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Georgia State Code
Title      17
Chapter       5  
Section Navigation     1 ... 26           27 ... 53     54      
Section<<< 27 28 29 30 31 32 50 51 52 53 >>>  
Title 17, Chapter 5, Section 32 (17-5-32)

(a) As used in this Code section, the term "documentary evidence" includes but is not limited to writings, documents, blueprints, drawings, photographs, computer printouts, microfilms, X-rays, files, diagrams, ledgers, books, tapes, audio and video recordings, and papers of any type or description.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no search and seizure without a warrant shall be conducted and no search warrant shall be issued for any documentary evidence in the possession of an attorney who is not a criminal suspect, unless the application for the search warrant specifies that the place to be searched is in the possession or custody of an attorney and also shows that there is probable cause to believe that the documentary evidence will be destroyed or secreted in the event a search warrant is not issued. This Code section shall not impair the ability to serve search warrants in cases in which the search is directed against an attorney if there is probable cause to suspect such attorney has committed a crime. This Code section shall not impair the ability to serve subpoenas on nonsuspect attorneys.

(c) In any case in which there is probable cause to believe that documentary evidence will be destroyed or secreted if a search warrant is not issued, no search warrant shall be issued or be executed for any documentary evidence in the possession or custody of an attorney who is not a criminal suspect unless:

(1) At the time the warrant is issued the court shall appoint a special master to accompany the person who will serve the warrant. The special master shall be an attorney who is a member in good standing of the State Bar of Georgia and who has been selected from a list of qualified attorneys maintained by the State Bar of Georgia. Upon service of the warrant, the special master shall inform the party served of the specific items being sought and that the party shall have the opportunity to provide the items requested. If the party, in the judgment of the special master, fails to provide the items requested, the special master shall conduct a search for the items in the areas indicated in the search warrant;

(2) If the party who has been served states that an item or items should not be disclosed, such item or items shall be sealed by the special master and taken to the superior court for a hearing. At the hearing the party whose premises has been searched shall be entitled to raise any issues which may be raised pursuant to Code Section 17-5-30 as well as claims that the item or items are privileged or claims that the item or items are inadmissible because they were obtained in violation of this Code section. Any such hearing shall be held in the superior court;

(3) Any such warrant must, whenever practicable, be served during normal business hours. The law enforcement officer or prosecutor serving the warrant shall not participate in the search but may accompany the special master when the special master is conducting the search;

(4) Any such warrant must be served upon a party who appears to have possession or control of the items sought. If, after reasonable efforts, the party serving the warrant is unable to locate any such person, the special master shall seal and return to the court for determination by the court any items which appear to be privileged;

(5) Any such warrant shall be issued only by the superior court. At the time of applying for such a warrant, the law enforcement officer or prosecutor shall submit a written search plan designed to minimize the intrusiveness of the search. When the warrant is executed, the special master carrying out the search shall have a duty to make reasonable efforts to minimize the intrusiveness of the search.

(d) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, evidence obtained in violation of this Code section shall be excluded and suppressed from the prosecution's case in chief or in rebuttal, and such evidence shall not be admissible either as substantive evidence or for impeachment purposes.

Sunday May 24 10:12 EDT


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