GA: A search waiver as a condition of a bail bond is valid

A search waiver as a condition of a bail bond is valid in Georgia. Watson v. State, 2020 Ga. App. LEXIS 446 (Aug. 12, 2020):

“In Georgia we have held that bonds in both felony and misdemeanor cases may contain conditions so long as the conditions are reasonable under the facts and circumstances of the case.” Cantrell v. State, 295 Ga. App. 634, 637 (1) (673 SE2d 32) (2009) (citation and punctuation omitted). “This holding is consistent with the principle that where a person charged with a crime is released on bail prior to trial, he remains in the constructive custody of the law.” Rocco v. State, 267 Ga. App. 900, 902 (1) (601 SE2d 189) (2004) (citation omitted). We have previously held that imposition of a Fourth Amendment waiver in a bond order as a condition of a defendant’s release for distributing and possessing illegal drugs was reasonable. See id. We found that the waiver was “not arbitrary or capricious, but is a reasonable exercise of the court’s function of balancing the rights of the accused with public safety interests.” Id. at 902-903 (1). Here, as Watson was released on bond for multiple charges, including felony theft by receiving stolen property, it was a reasonable exercise of the court’s function to balance Watson’s Fourth Amendment rights with public safety interests. See generally Allen v. State, 258 Ga. 424, 425 (3) (369 SE2d 909) (1988).4Link to the text of the note

In its order denying the motions to suppress, the trial court found that Watson’s and Feaster’s “testimony that they did not read [the Fourth Amendment waiver] provision or that it didn’t apply to them is not credible.” Watson does not dispute that he signed the order containing the waiver. The waiver was not hidden with a myriad of other conditions in a multi-page order. Instead, the waiver is highlighted on the onepage order by a title section that states “WAIVER OF FOURTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS”, which is centered, written in caps, bold type and underlined. “Credibility of witnesses and the weight to be given their testimony is a decision-making power that lies solely with the trier of fact. The trier of fact is not obligated to believe a witness even if the testimony is uncontradicted and may accept or reject any portion of the testimony.” Hughes, supra at 747 (1) (citation and punctuation omitted).

The trial court was entitled to find Watson not credible in his claims that he did not understand he was waiving his Fourth Amendment rights by signing the order. …

I still don’t get it. How is a Fourth Amendment waiver of a probationer who remains in custody and convicted remotely similar to a Fourth Amendment waiver of a person still presumed to be innocent? One of my local judges has that on a release form that has to occasionally be signed in open court. I write “objection: can’t waive Fourth Amendment or Ark. Const., Art. 2, § 15 rights without conviction.” It’s never been litigated here.

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