Parker v. GeorgiaAnnotate this Case
The Georgia Supreme Court granted certiorari in this case to decide whether, under Georgia’s new Evidence Code, hearsay evidence is admissible in determining whether an out-of-state person is a material witness to a Georgia criminal proceeding under the State’s Uniform Act to Secure the Attendance of Witnesses from Without the State, OCGA 24-13-90 et seq. The Court held after a review of the facts of this case, that a proceeding on a motion for issuance of a material witness certificate is a fact-finding proceeding to which the new evidence rules apply under OCGA 24-1-2 (b), unless an exception applies. Here, there was an exception. Under 24-1-2 (c) (1), the hearsay and other rules of evidence, aside from privileges, do not apply to “[t]he determination of questions of fact preliminary to admissibility of evidence when the issue is to be determined by the court under Code Section 24-1-104.” And determining whether a particular out-of-state person can offer testimony that is material to the particular Georgia criminal proceeding involves “[p]reliminary questions concerning the qualification of [the] person to be a witness” in the case under OCGA 24-1-
104 (a). Here, the trial court therefore erred in applying the hearsay rules to exclude appellant Jason Parker’s proffered documents from the evidence the court considered in ruling on his motion for material witness certificates, and the Court of Appeals erred in Division 1 of its opinion in affirming the trial court’s order denying Parker’s motion. Accordingly, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals’ judgment in part and remanded the case for further proceedings.