A-29789, FEBRUARY 11, 1930, 9 COMP. GEN. 351

A-29789: Feb 11, 1930

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UNDER THE STATE PRACTICE A WARRANT IS REQUIRED BEFORE THERE CAN BE ANY HEARING WHATEVER IN A CRIMINAL CASE ARE ENTITLED TO THE PRESCRIBED FEES FOR WARRANTS NECESSARILY ISSUED FOR PERSONS ALREADY IN CUSTODY. OF THE AMOUNTS CLAIMED AS FEES FOR ISSUING WARRANTS IN CASES WHERE THE DEFENDANTS WERE ALREADY IN THE CUSTODY OF FEDERAL PROHIBITION AGENTS. IT HAS BEEN UNIFORMLY HELD THAT COMMISSIONERS ARE NOT ENTITLED TO FEES WHERE THE ISSUANCE OF THE WARRANT WAS UNNECESSARY. THAT THE ISSUANCE OF A WARRANT FOR THE ARREST OF A PERSON ALREADY BEFORE THE COMMISSIONER OR IN THE CUSTODY OF AN OFFICER HAVING AUTHORITY TO PRODUCE HIM BEFORE THE COMMISSIONER IS UNNECESSARY. UNLESS THE ISSUANCE OF A WARRANT IS SPECIFICALLY REQUIRED BY STATE STATUTE.

A-29789, FEBRUARY 11, 1930, 9 COMP. GEN. 351

UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS - FEES - WARRANTS UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS IN STATES WHERE, UNDER THE STATE PRACTICE A WARRANT IS REQUIRED BEFORE THERE CAN BE ANY HEARING WHATEVER IN A CRIMINAL CASE ARE ENTITLED TO THE PRESCRIBED FEES FOR WARRANTS NECESSARILY ISSUED FOR PERSONS ALREADY IN CUSTODY.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, FEBRUARY 11, 1930:

REVIEW HAS BEEN REQUESTED OF THE DISALLOWANCE IN THE SETTLEMENT OF THE ACCOUNTS OF E. S. GRIFFITH, UNITED STATES COMMISSIONER, ATLANTA, GA., OF THE AMOUNTS CLAIMED AS FEES FOR ISSUING WARRANTS IN CASES WHERE THE DEFENDANTS WERE ALREADY IN THE CUSTODY OF FEDERAL PROHIBITION AGENTS, OR STATE, COUNTY, OR MUNICIPAL OFFICERS.

THE QUESTION INVOLVED IN THESE DISALLOWANCES HAS BEEN BEFORE THE FORMER ACCOUNTING OFFICERS FOR DECISION ON NUMEROUS OCCASIONS, AND IT HAS BEEN UNIFORMLY HELD THAT COMMISSIONERS ARE NOT ENTITLED TO FEES WHERE THE ISSUANCE OF THE WARRANT WAS UNNECESSARY, AND THAT THE ISSUANCE OF A WARRANT FOR THE ARREST OF A PERSON ALREADY BEFORE THE COMMISSIONER OR IN THE CUSTODY OF AN OFFICER HAVING AUTHORITY TO PRODUCE HIM BEFORE THE COMMISSIONER IS UNNECESSARY, UNLESS THE ISSUANCE OF A WARRANT IS SPECIFICALLY REQUIRED BY STATE STATUTE. SEE 3 COMP. GEN. 13; ID. 835; ID. 898, AND AUTHORITIES THEREIN CITED. THEREFORE, THE QUESTION FOR DETERMINATION HERE IS WHETHER, UNDER THE LAWS OF GEORGIA, A WARRANT IS REQUIRED IN ALL CASES.

SECTION 922 OF THE PENAL CODE OF GEORGIA (1910) PROVIDES THAT IN EVERY CASE OF AN ARREST WITHOUT WARRANT, THE PERSON ARRESTING SHALL, WITHOUT DELAY, CONVEY THE OFFENDER BEFORE THE MOST CONVENIENT OFFICER AUTHORIZED TO RECEIVE AN AFFIDAVIT AND ISSUE A WARRANT, AND THAT NO IMPRISONMENT SHALL BE LEGAL BEYOND A REASONABLE TIME ALLOWED FOR THIS PURPOSE. IN THE CASE OF POTTER V. SWINDLE, 77 GA. 419, IT WAS HELD THAT IT IS FALSE IMPRISONMENT TO DETAIN A PERSON LONGER THAN A REASONABLE TIME FOR SUING OUT A WARRANT. IN THE CASE OF THE OCEAN STEAMSHIP CO. V. WILLIAMS, 69 GA. 251, IT WAS HELD THAT IT WAS THE DUTY OF THE PARTY MAKING OR CAUSING AN ARREST WITHOUT A WARRANT TO CONVEY THE PERSON ARRESTED, WITHOUT DELAY, BEFORE THE MOST CONVENIENT OFFICER AUTHORIZED TO RECEIVE AN AFFIDAVIT AND ISSUE A WARRANT, AND THAT IMPRISONMENT UNDER SUCH ARREST WOULD NOT BE LEGAL BEYOND THE REASONABLE TIME ALLOWED FOR PROCURING A WARRANT, AND THAT SUCH ARREST IS ALLOWED ONLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF CARRYING THE PARTY BEFORE A MAGISTRATE. WHILE THESE CASES WERE DECIDED BEFORE THE ENACTMENT OF THE CODE PROVISION ABOVE CITED, IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT SUCH CODE PROVISION CHANGED THE LAW OF GEORGIA IN RESPECT TO THE NECESSITY OF PROCURING WARRANTS WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME FOR PERSONS ARRESTED WITHOUT A WARRANT. SEE PIEDMONT HOTEL CO. V. HENDERSON, 9 GA. APP. 672, 682, SIMILAR IN PRINCIPLE TO THE CASES CITED, SUPRA, AND INVOLVING THE CODE PROVISION SECTION 922, NOW IN EFFECT.

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF GEORGIA, BY LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 1, 1930, HAS INFORMED THIS OFFICE RELATIVE TO PROCEDURE IN GEORGIA, AS FOLLOWS:

THE FOUNDATION OF EVERY PROSECUTION IS THE ISSUANCE OF A WARRANT BY A JUSTICE OF THE PEACE OR NOTARY PUBLIC REQUIRING THE ALLEGED OFFENDER TO BE BROUGHT BEFORE HIM, OR SOME OTHER JUDICIAL OFFICER.

NO ALLEGED OFFENDER IS APPREHENDED EXCEPT FOR THE PURPOSE OF HAVING A WARRANT ISSUED AGAINST HIM, AS THE FIRST AND NECESSARY STEP, TO A COURT OF INQUIRY. THE PRACTICE IN THIS STATE IS UNIFORMLY TO ISSUE WARRANTS AGAINST ALL ALLEGED OFFENDERS, AND THEN TO HAVE A COURT OF INQUIRY, UNLESS THE OFFENDER WAIVES INQUIRY AND GOES TO JAIL OR GIVES BAIL.

OUR APPELLATE COURTS HAVE UNIFORMLY HELD THAT THE ISSUANCE OF A WARRANT IS NECESSARY AND THAT THE INQUIRY MUST BE HELD UPON A LEGAL WARRANT, OR OTHERWISE THE ALLEGED OFFENDER IS NOT IN CUSTODY.

FROM THIS REPORT AND THE COURT DECISIONS CITED, SUPRA, IT SEEMS CLEAR THAT A WARRANT IS REQUIRED IN ALL CASES OF ARREST IN THE STATE OF GEORGIA, AND IN VIEW OF THE CONFORMITY PROVISIONS OF SECTION 1014, REVISED STATUTES, IT MUST BE HELD THAT UNITED STATES COMMISSIONER GRIFFITH WAS REQUIRED TO ISSUE THE WARRANTS FOR WHICH THE FEES IN QUESTION WERE CLAIMED. ACCORDINGLY, SUCH FEES, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT AND PROPER, WILL NOW BE ALLOWED.