Legislative Immunity

By: AP
By: AP

When State Representative David Graves' DUI trial begins today, he is expected to use a centuries-old law to say his position as a lawmaker means he cannot break the law while the Legislature is at work.

Graves, a Republican from Macon, was arrested in February in Cobb County. He says that prior to the arrest he was attending a dinner meeting with other lawmakers who were discussing the status of legislation.

Cobb State Court Judge Irma B- Glover is expected to issue a ruling today on Graves' "legislative immunity" defense.

The provision dates back to 1789 and was written to protect lawmakers from political intimidation.

It holds that a lawmaker cannot be arrested during sessions of the General Assembly, legislative committee meetings or while they are in transit.

But it does allow arrests for "treason, felony, or breach of the peace."

Gary Jones, the assistant solicitor in Cobb State Court assigned to prosecute the case, says his office is fighting the contention.

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