Gomillion v. GeorgiaAnnotate this Case
Appellant Michael Gomillion was convicted of murder and related crimes stemming from the 2005 shooting death of Clyde Chaney. Appellant challenged the sufficiency of the evidence presented against him at trial, and the denial of his motion for a new trial. The Supreme Court concluded the evidence was sufficient to convict appellant, but that the district court erred with regard to dismissal of the motion for a new trial. The Supreme Court found that the motion for new trial hearing transcript clearly showed that appellant requested the trial court to exercise its discretion to review the evidence as a thirteenth juror. In its order denying the motion for new trial, however, the trial stated that, “The testimony and the other evidence introduced at trial was sufficient for a rational trier of fact to find [appellant] guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.” This statement echoed the standard of review found in "Jackson v. Virginia" which the Georgia Supreme Court found was not the proper standard of review when considering a motion for new trial based on the general grounds. In this case, there was nothing in the order indicating that the trial court exercised its discretion as the thirteenth juror. Likewise, there was nothing in the motion for new trial hearing transcript that overrode the trial court’s own statement that it applied a legal standard to a matter requiring its discretion. Accordingly, the order denying the motion for new trial was vacated and the matter remanded for the trial court to consider the motion under the proper standard of review.