Georgia v. BaxterAnnotate this Case
In February 2014, Jason Dakota Baxter (who then was sixteen years old) was arrested and charged with aggravated sexual battery. Baxter was detained pending indictment and trial. About a month after his arrest, Baxter executed a written waiver of his entitlement to have his case presented to the grand jury within 180 days, and Baxter and the State filed the waiver with the superior court. In October 2014, however, Baxter filed a motion to transfer his case to juvenile court, asserting that his case had not been timely presented to the grand jury as required by OCGA 17-7-50.1 and that his waiver was ineffective. The superior court granted the motion, and the State appealed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, finding that presentation to the grand jury within 180 days of detention was an absolute requirement (unless the time was extended for good cause), that such presentation was essential to the jurisdiction of the superior court, and that parties could not by agreement, consent, or waiver confer jurisdiction upon a court that otherwise was without it. The Supreme Court reversed, finding that the Court of Appeals misunderstood OCGA 17-7-50.1 when it concluded that the statute did not permit a detained child to waive presentation within 180 days of the date of detention. For that reason, the Court of Appeals erred when it affirmed the transfer from the superior court to the juvenile court. Accordingly, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals.