Parker v. State, S14G1005, Feb. 16, 2015. The Georgia Supreme Court ruled that Georgia’s new Evidence Code allows hearsay evidence in determining whether an out-of-state person is a material witness to a Georgia criminal proceeding under our State’s Uniform Act to Secure the Attendance of Witnesses from Without the State, OCGA 24-13-90. Under § 24-1-2 (c) (1), the hearsay and other rules of evidence, aside from privileges, do not apply to “[t]he determination of questions of fact preliminary to admissibility of evidence when the issue is to be determined by the court under Code Section 24-1-104.” And determining whether a particular out-of-state person can offer testimony that is material to the particular Georgia criminal proceeding involves “[p]reliminary questions concerning the qualification of [the] person to be a witness” in the case under OCGA § 24-1-104 (a).
The finding of materiality requires a determination of whether the witness “`can testify about matters having some logical connection with the consequential facts’” of the case at hand, Davenport v. State, 289 Ga. 399, 404 (711 SE2d 699) (2011) (citation omitted), which we have explained requires findings of the particular facts of the witness and the case. See Cronkite v. State, 293 Ga. 476, 477-478 (745 SE2d 591) (2013). This conclusion is bolstered by the recognition that OCGA § 24-13-94 permits a court to decide a motion to issue a material witness certificate without holding an evidentiary hearing.
-Author: George Creal