McMURRAY, Presiding Judge.
In this case we must determine the sufficiency of a certificate issued by a court in a foreign state seeking to compel the appearance of a Georgia witness before a grand jury in the foreign state, as contemplated by the Uniform Act to Secure the Attendance of Witnesses from Without the State ("Uniform Act"), OCGA § 24-10-92. The Act provides in pertinent part:
The statute also requires that the witness receive compensation for travel to the foreign state. Pursuant to Maryland's reciprocal act,
In the certificate, the Maryland judge made a finding that Wollesen was a material witness in the grand jury investigation of her son. The certificate also provided for the witness's compensation and for her protection from all service of process while traveling to the court.
On July 9, 1999, the assistant state's attorney executed a supplemental affidavit, which was not appended to the certificate, setting forth the factual basis for Maryland's request to compel Wollesen's testimony and production of documents. The affidavit indicated as follows: Wollesen's son had been held in contempt in Maryland for failure to pay child support and had been ordered to pay his ex-wife proceeds of an individual retirement account ("IRA") totaling $16,000. Instead of complying with the order, Woodrow Wollesen remitted the funds to his attorney, who deposited them in the registry of the State Court of Cobb County. Leona Wollesen sued her son, and the proceeds were disbursed to her. Woodrow Wollesen had testified at the contempt proceeding in Maryland that he owed his mother $85,000. According to the affidavit, Leona Wollesen's testimony is needed to determine the validity of any loans she may have made to her son and whether she directed him to send the IRA proceeds to Georgia.
On behalf of the State of Maryland, the Cobb County District Attorney filed a motion for a hearing pursuant to OCGA § 24-10-92(b). The supplemental affidavit was filed in the Superior Court of Cobb County as an amendment to the motion. The superior court considered the certificate, the amendment and argument of counsel. Leona Wollesen did not testify, and no evidence was presented on her behalf. The superior court granted the state's motion, finding that Leona Wollesen was a material and necessary witness and that it would not cause her undue hardship to be compelled to attend, testify and produce evidence before the Maryland grand jury. Wollesen appeals. Held:
1. Wollesen argues that the certificate was not entitled to prima facie validity because it presented insufficient facts upon which the superior court could determine that she was a necessary and material witness. This argument lacks merit.
Chesser v. State, 168 Ga.App. 195, 196, 308 S.E.2d 589; Mafnas v. State, 149 Ga.App. 286, 287, 254 S.E.2d 409.
In deciding what facts are enough to certify a person as a material witness in a grand jury proceeding, we derive guidance from our sister state of Florida, which has construed its similar statute
Skakel v. State of Fla., 738 So.2d 468, 471 (Fla. App.), quoting Epstein v. People of the State of N.Y., 157 So.2d 705, 707 (Fla.App. 1963). Accord, In re State of Cal. for the County of Los Angeles &c., 57 Md.App. 804, 471 A.2d 1141, cert. denied, Rees v. County of Los Angeles, 467 U.S. 1205, 104 S.Ct. 2388, 81 L.Ed.2d 346; In re Rhode Island Grand Jury Subpoena, 414 Mass. 104, 605 N.E.2d 840; Ex Parte Armes, 582 S.W.2d 434 (Tex. Crim. App.); In the Matter of Failla, 89 A.D.2d 923, 454 N.Y.S.2d 25.
Further, in Epstein, supra and Skakel, supra, the certificate of the requesting court had appended to it an affidavit of an assistant district attorney which detailed the reasons why the witness should be required to appear before a grand jury in the foreign state. So too, in the case sub judice, the supplemental affidavit of the assistant state's attorney set forth detailed facts in support of Maryland's request to compel Wollesen's appearance. Moreover, the certificate issued by the Maryland court tracked the wording of OCGA § 24-10-92(a).
Therefore, the superior court was entitled to rely on the certificate, as well as the supplemental affidavit, as prima facie evidence of materiality and necessity. Wollesen had ample opportunity to rebut the prima facie case or provide evidence of undue hardship, which she failed to do. "It is logically the witness' burden to come forward with evidence of undue hardship, not the State's duty to negate the existence of undue hardship." Ex Parte Armes, supra at 439.
We reject Wollesen's reliance on Chesser, supra, and Mafnas, supra, for the proposition that she was not required to rebut the prima facie case or provide evidence of undue hardship. In those cases, this Court held that the defendants had presented insufficient evidence to justify summoning witnesses from without the state to testify at trial. This Court explained that "[t]he Act ... is ... a process for obtaining a court order for the production of the witness, who may also appear in the jurisdiction where he is found and convince the court to deny or quash it." (Emphasis supplied.) Chesser, supra at 196, 308 S.E.2d 589. In Chesser and Mafnas, the defendants were unable to convince the Georgia court that the witnesses were necessary and material. In the case sub judice, the assistant state's attorney in Maryland presented evidence sufficient to persuade the requesting court that Wollesen was essential to the grand jury's investigation. The local
2. She next argues that the supplemental affidavit was inadmissible because it did not comply with OCGA § 24-7-24, which provides the method for authenticating out-of-state court records. This argument must fail because the affidavit was not a court record.
Moreover, the admission of evidence in a hearing held to determine whether a witness who resides in Georgia should be compelled to testify before a grand jury in a foreign state is analogous to the admission of evidence at a grand jury proceeding.
"`It is an established rule of evidence in this State that, in a judicial trial in a court of law, where evidence is finally adjudicated and final judgments are rendered, ex parte affidavits are inadmissible, and their admission in such a case over proper objection constitutes reversible error.' (Cits.)" Lanthripp v. Lang, 103 Ga.App. 602, 605, 120 S.E.2d 59 (1961). However, the instant appeal is not "such a case." Here, we are concerned with proceedings before a grand jury, not the judicial trial of a case in a court of law.
(Emphasis omitted.) In re Hall County Grand Jury Proceedings, 175 Ga.App. 349, 351(3), 333 S.E.2d 389.
The superior court did not abuse its discretion in considering the supplemental affidavit.
3. Finally, Wollesen contends that the Uniform Act does not authorize the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum. We disagree.
The majority of states which have considered this issue have ruled that the power to order a witness to travel to a foreign state for the purpose of testifying at a grand jury hearing implicitly encompasses the power to order the witness to produce relevant documents.
We adopt the well-reasoned rulings of our sister states that the Uniform Act necessarily implies the authority to issue a subpoena duces tecum. The superior court did not err in ordering Wollesen to produce the requested documents.
JOHNSON, C.J., and PHIPPS, J., concur.