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Green v State – DUI bench trial – Asleep at the wheel

In Green v. State, A13A1260, September 11, 2013.  the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the Trial Court Judge in the Houston County State Court from a DUI arrest arising out of Warner Robins, Georgia. Defendant Green was found asleep at the wheel of his running car parked in a lane of travel of a roadway with two flat tires and his emergency lights blinking. Green appealed the finding of guilt by the trial judge alleging that there was no proof of driving as required by the Georgia DUI statute. The Appellate Court found that proof of driving can be based on circumstantial evidence and does not have to exclude every other inference that could be drawn from the evidence but only reasonable inferences. The circumstantial evidence can even be contradictory. (Editors note: This appears difficult to reconcile with the Uniform Superior Court Charge on convictions based solely on circumstantial evidence at least as far as contradictory evidence: 1.30.20 Direct and Circumstantial Evidence  “To authorize a conviction (on circumstantial evidence, the proved facts must not only be consistent with the theory of guilt but also exclude every other reasonable theory other than the guilt of the accused.” O.C.G.A. §24-14-6; Carpenter v. State, 167 Ga. App. 634, 641–42(8) (1993).)

The Appellate Court reversed the conviction of impeding traffic finding that one can not impede the flow of traffic when there is no traffic to impede.  The Court also reversed on the issue of waiver of a jury trial finding that the lawyer waiving jury only makes it voluntary but still not knowing and intelligent which must be done either in writing or on the record by the client.

Author – George Creal