Archive | 2013

ENDEAVOR TO PERSEVERE

As I write this column, I sit in one of the most gorgeous and rustic cabins in South Alabama. I am on a deer hunt on the outskirts of Selma, AL with the good folks at Tatum Creek Outfitters. This plantation offers everything a hunter could hope for; [...]

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GOVERNOR’S BOLD CRIMINAL JUSTICE INITIATIVE

Governor Nathan Deal’s criminal justice reform council will propose a number of policy changes to the General Assembly next month. Most of these proposed changes will be focused on making it easier for rehabilitated criminals to obtain jobs and [...]

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YOUR SHERIFF

Recently, I have been asked by law enforcement agencies to outline the duties and responsibilities of the county sheriff. I wrote about this issue last year. However, it seems that there is a stronger interest in this extremely important political, l [...]

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LIE DETECTOR TESTS

I came up with this topic on my way back from Wedowee, AL on Saturday. I was thinking of some of the funniest scenes from movies over the years. One of the most well-known and funniest movies is “Meet the Parents.” The funniest part of th [...]

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REASONABLE DOUBT

One of the most misunderstood and difficult term to explain is the concept of reasonable doubt. Yet, the requirement that guilt of a criminal charge be established by proof beyond a reasonable doubt dates at least from our early years as a Nation. [...]

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COMMON SENSE AND DOUBLE JEOPARDY

There is a very lucky man in Gwinnett County, Georgia today. Christopher Roesser is fortunate today because the Georgia Supreme Court utilized common sense to end this man’s seven year nightmare. This month, The Georgia Supreme Court hel [...]

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NO CONTEST MEANS NO GUN LICENSE

NO CONTEST MEANS NO GUN LICENSE Earlier this month, the Georgia Supreme Court issued an opinion that restricted the right of Georgians to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment. In Georgia, a person cannot possess a firearm if he [...]

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REASONABLE DOUBT

One of the most misunderstood and difficult term to explain is the concept of reasonable doubt. Yet, the requirement that guilt of a criminal charge be established by proof beyond a reasonable doubt dates at least from our early years as a Nation. [...]

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WE NEED MENTAL HEALTH COURTS

In prior columns, I have justifiably praised our governor for his bold and courageous efforts in advocating for the need of mental health courts across our state. This fledgling idea has taken off. Today, there are multiple counties that have mental [...]

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JOIN OUR COMMUNITY IN LIFTING UP KAREN HUBBARD

As I write this column, I am sitting alone beside the campfire well before dawn in the Georgia wilderness. You will not find a more serene and spiritual place. As I feel the presence of my Creator, the topic of my next column becomes apparent.
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HISTORY OF THE GRAND JURY

When I was a third year law student working in the Carroll County District Attorney’s Office, one of my duties was to present criminal cases to the grand jury. At the time, I thought it was an awesome experience. However, I was unaware of the h [...]

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WHAT IS A POLICE STATE?

First, I would like to point out that a “police state” is not a society where we have good policing. It is also not a concept that our Founding Fathers envisioned for our country. Additionally, the United States is not currently a police [...]

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MY EXPERIENCE AT THE SUPREME COURT

On September 10, 2013, I found myself atop the state’s judicial building right outside the chambers of the Georgia Supreme Court. It is a very long story; and the case is still pending so I will not to comment on the facts or particulars of the [...]

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WE DO NOT LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY

As strange as that may seem to some folks, it is true. The United States of America is not and has never been a democracy. It is what is known as a Constitutional Republic. There is a big difference. First, the Pledge of Allegiance refers t [...]

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LIMITATIONS ON PROSECUTION IN GEORGIA

Over the years, I have fielded a number of questions relating to time constraints that prosecutors have in bringing formal charges in a criminal case. As with most aspects of criminal procedure in Georgia, there are checks and balances that limit the [...]

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HELP AN HONORABLE FAMILY IN WEST GEORGIA

HELP AN HONORABLE FAMILY IN WEST GEORGIA Throughout my life, my experience with fundraisers has been for political events. I have always enjoyed them and will continue to be involved in politics in the future. However, God has recently put [...]

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OPEN FIELDS

As the cool air permeates the morning hours of late summer, I begin to mentally make preparations to head into the wilderness for another year of hunting adventures. As most of my readers know, I own some property in Meriwether County. This is where [...]

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THE LAND OF LINCOLN SHREDDING THE CONSTITUTION

The state of Illinois has some of the most pleasant people you will ever meet in your lifetime. Southern and rural Illinois is gorgeous with its rolling farmlands and deciduous forests. Illinois also has some of the best deer hunting in the world.
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ALFORD V. NORTH CAROLINA

In Georgia, there are a number of different pleas that a defendant can enter in a criminal case. Most pleas are guilty or not guilty. However, there is a special type of plea that can be tendered under certain circumstances. It is commonly referred t [...]

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CELL PHONE USERS LOSE SOME PRIVACY RIGHTS

A federal appeals court in New Orleans recently held that law enforcement officers do not need to obtain a warrant to gather records detailing a cell phone’s location. In justifying its ruling, a divided United States Court of Appeals for the 5 [...]

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PREPARING YOURSELF FOR COURT

Over the years, I have learned that some of the “little things” can make a bigger impact on a case than you might expect. One of those “little things” is simply preparing yourself for a court appearance. Whether you are [...]

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PROFILES IN COURAGE – GENERAL ROBERT EDWARD LEE

One of the greatest Americans to ever live was Civil War General Robert Edward Lee (January 19, 1807 – October 12, 1870). His name will forever be remembered as the honorable military commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. < [...]

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FIREARMS AND THE FAMILY VIOLENCE ACT

I am almost hesitant to write this column because the information you are about to receive is not widely known and will be shocking to some. However, I do think that the public should be aware of how our rights under the 2nd Amendment can be affected [...]

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EPIDEMIC OF PROPERTY CRIMES

Over the past 5-6 years, I have noticed that there has been a significant increase in the number of property crimes in the west Georgia area. Burglaries, thefts, and illegal “scrapping” have been on the rise. I had an opportunity t [...]

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SUPREME COURT

Last week, the United States Supreme Court issued two of the most controversial opinions we have seen in years. I cannot remember a time when so many Americans were either upset or happy about events that happened in Washington that did not involve a [...]

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WHY DO YOU REPRESENT CRIMINAL DEFENDANTS?

I have been asked the above question numerous times throughout my career. It is a fair question and one that can easily be answered based on my world view and religious beliefs. First, I truly enjoy the work that I do. To me, there is nothing more [...]

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U.S. SUPREME COURT FURTHER LIMITS PRIVACY RIGHTS

Last month, the United States Supreme Court made a ruling on a case that pitted modern law enforcement tools versus ancient privacy rights. In Maryland v. King, the Court held that police can collect DNA from people arrested but not yet convicted of [...]

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MY INTERVIEW WITH GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to interview Georgia’s governor. As you might guess, I was most interested in the criminal justice reforms that he and his administration have spearheaded since he took office. I was under the impres [...]

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TEXTING AND DRIVING

My cellphone has become an essential tool in my professional, personal, and outdoor life. I can send emails, get weather reports, use Facebook, and many other things. I can also text message. Most of us use text messaging on a daily basis. It [...]

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FEDS WANT TO LOWER ALCOHOL LIMIT

Since I quit drinking years ago; I am no longer personally concerned with the DUI limit in Georgia. I do not have an opinion on what the per se limit in Georgia should be. However, from a professional standpoint, I am concerned with DUI limits becaus [...]

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HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT LAWYER

After practicing law for over 10 years and meeting with thousands of clients, I have learned about the importance of choosing the right lawyer for the right case. The beginning of the lawyer/client relationship sets the tone for the entirety of the c [...]

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HIGH COURT STRIKES DOWN DUI LAW

Last month, the United States Supreme Court struck down a Missouri law that allowed officers to conduct warrantless blood tests on suspected DUI drivers. This decision will have little if any impact on Georgia DUI law because our state has alr [...]

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MY INTERVIEW WITH JUDGE EMORY PALMER

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to interview one of our newest judges in the west Georgia area, Bill Hamrick. As many of you know, we have another judge who took the bench in January of this year. He is superior court Judge Emory Palmer.
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THE TRUTH ABOUT CONFESSIONS

Wise men have said that “confession of sins is good for the soul.” In a religious or family setting, this is certainly true. However, in the world of criminal justice, offering confessions or admissions of guilt to an investigator can h [...]

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YOUR GARAGE CAN BE PART OF YOUR CASTLE

You have heard me mention in the past that “your home is your castle”. This is one of the foundational principles of living in a constitutional republic. But, what about garages and other attachments to a home? The Georgia Court [...]

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MORE CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

Over the past couple of years, Georgia’s criminal justice system has undergone some significant changes. This process of change continues because of the very hard work from people on all sides of the criminal justice debate. Another sig [...]

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CITIZEN POLICE ACADEMIES

Last week, I received a phone call from Chief Joel Richards of the Carrollton Police Department. He asked me to participate in a program that I am a little embarrassed to admit I did not know much about. The program was the Citizen Police Academy ( [...]

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MAJOR JUVENILE JUSTICE REFORM

Since before I was born, Georgia’s juvenile code has been a complicated set of rules and statutes with little case law to assist in interpreting it. As of last week, it seems that a huge part of our juvenile court system has been appropriately [...]

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THE HISTORY BEHIND THE 4TH AMENDMENT

In modern society, it is easy to forget where many of our freedoms come from. It is also dangerous to turn a blind eye to history. Civilizations, military commanders, and leaders of nations have ignored history with devastating results. Beca [...]

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BATTERED PERSON SYNDROME

I have mentioned before that domestic violence is one of the biggest problems in our community. It is also one of the least known. Most cases involving family violence are treated as misdemeanors in the state and superior courts. However, there is [...]

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LAWYERS AS PEACEMAKERS

The role of the lawyer in America has changed over the past 200 years. Before the American Civil War, lawyers generally viewed themselves as peacemakers as well as litigators. This view was shared by the general public as well. Abraham Linco [...]

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THE CRIMINAL PROCESS IN A NUTSHELL

Over the years, I have been asked hundreds of times about the purpose of various steps in the prosecution of a criminal defendant. These questions have been asked by clients, witnesses, alleged victims, jurors, and other lawyers. That covers just a [...]

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LIFETIME SERENITY

Last week, I learned about the death of a criminal defense lawyer in Atlanta. He was only 58 years old. The cause of death has been reported as being a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. I was shocked. I was shocked because I had me [...]

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WHAT RIGHTS ARE PROTECTED UNDER THE 2ND AMENDMENT?

As a threshold matter, I need to make it clear that I am a lawful gun owner and firm supporter of the 2nd Amendment. I own guns to hunt, protect myself, and protect my family. I have guns in my home and office. I am also the father of two young bo [...]

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LESSER INCLUDED OFFENSES

It is a common belief in society that once a person is charged with a crime, they will either be found innocent or guilty of that particular offense. This is true in many criminal cases. However, there are just as many, if not more situations, when [...]

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MY INTERVIEW WITH JUDGE BILL HAMRICK

One of my favorite tasks is interviewing our local judges and elected officials. I have interviewed a number of our judges in the past and authored columns based on those interviews. Last Friday, I had the opportunity to speak with one of our newes [...]

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CLARENCE THOMAS

PROFILES IN COURAGE – CLARENCE THOMAS As a lawyer, it is quite natural to think about whom in my profession I admire the most. For me, it has always been United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Justice Thomas was bor [...]

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GEORGIA SUPREME COURT LIMITS THE USE OF WIRETAPS

The Georgia Supreme Court issued a powerful 4th Amendment decision on January 7th where the Court unanimously reversed the Court of Appeals regarding the reach of a judges’ power to issue wiretap warrants. Wiretap warrants are an essenti [...]

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THE NEW CRIMINAL RECORD RESTRICTION LAW

One of the biggest problems that some of our citizens face when they are arrested for a crime is the difficulty in obtaining employment. I have spoken with and counseled hundreds of people who have sought to have their records expunged in order to g [...]

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BEARING FALSE WITNESS

Our judicial system is based on an adversarial model where the ultimate goal is to find the truth of an underlying disputed matter. Direct examination, cross-examination, and the rules of evidence assist the judge or jury in determining what happene [...]

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