Nearly seven months after the hearing on the matter, Glynn County Superior Court Judge Stephen Scarlett denied Emory Alexander Lee’s motion for a new trial regarding his August 2015 rape conviction that led to a sentence of three consecutive life sentences without parole, plus 50 years.
In his order, Scarlett lays out a summary of events regarding the crimes as were borne out during trial, then addresses Lee’s claims.
The first deals with an alleged denial of due process and fair trial rights.
Scarlett wrote, “However, Lee has failed to support this claim with any argument, citation to the record, or explanation as to how these rights were violated. This is insufficient to raise this claim of error post-conviction; thus, it is not properly before the court of consideration.”
Scarlett stated it’s not the court’s responsibility to figure out the defendant’s arguments and can’t find any error committed.
Lee also challenged his conviction in that “the verdict is contrary to the evidence, that the verdict is decidedly and strongly against the weight of the evidence, and that the verdict is contrary to the law and principles of justice.”
But the court found that assertion without merit, also.
Scarlett wrote, “In consideration of any conflicts in the evidence, the credibility of the witnesses and the weight of the evidence, the court finds that not only is the evidence legally sufficient, but it overwhelmingly supports the jury verdict, which therefore is in no way contrary or inconsistent with the evidence presented at trial.”
There was also the ineffective assistance of counsel claim. Scarlett noted a defendant not only has to show that the alleged error made an impact on the outcome, but that there was a reasonable probability of a different result. Lee’s claim was that his trial counsel didn’t effectively investigate the case or effectively object to evidence and testimony, including claims about DNA matching.
Grayson Lane, Lee’s trial attorney, testified in July 2018 that he wasn’t able to fully look into one of Lee’s prior sexual assaults, and he wasn’t able to obtain an expert to properly counter the state’s medical report.
Scarlett stated that even so, Lee didn’t present any evidence or argument to show what might have been found regarding the previous victim or to what a defense medical expert would’ve testified. He also didn’t specify which objections should have been made or sustained, and therefore how the alleged errors prejudiced him.
In other claims, Scarlett ruled the testimony of a prior alleged victim — Lee was charged, but not convicted of child molestation in that matter — was allowable under state law, while the court properly excluded statements made out of court by the same victim’s mother because they were unallowable “hearsay within hearsay.” And regardless, the woman took the stand during the trial and was questioned extensively by the defense.
Among other superior court business, a hearing on Glynn County Police Lt. David Haney’s motion to intervene in the Gary Allen Whittle case is scheduled for Friday at 9:30 a.m. That hearing, dealing with conclusions made about Haney’s conduct in the Glynn-Brunswick Narcotics Enforcement Team scandal, will be one of what appears to be a heavy day in criminal court matters to close out the week.