Antonio Strickland v. The State
The Georgia Court of Appeals issued a ruling that requires law enforcement officers in Georgia to write down specific information when completing the Uniform Traffic Citation in order to support a successful prosecution. Strickland had been charged with “following too closely in violation of code section 40-6-49.” The Court of Appeals held that the traffic citation was defective and could not survive a motion to quash because it did not either recite the language of the statute that sets out all the elements of the offense charged or allege the facts necessary to establish violation of the statute. The Court noted that in Jackson v. State, 301 Ga. 137, 140 (1) (800 SE2d 356)(2017), "the Supreme Court of Georgia emphasized that withstanding a general demurrer or motion to quash 'requires more than simply alleging the accused violated a certain statute.' Thus, a legally sufficient indictment must either (1) recite the language of the statute that sets out all the elements of the offense charged, or (2) allege the facts necessary to establish violation of a criminal statute.'" It is not practicable to list the elements of the statute violated. But the Uniform Traffic Citation has a "Remarks" section where the law enforcement officer should state the facts necessary to demonstrate violation of the law. Under Strickland, if no facts are listed, the Uniform Traffic Citation is defective, and the prosecutor would have to issue an accusation that meets the requirements.