UGA law professor says associational effect may be crucial in any potential prosecution of Dr. Barton Corbin


Monday, December 20, 2004

Media Advisory

UGA law professor says associational effect may be crucial in any potential prosecution of Dr. Barton Corbin

According to nationally recognized trial law expert and University of Georgia law professor Ronald L. Carlson, in the event the grand jury indicts Barton Corbin for shooting his wife in the head and leaving the handgun next to her on the bed, events in Augusta may dramatically affect any possible Gwinnett County prosecution.

In Augusta in 1990, Corbin's girlfriend Dorothy Hearn was found on a couch dead from a single gunshot wound to the head with a revolver in her lap. “As in the Lynn Turner antifreeze poisoning deaths, the ability of a prosecutor to bring in evidence of both deaths is often crucial in such cases. Introduction of this sort of evidence results from the operation of Georgia's ‘similar crimes’ law, which allows pattern conduct exhibited in a former case to be used in a later prosecution,” Carlson said.

Augusta authorities are reported to be reopening the case of the Augusta shooting of Hearn. Carlson wonders whether a gunshot residue test was ever conducted on Hearn’s hands. “Much has been made of a similar test done on the hands of Corbin, with authorities awaiting results from the GBI, but media sources have not reported whether any such test was conducted on the hands of Jennifer Corbin,” he said. Carlson is curious about whether GSR testing was done on the victim's hands in both the Buford shooting in 2004 as well as the 1990 fatality in Augusta.

For further commentary, Carlson can be reached by e-mail through the end of the business day on Tuesday, Dec. 21 at mlfield@uga.edu. Commencing Wednesday, Dec. 22 through the end of the year, he can be reached by telephone at 706/548-6771.

A recognized expert on evidence, trial practice and criminal procedure, Carlson is the Callaway Chair of Law Emeritus at the University of Georgia School of Law. A prodigious scholar and lecturer, Carlson has authored numerous books and scores of articles in prominent law reviews regarding these subjects. He has taught at Georgia Law since 1984 and often provides commentary for the national media in high-profile trials. For further information on Carlson, visit http://www.law.uga.edu/academics/profiles/carlson.html .