In this section:
Peach County Coroner
The function of the coroner's office is to determine cause, manner and circumstance of death under the Georgia Death Investigation Act.
The coroner is required to investigate when a person dies:
Autopsies are not mandatory to determine cause of death except in situations where death cannot be reasonably explained, or the death is a child under the age of 7. In 1990, the Georgia General Assembly enacted legislation that required each county in the state to establish a committee to develop local protocols to prevent child abuse. These "Child Abuse Protocol Committees" were also instructed to review unexpected or unexplained deaths of children under the age of 18, determine if any could have been prevented, and to make recommendations to prevent future child deaths. The coroner serves on this committee.
Coroners may pronounce someone dead under certain conditions at the scene of death. Coroners must authorize a release of bodies before they can be cremated, transported across the state line or autopsied.
In order to take office, all coroners are required to attend a 40-hour course at the Georgia State Patrol Training Center in Forsyth and receive 24 hours of in service training each year on various death investigation procedures.
The Coroner's Office is part of the judicial system and has the power of subpoena. The coroner's office may conduct court in the form of an inquest to help determine cause of death and the outcome may be used for criminal procedures. The coroner is often called upon as a witness in criminal court.
The coroner is elected at large to four-year terms.
Interesting Facts and Myths
MYTH: The coroner cannot arrest the sheriff, but the coroner is the only person who can serve a warrant on the sheriff at the direction of the Probate Judge.
FACT: Until the late 1970s the Coroner had arresting powers as a constable.
MYTH: The coroner does not perform autopsies, they must be performed by a forensic pathologist.
FACT: The coroner is required to function as acting sheriff in the event the sheriff is unable to serve.