The State v. Meeks.Meeks v. the State.

Decision Date10 June 2011
Docket NumberNos. A11A0698,A11A0699.,s. A11A0698
PartiesThe STATEv.MEEKS.Meeksv.The State.
CourtGeorgia Court of Appeals

309 Ga.App. 855
711 S.E.2d 403
11 FCDR 1878

The STATE
v.
MEEKS.Meeks
v.
The State.

Nos. A11A0698

A11A0699.

Court of Appeals of Georgia.

June 10, 2011.


[711 S.E.2d 405]

Stephanie D. Woodard, Solicitor–General, Amber R. Sowers, Assistant Solicitor–General, for appellant.Banks & Stubbs, Rafe Banks, III, Cumming, for appellee.SMITH, Presiding Judge.

[309 Ga.App. 855] Casey Jacob Meeks was charged by accusation with electronically furnishing obscene material to a minor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, three counts of possession of drugs not in the original container, four counts of possession of a dangerous drug, six counts of theft by taking, and six counts of theft by deception. Meeks specially demurred to all twenty-one counts, and the trial court sustained the demurrer as to furnishing obscene material, contributing to delinquency, the three counts of possession of drugs not in the original container, five counts of theft by taking, and five counts of theft by deception. The trial court overruled the demurrer as to the four counts of possession of a dangerous drug and one count each of theft by taking and theft by deception.

In Case No. A11A0698, the State appeals from that portion of the order sustaining the special demurrer as to 15 counts. In [309 Ga.App. 856] Case No. A11A0699, Meeks appeals from the overruling of the special demurrer as to the remaining six counts. In Case No. A11A0698, we affirm in part because the trial court correctly sustained the demurrers as to Counts 1, 2, 14, and 17 through 20, but reverse in part because the trial court erred in sustaining the demurrer as to Counts 11 through 13, theft by taking. In Case No. A11A0699, we affirm in part because the trial court correctly denied the special demurrer to Counts 6 through 10, but reverse in part because the trial court should have sustained

[711 S.E.2d 406]

the demurrer as to Count 16, the single remaining count of theft by deception.

Case No. A11A0698

The State appeals from the trial court's order sustaining the special demurrer in part, on two grounds. With respect to Counts 1 and 2, the charges of electronically furnishing obscene material and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, the State contends that the trial court erred in ruling that the accusation failed to allege the date of the alleged crimes with sufficient specificity because it failed adequately to narrow the range of dates within which they allegedly occurred. With respect to Counts 11 through 14, the charges of theft by taking, and Counts 17 through 20, the charges of theft by deception, the State contends the trial court erred in ruling that these charges were “not distinguishable in any meaningful way” from Count 10 (theft by taking) or Count 16 (theft by deception) or from the other charges in each series.1 We address these contentions in turn.

“A general demurrer challenges the sufficiency of the substance of the indictment or accusation, whereas a special demurrer challenges the sufficiency of the form of the indictment or accusation.” (Citations and footnote omitted; emphasis in original.) Newsome v. State, 296 Ga.App. 490, 491, 675 S.E.2d 229 (2009). “[T]he true test of the sufficiency of an indictment to withstand a general demurrer, or a motion to quash, is found in the answer to the question: Can the defendant admit the charge as made and still be innocent? If he can, the indictment is fatally defective.” (Citations and punctuation omitted.) McDaniel v. State, 298 Ga.App. 558, 559, 680 S.E.2d 593 (2009).

In contrast [to a general demurrer], when determining whether an indictment [or accusation] is sufficient to withstand[309 Ga.App. 857] a special demurrer, the applicable standard is not whether the indictment [or accusation] could have been made more definite and certain, but whether it contains the elements of the offense intended to be charged, and sufficiently apprises the defendant of what he must be prepared to meet, and, in case any other proceedings are taken against him for a similar offense, whether the record shows with accuracy to what extent he may plead a former acquittal or conviction. When presented with a special demurrer, the court should examine the indictment [or accusation] from the perspective that the accused is innocent, for this is what the law presumes. Nevertheless, the language of an indictment [or accusation] is to be interpreted liberally in favor of the State, while the accused's objections to the indictment [or accusation], as presented in a special demurrer, are strictly construed against the accused. In reviewing a ruling on a special demurrer, we apply a de novo standard of review, because it is a question of law whether the allegations in the indictment [or accusation] are legally sufficient. Further, because we are reviewing an indictment [or accusation] before any trial, we do not conduct a harmless error analysis to determine if the defendant has actually been prejudiced by the alleged deficiencies in the indictment [or accusation]; rather, we must apply the rule that a defendant who has timely filed a special demurrer is entitled to an indictment [or accusation] perfect in form and substance.

(Citations and punctuation omitted.) State v. Corhen, 306 Ga.App. 495, 497–498, 700 S.E.2d 912 (2010).

1. We first consider...

To continue reading

Request your trial
14 cases
  • Schroerlucke v. United States
    • United States
    • U.S. Claims Court
    • September 21, 2011
    ...Gordon v. State, 352 S.E.2d 582 (Ga. Ct. App. 1986), rev'd on other grounds, 359 S.E.2d 634 (Ga. 1987)); see also State v. Meeks, 711 S.E.2d 403, 408 (Ga. Ct. App. 2011) (noting the "elasticity in the theft by taking statute" which allows the state to indict someone for theft by taking, but......
  • State v. Wilson
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • October 19, 2012
    ...indictment is legally insufficient to charge any crime.10Stinson v. State, 279 Ga. at 180(2), n. 3, 611 S.E.2d 52; State v. Meeks, 309 Ga.App. 855, 856, 711 S.E.2d 403 (2011). In other words, a general demurrer is essentially a claim that the indictment is fatally defective and, therefore, ......
  • Sanders v. State
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • February 15, 2022
    ...facts by which it [could] be distinguished from that count," a grant of special demurrer is warranted here. State v. Meeks , 309 Ga. App. 855, 859 (2), 711 S.E.2d 403 (2011) ; see also Williams v. State , 307 Ga. 778, 783-784 (2) n.8, 838 S.E.2d 235 (2020). The trial court erred in denying ......
  • Williams v. State
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • January 27, 2020
    ...he should be prepared to meet or why the government chose to use multiple identical counts rather than one. See State v. Meeks, 309 Ga. App. 855, 859 (2), 711 S.E.2d 403 (2011) (affirming grant of special demurrer on a count that was "entirely duplicative" of another count and provided "no ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT