Oliver v. State, A22A0254

CourtUnited States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
Writing for the CourtBrown, Judge.
PartiesOLIVER v. THE STATE.
Docket NumberA22A0254
Decision Date29 June 2022

OLIVER
v.

THE STATE.

No. A22A0254

Court of Appeals of Georgia, First Division

June 29, 2022


BARNES, P. J., BROWN and HODGES, JJ.

Brown, Judge.

Anthony Oliver, pro se, appeals from his convictions of aggravated stalking, attempt to commit a felony (aggravated stalking), and making a false statement. Oliver's brief outlines 26 different alleged errors, some of which are duplicative and will be considered together. In general, he asserts that insufficient evidence supports his convictions and raises issues concerning the admission of evidence, a request for a change of venue, ineffective assistance of trial counsel, and sentencing errors. Based on the State's failure to present sufficient evidence of venue for aggravated stalking, we reverse that conviction. We find no merit in Oliver's remaining

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contentions on appeal and affirm his attempt and making a false statement convictions.[1]

On appeal from a criminal conviction, the standard for reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence

is whether a rational trier of fact could have found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This Court does not reweigh evidence or resolve conflicts in testimony instead, evidence is reviewed in a light most favorable to the verdict, with deference to the jury's assessment of the weight and credibility of the evidence

(Citations and punctuation omitted.) Hayes v. State, 292 Ga. 506 (739 S.E.2d 313) (2013). As outlined below, the State introduced evidence showing Oliver's long history of harassing and stalking the mother of his two children, who were born in 2004 and 2005, for over 15 years in multiple states. The events which resulted in Oliver's convictions took place on February 24, 2019, and early April 2019.

Oliver's Past History with the Mother

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The mother testified that she met Oliver in California and their relationship was good until she became pregnant with their daughter in 2004. He then became physically abusive (pulling her hair and hitting and punching her) and mentally abusive (degrading her, putting her down, and name calling). She attempted to leave Oliver on more than one occasion and repeatedly tried to escape him, including by moving to other states. She obtained her first protective order in California because he was "coming [to her] workplace, calling nonstop, emailing, [and] getting in contact with family members." The mother acknowledged that she reconciled with Oliver after obtaining the protective order because "he wouldn't leave me alone and, to me, it was just easier to go back. . . ."

The mother eventually "had enough and left him again." Two months after she moved to Tennessee from California, he appeared pounding at her door. When she moved to Minnesota, he also came to her home, hit and choked her, and pulled her hair. In 2007 and 2008, at a time when Oliver did not know the mother's location, he sent her numerous e-mails indicating that he would find her, asking her to give gifts to the children, and threatening to make it hard for people with whom she was living so that they would ask her to leave.

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In 2008, the mother moved to Effingham County, Georgia and did not see Oliver for many years. In February 2016, she received an e-mail from Oliver in which he indicated that he knew her Georgia address and threatened to come to Georgia once someone could take pictures and confirm her location. The mother contacted police and told them that Oliver "told her he would do anything to see his children, even kill her." After a man came to the mother's door, took pictures, and asked questions, Oliver sent her an e-mail in March 2016, stating that he was leaving Arizona and coming to see his children.

Three months later, the mother was checking out at a Walmart when Oliver walked up to his daughter as she pulled a drink out of a cooler. The mother testified that she was "in shock" and that her daughter "had this look on her face like she was shocked, too." When the mother and her daughter walked outside, Oliver followed them to the car. He took a picture of himself with his daughter and told the mother that she would "be sorry" if she did not allow him to see the kids. It is unclear from the mother's testimony whether the daughter heard this threat. After the encounter at the Walmart, Oliver began calling the mother, her boyfriend, and other family members from blocked numbers. He "was coming around all the time. . . . [H]e would just show up and be there."

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The mother admitted that at one point after Oliver came to Georgia, she allowed him to see the children because "[she] was scared not to" and hoped that "things would calm down and be okay, and I wouldn't have to deal with all this other stuff that comes from me not letting him." She also testified that the children wanted to see him and she felt guilty because they did not know him.

The mother testified that after allowing Oliver to see the children, "things start[ed] to kind of get bad again." Oliver had "no boundaries. He was just showing up whenever he wanted. If he couldn't get the kids, he would just try to cause a bunch of trouble. He was doing things in front of the kids or talking about things that he shouldn't in front of the kids. He wasn't being a very good parent." An exhibit introduced into evidence by the State indicated that "the children expressed to [the mother] that they were not comfortable . . . visiting . . . with Oliver anymore due to his drinking and saying bad things about [the mother]." In September 2016, Oliver told the mother "you're dead" when she refused to allow him to see the children. On October 4, 2016, Oliver filed a petition for legitimation of the children.

On June 15, 2017, the mother called the police because she believed that Oliver had slashed the tires on her car. On June 29, 2017, Oliver made an allegation of child abuse, resulting in a police officer coming to the mother's home. The police officer

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who responded to the call determined that Oliver's allegation of injury to the child was unfounded, but nonetheless notified DFCS as he was required to do based on the nature of the allegation. At the time of his investigation, the mother complained that Oliver had been talking to their son through a back fence and asked the officer to issue a criminal trespass warrant banning him from the mother's address. The officer complied with her request.

In July 2017, Oliver appeared at a Walmart once again while the mother was shopping with her daughter and approached them. When the mother asked how he knew she was there, he laughed and said "stalker status." The mother called the police.

On August 14, 2017, the court presiding over the legitimation action entered a consent restraining order precluding Oliver from approaching within 200 yards of the mother, as well as all direct or indirect communication with her. On August 29, 2017, the court denied Oliver's petition to legitimate.

In September 2017, Oliver threw a plastic bag containing a prepaid phone and charger at their son when he was playing outside at a friend's house and told the son to call him. On September 26, 2017, Oliver filed a lawsuit against the mother and her boyfriend asserting that they had breached a contract to purchase dogs to breed as a

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money-making venture. He sought punitive damages in the amount of $2 million. The trial court dismissed this action on March 21, 2018.

On October 2, 2017, the mother saw Oliver following her in his car while she was driving the children home from school and notified the police. On October 13, 2017, Oliver called the police to assist him in collecting a cell phone from the mother. The mother testified that she had already returned the phone to Oliver before he called the police. The police officer testified that he spoke with the mother in response to Oliver's complaint and she was "visibly shaken[,] crying[, and] very obviously scared." The officer was aware that Oliver was barred from being around the mother and concluded that Oliver "was just using law enforcement to harass her." On October 19, 2017, the mother sought a protective order based upon her fear of Oliver and his continued harassment. On October 24, 2017, the Effingham County Superior Court issued an ex parte temporary protective order.

On November 2, 2017, Oliver called the police and asked them to do a welfare check on the children. The same officer who responded to Oliver's October 13, 2017 request for assistance to retrieve his cell phone, spoke with the mother and described her as "in worse shape this time. She was to the point of panic." He contacted the children's school and verified that they "were fine."

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On December 18, 2017, Oliver filed a complaint against the mother, Governor Nathan Deal, the Superior Court of Effingham County, the mother's attorney in the breach of contract case, an advocate who helped the mother with a restraining order, six judges in various Effingham County courts, and Effingham County's sheriff. He asserted claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress, violations of 42 USC § 1983, and injunctive relief. He sought over $17 million in damages. On March 21, 2018, Oliver dismissed this case with the stated intention to refile in federal court, and the State introduced evidence showing that he later filed a federal court action. After that court imposed conditions upon Oliver's continued use of its resources, Oliver voluntarily dismissed the action. In addition to the lawsuits filed against the mother, the State introduced other act evidence of suits filed by Oliver against third parties in California and a federal court order declaring him to be a vexatious litigant subject to pre-filing procedures.

On September 20, 2018, the Superior Court of Chatham County issued a permanent family violence protective order prohibiting Oliver from having "any contact, direct, indirect or through another person with...

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