• About

    Georgia Sex Offense Law is an online reference for attorneys and the public that discusses legal issues affecting the defense of individuals accused of sex offenses in Georgia. The Brody Law Firm is a boutique criminal defense firm in Atlanta that has a special focus on the defense of sex offense allegations in State and Federal Court.

Introducing Character Evidence in Child Sexual Abuse Cases

Child Molestation, Rape, Rules of Evidence

On January 1, 2013, Georgia’s new evidence code—which adopts the Federal Rules of Evidence—took effect. One of the most significant changes in the code deals with the admission of character evidence. In cases where a defendant is accused of sexually abusing a child, the defense may seek to introduce evidence that the defendant has a history of treating children appropriately or has a reputation for sexual morality and decency. Under Georgia’s old evidence code, this sort of testimony was prohibited. In Brooks v. State, 236 Ga. App. 604, 512 S.E.2d 693 (1999), the Georgia Court of Appeals held that testimony that the defendant had a reputation for acting appropriately toward children was not admissible. Up until now, only testimony concerning the defendant’s general reputation in the community and reputation for truthfulness was admissible. However, under the new evidence code, O.C.G.A. § 24-4-404(a) provides that evidence of a “pertinent trait of [...]

Obtaining Psychiatric/Psychological Records of Alleged Sex Offense Victims

Child Molestation, Investigation, Motion Practice, Rape

Statements made by the alleged victim during counseling or treatment following a sexual abuse disclosure can be discoverable under certain circumstances. Under Georgia law, the procedure for obtaining statements made by an alleged victim during counseling begins with the filing of a pre-motion requesting that the court conduct a hearing to determine the necessity of disclosing such statements to the defense. In the motion, the defense should request (1) the names of any individuals who provided psychiatric and/or psychological counseling and/or treatment to the alleged victim and (2) the issuance of subpoenas requiring these individuals to personally appear at the pre-trial hearing so the court can consider both their findings regarding the alleged victim and any statements made by the victim during counseling regarding the issues at trial. In the alternative, the defense should request that the court conduct an in camera inspection of the therapist’s testimony and/or the victim’s [...]

Obtaining School Records in Child Molestation Cases

Child Molestation, Investigation, Motion Practice

Just as a defendant accused of a sex offense can obtain records from DFCS and the juvenile courts, he can also obtain an alleged victim’s school records. These records can often be used to show that an alleged child molestation victim did not exhibit the behavior or decline in school performance that is typically expected with a child that has been abused. At or before arraignment, the defense should file a “Motion for the Issuance of Subpoena to Obtain Records” within the appropriate county’s public school system. The motion should request that the school system produce the alleged victim’s complete file for the defense or, in the alternative, request that the court conduct an in camera inspection to consider whether the records are necessary for the determination of an issue before the court. As a basis for this review, the defense should cite the existence of exculpatory evidence that the [...]

Obtaining Juvenile Court Records in Sex Offense Cases

Child Molestation, Investigation, Motion Practice

Under Georgia law, a defendant can seek a court order to obtain the juvenile court records of any victim or witness who will testify against him at trial. Typically, we will want to discover whether a victim or witness was prosecuted in juvenile court for a crime. If so, evidence of this prior crime may be used to impeach his or her credibility or to show that the person may have a motive to help the prosecution. In some instances, juvenile court records can reveal whether DFCS had ever filed a delinquency petition against a parent of a child accuser or whether the court had ever become involved in a custody dispute regarding the child. In a sex offense case that involves an allegation made by a child against one of the parents, the juvenile court will sometimes get involved in DFCS’s attempt to modify or terminate the parent’s parental [...]