Bill Rankin's Legal Brief

The AJC's blog about the courts, crime and law

DeKalb cop charged in shooting case picks top attorney

Don Samuel has long been in the thick of many high-profile cases.

The easy-going, affable Atlanta criminal defense attorney is often paired with his longtime law partner, Ed Garland, when representing sports stars and celebrities, as well as some particularly nefarious criminals.

Atlanta criminal defense lawyer Don Samuel, with former Atlanta Hawks star Mookie Blaylock, who was charged with vehicular homicide. BEN GRAY / BGRAY@AJC.COM

Samuel now represents DeKalb County police Officer Robert Olsen, the first Georgia law enforcement officer in more than five years to be prosecuted for the fatal shooting of a civilian.

Bruce Morris, an attorney who has worked with Samuel, said Olsen is in good hands.

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“Don is clearly the most intelligent lawyer I’ve ever worked with in terms of knowing the law,” Morris said. "He can tell you what the law is, when the case was decided and probably even the judge who wrote it."

Morris noted that Samuel's treatises on federal and state court decisions in criminal cases are frequently used and cited. “He literally wrote the book,” Morris said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been before a judge who didn’t have his book close at hand.”

To read a more about Samuel, please go to

About the Author

Bill Rankin covers criminal justice, the death penalty and legal affairs. He also hosts the AJC’s “Breakdown” podcast.

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