Official Code of Georgia Annotated

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Official Code of Georgia Annotated
Editor Georgia Code Revision Commission

The Official Code of Georgia Annotated or OCGA is the compendium of all laws in the U.S. state of Georgia. Like other U.S. state codes, its legal interpretation is subject to the United States Constitution, the United States Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, and the state's constitution.

Section 1-1-1 states that:

The statutory portion of the codification of Georgia laws prepared by the Georgia Code Revision Commission and the Michie Company pursuant to a contract entered into on June 19, 1978, is enacted and shall have the effect of statutes enacted by the General Assembly of Georgia. The statutory portion of such codification shall be merged with annotations, captions, catchlines, history lines, editorial notes, cross-references, indices, title and chapter analyses, and other materials pursuant to the contract and shall be published by authority of the state pursuant to such contract and when so published shall be known and may be cited as the 'Official Code of Georgia Annotated'.

It is to the state what the United States Code (USC) is to the federal government.

Another innovative feature of the OCGA is that, as stated in section 1-1-1, the privately prepared code annotations are officially merged into the official copy and are published under the authority of the state. This longstanding feature goes back to the Code of 1872. In other states, private prepared code annotations have no official sanction; thus, they are judicially noticeable only to the extent that they restate or quote from officially prepared documents like legislative committee reports.

The OCGA is the descendant of the first successfully enacted attempt in any English-speaking jurisdiction at a comprehensive codification of the substance of the common law, the Code of Georgia of 1861. The enactment of the Code predated the enactment of civil codes in 1866 in Dakota Territory and 1872 in California based on the work of New York-based law reformer David Dudley Field II.

Unlike the relatively race-neutral Field civil code, large portions of the original Code of Georgia were drafted by the pro-slavery Confederate lawyer Thomas Reade Rootes Cobb, so that the Code was shot through with Cobb's strong bias in favor of slavery and white supremacy. After the American Civil War (in which Cobb died at the Battle of Fredericksburg), the Code had to be heavily revised in 1867 to eliminate portions that were obviously incompatible with the Thirteenth Amendment. The Code has been further revised and reenacted many times since.

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