581 S.E.2d 536 (Ga. 2003), S03A0243, Shields v. State

Docket Nº:S03A0243.
Citation:581 S.E.2d 536, 276 Ga. 669
Opinion Judge:FLETCHER, Chief Justice.
Party Name:SHIELDS v. The STATE.
Attorney:William W. Shields, Valdosta, pro se., J. Tom Morgan, III, Dist. Atty., Barbara B. Conroy, Rosemary Brewer, Asst. Dist. Attys., for appellee. William W. Shields, pro se. J. Tom Morgan, District Attorney, Barbara B. Conroy, Rosemary Brewer, Assistant District Attorneys, for appellee.
Case Date:June 02, 2003
Court:Supreme Court of Georgia
 
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Page 536

581 S.E.2d 536 (Ga. 2003)

276 Ga. 669

SHIELDS

v.

The STATE.

No. S03A0243.

Supreme Court of Georgia

June 2, 2003.

[276 Ga. 671] William W. Shields, Valdosta, pro se.

J. Tom Morgan, III, Dist. Atty., Barbara B. Conroy, Rosemary Brewer, Asst. Dist. Attys., for appellee.

FLETCHER, Chief Justice.

William Webster Shields appeals the trial court's denial of his motion to vacate his convictions and sentences based on allegedly improper venue. Because Shields failed to raise this issue in his direct appeal, he is not entitled to a second appeal, and we affirm.

1. Shields, along with several others, was indicted in Fulton [276 Ga. 670] County for the 1990 murder of Thomas Kidwell. Prior to Shields's capture in 1994, some of his co-defendants were convicted under the Fulton County indictment. 1 AFTER HIS CAPTURE, the state became aware of new information that placed venue in DeKalb County, and accordingly, Shields was prosecuted and convicted in DeKalb County. Shields did not raise the alleged lack of venue in his direct appeal. 2 for the first time, Shields claims that his convictions in DeKalb County were void because of a lack of proper venue. Shields

Page 537

asserts that the State had already proven venue for the crime in Fulton County in the trial of his co-defendants and, therefore, was prohibited from proving venue for the same murder in DeKalb County. However, the only issue with respect to the validity of Shields's convictions is whether the State proved venue beyond a reasonable doubt in its prosecution of him. 3 Here, the evidence shows that the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the crimes were committed in DeKalb County.

2. This Court has previously held that the remedy for a defendant who contends that venue was not properly established is to assert the error in a direct appeal from the criminal conviction. 4 This rule is consistent with the general rule that a defendant is entitled to only one direct appeal from a judgment of conviction. 5 The exceptions to this rule are reserved for the "extraordinary motion or case." 6 The failure to prove venue does not meet this standard. Although our constitution sets forth venue requirements, 7 a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence of venue is a "procedural matter" 8 and may be waived in certain situations. 9 Since Shields failed to raise the issue in his direct appeal of his...

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