Bill clarying coroner obligations to property

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

ATLANTA (WRDW) -- Senate Bill 383 has been passed by the Georgia State Senate. The bill clarifies the current law on what is a coroner's obligation regarding unclaimed objects or property related to deceased individuals.

Augusta Sen. Hardie Davis sponsored that legislation that was passed by a 51 to 0 vote.

"This legislation does not change existing law. It simply clears up any ambiguities to ensure families are receiving the possessions and articles of their loved ones after death," said Sen. Davis.

Currently state laws says coroners and county medical examiners who are not able to locate family members of the deceased are to take possession of all property found on the person, inventory it, and then surrender the property to those entitled to take custody of the possessions. Bill 383 clarifies this property should not be kept by the coroner or medical examiner as personal property.

The current bill also says the possession of any object, anatomical specimen or article related to the identification or cause of death belongs to coroners, medical examiners or peace officers until the need for retention ends. Bill 383 also clarifies that these objects should be returned to the family members of the deceased when these objects are no longer needed in an investigation or prosecution purposes ends.

Senate Bill 383 is now heading to the House of Representatives for a vote.

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