Ryan Read

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What comes to mind when you think of evidence being presented at jury trials? Typically, both sides prevent evidence to the jury, and both sides fight hard to make sure no prejudicial evidence is allowed in that would bias the jury against their client. Both sides also work hard to prepare persuasive openings and closings to further affect the jury’s perception of their client, the opposition, and the evidence that has been presented. So, when an attorney on one side makes prejudicial statements about the opposing counsel’s client, one would naturally expect an objection to be made, right? Well, in Georgia, you would be wrong. Until Williams v. Harvey, trial lawyers were essentially allowed to ignore critical objections. Whenever prejudicial statements against their client were made, even ones that violated already granted motions in limine, counsel could sit back, not object, and later get the case reversed on appeal. It was that easy. Even if a trial lawyer lost, the attorney still had a chance of getting the case overturned, essentially creating a “win-win” scenario. Fortunately for Johnny Williams, the Georgia Supreme Court decided that trial lawyers would no longer be allowed to sit on their hands at trial and must contemporaneously object to prejudicial statements when the statements are made instead of raising the cost of the litigation for an unnecessary appeal.