J. Scott key notable cases
State v. A.H. (2018) A.H.’s family hired Scott Key A.H. was indicted for multiple counts of aggravated battery, aggravated assault, and cruelty to children for allegedly breaking both legs, multiple toes, and ribs of his six-week-old baby. The baby also had multiple injuries to his mouth and the back of his throat. A.H. was indicted, along the child’s mother. Mr. Key filed extensive pre-trial motions, resulting in the dismissal of the initial indictment. The case proceeded to trial, with Scott Key and Kayci Timmons presenting A.H.’s defense that the mother was solely responsible for injuries to the baby. During the trial, the defense strategically questioned the State’s expert medical witnesses to demonstrate that the timeline for possible injury excluded A.H.’s possible involvement. After a week-long trial, A.H. was found not guilty of all counts.
A.H.’s co-defendant was convicted of all counts and sentenced to serve 60 years in prison.
State v. A.R. (2018) A.R.’s family hired Scott Key after he entered a plea in the Superior Court of Coweta County and stipulated to the violation of his probation in the Superior Court of Fayette County. Previous counsel had advised A.R. that he would likely be parole on time served. However, after spending a few weeks in custody, A.R. learned that he would spend seven more months in custody. Key filed a motion to modify sentence in both courts. After an in-chambers meeting in Fayette and a formal hearing in Coweta, both courts re-sentenced to A.R. to time served.
State v. D.H. (2018) D.H.’s family hired Scott Key and Kayci Timmons after being convicted in the Superior Court of Fayette County and being harshly sentenced for Arson in the Third Degree. After filing a motion for new trial on behalf of D.H. in the Superior Court of Fayette County, Scott Key was able to work out the case for re-sentencing so that D.H. was afforded first offender status and credited for time served.
Georgia Court of Appeals
Morales v. State (Decided July 7, 2015) Scott Key represented Morales in this case an obtained a reversal of his convictions for trafficking, possession, and possession with the intent to distribute due to insufficiency of the evidence.
Darst v. State (Decided July 16, 2013) Scott Key represented Darst in this case that overturned a child molestation conviction and 60-year sentence and which clarified the standard of care for lawyers in child molestation cases in terms of expert witnesses.
J.D.P. v. S.D.P. (Decided September 27, 2018) S.D.P. hired Scott Key and Kayci Timmons after his divorce was finalized and property equitably distributed in the Superior Court of Henry County. J.D.P. appealed the final divorce decree on grounds that the property was inequitably distributed and should be re-distributed to give her more of the property that was in question at the trial court level. However, after submitting a brief to the Georgia Court of Appeals on behalf of S.D.P. arguing
that the property was rightfully distributed, the original divorce and equitable distribution of property was affirmed in S.D.P.’s favor.
Supreme Court of Georgia
Elliott v. State (Decided February 18, 2019) In 2015, Elliott was arrested for DUI and other traffic offenses. Upon the arresting officers reading Georgia’s Implied Consent Notice - which states that the accused does have a right to refuse to submit to chemical testing, but such a refusal can be used against the accused at trial - Elliott exercised her constitutional right to refuse to submit to testing. The State then prosecuted Elliott for DUI and sought to use her refusal to submit to a breath test against her at trial. Elliott filed a motion to suppress her refusal to submit to a breath test at trial, claiming such use would violate her right against self-incrimination under the Georgia Constitution. The trial court denied Elliott’s motion and it was appealed to the Supreme Court of Georgia. Scott Key, as the acting GACDL President and upon request by the Georgia Supreme Court, wrote an amicus brief in support of Elliott, arguing that it is unconstitutional for a person to exercise a constitutional right to refuse to submit to a chemical test but then be penalized for exercising that right at trial. By unanimous decision, the Supreme Court reversed the denial of Elliott’s motion to suppress the refusal and held that the Georgia Constitution precluded admission of evidence that a suspect refused to submit to a breath test, and accordingly, the implied consent statute (O.C.G.A. § 40-5-67.1(b)(1)) and statute pertaining to the use of refusals of chemical tests at trial (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-392(d)) were unconstitutional to the extent that they allow a defendant’s refusal to submit to a breath test to be admitted into evidence at a criminal trial.
Gregory v. Sexual Offender Registration Review Bd. (Decided March 21, 2016) In 2012, Gregory was convicted of Obscene Internet Contact with a Child, a felony, and sentenced to prison and probation following completion of that sentence. For purposes of Georgia law, this felony was considered a “dangerous sexual offense” and in turn, Gregory was considered a “sexual offender.” As a sexual offender, Gregory was subject to certain sexual offender registration laws with strict requirements and classification levels. In 2013, the board classified Gregory as a “sexually dangerous predator” based principally on a clinical evaluator’s recommendation. Gregory requested a hearing to challenge the classification, but was denied the hearing. Gregory then filed for judicial review, with Scott Key as his attorney on appeal. The Supreme Court reversed and held that because a liberty interest affected by classification as a sexually dangerous predator is substantial and the danger of erroneous classification substantially more significant in the absence of a hearing, due process under the Fourteenth Amendment requires an evidentiary hearing be afforded defendant upon request, due to his classification as a sexually dangerous predator.
Neuman v. State (Decided June 15, 2015) After being indicted and convicted for murder and possession of a firearm in connection with the murder, Neuman’s family hired Scott Key to represent him on appeal. After arguing that the trial court erred in admitting certain evidence that was protected by attorney-client privilege, the Supreme Court agreed and Nueman’s conviction was reversed.
Ellington v. State (Decided November 19, 2012) Ellington was convicted of murder and subsequently sentenced to death. As amicus counsel, Scott Key argued on behalf of Ellington to have his death sentence overturned. The Supreme Court agreed with the defense and Ellington’s death sentence was overturned.
Ling v. State (Decided November 22, 2010) Ling’s family hired Scott Key as counsel for this cornerstone case which established the constitutional right to an interpreter for non-English-Speaking Defendants.