2010 Georgia Code
TITLE 28 - GENERAL ASSEMBLY
CHAPTER 1 - GENERAL PROVISIONS
§ 28-1-16 - Issuance of subpoenas by Superior Court of Fulton County on behalf of the Committees on Ethics of the Senate and House of Representatives

O.C.G.A. 28-1-16 (2010)
28-1-16. Issuance of subpoenas by Superior Court of Fulton County on behalf of the Committees on Ethics of the Senate and House of Representatives


(a) If the Committee on Ethics of the Senate or House of Representatives determines that the effective functioning of the committee requires the issuance of compulsory process to secure the attendance of a witness or the production of documents and materials, or if a person whose conduct is called into question in an investigation or other proceeding requests the issuance of such compulsory process, the chairperson or acting chairperson shall make application in writing to the presiding judge of the Superior Court of Fulton County for the issuance of an appropriate subpoena. Such application shall:

(1) Describe in general terms the investigation or other proceeding for which the issuance of subpoena is sought and identify the provisions of the Senate or House rules authorizing the committee to conduct such investigation or proceeding;

(2) In the case of process to secure the attendance of a witness, identify the witness; the general nature of the questions to be propounded to the witness; and the reasons for believing that the testimony of the witness is likely to be relevant to the authorized scope of the investigation or proceeding;

(3) In the case of process to secure the production of documents and materials, identify the person to whom the subpoena is to be directed; the general nature of the documents and materials in question; and the reasons for believing that such documents and materials are likely to be relevant to the authorized scope of the investigation or proceeding;

(4) State whether confidential treatment of the application for and issuance of the subpoena is requested;

(5) If the application is submitted on behalf of a person whose conduct is called into question, be accompanied by any materials in support of the application which such person desires to have transmitted to the court with the application; and

(6) If the application is submitted on motion of the committee, be sought by the chairperson or acting chairperson only after notification to the person whose conduct is in issue that the subpoena will be sought.

(b) The presiding judge shall act on such application within 48 hours after it is presented to the judge. If the judge finds that the committee is acting within the scope of the authority granted to it by the rules of the Senate or House and that the testimony or documents or materials sought to be elicited appear to be likely to be relevant to the authorized scope of the investigation or proceeding, the judge may cause an appropriate subpoena to be issued and transmitted to the chairperson or acting chairperson. If the judge deems it necessary or appropriate, the judge may hold a closed or open hearing with respect to his or her determination of this matter.

(c) When authorized by the rules of the Senate and House, the confidential treatment of material and information in the course of investigations and other proceedings of the Committees on Ethics shall be recognized by law. Such confidential treatment shall be preserved in proceedings under this Code section as provided in this subsection. If the application for a subpoena requests confidential treatment, the court shall in any event take any and all steps necessary or appropriate to preserve the confidentiality of the application. The court may, but shall not be required to, issue the subpoena in such a manner as to preserve its confidentiality. If the court determines that a subpoena may be issued but confidential treatment is not warranted under the rules of the Senate or House, the judge shall so notify the chairperson or acting chairperson; and the chairperson or acting chairperson shall then have the option to:

(1) Abandon the request for a subpoena, in which case the application shall remain confidential; or

(2) Accept the determination of the court, in which case the subpoena shall issue, but the application and the issuance shall not be treated as confidential.

(d) In case of refusal to obey a subpoena issued under this Code section to any person, the Superior Court of Fulton County, upon application by the chairperson or acting chairperson, may issue to the person an order requiring him or her to appear before the court to show cause why he or she should not be held in contempt for refusal to obey the subpoena. Failure to obey a subpoena may be punished by the court as contempt of court.

(e) A subpoena issued under this Code section may be served at any place in the state and in any manner authorized in Code Section 24-10-23. Fees and mileage shall be paid and tendered as provided in Code Section 24-10-24, notwithstanding the general exemption of the state from tender of fees and mileage, and shall be in the form of a check issued by the Legislative Fiscal Office upon the written request of the chairperson or acting chairperson.

(f) Any decision of the court under this Code section shall be appealable in the same manner as provided by law for the appeal of a final judgment in a civil action.

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