HB 24 totally revises Title 24, the Evidence Code. However, the Bill does not go into effect until January 1, 2013 (HB 24, Section 101; see also OCGA 1-3-4(a)). Until then, the current rules of evidence are still in effect. Governor Deal signed HB 24 into law on May 3, 2011.
The delayed effective date was included because the legislature recognized that it would take time to train lawyers and judges how to use and apply the new Rules in court. It is important that you make sure everyone in your office, and more important, your judges, are aware that the new rules do not go into effect this year or next.
Summary of HB 24
For the most part, HB 24 enacts the Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE). Where changes were made to the FRE, most of them simply conformed FRE provisions to the fact that the rules would be applied in Georgia courts. In a few cases, the legislature decided to retain provisions found in the current Title 24 that are not addressed in the FRE. However, the language of the FRE is different than that of the current Title 24 and the rules are more specific than the current law.
Training on the new Evidence Code
As part of the 2011 Summer Conference and Capitol Litigation program, there will be a one hour overview of the new Evidence rules.
In 2012, PAC will have a 3 to 4 hour session at both the Winter and Summer Conference. In addition, we will be offering two one day training programs that will be devoted to application of the new rules. The Winter Conference will be recorded and made available to any office/prosecutor that requests a copy. This will give every prosecutor one or two opportunities to attend the Evidence Code training and/or watch it. If additional funding becomes available, there may be more programs.
Evidence Code training will be subject to the rule that you may only be reimbursed for one major conference per year.