Sims v. GeorgiaAnnotate this Case
Appellant James Sims, II, was convicted of malice murder and related offenses in connection with the 2011 death of three-year-old Cayden Allen. He appealed, arguing, among other things, that the trial court erred in admitting a video recording made by police in appellant’s apartment. Using his smartphone, the officer made a video recording of appellant’s account at that time. Appellant said that as he was taking Cayden to the bathroom, he took Cayden’s hand; Cayden slipped out of his grip and fell backwards; and he saw Cayden lying on his back, choking. Then, at the officer's request, appellant demonstrated Cayden’s position on the floor following his fall. The emergency room physician determined that Cayden suffered severe brain injuries and was almost dead. He was put on a ventilator and airlifted to a pediatric trauma center within an hour. A pediatrician at the trauma center observed multiple bruises to Cayden’s head, torso, legs and genitalia. She opined that Cayden’s brain injuries resulted from severe, multiple impacts to his head. The medical examiner reached the same conclusion as the emergency room physician. Appellant asserted that before he began recording, the officer did not obtain a warrant permitting the use of a surveillance device inside appellant’s apartment. The Supreme Court affirmed the admission of the video: "[e]ven assuming arguendo that admitting the video recording was in error, it was harmless because it is highly probable that the recording did not contribute to the jury’s verdict in light of the overwhelming evidence of guilt."