Press Statement: Georgia Legislature passed flawed bill to silence demand for police accountability, substantially reduced penalty for deliberately killing a police officer
Atlanta – “In their haste to silence Georgians’ demand for police accountability, the state legislature has produced a severely flawed bill that may substantially reduce penalties for deliberately killing a police officer,” said Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia.
- Section 6 of HB 838 conflicts with existing Georgia law and creates uncertainty in how the law would actually be applied.
- Under current Georgia law, the punishment for murder includes death, imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole, or imprisonment for life.
- Under HB838, the maximum imprisonment for murdering a police officer is five years and/or a maximum fine of $5,000.
- Under the rule of lenity, when statues are unclear, courts resolve such lack of clarity or ambiguity by applying the law in a manner that is most favorable to the accused.
 See United States v. Bass, 404 U.S. 336 (1971)
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