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Case Note: How Particular is Enough in Motions to Suppress?

Posted by Sean A. Black | Apr 03, 2024 | 0 Comments

In Georgia criminal defense (and probably elsewhere), a recurring complaint from the State is that a motion to suppress is not particularized or not particular.  Particularity is required, but it is actually a pretty low bar.  

OCGA § 17-5-30(a) allows a defendant to move to suppress evidence because the warrantless search was illegal or because the search warrant lacked probable cause or was illegally executed.

OCGA § 17-5-30(b) states that the defendant filing a motion to suppress must state why the challenged search and seizure was unlawful so as to give notice to the State of the legal issues before the trial court.  Nothing in the Code requires the defendant to limit or scale down the legal challenges involved.  The defendant must identify which search they are describing and the reasons that particular search was unlawful.

In the recent case of Cochran v. State (A24A0013), the State challenged the defendant's motion to suppress as being a "kitchen sink" motion and lacking specificity.  The court granted that challenge finding that the motion was not "particularized."  Cochran appealed.

The Georgia Court of Appeals examined the defendant's motion which identified the search by date, officers involved and other circumstances, and challenged the basis for the traffic stop, lack of probable cause to detain and arrest Cochran.  It went on to challenge the search warrant for Cochran's blood and listed the reasons for that challenge. The appellate court found that Cochran's motion was sufficient to place the State on notice of the legal issues to be examined in the motion to suppress hearing for both the stop and arrest and the blood search warrant.

Because the trial court had erred in finding that the motion to suppress was not particularized, the trial court was reversed.

About the Author

Sean A. Black

Sean A. Black is a 1992 graduate of the Emory University School of Law. He has been in private practice in Toccoa, Georgia since June 1, 1992.


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