Attorney John Taylor, who accepted an appointment to represent Lewis B. Brown on appeal, said the judge issued a ruling Friday granting Mr. Brown a new trial.
Mr. Brown, Leon Brown and Jerome Jordan were tried together in Richmond County Superior Court in June 2002. The two Mr. Browns, who are not related, were convicted of aggravated assault and other crimes, but Mr. Jordan was acquitted.
Leon Brown's case was appealed and his conviction was affirmed in 2004, but Lewis Brown's appeal fell through the legal system's cracks because he didn't have an attorney.
Judge Duncan D. Wheale, who inherited the case from a retired judge, appointed Mr. Taylor to represent Mr. Brown last year. After a July 8 hearing, Judge Wheale ruled that Mr. Brown's defense was presented so poorly that he did not have a fair trial.
After he was appointed to represent Mr. Brown, the trial attorney didn't file a single motion and did not investigate the facts of the case before going to court, Mr. Taylor said. He followed the other lawyers in the case and didn't present Mr. Brown's version of events, Mr. Taylor said.
Mr. Brown testified at the June 2002 trial that he went to Curtis and Gerald "Travis" Mance's home to buy marijuana and was shot.
The Mance brothers told investigators that three masked men broke through their front door and exchanged gunfire with Travis Mance.
Curtis Mance and Mr. Brown were both wounded.
A new trial date hasn't been set.
Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.