Columbia Superior Court heard the case of Faron Alday involving two counts of child molestation against his granddaughter. The jury listened as the judge questioned the forensic interviewer during Mr. Alday’s attorney’s cross-examination. The judge’s comments led Mr. Alday to believe that his case was not being treated fairly.
Georgia’s Court of Appeals reviewed Mr. Alday’s case and determined that the trial judge violated O.C.G.A. § 17-8-57, which governs the conduct that should be maintained during proceedings. The Court felt that the judge intimated a “favorable opinion of the credibility and reliability” of the State’s forensic interviewer, potentially influencing the jury. Another comment the trial judge made was brought into question, but it was not uttered in the presence of the jury and, therefore, not an issue.
The Appeals Court remanded Mr. Alday’s case for a new trial and noted that sufficient evidence existed to support his child molestation convictions.