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Marsy’s Law – State v. Carlos Alberto Mejia

Violation of Victim’s Rights

Background of Incident

On August 4, 2022, Carlos Alberto Mejia was arrested for a traffic accident that occurred in Oconee County on Ga. Hwy 316. Mr. Mejia was charged with (1) Driving Under the Influence, (2) Hut and Run, (3) Following Too Closely, and (4) Open Container.

Mr. Mejia had rear-ended the victim’s vehicle and then fled the scene. He was arrested less than an hour later.

On July 27, 2023, a court notice was scheduled for Mr. Mejia to be arraigned on August 21, 2023. However, the arraignment had to be continued due to the failure of the District Attorney’s Office to file an appropriate accusation regarding Mr. Mejia’s charges

On September 8, 2023, another court notice was scheduled for Mr. Mejia to be arraigned on October 2, 2023. Due to the failure of the District Attorney’s Office to timely file the accusation, the case was was dismissed by the District Attorney’s Office on October 2, 2023.

A Motion was filed by the victim of the car accident on October 5, 2023 based on the District Attorney’s Office failing to comply with Marcy’s Law. A hearing was held before the Honorable Eric W. Norris. on November 1, 2023. At that time, DA Gonzalez testified that she as prepared to prosecute the case, but lacked general knowledge regarding the underlying accident. Other testimony from an intern attorney showed that the accusation had been started, but could not be completed because he needed assistance which apparently was not timely provided by DA Gonzalez.

At the hearing, DA Gonzalez and her legal team argued that the District Attorney’s Office did not violate the rights of the victim despite their admission that they failed to timely contact the victim after the case was dismissed and the victim was not provided an opportunity to be heard prior to the dismissal. DA Gonzalez further admitted that her office had prepared the accusation in advance of the October 2, 2023, but she failed to ask for a break in the proceedings to get it filed because she did not know she had the ability to request a short recess. She further failed to appreciate the problem regarding lack of notice to the victim since her office had Mr. Mejia indicted by a grand jury on October 17, 2023.

The testimony and evidence at trial indicate that the victim was not provided proper notice of the pending dismissal of the case in violation of the victim’s constitutional rights. Furthermore, the District Attorney’s Office clearly failed to diligently prosecute the case.

In an effort to correct her errors, DA Gonzalez arranged for Mr. Mejia to be re-charged with the same offenses on October 19, 2023.

On November 17, 2023, Judge Norris issued an order finding that DA Gonzalez had violated the rights of the victim according to Marsy’s law. Although the victim requested the District Attorney’s Office to be recused, the trial court left that to them to decide what was appropriate given the circumstances.

Relevant Evidence and Court Pleadings

Order Finding District Attorney Gonzales Violated Marsy’s Law

Hearing Transcript on Marsy’s Law Violation

Traffic Tickets for Mr. Mejia – August 2022

Grand Jury Indictment – October 2023