In State v. Dorsey, the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the defendant’s sexual battery and simple battery charges, but reinstated two counts of false imprisonment, all arising from incidents that took place during the defendant’s employment as a Fulton County Sheriff’s deputy.
On two occasions, the defendant confiscated cell phones belonging to women which had gone off in the courtroom. It was alleged that he then took them into a nearby office, groped their breasts and buttocks, and exposed his genitals. In one encounter, it was also alleged that he placed his mouth on the alleged victim’s breasts.
The defendant filed a plea in bar to the misdemeanor sexual battery and simple battery charges which was granted by the trial court because the State filed the indictment one day after the statute of limitations expired.
On appeal, the State asserted that it filed the indictment exactly two years after the most recent offense and argued that the date of the offense should not be counted in calculating the statute of limitations. The Court of Appeals found that the trial court did not err in determining that the two-year period ran from the date the offense was committed, noting that because the limitations period was measured in years, the second anniversary of the offense would be one day past the statute of limitations.
However, the Court found that the trial court erred in granting the defendant’s motion to quash the felony false imprisonment charges on the grounds that the defendant had not been allowed to be present and make sworn statements when the case was presented to the grand jury.
Under Georgia law, peace officers charged with offenses alleged to have occurred in the performance of their official duties are permitted to be present and make sworn statements before the grand jury. The Court, however, determined that the defendant went outside the scope of his official duties when he restrained the alleged victims against their will, groping their buttocks and breasts, and exposing his genitals to them.
As a result, the Court reversed the dismissal of the false imprisonment charges and the case was remanded back to the trial to proceed on just those counts of the indictment.
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