Affairs shouldn’t have been a consider Georgia hot-car homicide case, decide says in overturning dad’s conviction

Affairs shouldn’t have been a consider Georgia hot-car homicide case, decide says in overturning dad’s conviction

The Georgia Supreme Court docket on Wednesday overturned the homicide conviction of a Georgia father sentenced to life in jail after leaving his 22-month-old son in a scorching automotive, a stunning flip of occasions in a case that made worldwide headlines.

Chief Justice David Nahmias wrote in an opinion {that a} “mass of incorrectly admitted proof” introduced throughout the 2016 trial of Justin Ross Harris affected the jury’s responsible verdict. A few of that proof included graphic pictures and particulars about Harris’s extramarital affairs.

“A lot of this proof was, at greatest, marginally conclusive for the alleged crimes towards Cooper, and far of it was extraordinarily and unfairly prejudicial. We can not say that it is rather seemingly that the proof improperly admitted didn’t have an effect on the responsible verdicts that the jury — returned on the fees involving Cooper,” Nahmias mentioned.

“If appellant is convicted of these crimes, it should be by a jury that isn’t tainted by that sort of proof. For these causes, we reverse appellant’s convictions on the Cooper-related prices.”

Harris was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and different prices within the June 18, 2014 dying of his son Cooper, who was left in Harris’s Hyundai Tucson for seven hours in sweltering warmth whereas the daddy was at work.

Justin Ross Harris and his son Cooper
Justin Ross Harris and his son Cooper.Fb through WXIA

The case and trial drew worldwide consideration when prosecutors argued that Harris left the boy within the automotive on function. They mentioned Harris, who was married on the time, needed to eliminate parental duty so he might pursue intercourse with prostitutes and ladies he had met on-line.

Prosecutors advised the jury that Harris had additionally despatched a number of girls and underage women sexually specific textual content messages, together with some that have been despatched the day Cooper died. Harris’s spouse, Leanna Taylor, finally filed for divorce. She has by no means been charged with any crime.

On the day of the boy’s dying, Harris was imagined to drop her son off at daycare earlier than going to work at Residence Depot within the suburbs outdoors Atlanta. The couple had breakfast at Chick-fil-A, in line with prosecutors, after which Harris headed to work.

Harris found that her son was nonetheless within the automotive after leaving work. Cooper’s reason behind dying was listed as hyperthermia.

His attorneys argued throughout the trial that Harris forgot his son was within the automotive as a result of he modified his morning routine.

Along with felony homicide, Harris was additionally convicted of felony homicide, first and second diploma cruelty to kids, sexual exploitation and dissemination of fabric dangerous to minors. He was sentenced to life in jail with out the opportunity of parole.

The Supreme Court docket upheld the convictions for exchanging lewd textual content messages and pictures with an underage lady, noting within the opinion that prosecutors “convincingly demonstrated that the appellant was a womanizer, a pervert and even a sexual predator.” Nonetheless, he said that these crimes didn’t “reply the important thing query of appellant’s intent when she left Cooper.”

Harris can now search a brand new trial associated to her son’s homicide. Carlos J. Rodríguez, an legal professional for Harris, celebrated the information.

“We’re delighted that the Georgia Supreme Court docket has reversed Ross’s homicide convictions, however make no mistake: This resolution shouldn’t be a shock. Inadmissible proof can lead jurors to wrongfully convict an harmless individual. immediately displays the identical factors we made for the trial decide, and we have been proper. I want the trial court docket would have listened,” he mentioned in a press release.

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