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Mercer University School of Law

2022

Mercer Law Review

Criminal Law

Articles 1 - 6 of 6

Full-Text Articles in Law

Criminal Law, J. Scottt Key Dec 2022

Criminal Law, J. Scottt Key

Mercer Law Review

This Article reviews some of the most important opinions impacting the practice of criminal law delivered by the Supreme Court of the United States and the Supreme Court of Georgia covering the period from June 1, 2021 to May 31, 2022, as well as legislation adopted by the Georgia General Assembly during the 2021 session. This Article is designed to be a mere overview to both prosecutors and defense attorneys of decisions and new statutes and serves as a broad guideline to how these decisions will affect the practices.


Playing Hot Pot-Ato: Does Biden’S Presidency Signal The End Of Federal Marijuana Prohibition?, Sara Snowden May 2022

Playing Hot Pot-Ato: Does Biden’S Presidency Signal The End Of Federal Marijuana Prohibition?, Sara Snowden

Mercer Law Review

“Hot Potato is a very different game when the people playing are starving.” In the context of federal marijuana legalization, various branches and agencies within the government have long engaged in a game of political hot potato—tossing responsibility for legalization off into the hands of someone (anyone) else. These evasive maneuvers are not victimless. As an overwhelming majority of states have taken actions to legalize or decriminalize marijuana, unsuspecting citizens have been caught in the crosshairs between conflicting state and federal laws.

Take for example David Doe, a resident of Colorado, who suffered many afflictions. Three years ago, he was …


Ding Dong! The Count Is Dead, Or Is It?: Criminal Defendants May Not Directly Appeal Convictions If Unresolved Counts Are On The Dead Docket, Lilly B. Nickels May 2022

Ding Dong! The Count Is Dead, Or Is It?: Criminal Defendants May Not Directly Appeal Convictions If Unresolved Counts Are On The Dead Docket, Lilly B. Nickels

Mercer Law Review

A defendant is indicted on two criminal counts, is found guilty on one of those counts, and is sentenced to time in prison. However, the jury could not come to a decision on the other count, so the trial court judge places the count on the court’s dead docket where the count could remain for an indefinite period of time, deeming the defendant’s case pending in the trial court. Due to the defendant’s case being classified as pending, the defendant does not have the right to a direct appeal. The defendant must helplessly serve prison time without any idea as …


Criminal Law, Thomas D. Church, Kate Forrest May 2022

Criminal Law, Thomas D. Church, Kate Forrest

Mercer Law Review

This Article provides a comprehensive review of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit’s most noteworthy criminal law opinions from 2021. Section II of this Article addresses substantive criminal offenses, such as economic crimes, drug offenses, and firearm offenses, while Section III covers criminal procedure and constitutional issues arising in criminal prosecutions. Section IV deals with the Federal Sentencing Guidelines (the Guidelines) and other sentencing issues, and Section V provides a limited review of the court’s decisions in post-conviction proceedings.


The Death Penalty Standard That Won’T Die: The Georgia Supreme Court Maintains The Highest Possible Standard Of Proof For The Mentally Disabled, Alyssa Ledoux May 2022

The Death Penalty Standard That Won’T Die: The Georgia Supreme Court Maintains The Highest Possible Standard Of Proof For The Mentally Disabled, Alyssa Ledoux

Mercer Law Review

Several serious issues arise when applying the death penalty to the mentally disabled. First, the social purposes served by the death penalty, retribution and deterrence, are questionable when it comes to the mentally disabled. Retribution by execution is reserved for those at the highest level of culpability or the highest level of conscious and depraved guilt. Likewise, execution is viewed as an effective deterrent on cold calculus that is not found in individuals with a mental disability.

Second, challenges the disabled face, such as the tendency to falsely confess, the lesser ability to present a persuasive showing of mitigating factors, …


Fostering Equity And Accountability In Georgia’S Criminal Legal System Through Conviction Integrity Reforms, E. Addison Gantt, Meagan R. Hurley Apr 2022

Fostering Equity And Accountability In Georgia’S Criminal Legal System Through Conviction Integrity Reforms, E. Addison Gantt, Meagan R. Hurley

Mercer Law Review

An often-quoted excerpt from Berger v. United States sums up the role of a prosecutor in the criminal legal system. The context is the federal system, but it applies across the board. It begins by explaining the duty of a prosecutor: to represent the sovereign, “whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done.”2 Then, it turns to the real-world application of that role, instructing that prosecutors should present their cases with …