Of Counsel

Legal Notes on Georgia and The South

Southern News Roundup

Posted by Maggie on March 7, 2008

Ex-DA in Alabama sentenced to 42 months for fondling young men after ordering strip searches during drug tests.

Also in Alabama, crazy contraband news at the St. Clair Correctional Facility. An inmate appears to have smuggled in gasoline and matches, managed to douse two other inmates, and set them on fire. This didn’t happen in the yard, it appears the inmate got out of his own cell and into the cell of the other two. Possibly one of the crazier contraband stories I’ve ever heard. The same day, a guard was arrested for having multiple bags of marijuana and cell phones he was trying to smuggle in. If you think there’s no drugs in prison, think again.

Two single mothers in South Carolina are going to trial after they were evicted from public housing. The reason for their eviction was the criminal activities of their children. Six juveniles were arrested for armed robberies and five mothers evicted as a result. They claim they didn’t encourage or condone the behavior of their children.

Georgia’s not the only one with a public defense crisis. Florida appears to have narrowly avoided a 79 day furlough for it’s PD’s after the Senate found it a little extra cash. Still, there’s been a substantial budget cut and it looks like they’re avoiding a real fix creating another budget crisis looming already for next year. Sound familiar?

In Tennessee, a march promoting snitching. Dosnitch.com is sponsoring the event, trying to change community views on crime, especially for juveniles.

In New Orleans, Lloyd Burns was involved in the shooting death of Andrew Holmes along with his friend Jamaal LaCaze. LaCaze had argued with Holmes and was charged in his death, but Burns admitted to the killing himself, claiming self-defense. LaCaze was acquitted at trial, in part due to Burns’s testimony. Then Burns was charged and changed his story, saying he’d lied to save his friend. He’s acquitted, too. So looks like DA’s are 0 for 2, showing just how complicated co-defendants can be.

Capital Defense Weekly has been regularly updating the scary situation in Mississippi with junk science. One of the targets is coroner Steven Hayne, whose testimony has been shown to be incorrect in several cases and has led to false convictions. A mother in Mississippi charged with manslaughter in the death of her toddler has sued the state asking to review the autopsy findings. So far they’ve refused to do so. Wanna guess who the coroner was? What’s really scary is how little the Clarion Ledger seems to care. The story isn’t any kind of attack on Haynes, instead they say, “Hayne’s work has come under scrutiny lately in some cases where DNA evidence appears to clear convicted individuals of crimes.” That’s it. Oh, except where they say that he still has the support of coroners across the state. Three cheers for investigative journalism, huh?

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