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Georgia, located in southeastern United States, was named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia has been ranked as one of the fastest-growing states, next to Texas. Top employers include Home Depot, UPS, Coca Cola, Southern Company, SunTrust Banks, Aflac and Delta Air Lines.
The Georgia Constitution was first established in 1777. The Peach State has a long history of enacting criminal laws that have been challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court; some of these laws have prompted change in criminal law and procedure across the country.
In 1972, the High Court addressed a Georgia law in Furman v. Georgia, where it held that the death penalty must be applied consistently in order to avoid offending the Eighth Amendment. Specifically, the Court found that the state of Georgia had imposed the death penalty in an arbitrary fashion to a seemingly disproportionate number of minorities. In response to Furman, many states revised their death penalty laws – for instance, by imposing statutes requiring separate sentencing phases of trials, and by providing guidelines for judges and juries. State revisions proved effective: in 1976, the High Court reinstated the death penalty as constitutional in Gregg v. Georgia.
A 1986, another case arising in Georgia prompted the U.S. Supreme Court to clarify criminal law and procedure. In Georgia v. McCollum, the Court found that a criminal defendant may not make race-based peremptory challenges. The Court had already decided in Batson v. Kentucky that prosecutors may not make race-based peremptory challenges, but it did not decide whether defendants could. McCollum established that public defense attorneys serve as state actors when they make peremptory challenges; thus, they cannot make peremptory challenges based on race without violating the Equal Protection Clause.
According to statistics compiled by the American Bar Association, there are over 1 million lawyers practicing in the country. Furthermore, 27,227 lawyers live and practice law in Georgia with certification from the Georgia State Bar. When searching for representation, it is vital to investigate lawyers’ backgrounds. One easy and free way to do this is to use a lawyer referral service like LegalMatch, where trained professionals screen lawyers before matching them with clients.
These websites can supply you with other helpful information about Georgia’s laws and legal procedures:
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Last Modified: 02-28-2012 02:42 PM PST