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Goodwin v. State

Court of Appeals of Georgia, First Division

June 5, 2017

GOODWIN
v.
THE STATE.

          BARNES, P. J., MCMILLIAN and MERCIER, JJ.

          Mercier, Judge.

         Valerie Goodwin was charged by accusation in the Superior Court of Hall County with obtaining a controlled substance by theft (hydrocodone) (Count 1) and misdemeanor theft by taking of tramadol (Count 2). Following a bench trial, Goodwin was found guilty of both offenses, and she appealed the judgment of conviction and sentence entered on those verdicts. In Case No. A15A2213 ("Goodwin I"), this Court reversed Goodwin's conviction on Count 1, because Goodwin had not waived formal indictment of that offense, a felony, and indictment was required pursuant to OCGA § 17-7-70 (a). Thus, we found that the Superior Court of Hall County did not have jurisdiction over that offense. We affirmed Goodwin's conviction on Count 2.

          The State subsequently indicted Goodwin for obtaining a controlled substance by theft (hydrocodone), with the charging language in the indictment being identical to that in Count 1 in the former accusation. Goodwin filed a Plea in Bar and Motion to Dismiss the Indictment, which the trial court denied. Goodwin appeals, contending that the "subsequent prosecution is barred by the procedural aspect of the double jeopardy provisions of the U.S. and Georgia Constitutions contained in OCGA §§ 16-1-7 and 16-1-8, and by the principle of resjudicata." For the reasons that follow, we agree that subsequent prosecution of this offense is barred, and reverse the trial court's denial of Goodwin's plea in bar.

         "In reviewing a trial court's ruling on a motion for plea in bar, where the evidence is uncontroverted and no question is presented regarding the credibility of witnesses, we review de novo the trial court's application of the law to the undisputed facts." Pierce v. State, 294 Ga. 842, 843 (1) (755 S.E.2d 732) (2014).

The United States and Georgia Constitutions proscribe a defendant's being twice placed in jeopardy for the same offense. United States Constitution, Fifth Amendment; Georgia Constitution, Art. I, Sec. I, Par. XVIII. O.C.G.A. §§ 16-1-6, 16-1-7, and 16-1-8 extend the proscription of double jeopardy beyond those constitutional limits by placing limitations upon multiple prosecutions, convictions and punishments for the same criminal conduct. Stone v. State, 166 Ga.App. 245 (1) (304 S.E.2d 94) (1983).

State v. Martin, 173 Ga.App. 370 (326 S.E.2d 558) (1985).

These statutory provisions distinguish between two aspects of double jeopardy - first, limitations upon multiple prosecutions for crimes arising from the same conduct (referred to as the procedural bar of double jeopardy); and, second, limitations upon multiple convictions or punishments that may be imposed for such crimes (referred to as the substantive bar of double jeopardy).

Stephens v. Hopper, 241 Ga. 596, 598-599 (1) (247 S.E.2d 92) (1978) (discussing former OCGA §§ 26-505, 26-506, 26-507).

         OCGA § 16-1-8 (b) provides, in pertinent part, that:

[a] prosecution is barred if the accused was formerly prosecuted for a different crime or for the same crime based on upon different facts, if such former prosecution: (1) Resulted in either a conviction or an acquittal and the subsequent prosecution is for a crime for which the accused could have been convicted on the former prosecution, is for a crime with which the accused should have been charged on the former prosecution (unless the court ordered a separate trial of such charge), or is for a crime which involves the same conduct, unless each prosecution requires proof of a fact not required on the other prosecution or unless the crime was not consummated when the former trial began.

OCGA § 16-1-8 (d) provides, in pertinent part, that:

[a] prosecution is not barred within the meaning of [OCGA § 16-1-8] if: (1) The former prosecution was before a court which lacked jurisdiction over the accused or the crime; or (2) Subsequent proceedings resulted in the invalidation, setting aside, reversal, or vacating of the conviction, unless the accused was thereby adjudged not guilty or unless there was a finding that the evidence did not authorize the verdict.

OCGA ยง 16-1-7 (b) pertinently provides that "[i]f the several crimes arising from the same conduct are known to the proper prosecuting officer at the time of commencing the prosecution and are within the jurisdiction of a single ...


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