A defendant filed a motion for a new trial after being convicted of malice murder because he felt that Fulton Superior Court did not instruct the jury properly. The defendant requested in writing that the jury understand that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s actions were not justified. The defendant predicated his case on a justification defense after the shooting death of a man involved in a physical altercation with his brother.
Georgia’s Supreme Court examined the case, noting the State’s argument that the outcome would not have been affected by the jury charge because the evidence was not believable. The Court disagreed, determined that the evidence was credible, and pointed out that justification was the lynchpin for the defendant’s case and necessary in the jury charge. The Supreme Court supported the trial court’s decision in allowing the defendant’s motion for a new trial because of its failure to instruct the jury properly.