Clark v. GeorgiaAnnotate this Case
Shawn Clark appealed his malice murder conviction for killing Antonio Ellison. Clark did not dispute at trial that he intentionally shot Ellison, but claimed self-defense. On appeal, Clark argued the State failed to disprove defense of habitation beyond a reasonable doubt. Clark also argued his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to impeach a key witness with prior felony convictions, failing to object to the State’s comments on Clark’s pre-arrest silence, and failing to object to the State’s misstatements on the presumption of innocence. After review, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed because: (1) the jury was authorized to conclude that the use of deadly force was unreasonable under the circumstances (an element of the defense of habitation statute relied on here); and (2) trial counsel was not deficient or, if he was, any deficiency did not prejudice Clark.