Bill Rankin

Senior legal affairs reporter

Bill Rankin joined the AJC in 1989, three years after his father, Jim Rankin, retired from the paper after 26 years. For most of his time at the AJC, Bill has covered state and federal courts, specializing in civil litigation, criminal justice and the death penalty. Beginning in 2015, Bill began hosting the AJC’s “Breakdown” podcast. The podcast’s sixth season, “A Jury of His Peers,” cohosted with AJC editor Kevin Riley, won the American Bar Association’s 2018 Silver Gavel Award.

Latest from Bill Rankin

Murder trial of DeKalb cop delayed; new judge named
 The long-awaited murder trial of former DeKalb County police officer Robert “Chip” Olsen is being delayed. After two unsuccessful attempts, court administrators on Wednesday finally found a judge willing to preside over the high-profile case involving an Afghanistan war veteran who was unarmed and naked when he was shot and killed...

Posted: 6 days ago

The long-awaited murder trial of former DeKalb County police officer Robert “Chip” Olsen is being delayed. After two unsuccessful attempts, court administrators on Wednesday finally found a judge willing to preside over the high-profile case involving an Afghanistan war veteran who was unarmed and naked when he was shot and killed...
Anthony Hill family ‘devastated’ over possible delay in DeKalb cop’s murder trial
 A state judge on Monday recused himself from the murder case of a DeKalb County police officer, a move that could delay the start of a high-profile trial involving the death of an unarmed Afghanistan war veteran. DeKalb County Superior Court Judge J.P. Boulee — who has been nominated for a federal judgeship — announced his decision...

Posted: 8 days ago

A state judge on Monday recused himself from the murder case of a DeKalb County police officer, a move that could delay the start of a high-profile trial involving the death of an unarmed Afghanistan war veteran. DeKalb County Superior Court Judge J.P. Boulee — who has been nominated for a federal judgeship — announced his decision...
Judge throws out death sentence in murder case involving Dunwoody teen
 A federal judge in Atlanta has thrown out the death sentence imposed against a man who carjacked and killed a 16-year-old Dunwoody High School student. Eric Perkinson must stand trial within. 120 days on the question of whether he is intellectually disabled, U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg ordered. Alternatively, he could be sentenced to...

Posted: 15 days ago

A federal judge in Atlanta has thrown out the death sentence imposed against a man who carjacked and killed a 16-year-old Dunwoody High School student. Eric Perkinson must stand trial within. 120 days on the question of whether he is intellectually disabled, U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg ordered. Alternatively, he could be sentenced to...
Georgia man accused of plotting to attack White House denied bond
 A federal judge in Atlanta on Thursday denied bond to a 21-year-old Forsyth County man accused of plotting to attack the White House by blasting a hole into the building and then killing people inside. U.S. Magistrate Alan Baverman brushed aside defense arguments that the FBI may have encouraged Hasher Jallel Taheb to expand his &ldquo...

Posted: 26 days ago

A federal judge in Atlanta on Thursday denied bond to a 21-year-old Forsyth County man accused of plotting to attack the White House by blasting a hole into the building and then killing people inside. U.S. Magistrate Alan Baverman brushed aside defense arguments that the FBI may have encouraged Hasher Jallel Taheb to expand his &ldquo...
BREAKING: Georgia terror suspect denied bond
 A federal judge on Thursday denied bond for a 21-year-old Forsyth County man who authorities say was plotting an attack on the White House and other national monuments. U.S. Federal Magistrate Alan Baverman turned aside defense arguments that the FBI may have encouraged Hasher Jallal Taheb’s plans to launch a violent attack. The evidence...

Posted: 26 days ago

A federal judge on Thursday denied bond for a 21-year-old Forsyth County man who authorities say was plotting an attack on the White House and other national monuments. U.S. Federal Magistrate Alan Baverman turned aside defense arguments that the FBI may have encouraged Hasher Jallal Taheb’s plans to launch a violent attack. The evidence...
Georgia judge orders new trial in 1976 case that sent man to death row
 In a searing decision, a judge in Columbus has granted a new trial to a man convicted of rape and murder 43 years ago based on new DNA evidence, at the same time condemning “undeniable” race discrimination during jury selection by the prosecution. The ruling by Senior Muscogee County Superior Court Judge John Allen overturns...

9:40 PM Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019

In a searing decision, a judge in Columbus has granted a new trial to a man convicted of rape and murder 43 years ago based on new DNA evidence, at the same time condemning “undeniable” race discrimination during jury selection by the prosecution. The ruling by Senior Muscogee County Superior Court Judge John Allen overturns...
Disability advocacy group sues Fulton County over access to inmates
 An advocacy group for people with psychiatric disabilities is suing the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, saying it was improperly denied access to mentally ill inmates at a south Fulton jail. On Friday, the Georgia Advocacy Office asked to see mentally ill women held at the jail’s annex in Union City to follow up on recent reports...

11:25 PM Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019

An advocacy group for people with psychiatric disabilities is suing the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, saying it was improperly denied access to mentally ill inmates at a south Fulton jail. On Friday, the Georgia Advocacy Office asked to see mentally ill women held at the jail’s annex in Union City to follow up on recent reports...
U.S. courts find funds to pay employees one more week during shutdown
 For the second week in a row, the federal court system has found enough money to pay its employees for another seven days as it tries to work around the partial government shutdown. The court system’s funds initially were expected to run out on Jan. 11. But that date was extended a week and now it’s been extended through Jan....

10:14 PM Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019

For the second week in a row, the federal court system has found enough money to pay its employees for another seven days as it tries to work around the partial government shutdown. The court system’s funds initially were expected to run out on Jan. 11. But that date was extended a week and now it’s been extended through Jan....
Judge to face ethics hearing over theft allegations
 The state’s judicial watchdog panel has set a Jan. 30 hearing date to consider possible discipline against a Griffin Judicial Circuit judge who faces theft charges. Superior Court Judge Mack Crawford was indicted in October for the alleged theft of court funds. The judge, who oversees cases in Fayette, Spalding, Pike and Upson...

5:27 PM Monday, Jan. 14, 2019

The state’s judicial watchdog panel has set a Jan. 30 hearing date to consider possible discipline against a Griffin Judicial Circuit judge who faces theft charges. Superior Court Judge Mack Crawford was indicted in October for the alleged theft of court funds. The judge, who oversees cases in Fayette, Spalding, Pike and Upson...
Death penalty on the wane in Georgia
 Georgia prosecutors have long had a reputation for zealously seeking the death penalty to punish heinous killers. And yet capital punishment in 2019 seems to be going the way of the guillotine and the gallows: It’s disappearing. A jury in Augusta imposed the last death sentence in Georgia in March 2014. With no capital trials set for...

5:41 PM Friday, Jan. 11, 2019

Georgia prosecutors have long had a reputation for zealously seeking the death penalty to punish heinous killers. And yet capital punishment in 2019 seems to be going the way of the guillotine and the gallows: It’s disappearing. A jury in Augusta imposed the last death sentence in Georgia in March 2014. With no capital trials set for...
Trial set for Gwinnett stepmom defending herself in capital case
 A judge on Thursday set an April trial date for death-penalty defendant Tiffany Moss, the Gwinnett County woman who is representing herself against a murder charge that she starved her 10-year-old stepdaughter to death. Shackled and wearing a prison jumpsuit, Moss walked into court holding nothing in her hands — no court documents,...

10:10 PM Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019

A judge on Thursday set an April trial date for death-penalty defendant Tiffany Moss, the Gwinnett County woman who is representing herself against a murder charge that she starved her 10-year-old stepdaughter to death. Shackled and wearing a prison jumpsuit, Moss walked into court holding nothing in her hands — no court documents,...