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Supreme Court of Georgia Reminds Us of the Confines of the Co-Conspirator Exemption to the Rule Against Hearsay While Overturning Murder Conviction

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Georgia reversed a defendant’s convictions for felony murder and two firearm charges because the trial court erred by admitting hearsay statements from an accomplice, failed to give a jury instruction on the accomplice-corroboration requirement, and erred by admitting evidence of the defendant’s involvement in two prior shooting.  This […]

Accomplice Liability in Criminal Cases

Overview Accomplice liability has been one of the more difficult concepts for clients to grasp – and for good reason. Under federal law, a person who orders, aids, abets, or assists in the commission of a crime can be charged with the underlying crime and will face the same penalties as the primary offender.   Accomplice […]

Actual vs. Constructive Possession in Criminal Cases

Many statutes relating to firearms or controlled dangerous substances require the State or Federal Government to show that a defendant unlawfully “possessed” the firearm or drugs. Many defendants are well aware of what the law considers “actual possession.” Simply put, this is when the police find a firearm or drugs on your person, or you […]

What is a Preliminary Hearing?

There are several stages of a criminal case, but one of the first substantive steps will be the Preliminary Hearing. The Preliminary Hearing generally takes place within weeks of an arrest, but the hearing is not an opportunity to adjudicate whether the Defendant is innocent or guilty. Instead, the purpose of the hearing is to […]

Federal Conspiracy Charges

In addition to the typical underlying federal offenses (i.e. drug trafficking), a conspiracy is similarly subject to federal prosecution as a separate offense. Conspiracy charges can carry significant penalties, so if you are charged with a conspiracy, it is important to retain an attorney experienced in handling these matters. What is a Conspiracy? A conspiracy […]

United States Sentencing Guidelines & Departures

Sentencing Guidelines In a prior blog we discussed The Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, and the resultant Guidelines Manual. In short, the Guidelines Manual is used to calculate the potential prison term for a criminal defendant by calculating an Offense Level (using a Baseline Offense Level and Offense Specific Factors) and comparing it with the specific defendant’s “Criminal History Category” […]

Sentencing in Federal Court: United States Sentencing Guidelines

In response to perceived sentencing disparities across the county, Congress enacted the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 (“SRA”), which establishes a new sentencing scheme based on “guidelines.” These guidelines are found in the Guidelines Manual. The SRA created the United States Sentencing Commission, which is tasked with creating and regularly amending the guidelines and issuing reports […]