Use of Irrelevant Evidence of ‘Goth’ Lifestyle Leads to Reversal of Murder Conviction

Via Siouxsie Law I came across an interesting recent opinion of the Supreme Court of Georgia that reversed a murder conviction because the trial court allowed the prosecution to introduce "irrelevant and highly prejudicial character evidence" about a teenage defendant’s "goth" lifestyle. The court stated that during the trial of Courtney Boring, a teenage girl who was convicted of murdering her mother, the state introduced evidence seized from the girl’s bedroom, including: photographs of appellant with dyed black hair and dark make-up; a document bearing the words of a "curse" to be recited "while burning the letter over a black candle"; and seven different inscriptions, one typewritten and the rest handwritten on the bedroom walls, of song lyrics and quotations attributed to various singers and other artists, bearing themes of anguish, enslavement, atheism, and violence. The court observed that although prosecutors did not produce additional evidence or testimony regarding the "import of these items, the State explicitly sought in both opening and closing to link these items with the so-called ‘gothic lifestyle’ and to characterize them as evidence of ‘satanic influences.’" The prosecutor stated in closing argument that while the various goth items did not "prove" that the girl killed…

Injured Postal Worker Fights For Medical Benefits

HAPEVILLE, Ga. — Jerome Garrett is fighting for federal medical benefits.Garrett had been working at the Hapeville postal facility for 16 years. Then, in April 2009, a 100-pound box full of mail fell from an overhead conveyor belt and hit him in the h…

Black Bear Spotted In Marietta Neighborhood

MARIETTA, Ga. — Residents of a Cobb County neighborhood are worried after a bear was spotted in the area.Several people in the Embry Lane area of Marietta have seen a black bear rummaging through garbage cans, tipping over bird baths and even enjoying…

9 Shots Fired At Home With 9 Kids

ATLANTA — A southeast Atlanta family faced a close call with gunfire Monday night.Shots were fired at a home on Bill Lucas Drive with a woman and nine children inside, police said.Nine shots were fired from a handgun and a shotgun, Atlanta police Capt…

Man To Be Executed Using New 3-Drug Cocktail

ATLANTA — A judge has set the date for the execution of a Georgia death row inmate who was convicted of the 1978 slaying of an elderly woman in Savannah.The judge ruled that convicted killer Roy Willard Blankenship will be executed on June 23.If the e…

Gwinnett Schools Under Fire For Blocking LGBT Websites

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — The Gwinnett County School district is under fire for blocking access to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) related websites.The ACLU is now demanding that the district lift the filters, or they could face a lawsuit.T…

Man Slapped With $52K Fine Over Missing Trees

ATLANTA — The city of Atlanta has fined Buckhead homeowner Evan Hardin $52,700 for removing dozens of trees from his property.But Hardin, who agrees that some trees appear to have been removed, says he didn¬ít know anything about it.Hardin showed Chan…

Hackers Report Breach Of Atlanta-Based FBI Affiliate

LONDON — Nearly 180 passwords belonging to members of a Georgia-based FBI affiliate have been stolen and leaked to the Internet, hacking group Lulz Security claims, capping a busy week for the previously obscure group.Lulz Security said the passwords …

Texas School Leader Named Head Of Cobb County

MARIETTA, Ga. — The head of the Dallas, Texas, schools was named superintendent of Georgia’s second largest school district on Sunday.The Cobb County school board approved a contract for Michael Hinojosa, who will start July 1 at the 100,000-student d…

Police Find Human Remains In Car Trunk

JONESBORO, Ga. — Clayton County police say they have discovered remains in the trunk of and abandoned car.The car was found near an apartment complex off Mount Zion Road in Jonesboro Saturday afternoon.Police said there was a report of a foul smell c…