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Merlinus Goodman Monroe

Merlinus Monroe’s Answers

240 total

  • What is the law on self-defense in Georgia

    My son was involved in a fight at school yesterday, 1/25/2016. The other student and his entourage approached my son, and verbally threatened him. At this time my son took off his backpack and put his hands up in a boxing position, blocking his f...

    Merlinus’s Answer

    Section 16-3-21 of the Official Code of Georgia provides the law on self-defense as a justification. Subsection (a) reads: (a) A person is justified in threatening or using force against another when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes that such threat or force is necessary to defend himself or herself or a third person against such other's imminent use of unlawful force; however, except as provided in Code Section 16-3-23, a person is justified in using force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to himself or herself or a third person or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.


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  • What are my rights regarding this Judge? Is my sentence stayed while on appeal?

    The Judge is married to a colleague of mine. We competed for a lead teacher position. I have motioned to recuse the Judge who refused to appoint an attorney for my appeal subsequent to declaring my indigence. The Judge has denied my request to sta...

    Merlinus’s Answer

    As my colleague correctly points out - do NOT try to represent yourself, ESPECIALLY if the potential conflicts of interest you have described are present. Act on this YESTERDAY.

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  • Can the prosecutor use a range of dates in the indictment that are different than the dates given by my accuser?

    My accuser stated that the incidents occurred when she was 8 or 9 years old and lasted only a FEW MONTHS.My accuser's statement is the only evidence in the case. However, according to my accuser's dob (12/30/98) the indictment states that the inci...

    Merlinus’s Answer

    Remember: they must prove that the events happened as they wrote them in the indictment, which gives you the chance to prove that things didn't happen as they stated. View this as a plus, and GET AN ATTORNEY (yesterday). Remember - if you had an attorney already, you wouldn't have to ask questions that so many lawyers can easily answer but you cannot!

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  • What rights do grandparents have about visitation with there grandchildren?

    Son in law has custody. I have tried to be civil, and he never responds. I want to know legal action that I can take.

    Merlinus’s Answer

    Look at section 19-7-1 of the Georgia Code (and the following sections). I think I actually have an Avvo Guide on here that you can read, or you can look at my website,, as I have done these kinds of actions before. My colleague is correct - custody needs to be in issue, because the statute only gives you the right to intervene in the action. However, depending on your situation, there may be much you can do!

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  • I prosecuted and won a judgment in magistrate court. Now it is pending in State court. Is this an appeal?

    No further details necessary.

    Merlinus’s Answer

    Be aware that the appeal from Magistrate Court is considered a de novo appeal. The actual Code Section is 15-10-41, and it provides for that to be done. If the case is pending, but you won, then the other side appears to have appealed it. As I said, this is a de novo appeal, which means, roughly, "anew" or "a second time". I direct you to a post I did on my site,…superior-court/ (I will put a link to it below). It details appeals to Superior Court, but it should be applicable to State Court, also (they do not have a State Court in several counties I practice in). It is very important, by the way, that you have an attorney for this. If it was important enough to sue over, then you want to make sure that you win in the Court its now pending in, too!!!

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  • Is there any mercy for breaking bond violations for 2 aggravated assault charges?

    I have asked this question before but my brother who is 21 years old, lawyer is not any good to talk to but anyway he has to take 2 drug test a month for 2 aggravated assault charges. He has missed two months because he was being dumb and went bac...

    Merlinus’s Answer

    You told my colleague that he "is not represented by that lawyer anymore", so this answer is VERY general, because 1. you are not the person who needs help, and 2. the attorney-client agreement can take more than someone simply deciding they don't feel like being represented by an attorney. After all, in your question you indicated that he IS represented, but you do not feel like his attorney is doing a sufficient job for him.

    Generally, the person gets arrested when they present themselves to the jail after missing probation for two months. They were on probation and did not appear, and there is usually a warrant out for them. Still, I urge your brother to turn himself in - he will only aggravate the situation by avoiding it, and it can best be dealt with head-on. Confront it, change his behavior, and deal with it before it becomes too much to handle!

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  • How can i file an emergency custody hearing, since children are back in school? current order is joint but doesn't specify m-f

    current foreign order does not specify monday -friday as my ex was living in another state and since moved back to GA. she has taken my children twice now, and kept them from me....don't want it to happen again

    Merlinus’s Answer

    My colleagues are all saying more or less the same thing, but you need to make sure that you are paying close attention to what you really want to accomplish here. You talked about getting an emergency custody hearing, but you have mentioned no present "emergency" (only past behavior by an unstable other spouse), and the Courts generally frown on granting"emergency" relief in the absence of a true emergency. HOWEVER, if you either a) domesticate an out-of-state Order, or b) file to modify custody, seeking to have the court that issued its custody order specify the missing m-f times and custodial relationship, you will get a temporary order put in place, and there will also be a standing order that (in most, if not all, Circuits) keeps the children right where they are until the Court resolves the issue.

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  • How do I access the evidence the prosecutor has against me?

    My court date is tomorrow.

    Merlinus’s Answer

    If you are charged with an offense in Georgia, you are entitled to certain information ahead of trial, usually at your Arraignment. Since you apparently still don't know this, it appears this is your Arraignment (at which you will be given the choice between pleading guilty, not guilty, or - in some cases, where it's allowed - nolo contendere, or "no contest", you will be provided with a copy of the accusation or indictment against you, and your representation status will be determined. It is best to already have a lawyer, as my colleagues have told you, and the judge will inquire into whether you are represented, are going to apply for a publicly-appointed lawyer (note: you may not qualify), or are going to represent yourself.

    The statutes for misdemeanors (and certain felonies) in Georgia is Section 17-16-21, which reads as follows:
    "Prior to arraignment, every person charged with a criminal offense shall be furnished with a copy of the indictment or accusation and, on demand, with a list of the witnesses on whose testimony the charge against such person is founded. Without the consent of the defendant, no witness shall be permitted to testify for the state whose name does not appear on the list of witnesses as furnished to the defendant unless the prosecuting attorney shall state that the evidence sought to be presented is newly discovered evidence which the state was not aware of at the time of its furnishing the defendant with a list of the witnesses."

    If you are charged with a felony case, instead, the applicable section is 17-16-3, which reads as follows:
    "Prior to arraignment, every person charged with a criminal offense shall be furnished with a copy of the indictment or accusation and a list of witnesses that may be supplemented pursuant to the other provisions of this article."

    When it says "prior to arraignment", but you haven't hired an attorney before you are due in Court, what it means, typically, is that you will have to check in first, or they will call your name to check you in, you will receive a packet with that information (and, if you are fortunate, any applicable toxicology reports or other immediate info), and then you will have to plead.

    You NEED to get an attorney. We spent years and years in school, and years in practice, to learn how to achieve *better* results for you.

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  • Is a vehicle considered a part of curtilage when an apartment is searched?

    My son was in his apartment. Police came to search house due to suspicion of drug sale. No drugs were found inside the house. However someone else's car was parked outside and after searching it they found drugs. The car was not my son's, but be...

    Merlinus’s Answer

    The first thing is to point out AGAIN, as my colleague already has, that your son appears to have a public defender representing him who is familiar with the case, and an opinion on the Internet isn't the same!!!!

    That being said, it is a common thing for family members to check it out as much as they can independently.

    According to one definition by Black's Law Dictionary (Online), "curtilage" is defined as "The enclosed space of ground and buildings immediately surrounding a dwelling-house. In its most comprehensive and proper legal signification, it includes all that space of ground and buildings thereon which is usually enclosed within the general fence immediately surrounding a principal messuage and outbuildings, and yard closely adjoining to a dwelling-house, but it may be large enough for cattle to be levant and couchant therein. "

    There doesn't appear to be ANY definition that would include another person's car in a space in front of the guy's apartment. This sounds like a no-brainer, but I am not familiar with the case and there likely are many, many facts of which you and I are unaware.

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  • Protective order hearing, judge refused to grant a continuance even though the petitioner did not produce subpoenaed documents.

    I lost badly, but he did nothing to force her to produce the documents and phone records. I also have the records subpoenaed through the phone company, but those have also not shown up yet. The judge granted the order and refused a continuance. ...

    Merlinus’s Answer

    Under Section 19-13-4(a) of the Official Code of Georgia, the Court can grant a protective order on the filing of a verified petition. It is designed to protect the applicant, and - in my experience - it is just a weapon against the other party, that takes a skilled attorney to defeat. I am pleased to say that I have defeated more than a few, but it is miserable at first for the person who has the Order brought against them, because it is ex parte in nature and they have to go through all kinds of misery until the situation can be taken care of (especially if there are minor children involved).

    You need to understand that the judge is under no particular obligation to either grant your continuance request until the phone records can be procured or to make her do ANYTHING. The burden in such a situation falls entirely on you. That being said, being placed on the Registry of TPOs can make life heck for you, often.

    You need to hire an attorney and get this taken care of, and you SHOULD have hired an attorney as soon as she went and took the TPO against you. I have moved this into the "Domestic Violence" practice area, because this isn't a complete action unto itself, for which an appeal would necessarily lie. Instead, it is typically one part of a larger situation. What prompted her to seek a TPO against you?

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