Walker v. OwensAnnotate this Case
In 2011, John Walker was sentenced to five years’ probation under the Georgia First Offender Act. Walker contended that his probation officer prepared a petition for early termination of probation and that a judge signed an order terminating his probation; however, no termination order was ever filed. Walker contended that there was "overwhelming" evidence that Chief Probation Officer Chiquiti Dean destroyed the order terminating Walker’s probation without the consent or knowledge of the judge who signed the order, and, as a consequence, Walker was arrested and detained for 21 days on a subsequent probation revocation warrant before a trial court dismissed the probation revocation proceedings. In 2015, Walker filed a petition for declaratory judgment and a writ of mandamus, alleging that Officer Dean was not bonded by Georgia law, and that the Georgia Department of Administrative Services maintained “a fidelity and indemnification insurance policy covering the State of Georgia for the failure of its employees to faithfully and honestly discharge their official duties.” Walker alleged this insurance policy failed to satisfy the bond requirements imposed by OCGA 42-8-26 (d). Walker sought a declaration that, to the extent that the Respondents claimed that the Great American policy satisfied the statutory bond requirement, “it should be declared . . . to be read to allow a claimant, such as [Walker] to make an individual claim against the surety and the principal under the ‘read in/read out’ doctrine for construing statutory bonds.” After a hearing, the trial court granted respondents' motion to dismiss. The trial court concluded that through his suit, Walker was asking the trial court to interpret an insurance contract to determine who Walker should sue. Walker appealed the dismissal of his declaratory judgment claim. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed.