Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

If the police seized your money, car, or other property, we can help protect what’s yours from wrongful civil asset forfeiture.

I’ve had several clients call recently because their property had been seized – wrongfully. Civil asset forfeiture became the norm during the 1980s war on drugs. It was intended to confiscate ill-gotten gains from drug kingpins. Over time, these seizures provided a tremendous source of revenue to cities, counties, and states. In 2014, for example, federal forfeitures exceeded $4.5 billion. Incentives to abuse processes are huge.

In fact, a study proved that the problem with civil forfeiture is less a problem with individual officers and more a problem with civil forfeiture laws themselves. Police have outright admitted that civil forfeiture creates a powerful temptation to seize property, with one police chief referring to forfeiture funds as “pennies from heaven”. For more on the need for reform in civil asset forfeiture laws, see Policing for Profit.

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The Lessons and Memories Football Afforded Me

I spent my entire football career on the offensive line. I liked being part of the action, defending the quarterback from linemen who were gunning for a sack.  In college, I was a tackle, and I was moved to the guard position, where I played through the remainder of my career. Sure, I rarely ever got the chance to touch the ball — unless I jumped on it during a fumble — but that position fit me like a glove.

As a kid, I was engrossed in football, and I loved watching my Green Bay Packers. Jerry Kramer, who was a pulling guard for the Packers, was my hero, and I wanted to be a pulling guard just like him. All my friends played the sport, so I began in the peewee leagues.

Hemp

On May 10, 2019, Governor Brian Kemp signed the Georgia Hemp Farming Act (HB 213) into law. This bill allows farmers in Georgia to legally grow and sell industrial hemp, a strain of the cannabis Sativa plant.  Hemp contains less than 0.3 percent THC, the chemical responsible for the “high” felt when smoking marijuana. It is therefore not considered a Schedule I substance.

The text of HB 213 only addresses who can grow and sell hemp. However, many law enforcement officials feel its wording makes hemp possession legal by default. It does not, however, legalize the possession and sale of marijuana in Georgia. Possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is still a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison or a fine up to $1,000. Possession of more than an ounce is considered a felony, with the maximum sentence being up to ten years in prison.

HB 213 has carried an unforeseen consequence for Georgia law enforcement. There is currently no way for police to accurately measure the THC concentration in cannabis. This has made it difficult for law enforcement to accurately distinguish between marijuana and the now-legal industrial hemp. As a result, different counties around metro Atlanta have been forced to change their approach to prosecuting misdemeanor marijuana cases.

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Do I have to disclose my legal troubles to my employer?

When you’re arrested, many questions can leave you unsure of what to do next. Of the many questions that crop up, you may be asking yourself, “Do I have to tell my employer?” An attorney can help you determine what the correct response is for your situation, but generally speaking, the answer is complicated.

Georgia law gives employers the right to “employ at will,” which means they can hire or fire an employee for any reason, so long as it’s nondiscriminatory. In addition, many applications ask prospective employees to disclose their legal records. This can be a tricky thing to navigate as well because whether you have to disclose is a case-by-case basis.

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Lisanne Edelman has wanted to be a lawyer since she was 12 years old. Her growing interest in shows like “Law & Order” signaled that a career in prosecution may be in the cards, but her first criminal law class at John Marshall Law School shifted her focus.

Students were tasked with researching and presenting a particular case from the Innocence Project. To this day, Lisanne can remember the case she chose. In 1999, Clarence Elkins was convicted of the murder of his mother-in-law, Judith, and the assault of his 6-year-old niece. Clarence maintained his innocence, but his niece’s testimony that the intruder looked like her uncle sealed his fate. In 2002, his niece officially recanted her claim, and Clarence was ultimately freed in 2005 based on an alibi witness and a DNA hit off a cigarette butt Clarence collected from a fellow inmate — who was ultimately found guilty of the attacks.

“That triggered something in me,” Lisanne recalls about this case.

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In Georgia law, a police officer may remove the car if the driver or person in control of the vehicle “is arrested for an alleged offense for which the officer is required by law to take the person arrested before a proper magistrate without unnecessary delay.”

Typically, this would be in the event of a driving under the influence arrest, particularly if it resulted in a fatal accident, or if the car was used to commit a serious crime.

So – what do you do if your car has been towed away and impounded after an arrest?

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You’ve heard this before: you have the right to remain silent. This means that you cannot be forced to make a statement to police, no matter how many times you are asked. This advice applies to any criminal case, even if you have already been arrested and charged.

So – if a detective contacts you and asks you to make a statement, what should you do?

Contact a criminal attorney immediately and let him or her decide to speak with the detective on your behalf.

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