Monday, November 2, 2009
The Georgia Supreme Court affirmed a trial court determination that two criminal defense lawyers and their law firm did not engage in conversion by accepting fees for services rendered to a widow later convicted of the murder of her husband.
The suit had been brought by the administrator of the husband's estate based on a Georgia statute that prevents a murderer from financially benefiting from the crime. The court held that the husband passed good title to property inherited by the surviving spouse. The murderer may use what are estate proceeds unless and until there is a judicial condemnation proceeding. The lawyers were properly paid prior to conviction and are not liable to the estate under a conversion theory.