Georgia Senate Passes Bill Clarifying Coroner Obligations to Property

ATLANTA — The Georgia State Senate has passed a measure clarifying a coroner’s obligations regarding unclaimed objects or property related to the deceased individual.

Senate Bill 383, sponsored by state Sen. Hardie Davis, D-Augusta, passed by a 51-0 margin.

“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,” Davis said.

Current law states that coroners and county medical examiners who are unable to locate family members of the deceased are to take possession of and inventory all property found on the person, and surrender this property to those entitled to take custody of the possessions. SB 383 clarifies that this property should not be converted to the personal use of the coroner or medical examiner.

Current law also states the possession of any objects, anatomical specimens or articles related to the identification or cause of death belongs to coroners, medical examiners or peace officers until the need for retention ends. SB 383 also clarifies these objects should be returned to the family members of the deceased when need for investigation or prosecutorial purposes ends.

SB 383 now transfers to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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