Georgia Criminal Appellate Law Blog

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I don’t know that I’m a serious meditator. I’d confidently call myself a dabbler in meditation who is hopeful to be more than that one day. I’ve experimented with various apps to assist me. And I give you this brief report from the field. Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t relate this back to the broader subject of appellate practice. If you’re a lawyer, I commend to you a meditation practice. It will help you…
It’s not an easy gig to be a ref. And it gets harder every day. That is the thesis of “Ref, You Suck!” an episode in Michael Lewis’s new podcast series, Against the Rules. The episode explores a set of dilemmas, summarized in a perfect tagline courtesy of Lewis’s child: “Don’t pick sides, unless it’s my side.” We want an arena, a boardroom, a market, and a courtroom that is fair. That’s all well and…
It may be that putting pen to paper is the perfect way to compose first drafts. Tim Ferriss’s interview with Neil Gaiman has made me rethink my approach to drafting briefs and motions. Neil Gaiman is my favorite fiction author. And I loved much of his approach to writing, from the habits he uses to stay focused to his craft of putting pen to paper. Not until I listened to the podcast did I know…
On the subject of peak competitive performance, I heard pretty much the same advice from two very different places this week — a seasoned appellate lawyer in one venue and a seasoned athlete in another. This semester, I’m teaching Georgia Appellate Practice and Procedure with Chief Judge Stephen Dillard of the Georgia Court of Appeals. This week, our featured speaker was Michael Terry. He spoke on his top ten tips for preparing for oral argument.…
In a follow up story to the one published in last’s weeks AJC, Chris Joyner and Johnny Edwards have doubled down on some of the flaws from the original story. The writers continue to blame defense counsel Speaker Ralston solely for delays in his criminal cases. They take the additional step of taking him to task for being a criminal defense attorney — something merely suggested in the original article. The writers quote the…
I haven’t had an argument at the Georgia Court of Appeals in quite some time. It was good to be back. I won’t comment on the substance of a pending case before the Court. Instead, I’ll mention time management. My fifteen minutes went by quickly. And, as I tried to wrap up, there were additional questions. The Court gave me two additional minutes for rebuttal. And those minutes came in handy. If I had the…
I’ll write more on this case later, but I wanted to provide a quick update on a recent case. This week, the Supreme Court of Georgia held that the State cannot use against defendants in DUI trials evidence of their refusal to take a chemical test. While the United States Supreme Court has held otherwise, under Georgia’s constitution, which provides its citizens with additional protections not provided by the Federal Constitution. Several months ago,…
The front page story of today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution accuses Georgia House Speaker David Ralston of using his position as speaker of the House to gain an advantage over the State in his criminal defense practice. An accompanying broadcast report cites “obscure law,” O.C.G.A. Section 17–8–2, as the evil tool that Speaker Ralston is using to hurt the rights of victims. The statute give members of the General Assembly the right to a continuance or stay…
The weekend edition of USA Today leads with a story on the sanctions law schools are facing based upon poor bar passage rates. The ABA will convene a conference to require accredited schools to ensure that at least 75% of graduates pass the bar within two years. Right now 75% of student must pass the bar within five years of graduating. The article point out that, because of various loopholes within ABA standards, schools with…
At yesterday’s GACDL Winter Seminar, Dean Strang spoke, not so much on Making a Murderer but on systemic failures of the criminal justice system that are on display in the documentary series. Those issues include poverty, the fact that the treatment of juveniles has not caught up with the research on brain development, and issue with the media. However, my takeaway was when Dean spoke about social media. When asked about media attention, he revealed…