2019 Georgia Code
Title 17 - Criminal Procedure
Chapter 7 - Pretrial Proceedings
Article 3 - Indictments
§ 17-7-52. Procedure for indictment or special presentment of peace officer for crime in performance of duties; notification; rights of officer
(a) Before a bill of indictment or special presentment against a present or former peace officer charging the officer with a crime which is alleged to have occurred while he or she was in the performance of his or her duties is presented to a grand jury, the officer shall be given a copy of the proposed bill of indictment or special presentment and notified in writing of the contemplated action by the prosecuting attorney. Such notice and a copy of the proposed bill of indictment or special presentment shall be provided to such officer not less than 20 days prior to the date upon which a grand jury will begin hearing evidence, and such notice shall inform such officer:
(1) That the grand jury is investigating such officer's conduct to determine if there is probable cause to conclude that he or she has violated one or more laws of this state;
(2) Of the date upon which the grand jury will begin hearing testimony on the proposed bill of indictment or special presentment and the location of the hearing;
(3) That he or she may request, but cannot be compelled, to testify as a witness before the grand jury regarding his or her conduct; and
(4) That, if such officer requests to testify before the grand jury, he or she will be permitted to do so at the conclusion of the presentation of the state's case-in-chief and that he or she may be questioned by the prosecuting attorney or members of the grand jury as are any other witnesses.
(b) If the officer requests to appear as a witness, he or she shall notify the prosecuting attorney any time prior to the date the grand jury will begin hearing testimony in such investigation. The prosecuting attorney shall, after consulting with the grand jury, inform the officer in writing of the date and time when he or she shall be present in order to testify and of the procedure that the grand jury will follow pursuant to subsection (c) of this Code section. The prosecuting attorney shall further advise the grand jury that an officer has the right to appear and testify or not to appear and testify and that, if the officer chooses not to testify, the grand jury shall not consider that in any way in making its decision.
(c) Prior to the introduction of any evidence or the first witness being sworn, the prosecuting attorney shall advise the grand jury of the laws applicable to the conduct of such proceedings, all relevant sections of the Code relating to the crime or crimes alleged in the bill of indictment, and any Code section that excuses or justifies such conduct. In particular, the grand jury shall be advised of Code Sections 16-3-20, 16-3-21, 16-3-23.1, and 17-4-20.
(d) If the officer requests to testify before the grand jury and appears at the date and time specified, the case shall proceed as in any other criminal case heard by a grand jury, except that the officer shall be permitted to testify at the conclusion of the presentation of the state's case-in-chief and that he or she shall only be present in the grand jury room while he or she is testifying. Such officer may be questioned by the prosecuting attorney or members of the grand jury as are any other witnesses. After the officer has been sworn as a witness and prior to any testimony by the officer, the prosecuting attorney shall advise the officer substantially of the following:
(1) The officer's appearance before the grand jury is voluntary, and he or she cannot be compelled to appear as a witness;
(2) By agreeing to be sworn as a witness on the bill of indictment or special presentment that will be laid before the grand jury, he or she will be asked to testify and answer questions and may be asked to produce records, documents, or other physical evidence;
(3) The officer may refuse to answer any question or to produce records, documents, and other physical evidence if a truthful answer to the question or producing such records, documents, or other physical evidence would tend to incriminate the officer or would tend to bring infamy, disgrace, or public contempt upon the officer;
(4) Any testimony given by the officer may be used against him or her by the grand jury or in a subsequent legal proceeding; and
(5) If the officer is represented by an attorney, the attorney shall have the right to be present in the grand jury room while the officer is testifying, and the officer will be permitted reasonable opportunity to consult with his or her attorney outside the grand jury room.
(e) After being sworn as a witness but prior to being asked any questions by the prosecuting attorney or the grand jurors, the officer may make such sworn statement as he or she shall desire. The officer's attorney shall not propound questions to the officer nor object to questions propounded to the officer on evidentiary grounds.
(f) At the conclusion of the officer's testimony, if any, the prosecuting attorney may present rebuttal evidence and advise the grand jury on matters of law.
(g) At any time during the presentation of evidence or during deliberations, the grand jury may amend the bill of indictment or special presentment or instruct the prosecuting attorney to cause a new bill of indictment or special presentment to be created as in any other case. When a bill of indictment or special presentment is amended or newly created, the accused peace officer and his or her attorney shall be provided a copy of it.
(h) No individual other than the jurors, and any interpreter needed to assist a hearing impaired or speech impaired juror, shall be present while the grand jury is deliberating or voting.
(1) As used in this subsection, the term "nonserious traffic offense" means any offense in violation of Title 40 which is not prohibited by Article 15 of Chapter 6 of Title 40.
(2) The requirements of this Code section shall apply to all prosecutions, whether for felonies or misdemeanors, other than nonserious traffic offenses, and no such prosecution shall proceed either in state or superior court without a grand jury indictment or special presentment.
Ga. L. 1975, p. 607, § 1; Ga. L. 1997, p. 879, § 1; Ga. L. 2001, p. 487, § 5; Ga. L. 2016, p. 186, § 6/HB 941.