GCO Member Waits Nearly 8 Years for GFL

A GCO member recently received his renewal GFL after waiting almost 8
years since he applied. The member had been cited for something that,
if still pending as an open case, could render him ineligible for a
GFL. In this instance, however, the member never was prosecuted and
the “case” was “dead docketed” by the municipal court before which the
member was taken. The word “case” is in quotations because the charge
was not something which could be tried in municipal court. The member
merely appeared before the municipal court for warrant and bonding
purposes. Thus, no “case” ever was opened and no indictment,
accusation, or information was obtained. The municipal court instead “dead docketed”
the case. For those who might not be familiar with the term, “dead
docketing” is a device used in Georgia to dispose of a case without
truly disposing of it. Usually done upon the motion of the prosecutor
when the prosecutor does not want to prosecute, when a court places a
case on the “dead docket,” it generally stays there. It only can be
placed on an active docket upon the order of the court. Thus, a dead
docketed case is, for almost all purposes, the same as a dismissed
case. The only difference is that, technically, the court (and not the
prosecutor) has the power to revive a dead docketed case.

In the GCO member’s instance, the municipal court purported to dead
docket a case that had not yet been commenced. The probate court,
however, interpreted the dead docketed case to be one that still could
be reinstated upon the order of the municipal court (even though the statute of
limitations had long since run). Ironically, the probate court agreed
with GCO attorneys that the GFL could be issued if the record of the
case were expunged. The irony is that the “case” does not go away
with expungement of the record. If the case could be revived before
expungement, it could be revived after expungement. The member
applied several years ago to have the record expunged, and the
application was denied. GCO requested reconsideration of the
expungement application, pointing out that the member was statutorily
entitled to an expungement under the circumstances. The reconsidered
application was granted.

The probate court re-ran the member’s background check and, 7 years
and 9 months after the application for a renewal GFL was made, the GFL
was issued.

Congratulations to our most patient member!