MARTA police arrest street violinist for subway serenade
11:27 am, May 17th, 2013
Anyone who has ridden the subway in New York or Paris or any number of other international cities is likely familiar with the street musicians who can easily charm a crowd or brighten up an otherwise weary commute with impromptu serenades.
Not so in Atlanta, where MARTA police arrested a traveling violinist after his impromptu concert inside the Five Points station downtown.
The MARTA violinist spent five days in jail. It’s a good thing that world class violinist Joshua Bell opted for the Washington D.C. Metro instead of MARTA when he decided in 2007 to play incognito for tips.
In Washington, Bell was just ignored.
No glamour in real life crime scene investigations
1:02 pm, May 16th, 2013
TV crime drama fans are being misled, according to Jerry Scott, agent in charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Statewide Crime Scene Program and coordinator of the GBI’s Body Recovery Team.
Scott was speaking at “Guns 101: What journalists need to know to shoot straight and get it right when reporting on firearms,” a seminar at the Georgia Press Association offices Thursday.
After presenting diagrams showing possible lines of travel for bullets and close up pictures of gun shots that look like those in TV crime shows such as CSI, Law & Order and Castle, Scott was asked, what’s his favorite crime show?
“I don’t watch any of them,” he said. Of their realism, he added, “They’re not even close.”
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Sheriff’s PIO to newsies: Back off on the perp runs, please
4:20 pm, April 3rd, 2013
Fulton County Sheriff’s Department Public Affairs Officer Tracy Flanagan, who has been dutifully sending out notices and mug shots of the folks indicted in the Atlanta Public Schools’ test-cheating investigation as they arrive for booking at the Fulton County Jail, wrapped up her latest update with an admonition for the reporters and camera crews that have been camped out at the Rice Street facility all week:
“News crews gathered outside the front door of the Fulton County Jail are reminded to not to (sic) block the entrance,” wrote Flanagan. “You may pursue defendants to the planters that border the fire lane. Thank you very much for your cooperation.”
Flanagan’s most recent email states that all but one of the 35 educators indicted Friday have been booked.
Man who promised to make restitution to Braves players back in jail
2:15 pm, March 28th, 2013
A Macon businessman avoided jail on a fiduciary theft conviction last year with the support of real estate investment partners from whom he was convicted of stealing half a million dollars – including two former Atlanta Braves and an ex-Atlanta Falcon – and to whom he pledged to make restitution. But he’s in jail now anyway because he failed to report to probation officers, the Macon Telegraph reports today.
The Telegraph reports that William David “Billy” Ramsbottom Jr. was denied release from the Bibb County jail “where he’s being held on an allegation he absconded from probation.” Ramsbottom, 47, was jailed Feb. 13 after he was arrested for an alleged probation violation. The story says he first failed to report to probation in March 2012, two months after he was sentenced in a case involving the embezzlement of $476,000 from partners in a St. Simons Island shopping center. The petition to revoke his probation alleges he has failed to report since May 14, 2012.
The Telegraph noted Ramsbottom appeared in a Bibb County Superior Court hearing Thursday wearing a blue and white jail detention center uniform. The story carried a 2012 file photo of three well-dressed men in suits and ties, one in a black fedora, identified as Ramsbottom and his lawyers leaving the courthouse last year. The lawyers are Craig Gillen and Jerry Lumbley.
The Telegraph quoted Myra Tisdale, a Bibb County assistant district attorney, saying, “Given an inch, he takes a mile.”
For sports fans, the Telegraph reports the letter that helped Ramsbottom stay out of jail the first time – from partners who said he’d agreed to help them recoup their losses in a St. Simons shopping center development – included signatures from: former Atlanta Braves John Rocker and Ryan Klesko, and former Atlanta Falcon Chris Mohr.
20 years for $232 convenience store robbery
10:11 pm, March 27th, 2013
A 26-year-old man struck a plea deal with the Athens-Clarke County district attorney for a 20-year sentence, 10 to serve, for the armed robbery of a convenience store that yielded $232. The man brandished a knife in the robbery and was arrested three days later.
Superior Court Judge H. Patrick Haggard accepted the agreement, which also included a lifetime ban from Athens, according to an account in the Athens Banner-Herald. The newspaper reported that the plea bargain was struck after Assistant District Attorney Reed Newland filed notice of intent to use the man’s prior convictions for drugs and entering an auto as aggravating factors at sentencing.
Media from SCOTUS arguments on Prop8 today
2:26 pm, March 26th, 2013
The scene outside of the Supreme Court of the United States as arguments over Prop8 were getting underway.
Media associated with arguments at the Supreme Court of the United States today in Hollingsworth v. Perry:
Photo courtesy of Todd Ruger, National Law Journal
D.C.’s Campaign Legal Center dedicates Ham Rove Memorial Conference Room
11:31 am, March 22nd, 2013
Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert assisted Washington’s Campaign Legal Center on Thursday in dedicating the CLC’s new Ham Rove Memorial Conference Room – named after a canned ham bearing a remarkable resemblance to a certain Republican campaign operative that made an appearances on the Colbert Report during the 2012 Presidential campaign.
The conference room – which now displays a life-sized portrait of Colbert – was established as a condition of the CLC’s acceptance of a $136,852 donation from The Ham Rove Memorial Fund – one of several entities, beginning with the Colbert Super PAC, that Legal Center President and D.C. attorney Trevor Potter helped Colbert create during the campaign.
With Potter’s help, Colbert created the Colbert Super PAC, the related Colbert Super PAC SHH and ultimately the Ham Rove Memorial Fund – which became the beneficiary of hundreds of thousands of dollars that, courtesy of federal campaign finance and tax laws, had vanished without a trace from the Colbert Super PAC following the 2012 election last November.
“You have to admire a man who gives you his untraceable 501(c)(4) money, knowing you’ll use it in an attempt to shut down untraceable 501(c)(4) money,” said Legal Center Executive Director J. Gerald Hebert as Colbert’s portrait was unveiled. “We hope to use Mr. Colbert’s generous donation to bring about much needed reforms in the campaign finance arena.”
Said Potter: “That coverage did more to educate the American public on the fallout from the [U.S. Supreme Court’s] Citizens United decision, secret money in campaigns and problems with the [Federal Election Commission’s] and IRS’s non-enforcement of the laws, than anything else in the last election cycle.”
The Colbert Report was honored with a Peabody Award for the Colbert Super PAC segments that featured Potter.
Disbarred lawyer to sentenced to 27 months for theft
4:14 pm, March 21st, 2013
A disbarred Duluth real estate lawyer was sentenced today to 27 months in federal prison for stealing funds from real estate transactions he handled, the U.S. Attorney in Atlanta announced today.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash Jr. sentenced Neal Landers, 46, for wire fraud in January. Landers was disbarred in 2008.
“Landers violated the law and the trust of his clients when he used his firm’s escrow account as his own personal piggy bank,” U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said after Landers was sentenced.
According to federal prosecutors, in 2007 Landers began using his office as a real estate closing lawyer to misappropriate an estimated $150,000 in funds from real estate closings that had been deposited in his escrow account.
Prosecutors said Landers delayed paying out funds associated with the closings for weeks and sometimes months, instead using them to pay funds he had failed to distribute in earlier real estate closings.
Landers also transferred monies far exceeding legitimate closing fees from his escrow account to a personal checking account, then used the stolen funds to pay personal expenses, prosecutors said.
Landers’ attorney, Thomas Hawker, was in court and could not be reached for comment.
Do pro bono work because you care, Bondurant tells UGA law students
3:01 pm, March 4th, 2013
Emmet Bondurant of Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore told students and attorneys at the University of Georgia Law School Saturday that they should do pro bono work because they care, not because their firms require it or provide them with a pro bono partner to facilitate the effort.
“You ought to be seeking out those opportunities for yourself. You don’t need a pro bono partner to say you have to do it,” Bondurant told an auditorium full of students and lawyers at the 8th annual Working in the Public Interest conference at UGA law school.
Bondurant spoke during a program titled “A higher calling: the importance of pro bono efforts in the legal profession.” Sitting beside Bondurant on the panel was Mary Benton, Alston & Bird’s pro bono partner. Also on the panel: Cynthia Adcock, constitutional law professor at the Charlotte School of Law; Lonnie Brown, UGA legal ethics professor; Andrew Vail, partner with Jenner & Block in Chicago.
“If it’s something you care about, do it,” Bondurant said. He noted his own firm is smaller and doesn’t have a pro bono department. “When young lawyers come into a firm there ought to be a presumption that they’re adults. They shouldn’t be handed something on a platter for their own interests,” he said. But he told the group young lawyers can “do well by doing good.”
Bondurant talked about his own pro bono work, starting in the early 1960s – soon after his 1959 graduation from UGA law – when he took on the loyalty oaths being required by the state in the anti-Communist paranoia of the times. And he mentioned a recent cause, representing Guantanamo detainees being held indefinitely without charges filed.
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Phoenix attorney and client fatally shot after mediation
6:07 pm, January 31st, 2013
A Phoenix attorney and his firm’s longtime client were killed Wednesday by a man with whom they had been mediating a legal dispute, according to the attorney’s law firm website.
According to The Arizona Republic, the shooting took place immediately following the mediation and that one of the wounded was prominent Phoenix attorney Mark Hummels, a partner at Osborn Maledon and president of the Federal Bar Association’s Phoenix chapter.
A third person was shot in the hand as she stumbled upon the shooting while leaving the building where the mediation had taken place, the newspaper reported.
On Thursday, in a letter posted on its website, Osborn Maledon said that the firm had been informed that Hummels “will not survive from the shooting.” The firm identified the other shooting victim as “our long-time friend and client, Steven D. Singer, the CEO of Fusion Contact Centers.”
The firm said that Hummels and Singer were engaged in a settlement conference before they were shot and referred to Hummels as “the best kind of lawyer – a man who is highly capable in his practice and caring to his core about his community.”
According to the New York Times, Hummels and Singer were shot by Arthur Harmon, 70, who had sued Singer’s company and had been at the mediation. Harmon later killed himself, according to the Times.