high degree of trust. When you refer a client to another person, you stake some of your reputation on the person to whom you made the referral. In addition, the person… Continue Reading

Are Conservatives Better than Liberals at Criminal Justice Reform?

Posted in Uncategorized

The Federalist has a piece up positing that Conservatives are outdoing Liberals at criminal justice reform. Until recently, I would not have taken an article like this seriously. I’m now a few weeks into my time as the Legislative Chair of the Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyers. In that time, I’ve watched a groundbreaking new eyewitness… Continue Reading

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