Bill Rankin

Senior legal affairs reporter

Bill Rankin joined the AJC 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 state and federal courts, specializing in civil litigation, criminal justice and the death penalty. Beginning in 2015, Bill began hosting the AJC’s “Breakdown” podcast. The podcast’s sixth season, “A Jury of His Peers,” cohosted with AJC editor Kevin Riley, won the American Bar Association’s 2018 Silver Gavel Award.

Latest from Bill Rankin

Judge refuses to dismiss man’s claims of wrongful conviction in murder
 A man who contends he was wrongly convicted of a South Georgia murder appeared to clear an important hurdle Wednesday when a judge declined to grant the state’s motion to dismiss his new claims. After an hours-long hearing, Chattooga County Superior Court Judge Kristina Cook Graham said she thought the state’s request was premature...

Posted: 2 days ago

A man who contends he was wrongly convicted of a South Georgia murder appeared to clear an important hurdle Wednesday when a judge declined to grant the state’s motion to dismiss his new claims. After an hours-long hearing, Chattooga County Superior Court Judge Kristina Cook Graham said she thought the state’s request was premature...
Deal puts his former top lawyer on state Appeals Court
 Gov. Nathan Deal on Friday appointed his former top lawyer to the state Court of Appeals. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Todd Markle will fill the seat vacated by Judge Billy Ray, who was recently confirmed by the Senate for a seat on the U.S. District Court in Atlanta. Markle, who served as Deal’s executive counsel in 2011, ...

Posted: 7 days ago

Gov. Nathan Deal on Friday appointed his former top lawyer to the state Court of Appeals. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Todd Markle will fill the seat vacated by Judge Billy Ray, who was recently confirmed by the Senate for a seat on the U.S. District Court in Atlanta. Markle, who served as Deal’s executive counsel in 2011, ...
Woman accused of starving stepdaughter to represent herself in death-penalty trial 
 A Gwinnett County woman accused of starving her stepdaugher to death said she would rather rely upon divine guidance than the guiding hand of legal counsel. Tiffany Moss is now on track to represent herself at her upcoming death-penalty trial. On Thursday, the Georgia Supreme Court declined to hear a pretrial appeal that sought to overturn...

Posted: 7 days ago

A Gwinnett County woman accused of starving her stepdaugher to death said she would rather rely upon divine guidance than the guiding hand of legal counsel. Tiffany Moss is now on track to represent herself at her upcoming death-penalty trial. On Thursday, the Georgia Supreme Court declined to hear a pretrial appeal that sought to overturn...
Plan to pair fantasy football with Georgia Lottery a scam, feds say
 A business pairing the enormously popular fantasy football leagues with the Georgia Lottery must have looked like a money-making combination. Two eager investors thought so and forked out $500,000 in loans to the Atlanta man who hatched the idea of a fantasy football lottery league. But Timothy Cobb, a former lawyer who once worked for Turner...

Posted: 14 days ago

A business pairing the enormously popular fantasy football leagues with the Georgia Lottery must have looked like a money-making combination. Two eager investors thought so and forked out $500,000 in loans to the Atlanta man who hatched the idea of a fantasy football lottery league. But Timothy Cobb, a former lawyer who once worked for Turner...
A second chance for some violent criminals in Fulton County
 After one offender told Judge Shawn LaGrua he’d been showing up to school on time because he finally got an alarm clock, she praised him and led applause that spread throughout the crowded courtroom. The Fulton County Superior Court judge then congratulated another young man who’d proudly reported he’d just received a raise...

Posted: 23 days ago

After one offender told Judge Shawn LaGrua he’d been showing up to school on time because he finally got an alarm clock, she praised him and led applause that spread throughout the crowded courtroom. The Fulton County Superior Court judge then congratulated another young man who’d proudly reported he’d just received a raise...
Close race is over, but doubts remain about Georgia election security
 Two months before Election Day, a judge asked state officials a deceptively straightforward question: How had they repaired a data breach in Georgia’s voter-registration system? They didn’t know. This exchange, cited in court filings last week, underscored the ambiguities surrounding Georgia’s unusually close Nov. 6...

Posted: 27 days ago

Two months before Election Day, a judge asked state officials a deceptively straightforward question: How had they repaired a data breach in Georgia’s voter-registration system? They didn’t know. This exchange, cited in court filings last week, underscored the ambiguities surrounding Georgia’s unusually close Nov. 6...
AJC, WSB ask for records to be made public in case against Braves, MLB
 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV on Thursday asked a Fulton County judge to stop allowing the Atlanta Braves and Major League Baseball to seal records in ongoing litigation with the family of a man who fell to his death over a guardrail at Turner Field. The lawsuit was filed by Laura Murrey, whose 60-year-old husband died Aug....

Posted: 29 days ago

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV on Thursday asked a Fulton County judge to stop allowing the Atlanta Braves and Major League Baseball to seal records in ongoing litigation with the family of a man who fell to his death over a guardrail at Turner Field. The lawsuit was filed by Laura Murrey, whose 60-year-old husband died Aug....
Legal luminaries appear in special ‘Bard Show’ that honors its founder
 This season’s “Bard Show” put on by the Atlanta Bar Association will honor Cathy O’Neil, the highly respected attorney who founded the popular production. O’Neil, a former federal prosecutor, passed away in October 2017 at age 53 after a 13-month battle with pancreatic cancer. This year’s show &ndash...

7:28 PM Thursday, Nov. 08, 2018

This season’s “Bard Show” put on by the Atlanta Bar Association will honor Cathy O’Neil, the highly respected attorney who founded the popular production. O’Neil, a former federal prosecutor, passed away in October 2017 at age 53 after a 13-month battle with pancreatic cancer. This year’s show &ndash...
Family says Braves, MLB knew guardrails were unsafe before fan’s fatal fall
 When New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez strode to the plate, Greg Murrey rose to do what thousands of other fans were doing at Turner Field: lustily boo the controversial superstar. But Murrey never had the chance. From his second-row seat in the upper deck, the 60-year-old grandfather lost his balance, toppling forward through the front-row...

11:00 AM Thursday, Nov. 08, 2018

When New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez strode to the plate, Greg Murrey rose to do what thousands of other fans were doing at Turner Field: lustily boo the controversial superstar. But Murrey never had the chance. From his second-row seat in the upper deck, the 60-year-old grandfather lost his balance, toppling forward through the front-row...
Harris Hines, retired Ga. Supreme Court justice, remembered in court
 Friends and colleagues of Harris Hines, who rose to the top of Georgia’s judiciary, reacted with stunned sorrow Monday at the news of his sudden death. Hines, 75, died Sunday afternoon in a car accident on I-85 near Cleveland Avenue as he drove to his Marietta home from Newnan where he heard his 8-year-old granddaughter sing in a church...

9:05 PM Monday, Nov. 05, 2018

Friends and colleagues of Harris Hines, who rose to the top of Georgia’s judiciary, reacted with stunned sorrow Monday at the news of his sudden death. Hines, 75, died Sunday afternoon in a car accident on I-85 near Cleveland Avenue as he drove to his Marietta home from Newnan where he heard his 8-year-old granddaughter sing in a church...
Dunwoody High grad killed in Tallahassee shooting had ‘heart of gold’
 Maura Binkley was among the thousands who rallied at Florida’s Capitol after the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland. On Friday, Binkley, a Dunwoody High School graduate with a generous heart and contagious smile, was one of two people killed by a gunman at a yoga class in Tallahassee. A 21-year-old senior at Florida...

8:56 PM Saturday, Nov. 03, 2018

Maura Binkley was among the thousands who rallied at Florida’s Capitol after the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland. On Friday, Binkley, a Dunwoody High School graduate with a generous heart and contagious smile, was one of two people killed by a gunman at a yoga class in Tallahassee. A 21-year-old senior at Florida...