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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

Man serving life says DNA clears him; not so fast, says prosecutor
 For the past 27 years, Ronald Jacobsen has been serving a life sentence for kidnapping a woman from a Newton County convenience store and then beating and sexually assaulting her on a two-hour drive down I-20. A DNA test now shows, however, that Jacobsen did not commit the crime, Vanessa Potkin, a lawyer for the Innocence Project, told a...

Posted: 14 hours ago

For the past 27 years, Ronald Jacobsen has been serving a life sentence for kidnapping a woman from a Newton County convenience store and then beating and sexually assaulting her on a two-hour drive down I-20. A DNA test now shows, however, that Jacobsen did not commit the crime, Vanessa Potkin, a lawyer for the Innocence Project, told a...
This low-paid Atlanta lawyer is one of the best
 For decades, Stephen Bright has worked to provide the quality of legal representation to the powerless and impoverished that only the wealthiest clients could afford. All the while, he has done so on a shoestring, forsaking the riches his profession could bring. Bright settled in Atlanta in 1982, when he took over what’s now known as...

Posted: 5 days ago

For decades, Stephen Bright has worked to provide the quality of legal representation to the powerless and impoverished that only the wealthiest clients could afford. All the while, he has done so on a shoestring, forsaking the riches his profession could bring. Bright settled in Atlanta in 1982, when he took over what’s now known as...
Forensic science panel that Sessions is ending had Georgia ties
 A national panel of forensic science experts founded by the Obama administration accomplished a “remarkable” amount of work to ensure greater integrity of the justice system, the former chief medical examiner for Fulton County said Tuesday. But now that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has decided not to renew the Justice Department&rsquo...

Posted: 13 days ago

A national panel of forensic science experts founded by the Obama administration accomplished a “remarkable” amount of work to ensure greater integrity of the justice system, the former chief medical examiner for Fulton County said Tuesday. But now that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has decided not to renew the Justice Department&rsquo...
Braves settle lawsuit over foul ball that injured 6-year-old girl
 A highly publicized lawsuit against the Atlanta Braves filed by the father of a 6-year-old girl whose skull was shattered by a foul ball has reached a settlement that awaits a judge’s final approval. The lawsuit was filed in 2012 by Fred Fletcher, who was sitting with his daughter behind the visiting team’s dugout at Turner...

Posted: 19 days ago

A highly publicized lawsuit against the Atlanta Braves filed by the father of a 6-year-old girl whose skull was shattered by a foul ball has reached a settlement that awaits a judge’s final approval. The lawsuit was filed in 2012 by Fred Fletcher, who was sitting with his daughter behind the visiting team’s dugout at Turner...
After Chicago ruling, Atlanta court likely to revisit LGBT case
 The question of whether employers may legally fire people because they are gay or lesbian is likely to return before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, now that an appeals court in Chicago has issued a landmark ruling in a similar case. On Tuesday, the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago became the first appellate...

Posted: 20 days ago

The question of whether employers may legally fire people because they are gay or lesbian is likely to return before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, now that an appeals court in Chicago has issued a landmark ruling in a similar case. On Tuesday, the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago became the first appellate...
Judicial watchdog bill clears hurdle
It took three votes, but the Senate Judiciary Committee has finally approved legislation to reconstitute the state’s judicial watchdog agency and correct unintended problems lawmakers caused a year ago.

10:17 PM Monday, Mar. 20, 2017

It took three votes, but the Senate Judiciary Committee has finally approved legislation to reconstitute the state’s judicial watchdog agency and correct unintended problems lawmakers caused a year ago.
Radio company can stream music in Georgia, court rules
 A popular internet radio service has the right to stream decades-old recordings without a song owner’s consent, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled Monday. The court ruled in favor of iHeartMedia, which is being sued by an Illinois couple who own the master recordings of numerous doo-wop, jazz and blues songs. These include tunes by the...

7:34 PM Monday, Mar. 20, 2017

A popular internet radio service has the right to stream decades-old recordings without a song owner’s consent, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled Monday. The court ruled in favor of iHeartMedia, which is being sued by an Illinois couple who own the master recordings of numerous doo-wop, jazz and blues songs. These include tunes by the...
Doraville wins court ruling against strip club
 The city of Doraville on Monday won another round in its long-running, contentious dispute with Oasis Goodtime Emporium, the adult entertainment club on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. In a one-sentence ruling, the Georgia Supreme Court rejected the club’s bid to strike down a pretrial injunction that forbids Oasis from selling alcohol...

3:55 PM Monday, Mar. 20, 2017

The city of Doraville on Monday won another round in its long-running, contentious dispute with Oasis Goodtime Emporium, the adult entertainment club on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. In a one-sentence ruling, the Georgia Supreme Court rejected the club’s bid to strike down a pretrial injunction that forbids Oasis from selling alcohol...
How would e-filing affect public access to court records? Jury is out
 Lawmakers appear poised to have Georgia join a growing number of states with mandatory e-filing systems, in which lawyers can submit lawsuits and court motions with a click of a mouse on their computers. But First Amendment advocates are expressing concern that the new system could diminish the public’s access to court records and allow...

10:00 AM Monday, Mar. 20, 2017

Lawmakers appear poised to have Georgia join a growing number of states with mandatory e-filing systems, in which lawyers can submit lawsuits and court motions with a click of a mouse on their computers. But First Amendment advocates are expressing concern that the new system could diminish the public’s access to court records and allow...
Court allows lawsuit over secret sex video to go to trial
 The Georgia Court of Appeals has cleared the way for an explosive lawsuit regarding how and why a secret sex video of Waffle House chairman Joe Rogers Jr. was made. The lawsuit, filed by Rogers, accuses three high-profile Marietta lawyers of racketeering and invasion of privacy in connection with the taping of Rogers’ former housekeeper...

8:53 PM Friday, Mar. 17, 2017

The Georgia Court of Appeals has cleared the way for an explosive lawsuit regarding how and why a secret sex video of Waffle House chairman Joe Rogers Jr. was made. The lawsuit, filed by Rogers, accuses three high-profile Marietta lawyers of racketeering and invasion of privacy in connection with the taping of Rogers’ former housekeeper...
Appeals court tells judge to try again in Calhoun bail case
 The federal appeals court in Atlanta has thrown out an injunction against the city of Calhoun in a closely watched case that could determine how long misdemeanor offenders must remain jailed when they cannot afford bail. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, while not ruling on the merits of the case, returned the matter to U.S. District...

5:46 PM Tuesday, Mar. 14, 2017

The federal appeals court in Atlanta has thrown out an injunction against the city of Calhoun in a closely watched case that could determine how long misdemeanor offenders must remain jailed when they cannot afford bail. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, while not ruling on the merits of the case, returned the matter to U.S. District...