Of Counsel

Legal Notes on Georgia and The South

Monday’s AJC

Posted by Maggie on August 20, 2007

For those who may not be locals, the Atlanta paper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, known as the AJC, has something of a reputation for under-reporting crime–unless it’s in a white neighborhood.  Some stories of note from today’s AJC after the jump (and one little tidbit about an Atl law firm from law.com)…

First, a big story on Fulton County’s DUI court.  I imagine I’m not alone among PD’s and defense attorneys in appreciating these kinds of rehabilitative court systems. However, I certainly do have problems with them and only at the very end of the story do they get an attorney’s point of view on the rigorous requirements the court imposes. Sure, I want to lower DUI’s. But I’d rather the focus be on actual help than on sending anyone to jail who doesn’t strictly follow the rules. I’m also worried about just how much those fees are to participants that keep the program running.

As a sidenote on a similar topic, I’d love to hear from anyone in Georgia (or anywhere) about how Mental Health Courts are going. I know there’s been a new one in Macon and I’d be interested to hear how they’re handling their cases. Most of us can agree we need something different to help people, but I’m not sure we’re going about it the right way yet. Info about the practicalities of these Mental Health, Drug, and DUI courts would be greatly appreciated.

Also, an article about increased “street crime” in Gwinnett. A lot of things bother me about this article, but mostly it’s the use of the phrases “street crime” and “task force.” In my experience, a police “task force” means a group of cops who feel they can do whatever it takes to get an arrest. Mostly I’ve worked with drug “task forces” whose work consisted of pulling over every poor black guy they saw in the neighborhood and searching their cars. But to the AJC’s credit, most of the victims in these cases are Hispanics, who are usually ignored and somewhat reviled in Atlanta suburbs.

On law.com today, an Atlanta firm does away with billing hours for 1st years. While nowhere near that big firm culture myself, I often marvel at how oblivious the big firms seem to their clients’ (not to mention their attorneys’) needs. At least someone is paying attention.

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