Archive | 2014

GEORGIA CLARIFIES CELL PHONE PRIVACY

This may be my 2nd or 3rd column dealing with police searches of cell phones. I suppose that I have written about cell phones because we all have one and they possess a tremendous amount of information about us and other people. You may re [...]

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SHOULD WE MANDATE GUARDIAN AD LITEMS?

I don’t get to see the battles and wars fought over children in our courts. For that, I must admit I am grateful. However, family law attorneys both inside and outside my firm tell me enough to ponder the question of whether our sta [...]

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STALKING IS A SERIOUS CRIME

In Georgia, criminal laws are often misunderstood or just ignored. The laws addressing the act of stalking should not be in that category. Many good men and women go to jail because of stalking and the most serious version of this type of o [...]

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THE POWER OF PRISON MINISTRY

Over the years, I have noticed a number of organizations going into jails and prisons for various reasons. One of the most important and powerful groups is the variety of prison ministries who take the message of Christ to inmates. These group [...]

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THE TERRIBLE ASSAULT ON LAW ENFORCEMENT

Let me get this off my chest. I am sickened by the protests, riots, and “commentary” regarding the legally issued decisions by a Missouri grand jury. You may agree with it or not. The bottom line is that a constitutional body of citizens [...]

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JOHN DANFORTH – AN EXAMPLE OF PUBLIC SERVICE

Earlier this week, I was visiting with Judge Bob Sullivan at the courthouse. As we were talking, the name John Danforth came up. That was a fortunate discussion because it gave me the idea for this column. Today, the people of our country year [...]

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A GEORGIA PATRIOT PASSES

Earlier this month, our state lost a distinguished lawyer, athlete, former governor, and true patriot. Carl E. Sanders Sr. died at the age of 89. Sanders was born May 15, 1925, in Augusta, the eldest of two sons. His father, Carl T. Sanders, was a sa [...]

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MOTORCYCLE CLUBS ARE NOT GANGS

When I was 12 years old, I was riding Bill Bowdoin’s small motorcycle down Habersham in Carrollton when I wrecked and broke my shoulder. I have not sat on a motorcycle since. I do not own a motorcycle, a motorcycle jacket, helmet, or any [...]

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GEORGIA DNR OFFICERS

While most people are familiar with law enforcement agencies across the state like city police, county deputies, and state patrol, there is another important police agency that does not get a lot of press. This is the Georgia Department of Natural Re [...]

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SUPREME COURT FURTHER ERODES 4TH AMENDMENT

The Georgia Supreme Court ruled 6-1 for prosecutors in October 2014 in a Fourth Amendment case about a late-night police encounter in which a divided Court of Appeals had reached the opposite result. In 2013, the Georgia Court of Appeals voted [...]

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QUARANTINE AT THE AIRPORT

With the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Africa, people around the world are taking steps to prevent the spread of the deadly virus in their respective countries. Most countries, including the U.S., are using an old form of public health safety; the q [...]

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NAFDD TOP DUI ATTORNEYS

Jason W, Swindle Sr. Identified as One of the Top DUI Attorneys in [State] by the National Advocacy for DUI Defense (NAFDD) Jason W. Swindle Sr. recently became a member of the National Advocacy for DUI Defense (NAFDD), LLC, an organization th [...]

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NAFDD PRESS RELEASE – JASON W. SWINDLE SR.

Jason W. Swindle Sr. Identified as One of the Top DUI Attorneys in Georgia by the National Advocacy for DUI Defense (NAFDD) Jason W. Swindle Sr. recently became a member of the National Advocacy for DUI Defense (NAFDD), LLC, an organization th [...]

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THE DOUGLAS DA RACE

I want to first point out that my columns do have some parameters. One of the rules that I abide by is that I cannot endorse any candidate seeking election to public office. With that being said, I want to point out the importance of next mont [...]

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CHARACTER AND ADVERSITY

Fall is by far my favorite time of year. As I write this column, I am sitting in a tree stand in the middle of a beautiful stretch of hardwoods in Meriwether Co., GA. It is a time for reflection, planning, and communing with God. I also enjoy [...]

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THE ABUSIVE JUDICIAL NOMINATION PROCESS

Since the Constitutional Convention in the late 1700’s, men and women in the United States have wrangled over how to form a government and how to govern. Politics is nothing new. However, the heavy insertion of politics into the judicial [...]

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georgias-2nd-in-5-limited-permit

Since January 1, 2013, there has been a significant benefit to people convicted of their 2nd DUI in 5 years (2/5) that is oftentimes either unknown, misunderstood, or misapplied. It is the 2/5 limited permit. First, I want to point out that DU [...]

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FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS IN GEORGIA

As a citizen of our community, I would ask all of my readers to never drink and drive. If you choose to drink, stay home or make sure that you have a designated driver. We want for our society to be as safe as possible. Unfortunately, I run ac [...]

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THE QUAGMIRE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

I think that most prosecutors and judges would agree with me when I say that domestic violence is one of the top problems that we face as a society. Perhaps it is number. Domestic violence is also not an uncommon occurrence. In the practice of [...]

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RAND IS RIGHT

Rand Paul, the junior senator from Kentucky, seems to be making a lot of sense these days. His frequent speaking engagements also lend credibility to the rumors that he will be running for president in 2016. However, his current message on cri [...]

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HONOR AT APPOMATTOX

Spring 1865 – South of the Shenandoah. The Commonwealth of Virginia, along with almost half of the other states in the former Union, are in open and full rebellion. General Robert Edward Lee commands the Army of Northern Virginia. He and his ar [...]

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THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

Recently, I took part in a meeting with a local superior court judge, a family lawyer, and two members of the district attorney’s office. I was under the impression that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss an issue relating to one of my c [...]

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THE MYTH OF “SOCIAL JUSTICE”

Recently, a DeKalb Co. judge declared a mistrial in a criminal case where four defendants were trespassing outside of a foreclosed home in Avondale Estates. I would normally feel good about hearing of such a victory for the defense team. However, thi [...]

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THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR DISTRICT ATTORNEY

In recent years, I have provided information to the public about the role of prosecutors. However, with political races in the west Georgia area and other developments happening with some of our local prosecutors, I thought that a refresher column ab [...]

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WARRIOR JUDGES OF THE BIBLE

In the Old Testament, much is written of Israelite judges who lead and serve their people. However, theses judges were very different from our modern judges who wear a black robe and oversee cases in a courtroom. A Biblical judge was a ruler, [...]

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CAPITAL PUNISHMENT IN THE U.S.

The death penalty in the United States has an interesting history full of twists and turns. Today, this ultimate human punishment is a legal sentence in 32 states, and in the federal civilian and military legal systems. Its application is limited by [...]

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AUTISM AWARENESS

It is 4:00 am at Lake Martin as I recover from a back injury playing in the ferocious and competitive Father/Son Golf Tournament that Ralph Fleck has hosted for over 2 decades. Tommy Greer, Jon Greer, and Bob Burton are comfortably sleeping in our co [...]

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MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN GEORGIA

Recently, there have been significant changes in attitudes toward marijuana nationwide. Since 1996, 23 states across the country and the District of Columbia have legalized comprehensive access to medical marijuana. Two states have decriminalized [...]

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FDR AND WEST GEORGIA

The 32nd president of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, is one of the most famous people to have ever lived on earth. While I strongly disagree with most of his political philosophy, I have always admired his resolve as our War President [...]

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NEW GUN LAW REFORM 2014

2014 has been a historic year for civil rights in Georgia. House Bill 60 (HB 60), which has already been signed by Governor Deal, extends Georgians rights under the 2nd Amendment. This is a very lengthy bill. However, below is a summary of som [...]

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NEW LAW ON LICENSE SUSPENSIONS

For many years, a drug conviction in Georgia triggered an automatic driver’s license suspension. There have been and still are techniques that can be implemented in a case to prevent a suspension. Two examples are the conditional discharge a [...]

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HAPPY (GRAND) FATHER’S DAY

July. 1983 – Berrien County, Georgia. I am 9 years old; 1 year older than my first born son, Jason W. Swindle Jr. (Jake). Ronald Wilson Reagan is serving his first term in the White House. This month I will begin to understand the rise of th [...]

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JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT

I have seen some angry judges over the years. I have also seen a number of violent outbursts in court. But, I have yet to witness what recently happened in a Florida courtroom. Last week, a Florida judge told a veteran criminal defense attorne [...]

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AN OLD LAWMAN’S BEST FRIEND

My favorite movie of all time is “Tombstone”, released in the early 1990’s. The most interesting and inspiring aspect of the movie is the close friendship between lawman Wyatt Earp and John Henry “Doc” Holliday. While To [...]

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THE PILLAR OF LOYALTY

Of all the noble qualities that humans possess, I must say that loyalty is at the very top. The origin of the word “loyalty” meant “fidelity to law”, which was generally applicable to the level of patriotism that one had for h [...]

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ANTONIN SCALIA AND THE 4TH AMENDMENT

Many folks cannot figure out why the most conservative justice on the United States Supreme Court consistently takes a “liberal position” on cases involving the 4th Amendment. I agree that Justice Antonin Scalia is the most conserv [...]

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HOW ARE JURIES DRAWN?

I was grateful this week for an email that I received. A local man in our community suggested that I write a column about how the list of jurors is actually drawn in our circuit. This was a great idea and one that I have never written about. G [...]

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PROFILE IN COURAGE – BRIAN FORTNER

Last week, I invited a good friend from Douglasville to my home to meet some of my other friends in Carroll County. His name is Brian Fortner. Brian is currently the District Attorney in Douglas County. I wanted for some of my Carroll County friends [...]

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THE STATE BAR OF GEORGIA

In general, our community knows that the Georgia State Bar exists and regulates the practice of law in our state. It is true that prospective lawyers must pass the Bar exam, the fitness evaluation, and be sworn in by the Georgia Supreme Court. You [...]

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LEGAL TECH SAVES MONEY

Recently, I took part in a very serious criminal hearing in a local county. The hearing was somewhat routine in the area of criminal procedure except for one thing. The material witness in the case was not in Georgia. The witness was hundreds [...]

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MY INTERVIEW WITH SENATOR DUGAN

It has been some months since I chose to interview a public official. However, interview columns are probably my favorite pieces of writing. Since turkey season and an April full of jury trial weeks is in full swing, I chose to speak with a close fri [...]

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AN EXPERIMENT WITH GOD

In recent years, I have noticed that I generally respond differently to challenges and difficult situations that life brings forth. I have learned (the hard way at times) that God is in control of our lives and wants for us to build a personal relati [...]

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WHY ARE YOU PRESUMED INNOCENT?

You may notice that I use the term “you” in the above title. This is because anyone anywhere in Georgia can be arrested for anything. It does not matter whether you are innocent or guilty of a crime. The standard for a law enforcement off [...]

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FLORIDA IMMIGRANT DENIED BAR LICENSE

The never ending debate over immigration reform has infiltrated the area of attorney bar admissions in the United States. In our sister state to the south, the Florida Supreme Court ruled unanimously on March 7th that Tampa immigrant, Jose Godinez-Sa [...]

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JUDICIAL ELECTIONS IN GEORGIA

As spring begins to swing into the southeast, you may start noticing political signs in the west Georgia and metro area asking you to vote for a particular judge. That is because most judges in Georgia are elected by the people in non-partisan races. [...]

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A HUGE COMMUNITY RESOURCE

As I have said in many prior columns, substance abuse and/or mental health problems are substantial contributing factors to crimes committed in the west Georgia community. For years, the criminal justice system had the wrong approach in dealing with [...]

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CARRYING GUNS IN PUBLIC

A pro-Second Amendment decision recently came down from one of the most unlikely appellate courts in the Republic; the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The 9th Circuit is considered to be the most liberal court in the federal judiciary. It also has a hi [...]

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LAWYERS SERVE

I have heard my share of lawyer jokes over the years. We get our share of public criticism too. While some of this may be deserved, many in our community do not realize that my colleagues donate thousands of hours each year by providing pro bono publ [...]

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GEORGIANS, STAND YOUR GROUND

First, I want to be extraordinarily careful at the outset of this column. The subject matter to be discussed is very informative and should be known by our citizens. The use of force, particularly deadly force in any circumstance can subject a person [...]

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SEEK YOUR HIGHER POWER

I hope that it is still well known across the country that our laws, Constitution, and framework of government were built on Judeo-Christian principles. This is a fact that is not subject to debate. Our country was also created out of the idea of [...]

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SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND JURY SERVICE

Case law has evolved over the years in the area of how juries are selected (or to be more accurate, deselected). Most of the general public knows that before a trial begins, each side “strikes” a number of jurors that they do not want for [...]

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WYOMING – MY KIND OF STATE

Sometimes I wonder which state I would want to live in if I was not happily entrenched in Carrollton, GA. Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and Idaho come to mind. However, if I had to make this decision based on the quality of the judiciary, it would hav [...]

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THE FIVE OBJECTIVES OF CRIMINAL LAWS

Since the time of ancient civilizations, criminal laws have been distinctive for the uniquely serious potential consequences for failure to abide by the law of a specific culture or region of the world. With the exception of monarch, dictatorial and [...]

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NEW LAWS FOR 2014

While I normally write about Georgia law, particularly criminal law, there are some interesting new laws that will take effect this year. Historically, law and culture in the United States changes as more states adopt similar laws. While that may not [...]

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SUPER MAN

I got the text message from Maryellen Simmons on January 1, 2014. Gerald Patrick Word Jr. “Patrick” had passed away. Don’t get Patrick confused with his father, Gerald Patrick Word Sr. Gerry Word is alive and well. I just like to us [...]

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