Archive for the ‘Georgia Supreme Court’ Category

Ga. Supreme Court fires pot-smoking, door-smashing judge

The state Supreme Court today ordered that a north Georgia magistrate be immediately and permanently removed from office, upholding a recommendation from the Judicial Qualifications Commission.

A just-issued summary of what the court said about Anthony Peters of Catoosa County includes this:

Today’s seven-page opinion details the findings of the commission’s investigation, which include Peters’ weekly use of marijuana during a two-month period in 2010, an incident in which he kicked in the doors at the house of his sister-in-law’s estranged husband, another time when he pointed a gun at himself and told another judge he was not afraid to die, and his appearance in 2010 on a local cable television show in which he called the chief magistrate judge “spineless” and revealed the identity of a confidential informant of the Catoosa County Sheriff’s office. The next day, while the sheriff was being interviewed on a TV talk show, Peters called in and, disguising his …

Continue reading Ga. Supreme Court fires pot-smoking, door-smashing judge »

The implications of a routine appointment by Nathan Deal

A theory posed by Tom Crawford of the Georgia Report:

Gov. Nathan Deal has taken a page from the political playbook of Sonny Perdue by appointing the spouse of the top federal prosecutor for North Georgia to a seat on a state commission.

Deal’s office last week disclosed that the governor has reappointed J. Comer Yates, the husband of U.S. Attorney Sally Q. Yates, to a seat on the Georgia Commission on Hearing Impaired and Deaf Persons.

Because of that gubernatorial appointment of her spouse, Sally Yates, who has extensive experience prosecuting political corruption cases, will be required by Justice Department rules to recuse herself from any future investigations that her office may undertake involving Deal’s activities.

Deal has put himself in a similar position regarding potential federal investigations as his predecessor as governor, Perdue.

In August 2006, as Perdue was in the middle of his reelection campaign, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a series of …

Continue reading The implications of a routine appointment by Nathan Deal »

State high court overturns murder conviction after 26 years

The Georgia Supreme Court has unanimously reversed the conviction of a man who has spent 26 years in prison for the 1984 murder of a woman found floating in a creek in south Fulton County.

In the decision, justices acknowledge that Curtis Tyner could ultimately go free as a result. From the court summary issued early this morning:

The Supreme Court of Georgia has unanimously reversed the conviction of a man who has spent more than 26 years in prison for the 1984 murder of a young woman whose body was found floating in a creek in south Fulton County.

In today’s decision, Justice David Nahmias writes that the trial judge violated Curtis Tyner’s constitutional rights by failing to advise him that in pleading guilty, Tyner waived his right against self-incrimination. Under the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1969 decision in Boykin v. Alabama, a criminal defendant must understand that in pleading guilty, he is waiving three of his constitutional rights: his right to a jury trial, his …

Continue reading State high court overturns murder conviction after 26 years »

Georgia Supreme Court: More billboards in north Fulton’s future

The state Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that billboard companies have the right to erect signs in the three new cities north of Atlanta: Sandy Springs, Johns Creek and Milton.

See the ruling here. From a summary just released by the court:

At issue in these cases is a Fulton County ordinance that regulates the construction of signs and billboards, and a 2007 ruling by the Georgia Supreme Court. Between May 2003 and November 2006, several sign companies submitted a number of applications to the county for permits to construct billboards at various locations in unincorporated parts of the county. The county denied the applications under the sign ordinance, and the sign companies sued, arguing the ordinance was unconstitutional.

While their consolidated suits were pending, in 2007, the state Supreme Court ruled in a separate appeal, Fulton County v. Galberaith, that the Fulton County sign ordinance was unconstitutional under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

In …

Continue reading Georgia Supreme Court: More billboards in north Fulton’s future »

Georgia Supreme Court upholds state voter ID law

To no one’s surprise, the state Supreme Court this morning announced this morning that, in a 6-to-1 decision, it has upheld the Georgia law requiring voters to show valid photo ID at the polls.

Justice Robert Benham, the first African-American elected to the high court bench, issued the lone dissent.

Read the decision here. From the court summary:

“As did virtually every other court that considered this issue, we find the photo ID requirement as implemented in the 2006 Act to be a minimal, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory restriction which is warranted by the important regulatory interests of preventing voter fraud,” Justice Hugh Thompson writes in today’s 23-page majority opinion.

Before 1998, Georgia voters were not required to present any form of identification as a condition for voting. After 1998 and until 2005, voters could cast their ballots at the polls if they showed one of 17 forms of identification, including a utility bill or Social Security card, or signed …

Continue reading Georgia Supreme Court upholds state voter ID law »

Georgia’s chief justice: We can’t afford to lock up so many people

Update at 3:50 p.m.: This announcement just came in for a 1:45 p.m. event on Wednesday:

Gov. Nathan Deal will join Speaker David Ralston, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Carol Hunstein, state Rep. Jay Neal and others for a news conference to discuss new legislation on criminal justice reform.

Original post:

Chief Justice Carol Hunstein of the state Supreme Court appears ready to endorse Gov. Nathan Deal’s efforts to reduce the number of non-violent offenders that Georgia locks up.

Chief Justice Carol Hunstein of the Georgia Supreme Court will give her “State of the Judiciary” address on Wednesday. Kent D. Johnson, kdjohnson@ajc.com

Chief Justice Carol Hunstein of the Georgia Supreme Court will give her “State of the Judiciary” address on Wednesday. Kent D. Johnson, kdjohnson@ajc.com

Hunstein will offer her “State of the Judiciary” address to a joint session of the General Assembly on Wednesday. Her office released a few highlights today:

“Georgia’s leaders in all three branches of government recognize that we can no longer afford the more than $1 billion it costs us annually to maintain …

Continue reading Georgia’s chief justice: We can’t afford to lock up so many people »