Does it matter in Georgia criminal defense that the victim
in a murder case was impaired on drugs or alcohol at the time he was killed?

Yes and no. 

In all homicide cases, pursuant to the Georgia Death Investigation Act, a Georgia medical examiner will perform an autopsy for potential prosecution.  Six of Georgia’s 189 counties have their own medical examiner’s offices including Gwinnett, Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton.  In all other counties in Georgia the individual counties contract with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to perform their examinations.

What’s the procedure?

In almost all cases the medical examiner will draw central blood, urine and vitreous fluid from the body of the decedent.  However, the medical examiner will not order the bodily fluids to be tested by the forensic toxicology division for impairment.  Further, you must be aware, in a homicide case the GBI will hold the specimens for only 24 months before destroying them.  IN order to preserve and test the samples, the GBI will need a copy of a court order or written authorization from the prosecuting agency to test the samples.

Will this be used in court?

Assuming the results come back as showing impairment in the “victim’s” blood the argument over whether they come in depends on relevance.  Generally, a murder victim’s character is not admissible unless there is some connection as to the reason it is coming in.  Generally speaking, an expert’s testimony as to the effects of the impairing substance will be necessary.

Call us today if you or someone you love has been charged with Murder in the state of Georgia. We would love to meet with you for free. Our number is 404-581-0999.