• 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.

What Constitutes “Possession” of Child Pornography? Part III: Thumbs.db Files

Child Pornography

Thumbs.db files are system cache files created by Windows that are associated with actual image files stored on the computer. Their purpose is to produce thumbnail versions of the image files so that the files can be readily previewed in their folders. These files are created without the user’s knowledge and the Windows Explorer default settings hide these files so the user cannot see them. They are separate from the image files, therefore, if the image file is deleted from the computer, the thumbs.db file will still remain—though it will be hidden from view. Also, these files cannot be opened or accessed by the user unless the associated image file is also on the computer. Thus, if the actual image file has been deleted from the computer, the only way for anyone to view the image in a thumbs.db file would be with sophisticated computer forensics software such as Encase. The [...]

Motions to Permit Child Witnesses to Testify Via Closed-Circuit TV

Child Molestation, Motion Practice, Rules of Evidence

As a result of House Bill 804, O.C.G.A. § 17-8-55 has been amended to allow for children under the age of 17 to testify at trial via closed-circuit television in most sex offense cases. Under the new statute, “child” is defined as an individual under the age of 17, as opposed to the old statute which limited it to those age 10 and under. Additionally, instead of applying in all criminal proceedings, it specifically applies when the child is a witness or an alleged victim of a violation of one of the following offenses: murder, assault, battery, kidnapping, cruelty to children, stalking, violation of a family violence order, rape, sodomy, child molestation, enticing a child for indecent purposes, pimping, pandering by compulsion, incest, sexual battery, armed robbery, or participation in criminal gang activity. The statute provides that upon a motion from the prosecuting attorney, from the parent or guardian of [...]

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 [...]