Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Peabody

Court of Appeals of Georgia, Second Division

October 25, 2017

THE STATE
v.
PEABODY.

          MILLER, P. J., DOYLE and REESE, JJ.

          Miller, Presiding Judge.

         Former Lieutenant Daniel Peabody was indicted on two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals (OCGA § 16-12-4 (d)), and one count of making a false statement (OCGA § 16-10-20), in connection with the hot-car death of his K-9 dog, Inka. Peabody moved to quash the indictment for the animal cruelty charges, on the grounds that the State violated OCGA § 17-7-52 by failing to provide him with a copy of the proposed bill of indictment, and more importantly, notice, before presenting the case to the grand jury. The trial court granted Peabody's motion, and the State now appeals, contending that OCGA § 17-7-52 is inapplicable because Peabody was not acting in the performance of his official job duties when the alleged crimes occurred. This Court finds that Peabody was in fact acting within the scope of his official duties and he was therefore entitled to the protections afforded by OCGA § 17-7-52, including notice. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court's grant of the motion to quash the indictment.

         "We review the trial court's interpretations of law and application of the law to the facts de novo and its findings of fact for clear error."[1]

         So viewed, Peabody was a POST-certified peace officer, K-9 handler, and the owner of Inka. At the time of this incident, he was employed by the Cherokee County School District Police Department and had been Inka's K-9 handler for almost four years. Although Peabody's job customarily required him to perform his duties while inside school district buildings or facilities, he was also authorized to work with Inka elsewhere.

         In accordance with the Cherokee County School Police Department's K-9 Policy and Procedures in effect at the time, Peabody was responsible for Inka's daily care, and his duties included providing her with food, water, shelter, and exercise. Peabody was also responsible for getting Inka into county-issued or personal vehicles, transporting her, and then removing her from those vehicles. Peabody housed Inka at his residence, and he was compensated accordingly.

         On the afternoon of June 10, 2016, Peabody left work in his county vehicle, with Inka in the back seat. On the way home, Peabody received a text message from his wife asking him to let out a puppy that she was boarding at their home. When Peabody arrived at his house, he parked in the driveway, turned the car engine off, and went inside the house to attend to the puppy. Peabody left Inka in the county vehicle with the doors shut and the windows closed, which ultimately resulted in Inka's death.

         After learning that the State intended to present its case to the grand jury, Peabody timely notified the State that he wanted to testify before the grand jury pursuant to OCGA § 17-7-52, the statute which governs indictment procedures when a peace officer is charged with "a crime which is alleged to have occurred while he or she was in the performance of his or her duties." OCGA § 17-7-52 (a). When the statute is applicable, an officer is entitled to at least 20-days notice prior to the presentment of a proposed indictment to a grand jury. OCGA § 17-7-52 (a).

         In response to Peabody's notice, the State claimed that the statute was inapplicable because the crimes did not occur while Peabody was in the performance of his official duties. Consequently, the State did not send Peabody a copy of the proposed indictment before presenting its case to the grand jury in September 2016. After the grand jury indicted Peabody, the superior court granted Peabody's motion to quash the indictment, finding that the alleged acts did occur while Peabody was in the performance of his official duties as a police officer. This Court then granted the State's request for interlocutory review.

         1. On appeal, the State posits that because Peabody left Inka in the vehicle to attend to personal tasks, he "stepped aside" from his police-related duties and was therefore not entitled to the protections afforded by OCGA § 17-7-52. We disagree.

         OCGA § 17-7-52 (2016)[2] provides:

Before a bill of indictment or special presentment against a present or former peace officer charging the officer with a crime which is alleged to have occurred while he or she was in the performance of his or her duties is presented to a grand jury, the officer shall be given a copy of the proposed bill of indictment or special presentment and notified in writing of the contemplated action by the prosecuting attorney. Such notice and a copy of the proposed bill of indictment or special presentment shall be provided to such officer not less than 20 days prior to the date upon which a grand jury will begin hearing evidence.

(Emphases supplied.) OCGA § 17-7-52 (a).

         These statutory ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.