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Latest from Bill Rankin

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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...
Florida yoga studio shooting victims identified
 Maura Binkley, a 21-year-old graduate of Dunwoody High School, was identified Saturday as one of the two people shot and killed by a man at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida. >> Read more trending news  Binkley, who attended Florida State University, was one of two victims killed late Friday afternoon by a man identified by...

8:47 PM Saturday, Nov. 03, 2018

Maura Binkley, a 21-year-old graduate of Dunwoody High School, was identified Saturday as one of the two people shot and killed by a man at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida. >> Read more trending news  Binkley, who attended Florida State University, was one of two victims killed late Friday afternoon by a man identified by...
JUST IN: Dunwoody High School grad identified as victim in Tallahassee shooting
 Maura Binkley, a 21-year-old graduate of Dunwoody High School, was identified Saturday as one of the two people shot and killed by a man at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Fla. Binkley, who attended Florida State University, was one of two victims killed late Friday afternoon by a man identified by Tallahassee police as 40-year-old Scott Beierle...

1:49 PM Saturday, Nov. 03, 2018

Maura Binkley, a 21-year-old graduate of Dunwoody High School, was identified Saturday as one of the two people shot and killed by a man at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Fla. Binkley, who attended Florida State University, was one of two victims killed late Friday afternoon by a man identified by Tallahassee police as 40-year-old Scott Beierle...
Griffin judge indicted for alleged theft of court funds
 Superior Court Judge Mack Crawford of the Griffin Judicial Circuit was indicted Wednesday for the alleged theft of $15,675 in court funds. A Pike County grand jury, acting on a request by a prosecutor from the state Attorney General’s Office, indicted Crawford on one count of theft by taking and one count of violation of oath by...

8:30 PM Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018

Superior Court Judge Mack Crawford of the Griffin Judicial Circuit was indicted Wednesday for the alleged theft of $15,675 in court funds. A Pike County grand jury, acting on a request by a prosecutor from the state Attorney General’s Office, indicted Crawford on one count of theft by taking and one count of violation of oath by...
Barrow judge grants new trial in murder case in highly unusual ruling
 When confronted by deputies, Paul Hamilton admitted, “I shot that boy deader than (expletive),” according to a report filed by the Barrow Sheriff’s Department. Hamilton, a former Barrow County magistrate judge, was soon charged with the October 2015 murder of Brandon Lay, whom Hamilton believed had recently broken into...

9:20 PM Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018

When confronted by deputies, Paul Hamilton admitted, “I shot that boy deader than (expletive),” according to a report filed by the Barrow Sheriff’s Department. Hamilton, a former Barrow County magistrate judge, was soon charged with the October 2015 murder of Brandon Lay, whom Hamilton believed had recently broken into...
Supreme Court allows embattled Griffin judge to stay on bench
 The Georgia Supreme Court on Friday unanimously rejected a request that an embattled judge from the Griffin Judicial Circuit be suspended from office. On Tuesday, the Judicial Qualifications Commission recommended that Superior Court Judge Mack Crawford be relieved of his duties, with pay, while an ethics complaint against him is pending...

6:48 PM Friday, Oct. 26, 2018

The Georgia Supreme Court on Friday unanimously rejected a request that an embattled judge from the Griffin Judicial Circuit be suspended from office. On Tuesday, the Judicial Qualifications Commission recommended that Superior Court Judge Mack Crawford be relieved of his duties, with pay, while an ethics complaint against him is pending...
Federal court: Let people probe the depths of Georgia law for free
 The state of Georgia’s annotated version of state law cannot be protected under copyright law and should be made available for free to the public, the federal appeals court in Atlanta has ruled. The unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is a victory for public records activist Carl Malamud...

9:45 PM Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018

The state of Georgia’s annotated version of state law cannot be protected under copyright law and should be made available for free to the public, the federal appeals court in Atlanta has ruled. The unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is a victory for public records activist Carl Malamud...
Watchdog accuses Griffin judge of “egregious misconduct”
 A Superior Court judge from the Griffin Judicial Circuit should be suspended from office because he poses a “substantial threat” to the administration of justice, the state’s judicial watchdog agency is recommending. Judge Mack Crawford should be relieved of his duties, with pay, while an ethics complaint against him is...

6:21 PM Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018

A Superior Court judge from the Griffin Judicial Circuit should be suspended from office because he poses a “substantial threat” to the administration of justice, the state’s judicial watchdog agency is recommending. Judge Mack Crawford should be relieved of his duties, with pay, while an ethics complaint against him is...
Drug dealers face stiffer penalties if buyers fatally overdose
 One died after overdosing on heroin while on her way to board a flight at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The other died from a fentanyl overdose while partying with friends. The two deaths have resulted in criminal cases being pursued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta, where prosecutors are seeking tougher sentences...

6:47 PM Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018

One died after overdosing on heroin while on her way to board a flight at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The other died from a fentanyl overdose while partying with friends. The two deaths have resulted in criminal cases being pursued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta, where prosecutors are seeking tougher sentences...
Prominent Atlanta lawyer convicted of embezzling millions
 The consummate salesman, Nat Hardwick aggressively grew Atlanta’s Morris Hardwick Schneider into one of the top real estate law firms in the country. And he had even grander plans: put offices in all 50 states and then make a bundle through a public stock offering. On Friday, however, a federal jury found that Hardwick was already making...

9:56 PM Friday, Oct. 12, 2018

The consummate salesman, Nat Hardwick aggressively grew Atlanta’s Morris Hardwick Schneider into one of the top real estate law firms in the country. And he had even grander plans: put offices in all 50 states and then make a bundle through a public stock offering. On Friday, however, a federal jury found that Hardwick was already making...
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