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AttyHeather, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 677
Experience:  Attorney with 15 years experience
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I have a question client that I am performing legal

Customer Question

I have a question for a client that I am performing legal research for. His brother is currently serving a life sentence for a crime that he committed in Gerorgia in 1979 that was labeled an "aggravated" crime under any circumstance. Recently a new law was enacted (that is retroactive) that differentiates the crime from aggravated, or not with different sentencing guidelines that may allow his brother's remaining sentence to be vacated. The only way to show that his case would fall under the non-aggravated category of the crime is by presenting the transcripts from his trial that reflects testimony to the fact that the crime was not "aggravated." The problem is that the state seems to have conveniently "misplaced": the defendant's transcript. The warehouse that stores all of the old cases seems to have the charge, conviction and sentencing sheets,but unable to locate the transcript. What recourse does he now have, if any? Where does that leave him?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  AttyHeather replied 1 year ago.
Hi, My name is*****'m an attorney with 15 years vigorous courtroom practice experience, and I would like to assist you in answering your question. My response is for information and education, and not as legal advice and we do not form an attorney/client relationship.Just to help brainstorm with you, I wonder if you could have supplemental affidavits prepared by the relevant witnesses and have the affidavits provide the needed testimony, which was also given at trial, to the best of their knowledge, information and belief. Perhaps with the affidavits, which would probably be unrebutted by the State, the court would have to give the requested relief.I hope this helps.Best,Heather S., Attorney
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok. Let's suppose that the witness(es) that could provide the needed testimony are no longer available, reachable, or are dead? This did happen in '79. Suppose that his only hope is that transcript? And I say that because I rightfully don't know, but I would like to think that the man sitting in prison all of those years now having an opportunity to possibly have the remainder of his sentence vacated would have surely thought of contacting the same witnesses to testify,or write statements to confirm the possible change in status of his original crime. Maybe I am wrong, but just in case I am not, I really need to proceed with the original question: If that is his only means of being able to show why his charge should be amended to be considered non-aggravated under the new law, what recourse does he have if the state has ":lost " the transcript? Is it just "Oh , well, Buddy. Better luck next time."? What remedies might he be afforded for the state's negligence that could conceivably force him to remain in prison the rest of his life? Whereas, had they not been negligent in losing the transcript, he may be able to spend the remainder of his life at home with his family? Should they not be liable for losing this man's only shot at freedom after serving 36 years already? I mean who loses a court transcript but just so happens to have every other piece of paper related to the case? I am starting to believe Reba might have been onto something when she sang about the crooked legal authorities in Georgioa because this just sounds a little fishy to me.At any rate, I will ask my client about the witness(es) being able to write statements, or testify in court. Who knows. they may not have even thought about that, or something. Though, I believe if I had been locked up 36 years and there was now a chance I could get out, I would have thought of any and every way possible to get that testimony in front of a judge...even trying to raise them from the dead if that was the case. LOL. Thank you for that suggestion because I really hadn't thought of that yet. Hopefully, there is something I can say or do that will compel the keeper of the records in the Georgia "warehouse" to look harder for the transcripts, and something even more compelling I could do, or say to make him actually find it this time.I will be looking forward to hearing from you on this .Thank you
Expert:  AttyHeather replied 1 year ago.
Well, I'm curious to see how this turns out, but that unfortunately was my only idea for the moment, so I'll opt out and let someone else take a stab at this.Best,Heather S.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I apologize for not responding sooner, as I am just now seeing your response. At this time, it would seem that I have the whole legal community stumped since there seems to be no one with any answers. At least you came up with an alternative. Unfortunately, the witness needed is no longer around,so I am back to the original question once again. Maybe you know of someone that might be able to help me because Just Answer looks like they are Just Out of Answers on this. Thank you for at least trying.Kindest Regards,Christine Amaker