Georgia State Constitution - Article I
Article 1. Bill of Rights
Section I. Rights of Persons
Paragraph I. Life, liberty, and property.
No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property except by due process of law.
Paragraph II. Protection to person and property; equal protection. Protection to person and property is the paramount duty of government and shall be impartial and complete. No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws.
Paragraph III. Freedom of conscience.
Each person has the natural and inalienable right to worship God, each according to the dictates of that person's own conscience; and no human authority should, in any case, control or interfere with such right of conscience.
Paragraph IV. Religious opinions; freedom of religion.
No inhabitant of this state shall be molested in person or property or be prohibited from holding any public office or trust on account of religious opinions; but the right of freedom of religion shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state.
Paragraph V. Freedom of speech and of the press guaranteed.
No law shall be passed to curtail or restrain the freedom of speech or of the press. Every person may speak, write, and publish sentiments on all subjects but shall be responsible for the abuse of that liberty.
Paragraph VI. Libel.
In all civil or criminal actions for libel, the truth may be given in evidence; and, if it shall appear to the trier of fact that the matter charged as libelous is true, the party shall be discharged.
Paragraph VII. Citizens, protection of.
All citizens of the United States, resident in this state, are hereby declared citizens of this state; and it shall be the duty of the General Assembly to enact such laws as will protect them in the full enjoyment of the rights, privileges, and immunities due to such citizenship.
Paragraph VIII. Arms, right to keep and bear.
The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but the General Assembly shall have power to prescribe the manner in which arms may be borne.
Paragraph IX. Right to assemble and petition.
The people have the right to assemble peaceably for their common good and to apply by petition or remonstrance to those vested with the powers of government for redress of grievances.
Paragraph X. Bill of attainder; ex post facto laws; and retroactive laws.
No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, retroactive law, or laws impairing the obligation of contract or making irrevocable grant of special privileges or immunities shall be passed.
Paragraph XI. Right to trial by jury; number of jurors; selection and compensation of jurors.
(a) The right to trial by jury shall remain inviolate, except that the court shall render judgment without the verdict of a jury in all civil cases where no issuable defense is filed and where a jury is not demanded in writing by either party. In criminal cases, the defendant shall have a public and speedy trial by an impartial jury; and the jury shall be the judges of the law and the facts.
(b) A trial jury shall consist of 12 persons; but the General Assembly may prescribe any number, not less than six, to constitute a trial jury in courts of limited jurisdiction and in superior courts in misdemeanor cases.
(c) The General Assembly shall provide by law for the selection and compensation of persons to serve as grand jurors and trial jurors.
Paragraph XII. Right to the courts.
No person shall be deprived of the right to prosecute or defend, either in person or by an attorney, that person's own cause in any of the courts of this state.
Paragraph XIII. Searches, seizures, and warrants.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue except upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation particularly describing the place or places to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.
Paragraph XIV. Benefit of counsel; accusation; list of witnesses; compulsory process.
Every person charged with an offense against the laws of this state shall have the privilege and benefit of counsel; shall be furnished with a copy of the accusation or indictment and, on demand, with a list of the witnesses on whose testimony such charge is founded; shall have compulsory process to obtain the testimony of that person's own witnesses; and shall be confronted with the witnesses testifying against such person.
Paragraph XV. Habeas corpus.
The writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless, in case of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it.
Paragraph XVI. Self-incrimination.
No person shall be compelled to give testimony tending in any manner to be self-incriminating.
Paragraph XVII. Bail; fines; punishment; arrest, abuse of prisoners.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted; nor shall any person be abused in being arrested, while under arrest, or in prison.
Paragraph XVIII. Jeopardy of life or liberty more than once forbidden.
No person shall be put in jeopardy of life or liberty more than once for the same offense except when a new trial has been granted after conviction or in case of mistrial.
Paragraph XIX. Treason.
Treason against the State of Georgia shall consist of insurrection against the state, adhering to the state's enemies, or giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason except on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act or confession in open court.
Paragraph XX. Conviction, effect of.
No conviction shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture of estate.
Paragraph XXI. Banishment and whipping as punishment for crime.
Neither banishment beyond the limits of the state nor whipping shall be allowed as a punishment for crime.
Paragraph XXII. Involuntary servitude.
There shall be no involuntary servitude within the State of Georgia except as a punishment for crime after legal conviction thereof or for contempt of court.
Paragraph XXIII. Imprisonment for debt.
There shall be no imprisonment for debt.
Paragraph XXIV. Costs.
No person shall be compelled to pay costs in any criminal case except after conviction on final trial.
Paragraph XXV. Status of the citizen.
The social status of a citizen shall never be the subject of legislation.
Paragraph XXVI. Exemptions from levy and sale.
The General Assembly shall protect by law from levy and sale by virtue of any process under the laws of this state a portion of the property of each person in an amount of not less than $1,600.00 and shall have authority to define to whom any such additional exemptions shall be allowed; to specify the amount of such exemptions; to provide for the manner of exempting such property and for the sale, alienation, and encumbrance thereof; and to provide for the waiver of said exemptions by the debtor.
Paragraph XXVII. Spouse's separate property.
The separate property of each spouse shall remain the separate property of that spouse except as otherwise provided by law.
Paragraph XXVIII. Enumeration of rights not denial of others.
The enumeration of rights herein contained as a part of this Constitution shall not be construed to deny to the people any inherent rights which they may have hitherto enjoyed.
Section II. Origin and Structure of Government
Paragraph I. Origin and foundation of government.
All government, of right, originates with the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole. Public officers are the trustees and servants of the people and are at all times amenable to them.
Paragraph II. Object of government.
The people of this state have the inherent right of regulating their internal government. Government is instituted for the protection, security, and benefit of the people; and at all times they have the right to alter or reform the same whenever the public good may require it.
Paragraph III. Separation of legislative, judicial, and executive powers.
The legislative, judicial, and executive powers shall forever remain separate and distinct; and no person discharging the duties of one shall at the same time exercise the functions of either of the others except as herein provided.
Paragraph IV. Contempts.
The power of the courts to punish for contempt shall be limited by legislative acts.
Paragraph V. What acts void.
Legislative acts in violation of this Constitution or the Constitution of the United States are void, and the judiciary shall so declare them.