Georgia v. OrrAnnotate this Case
Otto Orr met Candice Nicole in June 2013; the couple married in February 2014 and Candice became pregnant. According to Candice, after they had been together for a few months, Orr started to drink heavily and would hit her when they argued. In October 2014, the couple had a baby boy. Candice testified that on January 26, 2015, before Orr left for work, he asked her to pick up some baby formula. When he returned home that evening and learned that she did not get the formula, they began to argue. Orr then became violent, striking Candice multiple times in front of their son, continuing to kick Candice until she asked if he was going to kill her. Orr then stopped, called his friends to pick him up and take him to his mother’s house, and left. Candice and the baby went to stay with her friend, who urged her to call 911. The responding police officer testified that when he arrived at the friend’s house, Candice’s face was swollen and looked like she had been punched “a considerable amount of times.” Orr was ultimately arrested two days later, and formally accused of family violence battery and cruelty to children in the third degree. The Georgia Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari in this case to determine whether Georgia’s new Evidence Code abrogated a categorical rule announced in Mallory v. Georgia, 409 SE2d 839 (1991), which excluded evidence of a criminal defendant’s pre-arrest “silence or failure to come forward” to law enforcement on the ground that such evidence was always “far more prejudicial than probative.” The Supreme Court explained the new Evidence Code, which took effect on January 1, 2013, precluded courts from promulgating or perpetuating judge-made exclusionary rules of evidence like the one created in Mallory, and instead generally required trial courts to determine the admissibility of evidence based on the facts of the specific case and the rules set forth in the Evidence Code. The Court vacated the Court of Appeals’ judgment in this case and remanded for further proceedings.