In Simmons v. State, A13A0083, May 5th, 2013, the Georgia Court of Appeals held that there was no error in the Cobb County State Court Trial Judge’s acceptance of a waiver of the right to a jury trial before a bench trial in the Marietta Trial Court. The Court found that the DUI Defendant need not be informed of the specific consequences of jury trial waiver with regard to the trial court’s factual findings. The DUI Defendant need only be aware that he is waiving his right to a jury trial and that the waiver is knowingly and voluntarily given through an oral plea record or through other extrinsic evidence. The Court also held that oral statements need not be produced to the defendant because the State can not possess statements not reduced to writing under OCGA 17-16-7. Finally, the Court of Appeals held that there was sufficient evidence to sustain his conviction for DUI and open container despite allegations that ice caused the accident and the statement that the defendant had been involuntarily drugged.
The lesson here is that a trial without a jury is often just a slow plea.