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Latest from Bill Rankin

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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: 2 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: 4 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: 11 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: 22 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: 22 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...

Posted: 29 days ago

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...

Posted: 30 days ago

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....

Posted: 30 days ago

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,...
State agrees to improve prison conditions in solitary confinement unit
 The state Department of Corrections has agreed to improve prison conditions at a solitary confinement unit that one inspector found to have created some of the most psychologically traumatized inmates he’d ever encountered. The agreement is part of a settlement reached in a lawsuit brought by inmates who served years in solitary...

11:00 AM Wednesday, Jan. 09, 2019

The state Department of Corrections has agreed to improve prison conditions at a solitary confinement unit that one inspector found to have created some of the most psychologically traumatized inmates he’d ever encountered. The agreement is part of a settlement reached in a lawsuit brought by inmates who served years in solitary...
Federal courts feel pinch from ongoing government shutdown
 The partial government shutdown is beginning to hit metro Atlanta’s federal courts, with some cases grinding to a halt as dollars from Washington dry up. Federal prosecutors and legal staff in the criminal division of the Northern District of Georgia remain on the job — though unpaid — amid the ongoing stalemate. Criminal...

11:01 PM Tuesday, Jan. 08, 2019

The partial government shutdown is beginning to hit metro Atlanta’s federal courts, with some cases grinding to a halt as dollars from Washington dry up. Federal prosecutors and legal staff in the criminal division of the Northern District of Georgia remain on the job — though unpaid — amid the ongoing stalemate. Criminal...
Suit: Male nurse groped sedated patients and told his pastors about it
 Michael Morgan couldn’t keep his secrets to himself. The male nurse, according to a recently filed lawsuit, gave a startling confession to his two Jehovah’s Witness pastors: he’d taken advantage of female patients by removing their bras and fondling their breasts when they were still under sedation. The pastors then relayed...

7:22 PM Friday, Jan. 04, 2019

Michael Morgan couldn’t keep his secrets to himself. The male nurse, according to a recently filed lawsuit, gave a startling confession to his two Jehovah’s Witness pastors: he’d taken advantage of female patients by removing their bras and fondling their breasts when they were still under sedation. The pastors then relayed...
EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Buford schools chief accused of volatile behavior
 A former schools superintendent accused of making a racist rant led his Gwinnett County district by intimidation with often irrational and volatile behavior that was well-known throughout the central office, according to a new legal filing. Geye Hamby (whose first name is pronounced GUY) routinely used profane language and sometimes used...

9:08 PM Thursday, Jan. 03, 2019

A former schools superintendent accused of making a racist rant led his Gwinnett County district by intimidation with often irrational and volatile behavior that was well-known throughout the central office, according to a new legal filing. Geye Hamby (whose first name is pronounced GUY) routinely used profane language and sometimes used...
Nathan Deal’s criminal justice reforms leave lasting legacy
 Soon after he was elected governor, Nathan Deal made overhauling the state’s costly and famously tough criminal justice system a top priority. It wasn’t long before he started to hear a common refrain. “That’s not a Republican issue,” Deal said voters told him over and over again. To which he’d reply, &ldquo...

2:00 PM Friday, Dec. 21, 2018

Soon after he was elected governor, Nathan Deal made overhauling the state’s costly and famously tough criminal justice system a top priority. It wasn’t long before he started to hear a common refrain. “That’s not a Republican issue,” Deal said voters told him over and over again. To which he’d reply, &ldquo...
Inmate artwork supports ‘Little Readers’ program for children
 While a prison inmate, John Turner was able to read a bedtime story to his godson 50 miles away. “My wife said he would listen to it every night,” Turner said proudly in a recent interview. “It changed me from the inside out, having the opportunity to have that kind of connection.” Except Turner, 42, was not actually...

11:00 AM Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018

While a prison inmate, John Turner was able to read a bedtime story to his godson 50 miles away. “My wife said he would listen to it every night,” Turner said proudly in a recent interview. “It changed me from the inside out, having the opportunity to have that kind of connection.” Except Turner, 42, was not actually...
Judge refuses to dismiss man’s claims of wrongful conviction in murder
 A man who contends he was wrongly convicted of a South Georgia murder appeared to clear an important hurdle Wednesday when a judge declined to grant the state’s motion to dismiss his new claims. After an hours-long hearing, Chattooga County Superior Court Judge Kristina Cook Graham said she thought the state’s request was premature...

1:15 AM Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018

A man who contends he was wrongly convicted of a South Georgia murder appeared to clear an important hurdle Wednesday when a judge declined to grant the state’s motion to dismiss his new claims. After an hours-long hearing, Chattooga County Superior Court Judge Kristina Cook Graham said she thought the state’s request was premature...
Deal puts his former top lawyer on state Appeals Court
 Gov. Nathan Deal on Friday appointed his former top lawyer to the state Court of Appeals. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Todd Markle will fill the seat vacated by Judge Billy Ray, who was recently confirmed by the Senate for a seat on the U.S. District Court in Atlanta. Markle, who served as Deal’s executive counsel in 2011, ...

10:15 PM Friday, Dec. 07, 2018

Gov. Nathan Deal on Friday appointed his former top lawyer to the state Court of Appeals. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Todd Markle will fill the seat vacated by Judge Billy Ray, who was recently confirmed by the Senate for a seat on the U.S. District Court in Atlanta. Markle, who served as Deal’s executive counsel in 2011, ...
Woman accused of starving stepdaughter to represent herself in death-penalty trial 
 A Gwinnett County woman accused of starving her stepdaugher to death said she would rather rely upon divine guidance than the guiding hand of legal counsel. Tiffany Moss is now on track to represent herself at her upcoming death-penalty trial. On Thursday, the Georgia Supreme Court declined to hear a pretrial appeal that sought to overturn...

7:58 PM Friday, Dec. 07, 2018

A Gwinnett County woman accused of starving her stepdaugher to death said she would rather rely upon divine guidance than the guiding hand of legal counsel. Tiffany Moss is now on track to represent herself at her upcoming death-penalty trial. On Thursday, the Georgia Supreme Court declined to hear a pretrial appeal that sought to overturn...
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