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Lawskills.com Georgia Caselaw
BUCHANAN v. THE STATE.
20802.
Armed robbery. Cobb Superior Court. Before Judge Manning. November 17, 1959.
QUILLIAN, Justice.
1. It is only in cases where laws are applied differently to different persons under the same or similar circumstances that the equal protection of the laws is denied.
2. The court will not inquire into the sufficiency of the evidence upon which an indictment returned by a grand jury is based.
3. An indictment is sufficient which charges the offense in the language of the Code, or so plainly that its nature may be easily understood.
James Evans Buchanan was indicted for robbery by use of an offensive weapon. Before pleading to the indictment, he filed a motion to dismiss and quash the indictment upon the ground that he had been denied equal protection of the laws as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Georgia, in that he was not permitted to appear before the grand jury that indicted him and to examine the witnesses who appeared before it. After hearing evidence on this question, the motion was denied.
Thereafter a second motion to dismiss and quash the indictment was filed upon the ground that there was no legal evidence before the grand jury that found the indictment true upon which an indictment could be found. After a hearing, this motion was likewise denied.
The defendant also filed demurrers to the indictment. All grounds of demurrer were overruled. To the above rulings, the defendant excepted.
2. In the second motion to dismiss and quash the indictment, it is insisted that the indictment should be dismissed because there was no legal evidence before the grand jury connecting the defendant with the crime charged, in that all the testimony presented before the grand jury was hearsay testimony and without probative value. Without deciding whether the evidence given before a grand jury may ever be inquired into, it was inquired into in this case without objection, and the record shows that, in addition to the testimony referred to, there was before the grand jury a statement made by the defendant amounting to a plenary confession, and a similar statement by another who was charged as an accomplice. These documents were identified by the scrivener who took them down and who was sworn as a witness before the grand jury. There was, therefore, evidence before the grand jury upon which the indictment could lawfully be based. "It has never been the practice in this State to go into an investigation to test the sufficiency of the evidence before the grand jury." Powers v. State, 172 Ga. 1 (3) (157 S. E. 195). See also Summers v. State, 63 Ga. App. 445 (11 S. E. 2d 409). Accordingly, it was not error to deny the motion upon this ground.
3. The defendant filed to the indictment demurrers which contained thirteen grounds, all of which contended that the indictment failed to set out an offense or that the indictment was vague and indefinite. There is no merit in any of the demurrers. The indictment was drawn in the terms of the statute. "An indictment is sufficient which charges the offense in the language of the Code, or so plainly that its nature may be easily understood by the jury." Jackson v. State, 76 Ga. 551 (13e). It follows, it was not error to overrule these grounds of demurrer.
4. From what has been said above, the judgment denying the two motions to dismiss and quash the indictment and the judgment overruling the demurrers to the indictment were not erroneous for any reason assigned.
Luther C. Hames, Jr., Solicitor-General, contra.
Robert J. Noland, for plaintiff in error.
SUBMITTED FEBRUARY 8, 1960 -- DECIDED MARCH 16, 1960.
Friday May 22 23:58 EDT


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