State Supreme Court Orders New Trials

The law firm of Pate, Johnson and Church has been representing clients charged in serious criminal cases, including criminal appeals, for over 25 years. Our attorneys are often contacted by the press for their comments or opinions on important cases appearing in the news.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution recently contacted Attorney Page Pate to discuss the recent Georgia Supreme Court rulings in the cases of Justin Ross Harris and Tex McIver. 

In the case of Justin Ross Harris, Mr. Harris was convicted in Cobb County, Georgia of the murder of his 22-month old child, Cooper. He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole after being found guilty at trial. Mr. Harris’ attorneys filed an appeal arguing that Mr. Harris did not receive a fair trial due to evidence that was improperly admitted during the trial. Now that the Georgia Supreme Court has overturned Mr. Harris’ conviction, he is entitled to a new trial in Cobb County if the District Attorney chooses to prosecute him again. Likewise, in the case of Tex McIver, who was convicted in Fulton County, Georgia of the murder of his wife and sentenced to life with the possibility of parole, the Georgia Supreme Court also overturned his conviction. As a result, he may also face a new trial. 

The AJC contacted Page to get his analysis of the Georgia Supreme Court’s ruling in both of these cases. Page comments that “It would be so easy to have rubber-stamped both of those verdicts and they didn’t do that.” He says “It takes a lot of guts to say, ‘We see something that’s wrong here and we’re gonna do something about it.’”

Page agrees with the Court’s rulings in both cases and believes that the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office will retry Mr. Harris to try to get another conviction for the murder of his child; however, he thinks that since it was difficult for the jury to come to a verdict in Mr. McIver’s case, the prosecutors may reach a plea deal on a charge lesser than the murder charge Mr. McIver was convicted of. Regarding Mr. McIver, Page says “Given the man’s age, the fact that he’s serving a sentence and the fact that a conviction on a retrial is far from guaranteed, I think you may just let that one go.” 

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