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McKie v. State

Supreme Court of Georgia

June 10, 2019

McKIE
v.
THE STATE

          BOGGS, JUSTICE.

         We granted certiorari to consider whether, in this case governed by the new Evidence Code, the evidence presented at trial was legally sufficient to prove that Kiron McKie previously was convicted of forgery in the first degree, a felony, so as to support his conviction for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. We conclude that the evidence was sufficient, and we therefore affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals affirming McKie's conviction.

         In 2014, a DeKalb County grand jury indicted McKie and Kevin Ray McDougal for malice murder, two counts of felony murder, aggravated assault, and attempted violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act, arising out of the shooting death of Dexter Mizelle during an attempted drug deal. McKie was additionally charged with felony murder predicated upon possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. McKie was tried before a jury in April 2016; McDougal testified against McKie in exchange for dismissal of the charges against him.

         At the conclusion of the State's case, the prosecutor offered into evidence State's Exhibit 35:

PROSECUTOR: At this time I move to tender what I've marked as State's Exhibit 35. It's a certified conviction of the defendant from Fulton County for the offense of forgery in the first degree.
THE COURT: Any objection?
DEFENSE COUNSEL: No objection.
THE COURT: Admitted without objection.
PROSECUTOR: And I'm just going to show the face of that to the jury. That's State's Exhibit 35.

         The exhibit as contained in the record consists of two pages: the cover sheet of the accusation and the charge, accusing McKie of committing forgery in the first degree. At the bottom of the first page, the printed portion of the form states that the defendant "waives copy of indictment, list of witnesses, formal arraignment and pleads___Guilty." An "X" is written in the space provided, and the signature blocks contain signatures of McKie, his counsel, and the assistant district attorney. No judgment of conviction or sentence appears in the exhibit.[1]

         During closing argument, McKie's trial counsel stated,

Now, of course, one of the things you're going to see in this case is Mr. McKie, you'll have the indictment, you'll have the certified, he got convicted of forgery back in Fulton County some years ago. And, technically, he is a convicted felon, and all the people are wondering, well, if you're a convicted felon, you're not supposed to be anywhere near a gun, which is true. Except if your status as a convicted felon, you're not precluded from raising justification or self-defense. That's the law.

         A short time later, McKie's trial counsel stated, "Count 7, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Yes, he's a convicted felon, we admit that all day. It's true. But, again, due to the circumstances of this case, we ask you to find him not guilty."[2]

         The trial court instructed the jury on circumstantial evidence.[3] ...


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