There is a newer version of the Georgia Code
2010 Georgia Code
O.C.G.A. 15-24-2 (2010)
TITLE 15 - COURTS
CHAPTER 24 - SEXUAL ASSAULT PROTOCOL
§ 15-24-2 - Establishment of sexual assault protocol and committee; representatives to committee; purpose; annual meeting and review
15-24-2. Establishment of sexual assault protocol and committee; representatives to committee; purpose; annual meeting and review
(a) Each judicial circuit shall be required to establish a sexual assault protocol as provided in this Code section.
(b) The chief superior court judge of each judicial circuit shall establish a sexual assault protocol committee as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section and shall appoint an interim chairperson who shall preside over the first meeting. The chief superior court judge shall appoint persons to fill any vacancies on the committee. Thus established, the committee shall thereafter elect a chairperson from its membership.
(c)(1) Each of the following agencies of the judicial circuit shall designate a representative to serve on the committee:
(A) The office of the sheriff of each sheriff's office in the judicial circuit;
(B) The office of the district attorney;
(C) The magistrate court;
(D) The office of the chief of police of a county of each county within the judicial circuit in counties which have a county police department;
(E) The office of the chief of police of the largest municipality in the county of each county within the judicial circuit; and
(F) The county board of health of each county within the judicial circuit.
(2) In addition to the representatives serving on the committee as provided for in paragraph (1) of this subsection, the chief superior court judge shall designate:
(A) A local citizen of the judicial circuit;
(B) A representative of a sexual assault or rape crisis center serving the judicial circuit or, if no such center exists, then a local citizen; and
(C) A health care professional who performs sexual assault examinations within the judicial circuit or, if no such person exists, then a local citizen.
(3) If any designated agency fails to carry out its duties relating to participation on the committee, the chief superior court judge of the circuit may issue an order requiring the participation of such agency. Failure to comply with such order shall be cause for punishment as for contempt of court.
(d) The protocol committee shall adopt a written sexual assault protocol, a copy of which shall be furnished to each agency in the judicial circuit that handles cases of sexual assault. The protocol shall be a written document outlining in detail the procedures to be used in investigating, collecting evidence, paying for expenses related to evidence collection, and prosecuting cases arising from alleged sexual assault and shall take into consideration the provisions of Article 4 of Chapter 5 of Title 17. The protocol may provide for different procedures to be used within particular municipalities or counties within the judicial circuit. The protocol committee shall adopt a written sexual assault protocol no later than December 31, 2004. The protocol committee may incorporate sexual assault protocols used in the judicial circuit as they existed on or before July 1, 2004.
(e) The purpose of the protocol shall be to ensure coordination and cooperation between all agencies involved in sexual assault cases so as to increase the efficiency of all agencies handling such cases and to minimize the stress created for the alleged sexual assault victim by the legal and investigatory process; provided, however, that a failure by an agency to follow the protocol shall not constitute an affirmative or other defense to prosecution of a sexual assault, preclude the admissibility of evidence, nor shall a failure by an agency to follow the protocol give rise to a civil cause of action.
(f) Upon completion of the writing of the sexual assault protocol, the protocol committee shall continue in existence and shall meet at least annually for the purpose of evaluating the effectiveness of the protocol and appropriately modifying and updating same.
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