Thompson v. State, No. S03G0176.

CourtSupreme Court of Georgia
Writing for the CourtFLETCHER, Chief Justice.
Citation586 S.E.2d 231,277 Ga. 102
Decision Date15 September 2003
Docket NumberNo. S03G0176.
PartiesTHOMPSON v. The STATE.

586 S.E.2d 231
277 Ga. 102

THOMPSON
v.
The STATE

No. S03G0176.

Supreme Court of Georgia.

September 15, 2003.


586 S.E.2d 232
L. Elizabeth Lane, Macon, James C. Bonner, Jr., Atlanta, for appellant

Kelly R. Burke, Dist. Atty., Katherine Elizabeth K. Lumsden, Asst. Dist. Atty., Amy Elaine Smith, Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellee.

William Shane Drawdy, Columbus, Billy Wayne Niles, Phenix City, AL, other party representation.

FLETCHER, Chief Justice.

We granted certiorari to the Court of Appeals of Georgia1 to consider the proper scope of appellate review of the sufficiency of the evidence to establish venue. We hold that, because venue is an essential element of the State's case and must be decided by a jury, only evidence presented to the jury may be considered on appeal. Because the Court of Appeals relied upon material not presented to the jury, and because the evidence at trial was insufficient to establish venue for his misdemeanor conviction, we reverse in part.

A Houston County jury convicted Phillip E. Thompson of felony child molestation and misdemeanor sexual battery based on two incidents involving his 13-year-old daughter. Thompson appealed, contending that venue was not properly established.2 The evidence at trial showed that one of the incidents occurred at Thompson's residence and the other occurred at his place of business. In concluding [277 Ga. 103] that there was sufficient evidence of venue as to each incident, the Court of Appeals relied upon two statements made in Thompson's written motion for reconsideration of bond. The motion, filed on Thompson's behalf by his counsel, stated that Thompson had been a Houston County resident all his life and that his place of business was in Houston County.

1. The standard for review of the sufficiency of the evidence to support a criminal conviction is whether "[a]fter viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt."3 The review of the sufficiency of the evidence to support venue is no different because venue is an essential element that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in every criminal trial.4 In considering this standard, this

586 S.E.2d 233
Court and the Court of Appeals have consistently stated that the evidentiary review is limited to the evidence actually presented to the jury.5 Other appellate courts have affirmatively rejected arguments that evidence outside the trial record should be considered.6 The Court of Appeals, however, relied upon evidence that was never presented to the jury in order to conclude that evidence of venue was sufficient. By relying on materials never admitted into evidence, the Court of Appeals failed to conduct a proper sufficiency review

2. The State contends that the statements made in Thompson's bond request constituted admissions in judicio, and therefore, no further evidence of venue was required. A criminal defendant may expressly authorize factual stipulations that will obviate the need for [277 Ga. 104] proof.7 However, the record in this case is devoid of any evidence that the statements made in connection with the request for bond were intended to operate as a stipulation regarding venue. Because no valid stipulation regarding venue existed, the State was required to introduce evidence at trial on the issue.

3. We have reviewed the evidence of venue presented at trial, and conclude that the evidence was sufficient regarding the venue of the child molestation charge. The evidence showed that the act supporting the child molestation charge occurred at Thompson's residence and there was evidence that the residence was in Houston County. The evidence with regard to the sexual battery charge is insufficient however. The victim testified that the act leading to this charge occurred at Thompson's place of business, but there was no evidence at all as to the location of the business. Therefore, we must reverse Thompson's conviction for sexual battery.

Judgment affirmed in part and reversed in part.

All the Justices concur, except BENHAM and CARLEY, JJ., who concur in part and dissent in part.

CARLEY, Justice, concurring in part and dissenting in part.

The majority correctly holds that the evidence adduced at trial shows that Thompson committed the offense of child molestation at his residence in Houston County, and I certainly concur in the affirmance of that conviction. I dissent, however, to the reversal of Thompson's conviction for the sexual battery occurring at his automobile repair shop. With regard to that crime, I believe that the Court of Appeals correctly held that he made a solemn admission in judicio that his place of business was located in Houston County and that such admission suffices to prove venue in that county.

586 S.E.2d 234
The majority correctly holds that "[a] criminal defendant may expressly authorize factual stipulations that will obviate the need for proof. [Cits.]" Majority opinion, p. 233. I submit that in this case, we have something even stronger than a stipulation. Here, the defendant made an admission in judicio. Therefore, resolution of this appeal will be based upon an analysis of the legal effect of such admissions.

An admission in judicio gives rise to an estoppel. McDonald v. Hester, 115 Ga.App. 740, 741, 155 S.E.2d 720 (1967). The principle of estoppel applies in criminal, as well as civil, cases. See State v. O'Brien, 94 Tenn. 79, 28 S.W. 311, 312 (1894). It is well established that, in [277 Ga. 105] Georgia, the defendant in a criminal proceeding "may make admissions in judicio in [his] pleadings, motions, and briefs. [Cits.]" Bannister v. State, 202 Ga. App. 762, 766(1)(b), 415 S.E.2d 912 (1992). See also Froelich v. State, 210 Ga.App. 647, 648, fn. 1, 437 S.E.2d 358(1993). Here, Thompson, acting through his attorney of record in this case, filed a Request For Bond Reduction/Reconsideration, wherein he admitted that "[h]is automobile repair shop is located in Houston County." "A statement by an attorney relating to the conduct of the client is to be considered as a statement by the client himself. [Cit.]" White v. State, 153...

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38 practice notes
  • Howard v. State, A16A1817
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • February 1, 2017
    ...293 Ga. 607, 609 (2), 748 S.E.2d 866 (2013) ; accord Stockard v. State, 327 Ga.App. 184, 185, 761 S.E.2d 351 (2014).17 Thompson v. State, 277 Ga. 102, 103 (1), 586 S.E.2d 231 (2003).18 Davis v. State, 328 Ga.App. 796, 797–98 (1), 760 S.E.2d 728 (2014) (punctuation omitted); see Graham v. St......
  • In re B.R., No. A07A1577.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • December 14, 2007
    ...by the Liberty County Sheriffs Office. The issue in this case is directly controlled by the Supreme Court's ruling in Thompson v. State, 277 Ga. 102, 104(3), 586 S.E.2d 231 (2003). In Thompson, the Supreme Court found the state's proof of venue insufficient as to a sexual battery count. In ......
  • Miranda v. State, A20A0044
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • March 30, 2020
    ...in DeKalb County. This evidence was sufficient to prove venue in DeKalb County beyond a reasonable doubt."). Cf. Thompson v. State , 277 Ga. 102, 104 (3), 586 S.E.2d 231 (2003) (holding that evidence of venue was sufficient on charges of child molestation when evidence showed the acts took ......
  • Miranda v. State, A20A0044
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • March 30, 2020
    ...in DeKalb County. This evidence was sufficient to prove venue in DeKalb County beyond a reasonable doubt."). Cf. Thompson v. State , 277 Ga. 102, 104 (3), 586 S.E.2d 231 (2003) (holding that evidence of venue was sufficient on charges of child molestation when evidence showed the acts took ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
38 cases
  • Howard v. State, A16A1817
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • February 1, 2017
    ...293 Ga. 607, 609 (2), 748 S.E.2d 866 (2013) ; accord Stockard v. State, 327 Ga.App. 184, 185, 761 S.E.2d 351 (2014).17 Thompson v. State, 277 Ga. 102, 103 (1), 586 S.E.2d 231 (2003).18 Davis v. State, 328 Ga.App. 796, 797–98 (1), 760 S.E.2d 728 (2014) (punctuation omitted); see Graham v. St......
  • In re B.R., No. A07A1577.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • December 14, 2007
    ...by the Liberty County Sheriffs Office. The issue in this case is directly controlled by the Supreme Court's ruling in Thompson v. State, 277 Ga. 102, 104(3), 586 S.E.2d 231 (2003). In Thompson, the Supreme Court found the state's proof of venue insufficient as to a sexual battery count. In ......
  • Miranda v. State, A20A0044
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • March 30, 2020
    ...in DeKalb County. This evidence was sufficient to prove venue in DeKalb County beyond a reasonable doubt."). Cf. Thompson v. State , 277 Ga. 102, 104 (3), 586 S.E.2d 231 (2003) (holding that evidence of venue was sufficient on charges of child molestation when evidence showed the acts took ......
  • Miranda v. State, A20A0044
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • March 30, 2020
    ...in DeKalb County. This evidence was sufficient to prove venue in DeKalb County beyond a reasonable doubt."). Cf. Thompson v. State , 277 Ga. 102, 104 (3), 586 S.E.2d 231 (2003) (holding that evidence of venue was sufficient on charges of child molestation when evidence showed the acts took ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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