Rockdale Superior Court found a defendant guilty of hijacking a motor vehicle and aggravated assault, but he appealed, contending that the evidence was insufficient in supporting the convictions. The defendant also believed that the trial court charged the jury incorrectly and commented on evidence.
Georgia’s Court of Appeals examined the case, noting the defendant’s objection to eyewitness testimony. He felt that the victims could not have correctly identified him because their encounter with the wrongdoers was short, stressful, and occurred in a dark area, and the victims’ description was “largely limited to race and clothing.” The Court explained that the jury was responsible for deciding on their credibility, and it collectively chose to believe them.
The defendant claimed that the trial court charged the jury incorrectly by explaining that the prosecution did not have “to prove all of the acts listed in each count of the indictment,” but the defendant did not object to this omission during trial. The Court also explained that the jury charge issued by the trial court was suitable.
The defendant also believed that the trial court violated O.C.G.A. § 17-8-57 when it commented during jury instructions. The judge told the jury, “you now have a pretty good idea where things happened,” which the defendant construed as bias toward his case. The Court determined that the trial court showed the jury that the prosecution had the duty of proving venue and elements of each crime.
The Appeals Court concluded that the evidence supported the defendant’s convictions and that the trial court performed adequately.