Bill Rankin's Legal Brief

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State high court reinstates lawyer with criminal past

The Georgia Supreme Court this week issued decisions that revoked the law licenses of several attorneys, including prominent Atlanta criminal defense lawyer Tony Axam and also former DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis.

In a separate decision, the state high court reinstated a lawyer who'd once served time in federal prison for conspiring to give his client, who was a member of a drug ring, advance warning of upcoming law enforcement searches and seizures.

In 1998, Atlanta lawyer Alvin Kendall was sentenced to five years and fined $12,500 for his role in the conspiracy. He was also disbarred from practicing law. He's since served his time, paid his fine and, in 2012, had his civil rights restored.

Two years ago, Kendall applied for reinstatement to practice law. On Monday, the state Supreme Court unanimously welcomed him back.

"The record exhibits that Kendall has accepted responsibility for his actions, has committed himself to making amends ... and has volunteered extensively in his community," the court said. "We are convinced of his candor, credibility and rehabilitation and conclude that Kendall has demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that he is entitled to be certified as fit to practice law in Georgia."

You'll find more information on the Kendall case and other Supreme Court decisions that disbarred Georgia attorneys on our premium website,

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Bill Rankin covers criminal justice for the Enterprise team.