March 2017
President's Corner

Gwinnett Pro Bono Project Needs You!

This month, we continue to highlight the important work of Gwinnett Legal Aid, a subsidiary of Atlanta Legal Aid.  In 2016, pro bono assistance was provided to more than 7,000 Gwinnett residents in matters including family/juvenile, consumer, housing, income maintenance, probate, employment, education and health law.  

The Gwinnett Pro Bono Project includes a network of private attorneys who, free of charge, assist both local residents and individuals with cases pending in Gwinnett County.  In donating their time, energy and expertise to clients at or near the poverty line, these dedicated pro bono attorneys serve the community and work to ensure justice for all.  

Each year, the Gwinnett County Bar Association and the Gwinnett Pro Bono Project recognize an outstanding pro bono attorney with an award at the Law Day Dinner and partner for the Law Day Information Fair (in 2016, this event assisted 55 people).  The Gwinnett Pro Bono Project also sponsors semimonthly Family Law Information Classes, providing resources for pro se litigants.  

Volunteering as a pro bono attorney is a rewarding and laudable opportunity.  If you wish to volunteer for the Gwinnett Pro Bono Project, please visit or contact Director Rachel Lazarus at
March Bar Luncheon 

Speakers: Professor Melissa Carter from Barton Child Law & Policy Center at Emory University School of Law 
This month, we welcome Professor Melissa Carter from Barton Child Law & Policy Center at Emory University School of Law.  Serving as the executive director of the Barton Center since 2010, Professor Carter directs instructional and policy activities for the Juvenile Defender Clinic, as well as teaching students in related courses.  Professor Carter is an expert in areas of juvenile justice and c hild welfare.  

Our Judge of the Month for March is The Honorable Charles L. Barrett, III, Chief Judge of the 
Municipal Court of Duluth.

Jackson v. The State. A16A1807
February 15, 2017, Georgia Court of Appeals:
Was the Test for Alcohol or Drugs? Or Both?
by Margaret Gettle Washburn, Sr. Contributing Editor

In the recent case of Jackson v. State, the Court of Appeals held that the evidence supported finding that defendant provided actual consent for warrantless blood draw to check for alcohol and drugs.  In writing for the Court, Presiding Judge Barnes stated that the Defendant, Abraham Lincoln Jackson was charged with driving under the influence of drugs to the extent he was a less safe driver, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, and speeding.  The Defendant filed a motion to suppress, which the trial court denied after a hearing.  The Court of Appeals granted Jackson's application for an interlocutory appeal, and after reviewing the hearing transcript, the Court affirmed the trial Court. 

In his first enumeration of error, the Defendant Jackson argued that the trial court erred in finding that he gave actual consent to have his blood drawn, and erred in holding that OCGA § 40-6-392 (a) (2) authorizes the testing of blood for drugs as well as alcohol.

The Defendant moved to suppress the results of his blood test on the grounds that no exigent circumstances supported a warrantless search and that he did not give actual consent to the blood withdrawal, citing Williams v. State, 296 Ga. 817, 771 S.E.2d 373 (2015) . The Supreme Court in Williams noted that a warrantless search is constitutional only if exigent circumstances are present or the suspect consents to the search, and "mere compliance with statutory implied consent requirements does not, per se, equate to actual, and therefore voluntary, consent on the part of the suspect so as to be an exception to the constitutional mandate of a warrant." 

News & Events
Judges' Offices Phone List Update


Buford Middle School Career Day Speakers Needed 
Buford Middle School is hosting a career day on March 17 and volunteers are needed to speak to the 6th-8th graders about the dynamics of their chosen career. Volunteers will be speaking to three blocks of students between 7:45 and 10:15. Lawyers and Non-Lawyers welcome! To sign up, click here:
Consumer Law & Probate Clinic Volunteers Needed!

Thank You to Gwinnett Pro Bono Volunteers!

Pro Bono Representation
Kenneth J. Bentley
Gloria Smith-Grimes
Deana M. Spencer
Pro Bono Mentoring
Lauren Bryant
John Miles

Probate Clinic
Lauren Bryant
Raymon Burns
Donald Horace
Robby Hughes
John Miles
Mike Smith
John Welsh

Gwinnett County Drug Court Graduation Celebration 

On Wednesday, March 1, 2017, Gwinnett County Drug Court graduated 7 participants.  Graduates, participants, staff, and supporters were addressed by keynote speaker and Gwinnett-native Brett Bramble, who walked across America to raise awareness about the deadly impact drugs are having on our friends, family, and community after his sister died of an overdose. His journey made national headlines when he walked from Delaware to San Francisco, California, pushing a jogging stroller promoting his cause and sharing his story with the people he met along the way. The same jogging stroller sat in the courtroom as he shared about his own battle with addiction and encouraged the graduates, who completed their goal of finishing drug court, to set new goals and to find their own "Golden Gate Bridge."

We are so proud of our March 2017 Graduates for their hard work and dedication to themselves and to their program. We appreciate the Bar Association's continued support of the Gwinnett County Drug Court program as we impact the lives of our participants, their families, and the Gwinnett community.
High School Mock Trial Volunteer Thank Yous! 

Thank you to all volunteers who helped make this year's High School Mock Trial State Finals a success. We had 48 attorneys and judges serve on the judging panels, alongside 16 others who served on the State Finals Planning Board behind the scenes for the day. There were 115 students on the eight teams. 
A big thank you to the following people who judged rounds:  Judge Dillard and Judge Ray presided in the Final Round;  Judge Waller presided in Round II (he is also an attorney coach with Wesleyan School); Jorgia Northrup evaluated Round I (she is also an attorney coach at North Gwinnett High School); Jenny Jensen evaluated Round II and the Final Round (she is also an attorney coach for Duluth High School); and Robert Thomas evaluated Round I (he is also the Regional Coordinator for Region 9 (Lawrenceville).
Congratulations to Grady High School on winning the championship. They will be our representative at the National Competition in Hartford the weekend of  May 11-14. If you're interested in joining the Georgia delegation, or, if you're interested in volunteering to assist the host committee when the National Competition is held in Athens in 2019, please contact Jon Setzer at  
Let's Compete! 2017 Legal Food Frenzy
By Patrick T. O'Connor, President, State Bar of Georgia

Last week alongside Attorney General Chris Carr, the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Georgia and the Georgia Food Bank Association, we launched registration for the 6th Annual Georgia Legal Food Frenzy, a friendly statewide food and fund drive competition among Georgia lawyers to see who can have the biggest impact on hunger.

The 2017 Legal Food Frenzy will run from April 17 - April 28. I challenge each and every one of you to register your firm or legal organization to join the competition. We all want to see our children empowered and thriving, yet statistics show that one in four kids in Georgia is at risk for hunger. Together the legal community can do something about it by raising resources and becoming advocates for Georgia's Food Banks and the children and hard-working families they serve.

Register and learn more at . Register by April 1 for 100 bonus pounds.

In the first five years of the competition, more than 18,000 members of our profession raised the equivalent of 5 million pounds of food. This tremendous success shows what we can do when we come together outside of the courtroom for a cause we care about. But there is still work to be done. This year, our goal is to raise 1.35 million pounds, and we need your help to achieve it! Whoever raises the most food and funds per employee will win the highly coveted Attorney General's Cup with awards in various other categories. All winners will be recognized during the Annual Meeting in June. It is truly an excellent way to invest in your community while gaining visibility across the state. 
FMLA Recent Development: Diamond v. Hospice of Fla. Keys, No. 15-15716, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1483 (11th Cir. Jan. 27, 2017).
By Lisa B. Golan, Attorney at Law

In this FMLA case out of the Southern District of Florida, the employer required its employee to produce more than just the normal FMLA medical certification in support of her request for leave to care for her seriously ill mother.  In addition to a doctor's note she was asked to produce gas and food receipts to prove she had in fact gone to assist her mother.

The employee was fired two weeks after she returned from a 13 day leave, which she had taken on short notice.  HR had told her that her "continued unpaid time away from the workplace compromises the quality of care we are able to provide as an organization," and had identified specific "examples of 'quality of care' suffering due to repeated 'emergent' leaves of absence."

The District Court granted summary judgment to the employer, holding as a matter of law that the employee had not shown any prejudice as the result of the employer's interference with her right to FMLA leave.

The Eleventh Circuit disagreed:  "For example, if a jury believed Diamond's testimony that she would have taken more days off in April 2014 had Chennault not discouraged her from doing so, Diamond could prove that she sustained "monetary losses" "as a direct result of the violation," such as the cost of "traveling 300 miles each way to [her] parents' home" "despite the care recommended by [her] mother's MD for the entire month of April."

The Eleventh Circuit also reversed the District Court's holding that the employer had a legitimate performance-based reason for firing the employee. It held that the close nexus in time between the employee's leave and her termination and the negative statements made to her regarding her use of FMLA leave created a question of fact for the jury:  "A reasonable jury could conclude that Hospice's proffered reasons were not what actually motived its conduct and that Diamond was discriminated against for having exercised her FMLA rights."

This is the first 11th Circuit case I've come across that holds that travel costs are recoverable as "other compensation ... lost ... by reason of the violation."  It's consistent with FMLA legislative history - which includes testimony that leave for travel time was necessary to allow employees to care for family members with serious health conditions.  See HOUSE REPORT NO. 103-8(I) February 2, 1993.
Thank You Sip & Swine Volunteers & Supporters!

The 2nd Annual Sip & Swine BBQ Festival benefitting the Buford-based Home of Hope at the Gwinnett Children's Shelter was a huge success! Thank you to the following people who volunteered their time, and thank you to all Members of the Gwinnett Bar that came out to enjoy the event and volunteered their dollars. Law Day is about celebrating the legal community's impact on our society. Each of you surely made a direct impact on the lives of many Gwinnett children and families with your support and GCBA thanks you.

Honorable Kathryn M. Schrader
Marcy West
Traci Zierk   
Jorgia Northrup       
Ayanna Sterling-Jones        
Tracie Cason
Jenny Fitzpatrick
Sheryl Davis
Sean Goldstein
John Mays
Hala Carey
Fernando Doria        
Ankur Trivedi                      
Marian Adeimy                    
Joe Swafford            
Laura Lynn Swafford         
Derick C. Villaneuva

Save the Date: Law Day Celebration 2017

Judge's Reception
When: April 27, 2017, 11:45 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Where: GJAC Auditorium

Law Day Banquet
When: April 28, 2017, 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Where: Buford Community Center

Formal invitations to follow for each event

If your firm or business would like to sponsor Law Day, e-mail Danielle Britt Mays at to find out more.

March Mystery Bar Member 

Many of our members have unique prior professions, education backgrounds and fascinating life experiences. See if you can guess this month's profiled member:
  • Farms and has had a cow-calf operation for about 10 years 
  • Still enjoys riding a motocross bike and pretty much anything else with an engine
  • Running heavy equipment is his escape 
  • Bucket list is to retire to a new career in Orlando - guess where 

Click here to find out who the mystery bar member is! 
Milich Minute

In a child molestation case, the social worker who interviewed the child would testify that the child's story was "believable."

Defense objects that this improperly bolsters the credibility of the child.

Which is the best answer?
  1. Sustained.  Invades the province of the jury.
  2. Overruled IF the witness has expertise in evaluating the credibility of child victims.
  3. Overruled.  The witness's opinion is beyond the ken of the jurors.
  4. Both 2 and 3.
Click here for the answer!
12 Milich

Click to purchase his book here!
Criminal Defense Update

The Gwinnett County Criminal Defense Bar hosted our monthly meeting on February 3, 2017 at the Gwinnett County Justice and Administration Center.  The meeting featured Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Tracie Cason who spoke to our members about the new felony pretrial diversion program, Private Investigator Cathy Williams Crawford who spoke to our members about the services an investigator can provide in criminal cases, and Attorney Pat McDonough who spoke to our members about the procedures for obtaining funds for an investigator through the court.  Also, GCBA Law Day Chair Danielle Mays spoke to our members about the upcoming Law Day and related community service events. The meeting was well attended and received by our members. 

Upcoming Events
On March 30 and 31, GCCDB will hold its annual CLE at the Gwinnett County Justice and Administration Center ("GJAC") located at 75 Langley Dr., Lawrenceville, GA 30046.  Cost will be $125.00 for members, $165.00 for nonmembers.  This CLE will be eligible for 11 general, 1 professionalism, 1 ethics, and a minimum of 3 trial hours.  These hours CAN be applied to 2016 requirements.  It will satisfy the Gwinnett Indigent Defense CLE requirements for 2016.  Contact President Constancia Carter for registration form and more information. 
April 14, 2017 at 12 p.m.- GCCDB will hold its regular monthly meeting at the Gwinnett County Detention Center.  Speakers to be announced.  Lunch is $5 for members, $10 for nonmembers.  If you plan to attend, please RSVP to section President Constancia Carter. 
Join the Section
Interested in joining the section, want to RSVP for a monthly meeting, or need more information about the CLE? Please contact Constancia Carter at

Estate Planning and Probate Update

Please save the date for the following EPPS lunch meetings at  12:00pm , Dominick's on the Square, Downtown Lawrenceville:
March 14, 2017
May 9, 2017
July 11, 2017
Note that you do not have to be a member of the section to attend the meetings, but if you are interested in joining the section, or simply being added to the section email list, please contact Melody Glouton or Lindsey Cambardella
Lastly, please contact  Elizabeth Strupe ( if you are interested in participating in the Probate Court Pro Bono Clinic that occurs on the third Thursday of each month from 1:30pm - 4:30pm at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center.
Family Law Section Update: 
Next Meeting Information

When: Wednesday, April 26th at 12PM
Where: La Cazuela Mexican Restaurant (upstairs meeting room) at 179 West Crogan Street, Lawrenceville, GA 30046
Cost: Free for members ($10 for non-members)

Speaker: Child Support Services will be back again to continue answering questions. They joined us back in October of 2016, but ran out of time due to the large volume of questions asked. they will be back for a second round of questions.

The Family Law Section of the Gwinnett County Bar Association is hosting its regularly scheduled meeting. Lunch is free for section members. All are welcome to attend. the meeting starts at 12 noon and generally lasts for approximately one hour. For additional information, please email, or send a text to 678-992-3799. Meetings are held on all even months at the same time and location. 
In This Issue
March Bar Details

Friday, March 17th 
from 12 - 1 pm 
at the 1818 Club
6500 Sugarloaf Parkway
Duluth, GA 30097

Gwinnett County Bar Association | | |
P.O.Box 576
Lawrenceville, GA 30046