Articles Posted in News

357CBC1F-885E-4C98-9F87-695802152FE7-300x261At the time of this writing, we are in the grip of a pandemic – the novel coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19. The best way of dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak is to slow the spread of the virus. This means closing down many public venues, limiting social gatherings, and postponing public events, even something as large as the 2020 Olympic Games, in order to give the contagious virus fewer chances to leap from person to person. Even grocery stores have chosen to modify their hours and set aside special shopping times for the most vulnerable members of our community. You can follow or like our page on Facebook for updates on the coronavirus crisis.

Right now is an incredibly stressful time for people across the globe. With so many important events being cancelled and so many businesses and public venues closing their doors, it can be difficult to remain optimistic, especially when these closures can affect your livelihood. Many people are understandably afraid for their immunocompromised or elderly friends and family, who are much more vulnerable to COVID-19. But now is not the time to get swept up in the panic and doomsaying that gets spread all over social media. There is good news out there – response to the virus has brought out the best in many people, and this response is changing the world for the better.

Many workplaces are now letting their employees work from home, allowing them to practice responsible social distancing while still performing their essential duties. In response, multiple internet providers are offering free service for a limited time and free installation to better help people work remotely. Companies like Zoom, Slack, and Google are also offering free services in order to give employees working from home a helping hand, while providers like AT&T have begun suspending bandwidth caps in order to ease the burden on our internet connections.

AtlantaGeorgiaCapitol_0-300x169A pandemic has been sweeping across the United States in the last few months. It is known as the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, and it causes a host of respiratory symptoms, including a dry cough, difficulty breathing, and persistent chest pain. While a COVID-19 infection is not fatal for most people, it is highly contagious and has a much higher fatality rate among the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. Many of us will be able to survive an infection with COVID-19, but you could spread that infection to someone who can’t.

As of this writing, there is no widely available vaccine for COVID-19. This means that the best way of combating person to person spread of this virus is to practice social distancing. This means limiting large groups of people coming together, closing public venues, and canceling public events. Close contact in a crowd setting can help a virus spread like wildfire, making these measures essential.

Over the last few weeks, many places have closed their doors to the public or at least heavily limited their interactions with them. Many of Georgia’s courts are no exception to this trend. On March 14, Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold D. Melton signed an order declaring a statewide judicial emergency, suspending all non-essential court functions for the next 30 days in order to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Courts across the state immediately paid heed and passed their own emergency orders.

cropped-favicon-300x300March 17 is Saint Patrick’s Day. For many of us that means enjoying a nice glass or two of green beer (or green food in general – McDonald’s has even brought back its Shamrock Shake for the occasion), dressing up head to toe in green, and enjoying the Saint Patrick’s Day parade. For Irish Americans, Saint Patrick’s Day is a time to celebrate their Irish heritage and a time for religious observations. But how many of us know about the history of Saint Patrick’s Day or the reason behind its traditions?

Saint Patrick’s Day takes its name from the patron saint of Ireland. Most of what we know about the historical Saint Patrick comes from a Latin work called the Declaration,which he allegedly wrote. According to the Declaration, the historical Saint Patrick was born in Roman Britain in late 300 AD. After being captured by Irish pirates at age 16, Patrick converted to Christianity, which he would go on to study far into his twenties after returning to Britain. Eventually, Patrick returned to Ireland where he acted as a Christian missionary, spreading Christ’s teachings across the islands.

The holiday itself was founded in Ireland during the early 17th century to celebrate Saint Patrick and his teachings. Tradition holds that Saint Patrick died on March 17; hence a feast day being held on that date. This feast day was first introduced to the American colonies by Irish immigrants in the early 18th century and turned into a full-blown celebration of Irish culture in the 19th century by a mass influx of Irish immigrants fleeing the Great Famine for the United States. By the early 20th century, the feast day became a national holiday in Ireland and came to be known as St. Patrick’s Day.

7bd8181220181983b3302ddbbb014ad6-271x300Online package deliveries soar every holiday season. Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there are many excellent deals to take advantage of on Amazon or other online marketplaces. And with Christmas looming around the corner, it’s nice to be able to buy that perfect gift with just a few clicks of a mouse, right from the comfort of your own home.

Unfortunately, the convenience of online shopping brings a hidden risk – package theft, otherwise known as porch piracy. An increase in package deliveries means an increase in boxes left on doorsteps. With deliveries happening at all hours of the day, there is a good risk your package may be delivered while you’re not home, making it a very easy mark for package thieves. Being home might not even help – a savvy porch pirate might follow the delivery driver, allowing them to nab your package within minutes of its arrival.

If your package is stolen, you should file a claim with the online retailer, contact the shipping carrier and provide the tracking number, and file a report with your local police department. In most cases, online marketplaces will replace the stolen items or provide you with a refund. But how do you prevent package theft from happening to begin with?

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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The NFL’s Newest Rule Changes to Decrease Concussions

Prior to the 2018 National Football League (NFL) season, the league administration introduced two rules aimed at preventing concussions: Players are no longer allowed to “wedge” block — players running shoulder-to-shoulder into another player — during kick-offs, and they can’t lower their helmets when they tackle.

Fans and players complained about the “soft” stance the NFL took on the gritty play football was built on. Most notably, former Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews was subjected to a game costing “roughing the passer” penalty for tackling in a way that would have been allowed in years prior. The NFL reported that it would be using Matthews’ hit as a teaching tape.

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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.

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.

A picture of a hemp plantThe 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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In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, thousands of New Yorkers took to the streets to clear rubble, offer supplies, and search for survivors. It was a powerful act of resilience in a deeply trying time, and while most of the individuals helping with the disaster stood on two feet, more than 300 canines also answered the call to service.

Dogs of all breeds and backgrounds, including search and rescue dogs, police dogs, service dogs, and therapy dogs, were brought in to help find and care for survivors in the wake of the destruction. They worked tirelessly alongside rescue crews as they searched through the debris.

Search and rescue dogs and their handlers worked 12–16-hour days, searching for survivors and victims. They worked through dangerous conditions: Many dogs burned their paws as they dug through hot rubble, and both handlers and canines inhaled toxic dust. The task was both physically and mentally exhausting for the dogs during their shifts. Some dogs that found deceased victims refused to eat or interact with other animals. Search and rescue dogs became increasingly stressed and depressed the longer they searched without any results, mirroring their handlers. It wasn’t uncommon for handlers to stage mock “findings” of survivors to keep the dogs’ spirits up.

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The law has always been part of Carl Chapman’s life. Growing up in Georgia, his father was in law enforcement, and Carl interned with a judge when he was in college. Carl knew he was destined for a career in the legal field, and he ultimately decided that he was better suited to defending citizens in court.

Carl joined the Don Turner Legal Team this July, and he will be using his expertise to represent our clients facing criminal charges. A graduate of Georgia State University Law School, Carl has four years of experience representing defendants in the courtroom. In addition, Carl defended a client in Georgia’s longest criminal trial, which lasted more than seven months. Carl comes to our team on a hot streak. At the time of writing this, he has won 10 out of his last 11 jury cases. Anyone with an understanding of the legal world will know convincing a jury of your client’s innocence is no easy feat.

“In the criminal defense world, the cards are usually stacked against you. That’s the nature of the game,” Carl says. “Your job is just mitigation. […] I’m excited. I enjoy what I do.”

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