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

Judge accused of denying bathroom break faces ethics probe
 When you have to go, you have to go. That’s what public defender Jan Hankins said she was telling Chief Judge Courtney Johnson in a DeKalb County Superior Court courtroom during a murder trial in June. But Johnson denied the urgent pleas, leading to an embarrassing accident, according to court filings and a deputy’s...

Posted: 8 hours ago

When you have to go, you have to go. That’s what public defender Jan Hankins said she was telling Chief Judge Courtney Johnson in a DeKalb County Superior Court courtroom during a murder trial in June. But Johnson denied the urgent pleas, leading to an embarrassing accident, according to court filings and a deputy’s...
Judge Kravitch remembered as ‘national treasure’
 Phyllis Kravitch and Clarence Thomas may have been on the opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, but there were common
            threads that led them to become close friends, not to mention high-ranking members of the federal judiciary. Kravitch, the trailblazing jurist, died in June at the age of 96 after serving three decades 
 ...

Posted: 21 hours ago

Phyllis Kravitch and Clarence Thomas may have been on the opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, but there were common threads that led them to become close friends, not to mention high-ranking members of the federal judiciary. Kravitch, the trailblazing jurist, died in June at the age of 96 after serving three decades ...
Judge accused of ignoring lawyer’s urgent pleas for bathroom break
 The state’s judicial watchdog agency is investigating the chief judge of the DeKalb County Superior Court on allegations she denied a defense attorney’s urgent requests for a bathroom break, resulting in an inevitable accident. The judge later told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that her inspection showed no evidence of urine...

Posted: a day ago

The state’s judicial watchdog agency is investigating the chief judge of the DeKalb County Superior Court on allegations she denied a defense attorney’s urgent requests for a bathroom break, resulting in an inevitable accident. The judge later told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that her inspection showed no evidence of urine...
Juror at his trial was a racist, says Georgia inmate facing execution
 A Georgia man who is scheduled to die by lethal injection in 13 days is arguing that one of the jurors who put him on death row was motivated by racism. Juror Barney Gattie, once said, “After studying the Bible, I have wondered if black people even have souls,” court filings say.  Gattie has...

Posted: 6 days ago

A Georgia man who is scheduled to die by lethal injection in 13 days is arguing that one of the jurors who put him on death row was motivated by racism. Juror Barney Gattie, once said, “After studying the Bible, I have wondered if black people even have souls,” court filings say.  Gattie has...
Juror sentenced killer to death because he was black, appeal contends
 Attorneys for condemned killer Keith Tharpe are trying to halt his Sept. 26 execution with arguments that a juror on the case was racist and voted for death because Tharpe was African-American. The now-deceased juror, Barney Gattie, once said, “After studying the Bible, I have wondered if black people even have souls,” court filings...

Posted: 7 days ago

Attorneys for condemned killer Keith Tharpe are trying to halt his Sept. 26 execution with arguments that a juror on the case was racist and voted for death because Tharpe was African-American. The now-deceased juror, Barney Gattie, once said, “After studying the Bible, I have wondered if black people even have souls,” court filings...
Court finds police department discriminated against breastfeeding cop
 The federal appeals court in Atlanta has upheld a $161,319 judgment against the Tuscaloosa Police Department, finding it should
            have made more accommodations for a breastfeeding officer on its force. The ruling sets an important precedent in Georgia, Alabama and Florida, the states The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta...

Posted: 11 days ago

The federal appeals court in Atlanta has upheld a $161,319 judgment against the Tuscaloosa Police Department, finding it should have made more accommodations for a breastfeeding officer on its force. The ruling sets an important precedent in Georgia, Alabama and Florida, the states The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta...
Lawyer faces sanctions over client’s Thornton Dial artwork
 How attorney Gary Coulter wound up with 121 Thornton Dial drawings in his law office for three years is in dispute. Coulter said he was holding the works by the renowned Southern folk artist as security against unpaid legal bills from his client, the trailblazing Atlanta art collector Bill Arnett. Arnett says Coulter took the art without...

Posted: 12 days ago

How attorney Gary Coulter wound up with 121 Thornton Dial drawings in his law office for three years is in dispute. Coulter said he was holding the works by the renowned Southern folk artist as security against unpaid legal bills from his client, the trailblazing Atlanta art collector Bill Arnett. Arnett says Coulter took the art without...
‘Breakdown’ finale: Justice for Donna Brown
 Donna Brown was killed in 1998, shot through the right eye in the parking lot of the Taco Bell in Adel, Ga. She was the store’s night manager, and she was carrying the day’s receipts to her car at about 2 a.m., planning to drop the money at the bank’s night depository.  Who was Donna Brown? She was a 40-year-old working...

5:37 PM Friday, Aug. 18, 2017

Donna Brown was killed in 1998, shot through the right eye in the parking lot of the Taco Bell in Adel, Ga. She was the store’s night manager, and she was carrying the day’s receipts to her car at about 2 a.m., planning to drop the money at the bank’s night depository.  Who was Donna Brown? She was a 40-year-old working...
Trump gets to fill upcoming vacancy on Atlanta appeals court
 President Donald Trump will soon get another opportunity to shape the influential federal appeals court in Atlanta, as Judge Frank Hull recently announced she plans to stop serving as a full-time judge. Hull, a former Fulton County judge and U.S. District Court judge in Atlanta, said in a letter to Trump she will take senior status at the...

7:20 PM Monday, Aug. 14, 2017

President Donald Trump will soon get another opportunity to shape the influential federal appeals court in Atlanta, as Judge Frank Hull recently announced she plans to stop serving as a full-time judge. Hull, a former Fulton County judge and U.S. District Court judge in Atlanta, said in a letter to Trump she will take senior status at the...
Lawyers try to stay in sex tape case involving Waffle House chair
 The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday considered whether two Marietta lawyers can continue to represent the former housekeeper
            of Waffle House chairman Joe W. Rogers Jr. after she secretly videotaped their sexual trysts inside the executive’s home. The former housekeeper, Mye Brindle, and her lawyers, David Cohen and John...

6:24 PM Monday, Aug. 14, 2017

The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday considered whether two Marietta lawyers can continue to represent the former housekeeper of Waffle House chairman Joe W. Rogers Jr. after she secretly videotaped their sexual trysts inside the executive’s home. The former housekeeper, Mye Brindle, and her lawyers, David Cohen and John...
‘Breakdown’ S04, Ep. 5: Devonia Inman gets a new day in court
 ADEL — Nearly 13 years had passed since Devonia Inman was convicted in the murder of Taco Bell night manager Donna Brown in Adel.  At the trial in 2001, Judge Buster McConnell told the attorneys that he’d had five heart attacks. At the hearing on Inman’s motion for a new trial in 2014, McConnell reported that he&rsquo...

10:00 AM Monday, Aug. 14, 2017

ADEL — Nearly 13 years had passed since Devonia Inman was convicted in the murder of Taco Bell night manager Donna Brown in Adel.  At the trial in 2001, Judge Buster McConnell told the attorneys that he’d had five heart attacks. At the hearing on Inman’s motion for a new trial in 2014, McConnell reported that he&rsquo...