Budhani v. GeorgiaAnnotate this Case
In 2014, Mahemood Budhani was convicted of possessing and selling XLR11, a Schedule I Controlled Substance. Budhani appealed his convictions to the Court of Appeals, claiming (among other things) that the indictment was void and that his statements to police were involuntary and therefore should not have been admitted at trial. The Court of Appeals rejected Budhani’s claims and affirmed his convictions. The Georgia Supreme Court granted certiorari to consider: (1) whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding that the indictment was not fatally defective; and (2) whether a promise of no additional charges constitutes a “slightest hope of benefit” under OCGA 24-8-824. The Georgia Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court’s outcome, but on different grounds. Specifically, the Court held”: (1) Budhani’s indictment was not void; and (2) a promise made by law enforcement to bring no additional charges against a defendant did not constitute the “slightest hope of benefit” under OCGA 24-8-824, although such a promise may not always render a subsequent confession inadmissible. Furthermore, the Court concluded that although investigators’ promises of no additional charges during Budhani’s recorded, custodial interview constituted a hope of benefit under OCGA 24-8-824, any error the trial court made by admitting the portions of Budhani’s interview after investigators’ promises of no additional charges was harmless based on this record in this case.