Justia Military Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Georgia
Truman Harry Smith was convicted of felony murder and other charges related to the shooting death of Johnny Crawford. Smith claimed self-defense, stating that he shot Crawford due to fear for his life, and argued that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The jury rejected Smith's defense and he was sentenced to life in prison plus five years for possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Smith appealed, contending that the trial court should have allowed him to testify about his PTSD diagnosis and should not have permitted the State to impeach him with a prior military charge.The trial court had denied Smith's motion for a new trial, and the Supreme Court of Georgia granted Smith's application for interlocutory appeal. Smith argued that his PTSD diagnosis should have been admissible under a hearsay exception for statements made for the purpose of medical diagnosis. However, the Supreme Court of Georgia ruled that this exception does not apply to medical diagnoses themselves, but to statements patients make to medical professionals to aid in their diagnosis or treatment.Smith also contended that the trial court erred by allowing the State to impeach him with a prior military charge. The Supreme Court of Georgia found that even if it was an error to allow the State to ask about the charge, the error was harmless given the overall evidence. The court affirmed Smith's convictions and sentence. View "Smith v. State" on Justia Law