Georgia Governor Signs Bill Amending Trial For Police Officers' Use of Force, Grand Jury
Apr 27, 2016 08:22 PM EDT
On Tuesday, Governor Nathan Deal signed into a law a bill that gives police officers who use deadly force a special privilege that allows them to make a statement before a grand jury. While it is also be mandatory for them to answer questions, they are not allowed to sit through the entire proceeding.
According to Theet, supporters of the new law said that previously, the officers have the advantage since they can sit through the prosecutor's case and make a statement at the end without facing any questioning. The bill kept the officers special privilege to stand before a jury but now, prosecutors and jurors will have a chance to ask questions regarding their statement.
Yahoo reported that Representative Rich Golick, a Republican who sponsored the bill, said the changes will ensure the integrity of the trial process and bring the state of Georgia to line with the rest of the nation. He added that this is important for a national scrutiny is being regarded due to the use of deadly force by law enforcers.
ABC News published that Kay Levin, an associate professor at Emory University School of Law, said Georgia had statutes in place for decades that maintained the rules for grand jury proceedings in police officer cases. She added that some people are still worried with the new law since there are known close relationships between police and other local prosecutors.
To fix that idea, some legislators suggested adding language that would have the attorney general appoint a different prosecutor, instead of a local district attorney to avoid conflict of interest in investigations. But the prosecutors are not open to the idea so it was not included in the final revision. The new law will go in effect starting July 1.