Every law should have an expiration date!
After Rep. David Graves was charged with drunken driving for a second time, he and his lawyer offered a surprising defense:
As a lawmaker, Graves cannot break the law — at least not while the Legislature is at work.
The Macon Republican is using an obscure provision in the state constitution to argue that he should not be prosecuted for a DUI he received in Cobb County in February, during the 2005 session of the General Assembly.
The centuries-old provision holds that a lawmaker cannot be arrested during sessions of the General Assembly, legislative committee meetings or while they’re "in transit," except in cases of "treason, felony, or breach of the peace." Such provisions were generally written to protect lawmakers from political intimidation.
Cobb State Court Judge Irma B. Glover is expected to make public her ruling today on Graves’ "legislative immunity" defense. His trial is set for today.
Graves — chairman of the House committee overseeing laws governing the alcohol industry — has said that on Feb. 15, he and other committee chairmen went from the Capitol to a dinner meeting, where they conferred about the status of legislation and plans for the next legislative day. His lawyer, William C. "Bubba" Head, argues Graves should have been granted immunity from arrest because he was leaving a gathering that was tantamount to a committee meeting, according to legal filings.
Gary Jones, the assistant solicitor in Cobb State Court assigned to prosecute the cases, said his office is fighting the contention.