Georgia Supreme Court Rules in Favor of GIP Client Joey Watkins!
Joey Watkins was convicted in 2001 of a murder he did not commit. He was 21 years old and has spent almost 20 years wrongfully imprisoned. Learn more about Joey’s case here, check out this great 11 Alive news clip explaining his innocence, or listen to the entire fascinating Season 2 of Undisclosed podcast.
In 2018, GIP and co-counsel Ben Goldberg argued at a habeas hearing that Joey Watkins should be released from prison because of recently discovered juror misconduct, Brady violations, and prosecutorial misconduct. But instead of hearing the merits of the claim, Walker County Judge Don Thompson dismissed Joey’s habeas petition at the State’s request, finding that Joey was too late to bring his claims and that he could not bring them in a second habeas petition.
We asked the Georgia Supreme Court let us appeal and to correct Judge Thompson’s erroneous order. After reconsidering their initial decision denying our request, the Georgia Supreme Court not only heard our appeal – which Ben Goldberg argued this fall – but sided with us on all issues! Grave Dog Lives!
In it’s excellent opinion, linked here, the Court concluded that “Watkins has alleged facts showing grounds for relief which could not reasonably have been raised in his original habeas petition and which could not have been discovered by the reasonable exercise of due diligence.”
The Court reversed the dismissal of Joey’s petition, and remanded the case to the habeas court, where Joey can finally present the merits of his petition. Not only on juror misconduct, but also on Grave Dog! Professor Colin Miller (from Undisclosed podcast) explains the legal underpinnings of the decision here.
There is still a long road ahead. But we are closer than ever to Justice for Joey!