District Attorney's Office


  

Conasauga Judicial Circuit of Georgia




   Serving Murray & Whitfield Counties

FIRST JURY TRIALS SINCE COVID-19

March 12, 2021 (Dalton) – The Whitfield County Superior Court resumed jury trial operations this week after the Georgia Supreme Court lifted the Covid-era prohibition against trials which was originally imposed on March 14, 2020. The restriction was lifted effective at midnight on Tuesday, March 9th, after which Jurors were empaneled at the Dalton Convention Center on the morning of Wednesday, March 10th. Judges Cindy Morris and Scott Minter selected criminal juries all day Wednesday with a total of five juries selected, two of which have now been tried to completion.

Anthony Morgan (34) formerly of Cohutta, Georgia was found guilty this morning of burglary, robbery and family violence battery. Morgan was sentenced after lunch by Judge Cindy Morris to serve ten years in confinement followed by ten years on probation. He had been in custody since his arrest shortly after the June 10, 2020 crime in which he forced his way into the residence of a woman with whom he had previously had a relationship, struck her causing injury, and stole money from her. Due to quick work by the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office, Morgan was arrested not long after and his mother’s residence and the stolen money was recovered. The case was prosecuted by Chief Assistant District Attorney Scott Helton. Morgan was represented by P.J. Hemmann of the Public Defender’s Office.

Yesterday, Jacob Cody Moser (29), of Ringgold, Georgia, was convicted of shoplifting at Walmart although he was acquitted of more serious charges including the hijacking of a motor vehicle in an attempt to escape from the area of the Kohl’s parking lot where he had fled after leaving Walmart. Officers responding from the Dalton Police Department had located him in the Kohl’s lot and were able to arrest him there. Judge Minter set sentencing for March 26th. Moser has been in custody since his October 11, 2020 arrest. He faces up to 12 months in confinement. Moser was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Geoff Bard and represented by Latasha Heflin of the Public Defender’s Office.

Judge Minter resumes trials next week while Judge Morris will select juries in Murray County on Monday and then resume her Whitfield County trials on March 22nd. Judge William Boyett will be selecting juries in Murray County on March 22nd.

Juries in Whitfield County were selected at the Convention Center to allow for social distancing and other safety precautions to protect jurors. The space that would normally be used at the Courthouse is not as large and is about to come under renovations as well. We would like to thank the Convention Center staff, the Sheriff’s Office – especially Captain Steve Fields and his Court Services staff, and the Clerk of Superior Court Babs Bailey and her staff for helping make this go off as smoothly as it did. Considering that we had never selected juries off-site or under these safety and health precautions, the entire process went extremely well. Jurors who were asked for feedback said they felt safe and were happy with how the process was handled.

When trials resume next week in Murray County, juries will be empaneled at the First Baptist Church across the street from the courthouse while jury selection and trials will occur at the courthouse itself. Similar safety measures will be in place to ensure mask use, social distancing, and cleaning of the facilities. The last jury trial to occur in either County was that of James Robert Ash (42) of Chatsworth, who was convicted on March 11, 2020 of possession of methamphetamine and sentenced on May 20, 2020 to serve 8 years in prison by Judge William Boyett.



Bert Poston
District Attorney
Conasauga Judicial Circuit


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Bert Poston,
District Attorney


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