Convicted cop killer Christopher Calmer began his appeal of his murder conviction on Monday with his attorney telling Judge Tommy Wilson that, among other things, he had the right to use deadly force to defend his home.
Attorneys for Calmer, who was convicted in June 2017 of the murder of Monroe County Sheriff’s Dep. Michael Norris in September 2014, raised six objections on Monday that they believe should result in Wilson throwing out the guilty verdict.
Monroe County District Attorney Jonathan Adams said Calmer’s attorneys, led by Gabrielle Pittman, appealed that 1.) Calmer had the right to use deadly force in defense of his home 2.) Calmer had the right to use deadly force in self-defense 3.) Wilson, who presided over to original trial, should have given a jury charge for temporary insanity based on delusion 4.) Wilson should have given a jury charge for voluntary and involuntary manslaughter 5.) The state’s evidence was insufficient to support a murder conviction and 6.) The jury should have found Calmer not-guilty by reason of insanity.
Adams said neither of the first two objections are valid because Calmer never testified himself that he was defending himself or his home. He said the third objection was raised because Wilson elected to read “pattern”, or commonly used, charges instead of a more specific one from case law. As for the defense’s final three objections, Adams said the state already provided evidence during the trial that Calmer’s actions constituted murder and that Calmer was not suffering from insanity when he fired deadly shots at Norris.
Assistant DAs Cindy Adams and Carolee Jordan gave oral arguments for the prosecution on Monday while Pittman argued on Calmer’s behalf. Calmer was not present at Monday’s hearing.
Jonathan Adams said both sides have until July 29 to provide Wilson with written orders stating their positions on the points of the appeal. Adams said Wilson will then likely render a ruling in early August. If Wilson rejects the defense’s request for a new trial, Calmer’s next appeal would go directly to the Georgia Supreme Court since Calmer faced the death penalty (The same Upson County jury that convicted Calmer of murder elected not to sentence the defendant to death.). Adams said the state Supreme Court will likely rule on legal briefs presented by both sides rather than hear oral arguments. He said if Calmer’s attorneys appeal to the state Supreme Court later this year, as expected, a final ruling should be made in early 2020.
Calmer was found guilty on all nine counts during his 2017 trial, including malice murder, two counts of felony murder, aggravated battery, criminal attempt to commit murder, two counts of aggravated assault on a peace office and two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Calmer, now 52 years of age, received a life sentence without parole.