Category Archives: Capacity

GA trial court did not err in compelling defendant’s estranged wife to testify under statutory exception to marital privilege.

Conviction for simple battery and trespass, AFFIRMED; trial court did not err in compelling defendant’s estranged wife to testify under statutory exception to marital privilege that applies where spouse is charged with crime against person of minor child, because cruelty to children in third degree charge triggers exception; trial court did not err in preventing defendant from asking wife, on cross-examination, about maximum penalty for perjury, because wife could not give legal opinion and trial court permitted defendant to suggest that wife was motivated to keep her testimony consistent with earlier statements; defendant was not entitled to bare suspicion charge, because evidence raised more than mere suspicion of guilt; trial court did not err in compelling son to testify, because son’s testimony was material to issues in case.

Sherman v. State, A09A2187 (02/11/10), 10 FCDR 461.

From:  Fulton County Daily Report, 2/26/2010.

In GA all judgments or orders in child custody cases are directly appealable

Judgment granting father’s motion to enforce settlement agreement pertaining to child custody and visitation and awarding him primary physical custody of his two children, AFFIRMED; absent transcript, trial court presumably did not err in rejecting mother’s claims that she did not assent to settlement’s terms and lacked capacity to contract at time in question due to medical condition;  Court had jurisdiction over direct appeal of matter, since relevant legal action for jurisdictional purposes was father’s motion to enforce settlement agreement, which he filed after 2007 amendment to OCGA § 5-6-34 providing that all judgments or orders in child custody cases are directly appealable – and not divorce complaint, which was filed prior to amendment.

Martinez v. Martinez, A10A0248 (11/24/09), 09 FCDR 3955

From:  Fulton County Daily Report, 12/18/2009.

GA – Admitting Child Forensic Interview Affirmed

Trial court does not abuse its discretion in admitting videotape of child’s (victim’s) forensic interview, when interviewer develops rapport with child, does not attempt to influence child, asks open-ended questions and followed most widely-used forensic technique in country.

Brown v. State, A09A0894 (10/07/09)

Attorneys:  Anne L. Watson, Travis Anton Williams, Lee Darragh, Wanda Lynn Vance

Judges:  David Burroughs, Hall Superior Court; Phipps, Bernes, Adams, Georgia Court of Appeals