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Masood v. State: Doraville DeKalb County Less Safe DUI – No inconsistent Verdict Rule in Georgia

MASOOD v. THE STATE, A11A2246, Court of Appeals of Georgia, Appealed from DeKalb County State Court, Decatur, Georgia.  The Appellant, Naveed Masood, was stopped for DUI  in Doraville, Georgia.  The Doraville Police Officer testified that Masood straddled two lanes, drifted into a turn lane, made a wide turn, and then swerved.  The Officer initiated a traffic stop. The Officer noted that Masood had an odor of alcohol and red and glassy eyes. Masood was given two field tests: the HGN and Walk and Turn test. The jury viewed the video of the DUI arrest and investigation.  The jury found him not guilty of failure to maintain lane and guilty of DUI.  On appeal, Masood essentially argued that his DUI conviction should be reversed because of the inconsistency of the jury finding him not guilty of the failure to maintain lane and guilty of the DUI.  The Appellant argued that he was not making an inconsistent verdict argument but rather arguing that because the Officer’s conclusion that Masood was less safe was based on the failure to maintain lane five times before the stop the less safe DUI must also fall. The Court of Appeals rejected this argument stating that Georgia long ago abolished the inconsistent verdict rule and will accept an otherwise seemingly illogical verdict as a compromise reached by the jury in deliberations.  The Georgia of Appeals ruled that the actual standard in a case like this is the evidence viewed in favor of the conviction sufficient to support the guilty verdict.

Decided: January 12, 2012.