Georgia v. LamplAnnotate this Case
In March 2011, the Chief Judge of the Clayton Judicial Circuit, at the request of the Clayton County District Attorney, issued an order authorizing the impaneling of a special purpose grand jury to investigate certain alleged public corruption. The special purpose grand jury issued subpoenas to various witnesses, including appellee John Lampl, who testified before it in June 2011. In July 2011, the special purpose grand jury returned a 16-count bill of indictment against Lampl on charges of conspiracy in restraint of free and open competition, false statements and writings, and perjury. The indictment was subsequently nolle prossed in the aftermath of the Court of Appeals’ holding in "Kenerly v. Georgia," (715 SE2d 688) (2011)), that the authority of a special purpose grand jury is limited to conducting investigations and does not include the power to issue indictments. Shortly thereafter, in September 2011, Lampl was indicted by a regular Clayton County grand jury on eight counts, including one perjury count, similar to those charged in the special purpose grand jury’s initial indictment. The conspiracy and false statements counts all pertain to alleged conduct by Lampl in his capacity as City Manager for the City of Morrow, in connection with a City real estate development project known as "Olde Towne Morrow." The Georgia Supreme Court granted the State’s petition for a writ of certiorari in this case to determine whether the Court of Appeals properly affirmed the superior court’s order dismissing a particular count of the indictment and suppressing statements made by the defendant before the special purpose grand jury. While the Supreme Court agreed with the superior court’s conclusion that the special purpose grand jury exceeded the scope of its authority in its investigation, the Court held that the relief granted was improper. The Court therefore reversed.