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Campbell v. State

Court of Appeals of Georgia

October 20, 2014

CAMPBELL
v.
THE STATE

Armed robbery, etc. Chatham Superior Court. Before Judge Karpf.

Amy L. Ihrig, for appellant.

Meg E. Heap, District Attorney, Isabel M. Pauley, Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.

McFADDEN, Judge. Andrews, P. J., and Ray, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 896

McFadden, Judge.

Juwann Campbell appeals from his convictions for armed robbery (OCGA § 16-8-41), hijacking a motor vehicle (OCGA § 16-5-44.1), and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony (OCGA § 16-11-106). He argues that the trial court inadequately responded to improper comments in the state's closing argument and the trial court improperly restricted his cross-examination of a state's witness. We find no abuse of discretion and affirm.

Viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, the evidence showed that on November 1, 2011, several men used guns to force cousins Latrell and Fletcher Scott out of the parked car in which they were sitting. The men then drove away in the car. Latrell Scott recognized one of the men as someone who went by the nickname " Little J," whom she identified at trial as Campbell.

1. Prosecutor's statements during closing argument.

At trial, Campbell pointed out the lack of forensic evidence tying him to the crime. In response, the prosecutor made two statements in closing argument relating to Campbell's ability to call as a witness a forensic

Page 897

police officer who had investigated the case. Campbell argues that the statements were improper. Although the trial court sustained Campbell's objections to the statements, Campbell argues that OCGA § 17-8-75, which prohibits counsel from making " statements of prejudicial matters which are not in evidence," required a stronger response and that the trial court erred in failing to either grant a mistrial or give appropriate curative instructions. We disagree.

OCGA § 17-8-75 provides:

Where counsel in the hearing of the jury make statements of prejudicial matters which are not in evidence, it is the duty of the court to interpose and prevent the same. On objection made, the court shall also rebuke the counsel and by all needful and proper instructions to the jury endeavor to remove the improper impression from their minds; or, ...

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