Sunday, September 27, 2015
Hire a Paulding County criminal defense lawyer today to help you with your case | Paulding county criminal defense lawyer
Any comment from the judge in the presence of the jury about what the evidence shows, the strength of the parties case or the credibility of a witness) (whether a negative or positive assessment of credibility) should be evaluated quickly for potential violation of the prohibition on judicial comments. This includes comments during the trial or during the charge. See Raol v.Newman 59 Georgia 408(1877) (judicial statement during the charge that certain facts are undisputed was reversible error requiring a new trial). See Alan V State 194 Georgia 178, (1942) stating the judge did not cure his error when he in his charge to the jury, told them that the statements he had made did not indicate that he had any opinion about the facts of the case, that he had no such opinion, and admonished the jury not to be influenced by any of the statements which he had made.) For example in Musket v. Sketchley Cleaners Inc., 297 Ga. App. 561 (2009),the Court of Appeals first found the comments did not violate OCGA 9-10-7, then held that "this is particularly true where, as here, the trial court charge to the jury after the close of evidence that anything the court had said or done during the course of the trial is not intended to imply or suggest which of the parties should prevail in the case." See Cline v. Lee 260 Georgia appeals 164 (2003), although the judge may have told the jury that they had properly listed all the elements of fraud, there is no evidence that the judge expressed an opinion as to whether those elements had been proved. Further, there is no contention that either the charge or the recharge misstated the law, and the trial court made clear that the recharge is not intended to place added emphasis on the fraud claim. Moreover, it is uncontroverted that in the original charge the trial court instructed the jury that nothing he did or said was intended to suggest in any way what the verdict should be. The purpose for this statute is to prevent the jury from being influenced, not to keep the judge for making up his own mind. As a jury was not present in the courtroom at the time of these questions, there was no violation of the above statute. If the judge makes statements as in Griffin V State 142 Georgia appeals 362 (1977), showing his personal doubts about a defense witness's credibility, the appellate courts will have no choice but to reverse the verdict.Contact a Paulding County Criminal defense lawyer with help on your case.