Mon., May 28, 2012 8:00am (EDT)

New Law May Create GBI Backlog
By Parker Wallace
Updated: 2 years ago

Atlanta  —  
Attorneys have raised concerns over the possibility of an increased burden on the GBI’s already overworked crime labs. The legislation has new sentencing ranges for drug crimes.  (Photo Courtesy of Hakan Dahlstrom via Flickr.)
Attorneys have raised concerns over the possibility of an increased burden on the GBI’s already overworked crime labs. The legislation has new sentencing ranges for drug crimes. (Photo Courtesy of Hakan Dahlstrom via Flickr.)
Earlier this month, Governor Nathan Deal signed into law comprehensive sentencing reform legislation. It's projected to save the state tens of millions of dollars in correctional


spending.

But upfront costs to put the new law in place may result in a backlog of cases for the the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Attorneys have raised concerns over the possibility of an increased burden on the GBI’s already overworked crime labs. The legislation has new sentencing ranges for drug crimes. Attorney Page Pate says that means more responsibility will fall on the state for analysis:

“You’re going to have to deal with the backlog of cases that are now going to be held up at the crime lab or you’re going to have to hire more folks to do this type of drug analysis. That’s because the sentencing reform act is going to change the way minor drug cases are handled.”

Georgia law categorizes drug trafficking offenders based on the exact quantity of drugs involved and imposes mandatory minimum sentences based on those categories.