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Moton v. State

Court of Appeals of Georgia

May 5, 2015

MOTON
v.
THE STATE

Page 397

Public indecency. DeKalb State Court. Before Judge Lopez.

The McReynolds Law Firm, Jule McReynolds, Jr., for appellant.

Sherry Boston, Solicitor-General, Wystan Getz, Samantha J. Newman, Assistant Solicitors-General, for appellee.

OPINION

Page 398

Dillard, Judge.

Following trial, a jury convicted Earl Moton II, on two counts of misdemeanor public indecency. On appeal, Moton contends that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions and that the trial court erred in (1) refusing to sentence him as a first offender, (2) denying his motion for a continuance of the hearing on his motion for new trial, and (3) denying his motion for new trial, in which he argued that the jury verdict was not unanimous. For the reasons set forth infra, we affirm.

Viewed in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict,[1] the evidence shows that on May 16, 2013, Aquila Abdel-Quedus and her ten-year-old daughter went to the Stonecrest branch of the DeKalb County Public Library to meet a close family friend, Amir Bin Yamin, who was there studying for a test. Shortly after her daughter sat down at a desk to use one of the library's computers, Abdel-Quedus noticed that a young man, later identified as Moton, appeared to be observing her daughter through the gaps in a book shelf. A few seconds later, Abdel-Quedus watched as Moton pulled his erect penis out of his pants and began masturbating.

Immediately, Abdel-Quedus alerted Bin Yamin to Moton's actions. But from his vantage point behind Moton, Bin Yamin did not see Moton's exposed penis. However, Bin Yamin did see that Moton was [332 Ga.App. 304] moving one of his arms back and forth near his waist and, thus, appeared to be masturbating. And upon confronting Moton, Bin Yamin also noticed that Moton's pants were open. Consequently, Bin Yamin informed one of the librarians, who then questioned Moton about his actions. In response, Moton claimed that his underwear had become bunched so he attempted to adjust himself, thinking no one would notice. Unpersuaded by this response, the librarian called a police officer, who further questioned Moton regarding the incident at the police station and received a similar explanation.

Thereafter, the State charged Moton, via accusation, with one count of public indecency by exposing his sexual organs in a lewd manner[2] and one count of public indecency by making a lewd appearance in a state of partial nudity.[3] And during the ensuing trial, Abdel-Quedus, Bin Yamin, the librarian, and the police officer testified about the incident. In addition, several witnesses, including Moton's father, testified as to Moton's good character, and Moton testified in his own defense. Nevertheless, at the conclusion of the trial, the jury found Moton guilty on both counts in the accusation.

Subsequently, Moton filed a motion for new trial, and the trial court scheduled a hearing. Then, approximately one week before the hearing, Moton filed a motion for continuance, arguing, inter alia, that he had not received a transcript of his trial. But finding that Moton had, in fact, already received an electronic copy of the transcript,

Page 399

the trial court denied Moton's motion. After Moton filed an amended motion for new trial, the court held the hearing on the motion as scheduled and, ultimately, denied it. This appeal follows.

1. Moton first contends that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions on the two charges of ...


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