Joint Disposition of Unrelated Charges In Georgia
In Georgia, "because of the great risk of prejudice from the joint disposition of unrelated charges, a defendant has a right to have offenses severed for trial where the offenses have been joined solely on the ground that they are of the same or similar character." Carter v. State, 261 Ga. 344 (1) (404 SE2d 432) (1991); accord Eady v. State, 182 Ga. App. 293, 296 (4) (a) (355 SE2d 778) (1987) (whole court).
However, when one offense could be admitted during the trial of another offense to show a common motive, plan, scheme, or bent of mind, the trial court has the discretion to deny severance. Grimes v. State, 280 Ga. 363, 365 (3) (628 SE2d 580) (2006); accord Dills v. State, 281 Ga. App. 484, 485-486 (636 SE2d 166) (2006).
Thus, "where the evidence of one crime would be admissible as a similar transaction in the trial of the other crime, or where the similarity of the offenses manifests a pattern, the trial court does not abuse its discretion in denying the motion for severance." Thrasher v. State, 261 Ga. App. 650, 652 (3) (583 SE2d 504) (2003).