It has been a tough couple of weeks for our community. During that small time period, two legal warriors have passed away; Jim Hopkins and Allen Trapp. While the passing of both men has been a terrible loss for the legal community, the community as a whole has been affected as well. Jim Hopkins, a colleague, advocate for families, and friend was not only a well-known domestic law attorney, he was an associate magistrate judge. Jim served the people by hearing bond issues when suspects got arrested, hearing civil cases in the magistrate court, and signing arrest warrants when necessary. As a judge, I appeared before him many times on bond issues. The main thing that I remember about him is his fairness and thoroughness in bond hearings at first appearances. If Jim believed that bond was inappropriate, he would deny bond without reservation. If he believed that a defendant should be granted a bond, he would do so in a fair manner. He was also known to provide for special protections within a bond. In family related cases, he would always provide conditions to protect the alleged victim. In cases where the defendant may be abusing drugs or alcohol, he would ensure that the bond addressed those addiction issues. Based on my experience, Jim truly believed that a person was innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That belief was shown in the manner that he handled bond hearings. Jim was also known as a zealous advocate for his family law clients. Family law is a tough field of practice. Yet, Jim passionately and effectively represented many west Georgia families over the years. He also cared greatly for the welfare of children who were caught up in the midst of divorces and custody cases. He served as a guardian ad litem in cases where the voiceless children had an advocate in Jim Hopkins. Jim was a warrior in the arena of legal combat. Our people, the criminal justice system, and children our will miss Jim Hopkins.
Allen Trapp, a colleague, fellow criminal defense attorney, and DUI specialist was another well-known legal warrior. He was respected by both defense attorneys and prosecutors, and in our community. Allen was dedicated to protecting the Constitutional rights of people accused of crimes in our State. He was one of the most intelligent and well prepared lawyers I ever met. Allen was particularly dedicated to the practice of DUI law. He was an expert in this field. Allen spoke about DUI issues across the nation. He was one of the most knowledgeable DUI defense attorneys in the State. I called Allen on more than one occasion when I was unsure of a legal issue surrounding one of my DUI cases. He would always respond in detail. His advice and guidance would assist me, and many other lawyers, in protecting our clients’ Constitutional rights. I will miss his wisdom and wealth of knowledge. Allen’s memory was extraordinary. In conversations with him about cases, Allen would mention appellate case names, dates, and details that would baffle me. His memory, knowledge, and preparedness came across in the courtroom as well. Allen was one of the lawyers who people watched in court. His arguments, cross-examination, and recollection of case law were impeccable. Allen’s performance in the courtroom could have been used to teach effective advocacy for people accused of crimes in the justice system. Both of these warriors will be missed by our community. However, their contributions to the legal system and our people as a whole will not easily be forgotten. May they both rest in peace.