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Janasik v. State – old similars – ineffective assistance – continuance

Janasik v. State, A13A0253, Court of Appeals of Georgia, July 9, 2013. The Court of Appeals affirmed the Fulton County Trial Court’s denial of a motion for a new trial after a jury found Janasik guilty of DUI less safe, failure to maintain lane, and a seat belt violation. Janasik argued that the trial erred in admitting a similar transaction without weighing the danger of unfair prejudice which was compounded by the prosecutor arguing Defendant had a propensity to drive DUI. This case is under the old similar transaction law which allowed bent of mind similar transactions. Given there was no similar transaction hearing transcript, the offenses were very similar, and nine-month apart, there was no error found.

Next Janasik argued ineffective assistance for failing to ask for a limiting instruction at the time of the presentation of the similar transaction evidence. Georgia caselaw has established that as long as the limiting evidence is given at some point during the trial it does not rise to the level of ineffective assistance.

Next Janasik argued that refusing to strike a juror for the cause was an error when the juror indicated that he would feel guilty if he were arrested for DUI but indicated at other points that he could be fair and impartial and weigh the evidence.

Finally, Janasik argued that the Court erred by failing to grant a continuance for an expert witness to testify via computer feed. This was denied as there was no subpoena in the record and Defense counsel had released the witness from the subpoena.