Bill Torpy

Columnist

Bill Torpy, who writes about metro Atlanta for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, joined the newspaper in 1990. He has covered politics, government and countless stories about police, courts and the justice system. The Chicago native graduated from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill., and previously worked for the Daily Southtown in Chicago

Latest from Bill Torpy

Another case near Atlanta shows thieves still get guns from cars
 This week in Cartersville, police reported that thieves have been entering vehicles and stealing items, most notably several handguns. It’s the continuation of a crime that has become common across metro Atlanta — and the nation. As more people carry guns to protect themselves from crime, more folks carry their weapons in their...

Posted: a day ago

This week in Cartersville, police reported that thieves have been entering vehicles and stealing items, most notably several handguns. It’s the continuation of a crime that has become common across metro Atlanta — and the nation. As more people carry guns to protect themselves from crime, more folks carry their weapons in their...
Torpy at Large: Mayor’s race heats up as bribery probe keeps cookin’
 As the election comes to its final weeks, and as the corruption scandal dumps a new load of fertilizer at City Hall, Mayor Kasim Reed has moved to ensure he’ll have as close to a third term in office as possible. Hizzoner is term-limited, but he wants to keep his hand in his pet project — running Atlanta. So last week...

Posted: 3 days ago

As the election comes to its final weeks, and as the corruption scandal dumps a new load of fertilizer at City Hall, Mayor Kasim Reed has moved to ensure he’ll have as close to a third term in office as possible. Hizzoner is term-limited, but he wants to keep his hand in his pet project — running Atlanta. So last week...
Torpy at Large: Knock, knock! The HOA is here for an inside inspection
 If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you live under the vigilant eye of a homeowners association. Estimates say one-fifth to a quarter of Americans live in situations where a gaggle of neighbors have the right — no, the duty — to make sure you keep up your part of the bargain and not let your home...

Posted: 9 days ago

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you live under the vigilant eye of a homeowners association. Estimates say one-fifth to a quarter of Americans live in situations where a gaggle of neighbors have the right — no, the duty — to make sure you keep up your part of the bargain and not let your home...
Torpy at Large: Of mice and men, and rats and stool pigeons
 Years ago, when I was still working in Chicago, my lawyer friend, Gary, was bragging on a client who wouldn’t give up his cohorts in a drug case. The defendant was an Italian-American fellow, but he wasn’t necessarily a made guy. He was just a fan of Mafia movies and believed in the whole deal about omerta, which is Italian for...

Posted: 11 days ago

Years ago, when I was still working in Chicago, my lawyer friend, Gary, was bragging on a client who wouldn’t give up his cohorts in a drug case. The defendant was an Italian-American fellow, but he wasn’t necessarily a made guy. He was just a fan of Mafia movies and believed in the whole deal about omerta, which is Italian for...
Torpy at Large: Revamped judicial watchdog must prove it’s no lapdog
 The new and improved Judicial Protection Commission has been up and running for three months, and the first inkling of action from the group seems to indicate it’s working precisely as designed. Judges can stop looking over their shoulders. Judge Brenda Weaver, who pushed to have a North Georgia newspaper publisher and a lawyer tossed...

Posted: 17 days ago

The new and improved Judicial Protection Commission has been up and running for three months, and the first inkling of action from the group seems to indicate it’s working precisely as designed. Judges can stop looking over their shoulders. Judge Brenda Weaver, who pushed to have a North Georgia newspaper publisher and a lawyer tossed...
Torpy at Large: The wolf comes to the door when your kid gets cancer
 It’s a daunting sight to see the surgeon who worked on your kid hustling down the hallway in full scrub gear to the intensive care unit where your child is recuperating. Three days earlier, Dr. Megan Durham had spent nearly seven hours in my youngest son’s chest, digging nodule after nodule from his lungs. Michael, now 18, was...

Posted: 24 days ago

It’s a daunting sight to see the surgeon who worked on your kid hustling down the hallway in full scrub gear to the intensive care unit where your child is recuperating. Three days earlier, Dr. Megan Durham had spent nearly seven hours in my youngest son’s chest, digging nodule after nodule from his lungs. Michael, now 18, was...
Torpy at Large: Tom Price, fiscal hawk / highfalutin flyboy
 Metro Atlanta’s own Tom Price, the surgeon-turned-congressman-turned-U.S. Health Secretary, is now getting pummeled for flying around in private jets. Last week, the news site Politico detailed a three-day sprint for which Price spent more than $60,000 on such flights. Later, Politico said it was more like $300,000 since May, with...

Posted: 27 days ago

Metro Atlanta’s own Tom Price, the surgeon-turned-congressman-turned-U.S. Health Secretary, is now getting pummeled for flying around in private jets. Last week, the news site Politico detailed a three-day sprint for which Price spent more than $60,000 on such flights. Later, Politico said it was more like $300,000 since May, with...
Torpy at Large: The crazy foam board caper, only at ATL City Hall
 On Wednesday, someone filed an ethics complaint against Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s office for spending city time and using city resources to print up placards that could be seen as campaign materials. Later that afternoon, the Mayor had those same 28-by-18-inch foam boards posted in the atrium at City Hall outside his office. The...

12:18 AM Friday, Sep. 22, 2017

On Wednesday, someone filed an ethics complaint against Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s office for spending city time and using city resources to print up placards that could be seen as campaign materials. Later that afternoon, the Mayor had those same 28-by-18-inch foam boards posted in the atrium at City Hall outside his office. The...
This is no wee (wee) case of judicial robe-itis
 Remember back in kindergarten there was that kid afraid to ask the teacher to go to the bathroom and then, next thing you know, the janitor is in the room throwing sawdust on a puddle on the floor? Well, that’s kind of the scene in DeKalb County Chief Judge Courtney Johnson’s courtroom, as she seemingly was either missing...

6:45 PM Wednesday, Sep. 20, 2017

Remember back in kindergarten there was that kid afraid to ask the teacher to go to the bathroom and then, next thing you know, the janitor is in the room throwing sawdust on a puddle on the floor? Well, that’s kind of the scene in DeKalb County Chief Judge Courtney Johnson’s courtroom, as she seemingly was either missing...
Torpy at Large: When a judge’s attitude seems prissy, minus the ‘r’
 I suppose adult diapers should be optional for lawyers practicing in the DeKalb County courtroom of Superior Court Chief Judge Courtney Johnson. Johnson was once described by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a “no-nonsense” judge, which I suppose is journalistic shorthand to identify judges who won’t let lawyers go take...

10:00 AM Wednesday, Sep. 20, 2017

I suppose adult diapers should be optional for lawyers practicing in the DeKalb County courtroom of Superior Court Chief Judge Courtney Johnson. Johnson was once described by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a “no-nonsense” judge, which I suppose is journalistic shorthand to identify judges who won’t let lawyers go take...
Torpy at Large: Operation Irma — Chainsaw gangs and the yearning to help
 Not long after Irma’s gales tore through the area, residents of the Medlock Park neighborhood took to Facebook to send out calls for the Chainsaw Gang. Now, the Chainsaw Gang isn’t necessarily a true gang, with initiation rites, matching jackets or hand signals. It’s simply some guys looking for an excuse to fire up their...

10:00 AM Friday, Sep. 15, 2017

Not long after Irma’s gales tore through the area, residents of the Medlock Park neighborhood took to Facebook to send out calls for the Chainsaw Gang. Now, the Chainsaw Gang isn’t necessarily a true gang, with initiation rites, matching jackets or hand signals. It’s simply some guys looking for an excuse to fire up their...