Duke v. GeorgiaAnnotate this Case
Ryan Duke was indicted for malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, burglary, and concealing the death of another in connection with the 2005, death of Tara Grinstead. Duke was initially provided counsel through the Tifton Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s office, but, in September 2018, he obtained pro bono private counsel. The case was set for trial in Irwin County Superior Court, and, in the lead-up to trial, Duke filed a series of motions in the trial court seeking public funding for expert witnesses and investigators to aid his defense. Notwithstanding the trial court’s finding that Duke was indigent and that the assistance of experts was necessary to mount a proper defense, his motions were denied, and the trial court did not grant Duke’s request for a certificate of immediate review pursuant to OCGA 5-6-34 (b). In the absence of a certificate from the trial court, Duke filed both a motion asking the Georgia Suprem Court to stay the proceedings below and an application asking the Court to exercise discretion to allow an interlocutory appeal pursuant to the analysis set forth in Waldrip v. Head, 532 SE2d 380 (2000). The Georgia Supreme Court granted Duke’s request for supersedeas and stay, but held Duke’s application to appeal in abeyance pending consideration of whether Waldrip should be overruled. After briefing and oral argument, the SUpreme Court overruled Waldrip to the extent it permitted the Supreme Court to disregard the requirement set forth in OCGA 5-6-34 (b) that a party must obtain a certificate of immediate review from the trial court before pursuing an interlocutory appeal not otherwise authorized by OCGA 5-6-34 (a). Because the trial court did not issue a certificate of immediate review in this case, the Supreme Court was without jurisdiction to consider Duke’s application for interlocutory appeal. His application was therefore dismissed. The stay previously issued in this case would dissolve when the Supreme Court's remittitur was received by and filed in the trial court.