The accused in one case was Grier Smith, a former Lamar County Sheriff’s Office deputy, who was charged with aggravated assault.
Waller said under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, aggravated assault is defined as: A person commits the offense of aggravated assault when he or she assaults (see simple assault statute below) with intent to murder, to rape, or to rob with a deadly weapon, or with any object, device, or instrument, which when used offensively against a person, is likely to or does result in serious bodily injury.
A person commits the offense of simple assault when he or she either: attempts to commit a violent injury to the person of another; or commits an act which places another in reasonable
apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury.
The grand jury, in its presentment, no-billed the case against Smith, who was accused of taping a riot-control grenade to the neck of a jail inmate with the intent of scaring him into compliance.
Authorities from the LCSO say the elements of the crime, as shown and admitted to by Smith in the media, seem to exactly match those in the statutes.
The use of a dummy grenade has no statutory bearing on the victim’s “reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury.”
The view of Waller’s office is that a true-bill would have been more appropriate, as Smith could then enter his mitigating statements, if he chose to make such statements, at a trial.
The burden of proof in a criminal trial is beyond a reasonable doubt and it is borne by the state.
“In America we do not have to agree, and in fact we do not agree, but we support, the grand jury’s decision,” Waller said. “This is not a perfect system, but it is the best legal system in the world and we should all thank God that we have it.”