Georgia Appeals Court Reviews Laundry List of Complaints from Cobb County Defendant
Cobb Superior Court convicted a defendant for sexual exploitation of children, aggravated sodomy, child molestation, and cruelty to children in the first degree. She appealed, complaining that the trial court refused her motion in limine to exclude similar issues from her childhood. The defendant took issue with juror misconduct, her attorney, and other acts committed by the trial court, as well.
Georgia’s Court of Appeals reviewed the case and noted that the motion in limine was correctly denied because O.C.G.A. § 24-3-3 still applied at the time of the defendant’s trial. She referenced her own childhood abuse to the victim as she took her to a man’s house. The man sodomized the victim while the defendant witnessed the act. The statute states that comments “accompanying an act, or so nearly connected wherewith in time as to be free from all suspicion of device or afterthought, shall be admissible in evidence.” The Court determined that the defendant’s statements occurred in time closely enough to the act to support the statute.
The Court also explained that the trial court was correct in denying the defense attorney’s objections against the prosecution’s line of questioning. The defense counsel felt that the questions were leading in nature, but the Court showed that each question concluded into a single fact without manipulating the answer. The Court demonstrated that the trial court did not err in denying the defendant’s motion for mistrial based on a juror’s misconduct. The evidence showed that her plight was not swayed by the juror’s behavior.
The trial court allowed the prosecution to play a taped phone call from the defendant while she was in jail to a man who she claimed was her husband. Because no evidence was available to prove the marriage, marital privilege did not protect the conversation, and the Court determined that the trial court was correct in allowing the prosecution to use the call.
The defendant felt that her attorney was distracted and unable to defend her to the best of her ability. The Court showed that the defense counsel’s performance was sufficient despite facing a possible investigation regarding her own alleged criminal conduct.
The Appeals Court struck down each of the defendant’s complaints and supported the trial court’s ruling.