Bravo to the Fulton County, Georgia, Appellate Division!

Recently, the Supreme Court issued a new opinion. It was not a particularly earth-shattering opinion. There is a statute that allows the trial judge to as as the thirteenth juror if he believes that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence. The appellate courts will affirm such decisions unless the judge abused his considerable discretion. However, some prosecutors are frustrated with the law as it applies to the thirteenth juror. After a recent set of opinions on thirteenth-juror appeals, the Supreme Court encourage prosecutors to stop bringing them. The additional wrinkle in the recent decision is that, in addition to neglecting the standard of review, the State argued the laws of the universe cried out for the reversal of a thirteenth-juror decision. The Court called the argument bizarre. So, the entire appellate division of the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office had T-shirts made that say “bizarre for justice” and posed for a group photo with their new fashion. The elected district attorney posed in the shot with them. And they posted it all on social media, with a caption thanking the Supreme Court of Georgia for noticing how bizarre they are.

Some members of the defense bar have called them out. However, my learned opponents will find no criticism here. I celebrate any opponent’s commitment to make bizarre arguments. And I also welcome public displays from opponents that have the potential to alienate the judge before which we might appear.

You can’t see it, but I just took a break from writing these words to give them a standing ovation.

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