ADMISSIBILITY OF EVIDENCE OF DEFECTIVE SIGNAGE AND SUBSEQUENT SIGNAGE CHANGES
Comes Now, the Defendant, by and through the undersigned counsel of record, and moves this Honorable Court to enter an order permitting the admission of evidence regarding defective signage and subsequent signage changes after the accident that is the basis for the vehicular homicide charge in this case. In furtherance of this motion, the Defendant shows this Court the following:
Upon the best information available to the Defendant at this time, the evidence that will be admitted at trial will be that the Defendant entered the Interstate 75 northbound lanes of traffic from Charles W. Grant Parkway. On Interstate 75 northbound, there is a left-side exit for Charles W. Grant Parkway. On Charles W. Grant Parkway, there is an entrance for the southbound lanes of travel and an endpoint for the exit of high occupancy vehicles (HOV) from the northbound lanes of Interstate 75. It is the Defendant’s belief that the evidence at trial will show that the signage restricting access and alerting those entering Interstate 75 northbound in the wrong direction was changed subsequent to this accident, and that the signage as it existed at the time of the accident that is the basis for the vehicular homicide charge in this case was insufficient under the Georgia Department of Transportation’s guidelines and protocols.
Evidence of defective or insufficient signage should be admissible in the trial of this case:
Dunagan’s claim regarding the inherent dangerousness of the intersection plainly included much more than the request to admit into evidence a history of prior mishaps at the scene. He sought to introduce documentary and testimonial evidence, allegedly illustrating the hazardous design and consequent malfunctioning of the intersection during the time in question, and evidence of corrective measures taken since the collision which he hoped would demonstrate the intersection’s known design defects contributing to the collision. He argues that such evidence was crucial to defend against the criminal charges and to support his affirmative defense of accident. And indeed, such evidence was relevant to the charged crimes and to his asserted defense.
Dunagan v. State, 661 S.E.2d 525, 527 (Ga. 2008).
[A]ny evidence of known design defects in the intersection was relevant on the issue of proximate cause of the collision, and would bear directly upon the ultimate issue of Dunagan’s guilt of the charged crimes. The admission of any relevant evidence is favored, even if its probative value is slight; evidence of questionable or doubtful relevancy or competency should be admitted and its weight left for the jury to determine.
Id. at 528.
Evidence regarding subsequent changes in the signage after the subject accident should likewise be admissible:
As to the evidence of subsequent modifications to the intersection, it was admissible not only to attempt to show that there were known flaws in the intersection, and hence known dangers, at the time of the collision but also that the Department of Transportation was the responsible party.10 This is so because “[g]enerally, evidence implicating another named [party] as the actual perpetrator of the crime is relevant and admissible as tending to exonerate the defendant.”
Dunagan v. State, 661 S.E.2d 525, 529 (Ga. 2008) (citations omitted).
Wherefore, the Defendant respectfully prays that this Honorable Court:
- Enter an order permitting the Defendant to introduce evidence relating to alleged deficiencies in the signage controlling access to Interstate 75 on the relevant entrance point;
- Enter an order permitting the Defendant to introduce evidence of subsequent changes in the signage controlling access to Interstate 75 on the relevant entrance point after the date of the subject accident; and
- That the Court grant the Defendant such other and further relief as deemed just and equitable.
Respectfully Submitted, this 14th day of September, 2016.
State Bar No. XXXXXXXX
Attorney for Defendant
The Sessions Law Firm, LLC
115 M.L.K., Jr., Dr., SW, #410
Atlanta, GA 30305
Tel: (470) 225-7710