Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Rossell v. State

Court of Appeals of Georgia, Third Division

April 20, 2017

ROSSELL
v.
THE STATE.

          ELLINGTON, P. J., ANDREWS and RICKMAN, JJ.

          Rickman, Judge.

         Taboris Rossell was tried by a jury and convicted of two counts of aggravated battery, armed robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony (armed robbery), and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.[1] On appeal, Rossell contends that the trial court erred by denying his motion to sever the offenses charged in the indictment. For the following reasons, we affirm.

On appeal from a criminal conviction, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to support the jury's verdict, and the defendant no longer enjoys a presumption of innocence. We do not weigh the evidence or judge the credibility of the witnesses, but determine only whether the evidence authorized the jury to find the defendant guilty of the crimes beyond a reasonable doubt in accordance with the standard set forth in Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307 (99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560) (1979).

(Citation and punctuation omitted.) Hall v. State, 335 Ga.App. 895 (783 S.E.2d 400) (2016).

         So viewed, the evidence showed that on June 2, 2013, Rossell was at an apartment in the Spalding Heights neighborhood. Rossell and his girlfriend were arguing in the bathroom. The victim went into the bathroom to ask the couple to leave, and Rossell hit her. After the victim was hit, she "blacked out" and fell down. When the victim woke up she noticed that her lip was "busted all up, " and she had a chipped tooth. The victim received five stitches. Based upon the extent of the victim's injuries, an investigator with the Spalding County Sheriff's Office obtained an arrest warrant for Rossell for the offense of aggravated battery.

         Rossell was arrested on the aggravated battery warrant on June 16, 2013 and brought to the Spalding County detention center. Rossell was placed in a holding cell, and, at some point, a corporal with the Spalding County Sheriff's office observed a commotion and saw Rossell striking another inmate. The inmate testified that he was sitting on the floor of the cell when he felt Rossell approach him. The inmate asked Rossell to "back up" and Rossell "clocked" him right in the face. The inmate suffered a fractured nose as a result of this altercation. This incident was recorded and published to the jury.

         On June 27, 2013, it was alleged that Rossell was involved in a fight, again in the Spalding Heights neighborhood, in which a separate victim sustained facial contusions, abrasions, swelling, and a concussion. However, Rossell was acquitted of the charges pertaining to this incident.

         The final charged offense took place on July 6, 2013, again in the Spalding Heights neighborhood. A deputy with the Spalding County Sheriff's Office responded to a call in reference to an armed robbery. When the deputy responded to Spalding Heights, he spoke with the armed robbery victim who stated that Rossell pulled a gun out of the waistband of his pants and robbed him of $20. At some point, the deputy observed Rossell open an apartment door and then suddenly close it. The deputy knocked on the door of the apartment and spoke to the renter of the apartment who indicated that Rossell was inside. Rossell was located inside the apartment and a gun was found in the room that Rossell was inhabiting. The renter of the apartment denied ownership of the gun. Twenty dollars was located on Rossell's person in the same denominations as the money stolen from the victim.

         Rossell was charged with the crimes relating to all four incidents in the same indictment. On September 26, 2013, Rossell's trial counsel filed a speedy trial demand pursuant to OCGA § 17-7-170.[2] On the same date, his trial counsel also filed a lengthy motions packet which included a one sentence motion to sever offenses and parties. On February 6, 2014, Rossell's trial counsel filed a motion for discharge and acquittal pursuant to OCGA § 17-7-170 (b)[3] and a hearing was held on that motion three days prior to trial. After the trial court indicated that it would take the motion for discharge and acquittal under advisement, Rossell's trial counsel filed, in open court, an amended, particularized, motion to sever offenses. A hearing was held on Rossell's motion to sever offenses and the trial court also took that motion under advisement.

         On the date of trial, the trial court denied both motions. The trial court expressed its displeasure with inaccuracies in Rossell's trial counsel's motion for discharge and acquittal and noted that because it was the last week of the term, it could not sever the offenses and also protect Rossell's right to a speedy trial. Following his conviction, Rossell filed a motion for new trial, which was denied. This appeal follows.

         Rossell contends that the trial court erred by denying his motion to sever the offenses charged in the indictment.[4]

Where criminal offenses are joined solely on the ground that they are of the same or similar character, the defendant has a right to have the offenses severed. However, where the offenses are so similar that they show a common scheme or plan or have an identical modus operandi, severance is discretionary with the trial court. When exercising this discretion, the trial court should consider whether, in light of the number of offenses charged and the complexity of the evidence, the fact-trier will be able to distinguish the evidence and apply the law intelligently to each offense.

(Punctuation and footnotes omitted.) Evans v. State, 266 Ga.App. 405, 409 (2) (597 S.E.2d 505) (2004). "We evaluate the trial court's decision on severance under an abuse of discretion standard." (Footnote omitted.) Harmon v. State, 2 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.