A proposal in the Georgia legislature would modernize the state code and put Georgia on par with 42 other states by adopting federal rules of evidence, reports the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. The current code dates to 1868. The proposal caps more than 20 years of lawmakers and the State Bar of Georgia trying to update the code. It is a repeat of a bill approved by the state House last year, which did not get a floor vote in the state Senate.
“Under this, someone can show a document from a computer and say it was done on a computer,” said state Rep. Wendell Willard, the Sandy Springs Republican who is sponsoring House Bill 24. That can be done today, of course. But it means both sides in any trial have to argue before a judge about anything not handwritten, since court rulings and not code dictate what can get into evidence. The lack of uniformity from the antiquated code can lead to the occasional weird, or even bad, outcome at trial. Among the strange possibilities: A witness could submit a notarized written report of their experience and not have to show up in court. Current codes were written before depositions were common and travel easy.