Burns Law Group, PC
View Our Practice Areas

Georgia judge overturns jury verdict, calls for new murder trial

A judge in Barrow County, Georgia, called on a little-used state statute to nullify a jury's conviction of a 78-year-old man on murder charges, allowing for a new trial.

The man was convicted of three counts of aggravated assault and the felony murder of his nephew in October 2015. He was facing life in prison.

The judge, who retired just days after making his ruling in this case, cited what he called his own flaws when it came to instructions he gave the jury and witness credibility.

"And I have never done this in 22 and a half years, but the Court believes that it's sitting as the 13th juror in this case," the judge said, according to a local media report. "The Court believes that the evidence at trial was decidedly and strongly against the weight of the evidence to support a conviction.

"I cannot end my career with what I believe to be an injustice," Motes said.

He sent the man home to wait for a new trial.

The defendant had admitted to following his nephew and shooting him on Oct. 17, 2105. Earlier that day, the man had been told that his nephew had broken into one of his properties and was spotted walking out with silverware.

According to the police report, after the shooting, he told police, "If I catch someone else on my property, you'll need to call the coroner."

The judge, however, said he was uncomfortable with multiple versions a witness told during the trial, her drug use and a decision he made not to grant a mistrial motion.

Prosecutors and the family of the dead man were angry with the decision, but a legal analyst had this take: "Judges get it wrong sometimes. The ones who take it very seriously will admit when they're wrong and will do so before the Court of Appeals forces them to."

In this case, the judge did what he thought was right. A Georgia defense attorney also will work tirelessly to make sure laws are properly applied when representing clients charged with such serious crimes.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

How Can We Help You?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

181 E. Main Street
Canton, GA 30114

Phone: 770-628-1131
Fax: 770-956-1404
Map & Directions

Burns Law Group