Georgia v. ColemanAnnotate this Case
Vas Coleman was arrested at his home in Huntsville, Alabama on charges related to the 2015 death of Jose Greer in Fulton County, Georgia. Although Coleman was sixteen years old at the time of his arrest, the Fulton County Superior Court had exclusive jurisdiction over his case pursuant to OCGA 15-11-560 (b) (1) because he was accused of murder. After his arrest, Coleman was held at the Fulton County Youth Detention Center until he was granted a bond on March 24, 2016, and subsequently released. On April 8, 2016, Coleman was indicted by a Fulton County grand jury, along with four co-defendants, for felony murder and burglary in relation to Greer’s death. Almost two years later, on March 20, 2018, Coleman and his co-defendants were re-indicted on the same charges. After the State nolle prossed the April 2016 indictment, Coleman filed a motion to transfer his case to juvenile court, arguing that, because the March 2018 indictment was returned outside the 180-day time limit set by OCGA 17-7-50.1, the Superior Court no longer had jurisdiction. Relying on the Court of Appeals’ decisions in Edwards v. Georgia, 748 SE2d 501 (2013) and Georgia v. Armendariz, 729 SE2d 538 (2012), the trial court granted Coleman’s motion to transfer. The State appealed, arguing that the trial court granted the motion in error. “Reading the statute in its most natural and reasonable way,” the Georgia Supreme Court concluded the 180-day time limitation in OCGA 17-7-50.1 did not apply to a juvenile who was released and remained on bond prior to the running of 180 days. The Court overruled Edwards, and further concluded the trial court erred in transferring Coleman’s case to the juvenile court.