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Morris v. State

Court of Appeals of Georgia

February 20, 2015

MORRIS
v.
THE STATE

DUI, etc. Clayton State Court. Before Judge Cowen.

Judgment affirmed.

Knights Law Group, Stephen N. Knights, Jr., for appellant.

Tasha M. Mosley, Solicitor-General, for appellee.

MILLER, Judge. Doyle, P.J., and Dillard, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 164

Miller, Judge.

Following a jury trial, Johnny David Morris was convicted of driving under the influence (" DUI" ) less safe (OCGA § 40-6-391), driving too fast for conditions (OCGA § 40-6-180), failing to use brake lights (OCGA § 40-8-25), failing to use headlights (OCGA § 40-8-22), and a window tint violation (OCGA § 40-8-73.1). Morris appeals, arguing that the trial court erred by denying his motion for a directed verdict and that he received ineffective assistance from his trial counsel. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

On appeal from a criminal conviction, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict. See Wallace v. State, 294 Ga.App. 159 (1) (669 S.E.2d 400) (2008). So viewed, the evidence shows that Officer Randy Greenewold, of the Forest Park Police Department, was on patrol on the morning of December 15, 2012. At approximately 5:18 a.m., Officer Greenewold observed Morris driving on Old Dixie Highway, traveling 60 to 65 miles per hour in a 40 mile per hour zone and without any lights on.

Upon approaching Morris's car, Officer Greenewold noticed that Morris's eyes were glassy and he smelled of alcohol. Morris told Officer Greenewold that he had drunk a six-pack of beer three hours earlier. Based on this information, as well as Morris's performance on the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk-and-turn test, and the one-leg-stand test, as well as Morris's positive alcohol breath test, Officer Greenewold arrested him for DUI less safe. Officer Greenewold also measured the car's window tint and determined that it was too dark.

[330 Ga.App. 751] 1. Morris argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion for directed verdict, insisting that there was insufficient evidence identifying him as the driver. Morris's argument is without merit, because Officer Greenewold testified that Morris was the driver.

When the State first asked Officer Greenewold if Morris was the driver he arrested that night, Officer Greenewold hesitated and observed that it had been nearly two years since the incident. However, he ultimately responded in the affirmative and, at two points later in the trial, he again confirmed that Morris was the driver he arrested that night.

" [T]he testimony of a single witness is generally sufficient to establish a fact." (Citation omitted.) Crawford v. State, 301 Ga.App. 633, 635 (1) (688 S.E.2d 409) (2009). Given Officer Greenewold's identification of Morris, the evidence was sufficient for the jury to conclude that Morris was the driver. In addition, to the extent Morris challenges the credibility of Officer Greenewold's identification, that is a matter which fell squarely within the province of the jury. See id.

2. Morris argues on appeal, for the first time, that he received ineffective assistance from his trial counsel. However, appellate review of this claim is barred because Morris failed ...


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