Tag Archives: Cross-examination

GA Trial court did not err in barring mother’s counsel from questioning guardian ad litem (GAL).

Judgment entered in divorce and custody action, which resulted in certain equitable division of property, child support orders entered against both parties, and custody of parties’ only child to paternal grandparents, affirmed; trial court did not err in barring mother’s counsel from questioning guardian ad litem (GAL) about her knowledge of applicable legal standards in custody award to third party and whether GAL was familiar with named appellate case, since role of GAL at trial is not to expound on matters of law, but as expert witness on best interest of child in question; record belied mother’s contention that court improperly terminated her cross-examination of GAL, after trial court halted disputed line of questioning; clear and convincing evidence of parental unfitness, particularly on mother’s part, supported trial court’s award of custody of parties’ minor child to his paternal grandparents; inter alia, evidence showed illegal drugs and alcohol abuse in mother’s home, mother admittedly purchased alcohol for consumption by at least one of child’s half-brothers, some of half-brothers were arrested on multiple charges while in home,  mother was arrested incident to drug raid in her home, mother required child to provide his urine so that third party could pass court-ordered drug test, there were significant violent episodes in home, mother violated DFACS safety plan with regard to child, child was absent for at least 29 days in first four months of kindergarten, and mother removed from her name and placed in name of her sons all assets, including homes, vehicles, bank accounts, and ownership of certain pedigree dogs, in obvious attempt to become judgment proof and obtain various forms of government assistance; in contrast, paternal grandparents were both retired from gainful employment, they had extensive contact with child, child spent considerable time in their custody under temporary custody order, they worked with child’s school to improve child’s situation, they provided child with stable and nurturing environment, which promoted his health and welfare, and his confidence had improved while in their care; some evidence, including mother’s own e-mail relating that her money included ‘ “anywhere from $108,000 to  $105,000 plus,” ‘ supported amount of child support order entered against her; ample evidence of father’s time and labor spent on extensive work on parties’ marital residence justified $20K award to him as his equitable share of marital estate; mother’s contention that neither she nor father had interest in house on basis that another son owned house, rejected, since clear inference from trial court’s findings was that title to residence in mother’s teenaged son was sham.

Harris fln/a Snelgrove v. Snelgrove, S11F0892 (11/21/11)

Fulton County Daily Report, December 9, 2011

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.