The Act changes the grand jury proceedings for police officers charged with committing a crime in the course of performing their official duties. Prior to the Act, Georgia police officers were permitted to be present for the entire duration of grand jury proceedings, hear all of the evidence presented against them, and then testify to the grand jury at the end of the proceedings without being subject to cross examination. Grand jury hearings produced no records, so interested parties had no opportunity to find out what transpired in the proceedings. After the passage of the Act, police officers retain the right to testify at the end of grand jury hearings. However, police officers can no longer be present for the other parts of the proceedings. After testifying, police officers will now be subject to cross examination by the prosecutor and the grand jury. Police officers will, however, retain their Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer questions. The grand jury can draw negative inferences from a police officer’s assertion of his or her Fifth Amendment right. Prosecutors may also call forward other witnesses to refute a police officer’s testimony. Finally, a court reporter will be present to transcribe what is said in the proceedings, and these transcripts will be made public.
Majda Muhic & Kirstin Rodrigues,
HB 941 - Pretrial Proceedings,
Ga. St. U. L. Rev.
Available at: https://readingroom.law.gsu.edu/gsulr/vol33/iss1/6