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Brooks v. State

Court of Appeals of Georgia

May 21, 2015

BROOKS
v.
THE STATE. JONES
v.
THE STATE

Page 839

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 840

Cert. applied for.

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

Amusan Law Firm, Solomon A. Amusan, for appellant (case no. A15A0701).

Steven L. Sparger, for appellant (case no. A15A0702).

Meg E. Heap, District Attorney, Jerome M. Rothschild, Jr., Lyndsey H. Rudder, Assistant District Attorneys, for appellee.

OPINION

Page 841

McFadden, Judge.

After a joint jury trial, Kevin Dale Brooks was convicted of armed robbery, burglary, aggravated assault, two counts of false imprisonment, and possession of cocaine, and Brian Jones was convicted of armed robbery, burglary, aggravated assault, two counts of false imprisonment, and theft by taking. The trial court denied the appellants' motions for new trial, and they filed these appeals, which we review together.

Brooks argues that the evidence does not support the convictions, but we find that the evidence was sufficient. Brooks also argues that his convictions must be reversed because certain witnesses perjured themselves, but he has failed to show perjury. Brooks further argues that his convictions must be reversed because after his trial, one of the police officers who testified against him was convicted of making false statements, but the officer's conviction was not in any way related to her testimony at Brooks's trial. Jones argues that his convictions must be reversed because the indictment on which they are based is void, but Jones waived this argument by failing to timely raise it. Jones also argues that the trial court erred by denying his motion for mistrial, but we find that the court did not abuse his discretion in admonishing the prosecutor rather than granting a mistrial. Jones further argues that the trial court should have granted his motion to sever, but we find that the trial court did not abuse his discretion in denying the motion. Both defendants argue that they received ineffective assistance of counsel, but we find that neither has shown both harm and prejudice. We therefore affirm the convictions.

1. Sufficiency of the evidence.

When a defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his criminal conviction, " the relevant question is whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt." Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319 (III) (B) (99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560) (1979) (citation omitted; emphasis in original). It is the function of the jury, not the [332 Ga.App. 397] reviewing court, to resolve conflicts in the testimony, to weigh the evidence, and to draw reasonable inferences from the evidence. Id. " As long as there is some competent evidence, even though contradicted, to support each fact necessary to make out the [s]tate's case, the jury's verdict will be upheld." Miller v. State, 273 Ga. 831, 832 (546 S.E.2d 524) (2001) (citations and punctuation omitted).

Page 842

Viewed in this light, the evidence shows that when the victim pulled into his driveway after being out for the evening, Brooks and Jones, who were armed, approached him from the side of the house. The men said, " You know what this is." The victim, Brooks, and Jones entered the victim's house, and the men demanded money, drugs, and jewelry. The men began searching the victim's house and took his jewelry and phone. Jones went into a bedroom where the victim's 12-year-old son was sleeping. The boy woke up, and Jones threatened him with a pistol and took his phone. Jones kept the boy in his bedroom through the night. The boy heard another man demanding money, jewelry, and drugs from his father.

The next morning, in order to get the men to leave, the victim told them that he could withdraw money for them from his credit union account. Brooks and the victim drove in the victim's car to downtown Savannah, and Jones stayed with the victim's son at the house. The victim drove through the city, hoping to encounter a police officer, while Brooks kept him at gunpoint. The victim saw a police officer and began driving toward her to get her attention. The officer pulled her weapon. The victim jumped out of the rolling car, threw up his hands, and said, " They got a gun!" The car crashed into a building, and Brooks fled. The victim told the officer that his son was being held captive at his house. She called for assistance. Officers then saw Brooks enter the back door of a restaurant. The SWAT team found Brooks hiding behind a file cabinet in the restaurant's office. When an officer patted down Brooks, he found in Brooks's pocket a Crown Royal bag containing 10.5 grams of cocaine and the victim's jewelry.

In the meantime, police arrived at the victim's house. Jones hid in the attic. The boy exited the house, and the police took him to the station, where he was reunited with his father. Eventually Jones exited the house, got into the victim's girlfriend's car, backed it out, and fled. The street was a dead-end, and Jones crashed the car into some trees. He exited the car and fled on foot. He was eventually caught in the woods.

We conclude that the evidence adduced at trial was sufficient to authorize a rational trier of fact to find beyond a reasonable doubt that Brooks and Jones were guilty of the crimes of which they were ...


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