Bill Rankin

Reporter for Enterprise

Bill Rankin joined The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 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 criminal justice, legal affairs and Georgia and federal courts.

Latest from Bill Rankin

Court hears arguments about open records in payday loans case
 A case heard by the Georgia Supreme Court on Monday could have profound implications for citizens seeking public records under the state’s sunshine laws. The dispute is about whether a watchdog group may obtain correspondence between a Kennesaw State University professor and a payday lending group that commissioned the university to...

Posted: 11 days ago

A case heard by the Georgia Supreme Court on Monday could have profound implications for citizens seeking public records under the state’s sunshine laws. The dispute is about whether a watchdog group may obtain correspondence between a Kennesaw State University professor and a payday lending group that commissioned the university to...
Court affirms conviction in stomping death of college freshman
 The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday upheld the murder conviction against Tracen Franklin for the beating and stomping death of Bobby Tillman in a case that attracted nationwide attention because of its callous and arbitrary nature. Franklin, 18 at the time of the Nov. 6, 2010, incident, is serving a life sentence without the possibility of...

Posted: 11 days ago

The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday upheld the murder conviction against Tracen Franklin for the beating and stomping death of Bobby Tillman in a case that attracted nationwide attention because of its callous and arbitrary nature. Franklin, 18 at the time of the Nov. 6, 2010, incident, is serving a life sentence without the possibility of...
GBI: Robbery suspect shot by APD officers had BB air gun
 A robbery suspect who was shot and killed Friday by Atlanta Police Department officers was holding a BB air gun pistol, the GBI said in a statement Saturday.  Before he was killed, the man used the BB gun to rob a store, try to carjack a taxi and threaten police, the GBI said. The names of the man killed and the officers involved in...

Posted: 13 days ago

A robbery suspect who was shot and killed Friday by Atlanta Police Department officers was holding a BB air gun pistol, the GBI said in a statement Saturday.  Before he was killed, the man used the BB gun to rob a store, try to carjack a taxi and threaten police, the GBI said. The names of the man killed and the officers involved in...
Five things to know about FBI Director Christopher Wray
 FBI Director Christopher Wray was front-page news nationwide this past week. He found himself at loggerheads with President Donald Trump over the highly controversial House Intelligence Committee memo and also saw his deputy director, Andrew McCabe, step aside. Wray, the eighth director of the FBI, has deep Atlanta ties. Here are...

Posted: 13 days ago

FBI Director Christopher Wray was front-page news nationwide this past week. He found himself at loggerheads with President Donald Trump over the highly controversial House Intelligence Committee memo and also saw his deputy director, Andrew McCabe, step aside. Wray, the eighth director of the FBI, has deep Atlanta ties. Here are...
FBI chief Wray finds himself publicly at odds with Trump
 Christopher Wray certainly knew what he was getting into. As the eighth director of the FBI, the Atlanta lawyer took over an agency in the cross-hairs of congressional ethics probes, internal investigations and a series of incendiary tweets by the president himself. Not to mention, Wray was succeeding an old colleague, James Comey, whom...

Posted: 15 days ago

Christopher Wray certainly knew what he was getting into. As the eighth director of the FBI, the Atlanta lawyer took over an agency in the cross-hairs of congressional ethics probes, internal investigations and a series of incendiary tweets by the president himself. Not to mention, Wray was succeeding an old colleague, James Comey, whom...
Court upholds stiff sentences for Peanut Corp. executives
 The federal appeals court in Atlanta has upheld the convictions of former top executives at the Peanut Corp. of America, whose tainted peanuts were linked to the deaths of nine people. The court also upheld former PCA president Stewart Parnell’s 28-year prison term, believed to be the stiffest ever in a food safety case. During...

Posted: 22 days ago

The federal appeals court in Atlanta has upheld the convictions of former top executives at the Peanut Corp. of America, whose tainted peanuts were linked to the deaths of nine people. The court also upheld former PCA president Stewart Parnell’s 28-year prison term, believed to be the stiffest ever in a food safety case. During...
Number of African-Americans sent to Georgia prisons hits historic lows
 The number of African-Americans being locked up in Georgia’s prison system has dropped to historic lows, reflecting a monumental shift in the way Georgia is punishing nonviolent offenders. While prison admissions have dropped almost 19 percent in the past eight years, the incarceration of black inmates fell by 30 percent. And the number...

Posted: 22 days ago

The number of African-Americans being locked up in Georgia’s prison system has dropped to historic lows, reflecting a monumental shift in the way Georgia is punishing nonviolent offenders. While prison admissions have dropped almost 19 percent in the past eight years, the incarceration of black inmates fell by 30 percent. And the number...
Adel man’s murder conviction ‘a stain’ on Georgia, motion says
 A man convicted of murder in South Georgia is innocent and should have a new trial because of spectacular failures by the criminal justice system before, during and after his trial, a court motion filed this week contends. The filing was on behalf of Devonia Inman of Adel, who is serving a life-without-parole sentence for the murder of a...

Posted: 23 days ago

A man convicted of murder in South Georgia is innocent and should have a new trial because of spectacular failures by the criminal justice system before, during and after his trial, a court motion filed this week contends. The filing was on behalf of Devonia Inman of Adel, who is serving a life-without-parole sentence for the murder of a...
Want to sue the state over a bad law? This would give you permission
 As it now stands, no one can ask a state court judge to overturn a law that is blatantly illegal or clearly unconstitutional, such as a law that bars gun ownership or bans interracial marriage. But state lawmakers are now moving to permit lawsuits that challenge whether a statute is unconstitutional. It would allow limited waivers to...

Posted: 28 days ago

As it now stands, no one can ask a state court judge to overturn a law that is blatantly illegal or clearly unconstitutional, such as a law that bars gun ownership or bans interracial marriage. But state lawmakers are now moving to permit lawsuits that challenge whether a statute is unconstitutional. It would allow limited waivers to...
Testimony about 1990 shooting to be allowed in McIver murder trial
 The judge overseeing Claude “Tex” McIver’s murder case has decided prosecutors can introduce evidence about a 1990 shooting incident when McIver allegedly opened fire on a carload of three young men and then lied to the police about it. That incident shows he “is not a passive user of firearms; they do not simply rest...

8:14 PM Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018

The judge overseeing Claude “Tex” McIver’s murder case has decided prosecutors can introduce evidence about a 1990 shooting incident when McIver allegedly opened fire on a carload of three young men and then lied to the police about it. That incident shows he “is not a passive user of firearms; they do not simply rest...
Supreme Court sends case of racist juror back to Atlanta appeals court
 The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday granted a reprieve from execution to a Georgia death-row inmate, expressing concerns that a juror’s racist beliefs unfairly prejudiced the case. In a 6-3 decision, the high court sent Keith Tharpe’s case back to the federal appeals court in Atlanta with instructions to take a closer look to...

7:36 PM Monday, Jan. 08, 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday granted a reprieve from execution to a Georgia death-row inmate, expressing concerns that a juror’s racist beliefs unfairly prejudiced the case. In a 6-3 decision, the high court sent Keith Tharpe’s case back to the federal appeals court in Atlanta with instructions to take a closer look to...