Pierce v. State, 46894

Decision Date14 February 1972
Docket NumberNo. 2,No. 46894,46894,2
PartiesWilliam J. PIERCE, Jr. v. The STATE
CourtGeorgia Court of Appeals

Alvin Leaphart, Jesup, Randall O. Palmer, Swainsboro, for appellant.

Glenn Thomas, Jr., Dist. Atty., Jesup, for appellee.

Syllabus Opinion by the Court

CLARK, Judge.

Defendant appeals from the denial of an application for a change of venue in relation to pending trial in Jeff Davis County on an indictment for murder. The application contends that (1) a fair and impartial jury cannot be obtained in the county and (2) there is a danger of defendant being lynched and of mob violence. After hearing evidence in support of and in opposition to the application, the trial judge denied the application.

An applicant for a change of venue on the ground that a fair and impartial jury cannot be obtained must show such by clear and convincing evidence. As to the ground of personal danger the showing required is much less stringent and if a feeling emerges, after considering all the evidence, that something untoward is likely to happen the application should be granted. In both instances it is the duty of the trial judge to hear the evidence and find the facts of the matter. His judgment may not be disturbed unless it appears that he has manifestly violated his duty. Whitus v. State, 112 Ga.App. 29, 143 S.E.2d 649, citing Graham v. State, 141 Ga. 812, 82 S.E. 282, Roach v. State, 111 Ga.App. 114, 140 S.E.2d 919, Ferguson v. State, 104 Ga.App. 215, 121 S.E.2d 338, Johns v. State, 47 Ga.App. 58, 169 S.E. 688, and Code § 27-1201.

The transcript of evidence shows an armed attempt was previously made by six men (five of whom were residents of Jeff Davis County and all being relatives of the alleged victim named in the indictment) to kidnap the defendant from a jail in a neighboring county where defendant was then incarcerated pending trial on another indictment. This occurred six weeks prior to the hearing on the change of venue request and was thwarted by the sheriff without any turmoil. Evidence was presented to show there were no present threats against defendant and that there would be adequate security provided for the forth-coming trial. There is also evidence of a fair amount of publicity addressed to the defendant and the crime with which he is charged but there is no evidence that such publicity will prevent obtaining a fair and impartial jury.

We do not conclude as a matter of law that evidence presented...

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3 cases
  • Allen v. State, s. 30311
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • November 24, 1975
    ...unable to receive a fair trial in Pike County. See Anderson v. State, 222 Ga. 561, 150 S.E.2d 638 (1966). See also Pierce v. State, 125 Ga. App. 490, 188 S.E.2d 181 (1972). In addition, the extensive voir dire of the prospective jurors indicates that those selected had no fixed opinion on t......
  • Gunn v. State, 35567
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • March 4, 1980
    ...Defendant argues that because of the evidence of danger, a change of venue was mandatory under Code Ann. § 27-1201; Pierce v. State, 125 Ga.App. 490, 188 S.E.2d 181 (1972); and Pinkston v. State, 80 Ga.App. 268(2), 55 S.E.2d 877 (1949). We cannot The only evidence of danger to the defendant......
  • Georgia Power Co. v. Crutchfield, 46821
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • February 14, 1972
    ... ... as precluding the trial court from exercising its discretion to recommit the award to the State Board of Workmen's Compensation to hear additional evidence on the question whether the deceased's ... ...

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