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Tammi Lynn McMullen - Ga Appeals Court orders retrail

Tammi Lynn McMullen - Ga Appeals Court orders retrail

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Published by chris_horne_8

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Categories:Types, Letters
Published by: chris_horne_8 on Jul 14, 2012
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12/31/2012

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FIRST DIVISIONELLINGTON, C. J.,PHIPPS, P. J., and DILLARD, J.
NOTICE: Motions for reconsideration must be
 physically received 
in our clerk’s office within tendays of the date of decision to be deemed timely filed.(Court of Appeals Rule 4 (b) and Rule 37 (b), February 21, 2008)http://www.gaappeals.us/rules/
July 9, 2012
In the Court of Appeals of Georgia
A12A0296. MCMULLEN v. THE STATE.D
ILLARD
, Judge.Following a jury trial, Tammi Lynn McMullen was convicted on two countsof homicide by vehicle in the first degree stemming from a motor-vehicle accident inwhich it was determined that McMullen was driving under the influence of acombination of drugs to the extent that it was less safe for her to do so. Among her ten enumerations of error, McMullen challenges the sufficiency of the evidence tosupport her conviction, argues that the trial court erred in admitting similar-transaction evidence, and further asserts that the trial court erred for various reasonsin denying her motion to suppress blood evidence and in admitting testimonyregarding the analysis of that evidence. Although we find that the evidence wassufficient to support her convictions, we are constrained to hold that the admission
 
1
See Nance v. State
, 274 Ga. 311, 311 (553 SE2d 794) (2001) (“The generalrule is that the retrial of the defendant is not barred [when] reversal of the convictionresults from trial error rather than evidentiary insufficiency.” (punctuation omitted)).
2
See Boggs v. State
, 304 Ga. App. 698, 698 (1) (697 SE2d 843) (2010);
seealso Jackson v. Virginia
, 443 U. S. 307, 319 (III) (B) (99 SCt 2781, 61 LE2d 560)(1979).2of similar-transaction evidence was erroneous. We therefore reverse McMullen’sconvictions. We note, however, that because the evidence of McMullen’s guilt wasotherwise sufficient, the State is authorized to retry her without violating theconstitutional bar against Double Jeopardy.
1
Viewed in the light most favorable to the jury’s verdict,
2
the evidence presentedat trial shows that just before 11:11 a.m. on July 21, 2009, McMullen was drivingnorthbound in the left-hand lane on a roadway which consisted of two northboundlanes, two southbound lanes, and a center-turn lane. Also in the left-hand northboundlane was a stationary truck which had been pulling a two-axle trailer loaded with pinestraw. Sometime prior to McMullen’s arrival, the trailer became unhitched from thetruck, and the victims—the truck’s driver and passenger—were attempting to reattachit. Although the flashing lights on the truck were activated, they were not visible froma distance due to the trailer and its contents. McMullen failed to see the truck in front
 
3of her and collided with the rear of the trailer. When she did so, the victims, who had been between the truck and the trailer at the time of the collision, were fatally injured.A police officer who was in a nearby retail establishment heard the accidentand went directly to the scene. He first saw McMullen, who was “shook up” butdeclined emergency-medical services. Upon discovering the victims and the severityof their injuries, however, the officer immediately called for emergency-response personnel.The Georgia State Patrol responded to and assumed control of the accidentinvestigation. The first trooper to arrive testified that he spoke to McMullen brieflyand inquired into the cause of the accident. McMullen reported to him that she hadlooked down to set her cruise control and when she looked back up it was too late toavoid striking the trailer. She wanted to seek medical treatment for what was later determined to be a broken collar bone, however, and the trooper offered her anambulance, which she declined. McMullen instead indicated that she was going tohave her husband take her to the hospital, and the trooper allowed her to leave thescene without delay. As McMullen departed in her husband’s vehicle, the police

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