Last edited: January 07, 2005



January 13, 2003


The Supreme Court today issued written opinions in the cases listed below. Hard copies of opinions are available for $5.00 each in the Clerk's Office, 244 Washington Street, Room 572, Atlanta, GA 30334. The Clerk's Office telephone number is (404) 656-3470. Opinions are also available in Adobe Acrobat format on-line at the Court's webpage. The Supreme Court's web address is:

The Supreme Court of Georgia has reversed a Fayette County Juvenile Court judge, holding as it did in Powell v. The State, that "the Georgia Constitution protects from criminal sanction private, unforced, non-commercial acts of sexual intimacy between persons legally able to consent." IN RE: J.M., S02A1432.

In Georgia a person must be sixteen in order to "legally consent to sexual intercourse." J.M., who was sixteen at the time, was discovered "having sexual intercourse with his sixteen-year-old girlfriend" in her bedroom. The Court reasoned that the sixteen-years-olds "intended to keep their sexual activity private and took reasonable steps to ensure their privacy" by closing the bedroom door as well as wedging a stool against it to prevent intrusion.

The State contended that because the sexual acts took place in someone else's home, J. M. had no expectation of privacy. The Supreme Court rejected "the broad assertion that people abandon their constitutional guarantee to privacy when they enter as guests into the private home of another." The State also contended that it has an interest in "protecting people from engaging in sexual acts against their will." Here, however, the Court found that the sixteen-years-olds "were legally capable of consenting, and they willingly engaged in sexual intercourse." The Court went on to note that "nothing in this opinion should be read to address G.D.'s parents' rights to regulate what occurs inside their home, including who enters their house and under what circumstances."

Chief Justice Norman S. Fletcher wrote the opinion for the Court. Presiding Justice Leah Ward Sears concurred in the judgment only.

Attorneys for Appellant: Catherine B. Sanderson; Gerald R. Weber, Jr.

Attorneys for Appellee: William T. McBroom, III, D.A.

[Home] [News] [Georgia]