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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/12/15

The Hidden Foce Behind Georgia's Move to Legalize No-Knock Searches

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- File impeachment charges against judges who fail to discharge duties in agreement with the law

Deputies and police do not seem enthralled with the bills since they may be called to unnecessarily risk their lives in a no-knock search raid that conflicts with O.C.G.A. 16-3-23 , the right to use force in defense of habitation. Once police are not required to identify themselves, residents may think home is being burglarized during a nighttime raid and choose to defend their property. That creates a risk of gun battles between police and innocent law abiding citizens inside their home. So who benefits from that?

The text of the original bills have one overriding primary purpose: That is to prevent law enforcement from being held criminally liable for crimes committed during highly profitable, illegal raids. Ironically, the Georgia General Assembly proposes to remove this protection of accountability just as the public all across America is demanding more accountability from law enforcement and judges. Riots and unrest that other states have experienced could now increase in Georgia if such a law is passed. After eliminating the possibility of finding law enforcement criminally liable for an illegal raid, the families of future victims will have little or no legal recourse in Georgia courts. This hidden agenda is exactly opposite of what the public is being led to believe about how the bills will control no-knock searches.

The Force behind Georgia's Move to Legalize No-Knock Searches

When SB159 was introduced suspicion intensified as to why three bills that had nearly identical language to legalize no-knock searches had been submitted to the legislature. The bills spanned both the House and the Senate and included versions by both the Democrats and Republicans. Although senators were unwilling to conform to public demand during the Senate hearings, those hearings revealed that the hidden force behind all of the strange behavior is the Prosecuting Attorneys Council of Georgia.

The Prosecuting Attorneys Council (PAC) is a taxpayer funded entity within the judicial branch of the Georgia state government. It is separate from the Attorney General's office which is in the executive branch. PAC is somewhat of a rogue organization that reports to no one in the judiciary. The council is essentially run by Executive Director Chuck Spahos and PAC Chairman Danny Porter. Spahos, the Henry Co. Solicitor General and Porter, the Gwinnett Co. District Attorney, testified for SB159 on March 4.

During his SB159 testimony, Chuck Spahos admitted that he assisted in drafting the language of the bills. Each bill has an identical clause to provide for no-knock search warrants that override current Georgia code. O.C.G.A. 17.5.27 requires an officer to provide an "attempt in good faith to give verbal notice" of the "authority and purpose" in executing a search. However, each bill prefixes current law with a clause that starts: "When a search warrant does not contain a no-knock,.." That clause exempts law officers from current requirements and subverts the protections that the law provides Georgians against unreasonable search and seizure. It is Spahos who is primarily responsible for the bill language that proposes to legalize no-knock search warrants. Thus, Spahos is a key individual behind the hidden agenda to eliminate criminal liability for law enforcement and judicial officers who violate the law by authorizing illegal raids.

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Garland Favorito is the co-founder of VoterGA, which was established to restore the integrity of Georgia elections after the state implemented unverifibale voting statewide. He is also the author of Our Nation Betrayed, which, in its second (more...)

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