Paulding Superior Court convicted a man of aggravated assault and armed robbery stemming from an encounter in a convenience store during which the defendant demanded money from a clerk at gunpoint. Videotape taken from the store’s surveillance camera and used as evidence by the prosecution shows the robber wearing a motorcycle helmet and distinctive clothing. Two days prior, a similarly clothed man robbed a different convenience store that was also captured on surveillance tape. A week after the robbery for which he’s being convicted, the defendant is caught on police dashboard camera being arrested for loitering behind another store, also wearing the same outfit.
Prosecution introduced photographs taken from both stores’ surveillance footage and showed the dashboard camera video. The defendant appealed his convictions because he claimed that the state did not adhere to the best evidence rule, which ensures that original documents are the preferred evidence. Georgia’s Court of Appeals explained that the prosecution entered the original videotapes into evidence and the photos taken from the videotapes do not counter the best evidence rule.
The defendant also claimed that the trial court erroneously allowed the cashier from the third encounter to testify. The cashier explained that a customer alerted him to the defendant’s presence, and the defendant assumed that the customer’s comments should be construed as hearsay. The Appeals Court determined that the clerk’s testimony served as his reason for calling the police rather than the potential hearsay of customer comments.
Aside from what he felt were trial court mistakes, the defendant also believed that his counsel was ineffective. He claimed that counsel failed to provide the prosecution with “timely notice of an alibi defense” and did not request specific jury charges. The Court determined that his defense counsel performed adequately and that the defendant was unable to prove otherwise.
The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s decision and affirmed the defendant’s aggravated assault and armed robbery convictions.