February 2019 Newsletter


Jon Setzer
GCBA President 2018-19
President's Corner :
By Jon Setzer

The first weekend in February, this year's High School Mock Trial Competition began. For most who know me well, my involvement with this program cannot be overstated. The regional competition in Gwinnett featured nine teams from across the county, with Norcross defeating Greater Atlanta Christian School in the championship round. Those teams, along with Duluth, will represent Gwinnett County at the district competition at the end of this month, and hopefully, help Gwinnett return to the State Finals.
 
In 2011-12, I was the chairperson of the Georgia High School Mock Trial Committee, and that year, we began the process of scaling back the State Finals. In 2012, there were 16 teams at State Finals, and it took place over a full weekend. I made a proposal to add a third round of completion to save on time, space, and money at State Finals, and two years later, the district competition began in between the regional competition and State Finals. Unfortunately, in the five years since the plan that I helped put into place began, Gwinnett has not had a representative at the State Finals.
 
Many of you have generously volunteered your time as coaches, judges, and evaluators over the years, and I couldn't be more thankful. I hope that Gwinnett returns to the State Finals and competes for national championships again. Gwinnett does boast one of Georgia's national championships, with South Gwinnett winning in 1995. I assure you, though, that Gwinnett's absence at State Finals has nothing to do with a decline in the programs here. Programs all over Georgia are becoming better and better, to the point that Georgia has one of the premier reputations in the country.
 
Georgia has a storied history when it comes to High School Mock Trial. Our four national championships are more than any other state. In the ten years since Jonesboro High School won back to back national championships, we've finished in the top ten in the nation seven times, including two runners-up finishes and two third-place finishes. Atlanta has hosted the national competition twice before, and this year, Georgia hosts for a third time, again, more than any other state. This year, however, we are hosting the competition in Athens. There wouldn't be a better time for Georgia to bring home an unprecedented fifth national championship. I hope you'll be there with me this May.

January Luncheon
We would like to thank Richard Alexander for  coming to talk to us, at our January Luncheon, about the new  E-Filing system that is now being used in civil cases. He answered many questions about how the systems works and what we can expect in the future.
February Luncheon
Friday February 15, 2019 12:00pm
The 1818 Club
6500 Sugarloaf Parkway #300
Duluth, GA 30097

We are happy to welcome back the authors of Carlson on Evidence, Ronald and Michael Carlson for a presentation of the Georgia Evidence Code.

GCBA NEWS AND SECTION UPDATES
Mark Your Calendars!
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This Year's Monthly Meetings:      
  • February 15
  • March 15
  • April 19 
  • May 17
Other Events:
        • March 1-2    Sip & Swine BBQ Fest
        • March 15     GCBA CLE

     Gwinnett Gladiators Hockey Game

GCBA Night Out
Come out to watch the Gwinnett Gladiators hockey game against the Florida Everblades!

Friday March 15, 2019 at 7:35 p.m
Infinite Energy Center
6400 Sugarloaf Pkwy, Duluth, GA 30097

Payment is being collected by ADA Stephen Fern in the District Attorney's Office, and at the next Bar Meeting on February 15, 2019. Tickets will be distributed in the same manner and at the March Bar Meeting, the day of the event.
  • Ticket prices: $13 $15, $17, or $19 depending on the level you select, on a first come first serve basis  
  • Under 2 years old are free!
  • Friends and family are welcome.   
Click here to Buy Tickets or for more information email Stephen Fern
EPPS UPDATE:  Future Meetings and Volunteer
by Melody A. Glouton
     The Estate Planning & Probate Section will hold future meetings as follows. Meetings will be held at noon. Location and Guest Speakers TBD. 
March 12, 2019
May 14, 2019
 
Please note that you do not have to be a member of the section to attend the meetings (please feel free to forward the message or bring a friend!).  If you are interested in joining the section, or simply being added to the section email list, please email Melody Glouton or Lauren Bryant.

Please remember our Volunteer Opportunities:
Probate Court Pro Bono Clinic - Monthly

Who should volunteer: Attorneys with probate and/or guardianship experience (need not be an expert, but some experience is required to assist attendees)
What: Provide guidance to pro se petitioners with their filings in probate court
Where: Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center
When: Third Thursday of each month from 1:30pm - 4:30pm 
Why: To help our citizens and the Probate Court in processing petitions more efficiently and effectively
How: Please contact Elizabeth Strupe with questions or to sign up for the Probate Court Pro Bono Clinic
GCCDB Section Update
by Morris Margulis, GCCDB Communications Officer

The criminal defense section generally meets the first Friday of every month. At our monthly  meetings, we serve a catered lunch and have a featured speaker.
 
The GCCDB is gearing up for its much-anticipated Spring CLE event. We will be hosting a series of discussions updating the section on developments in doctrinal law, trial and motions practice tips, appellate mindfulness, and ethics. Make sure to save the date of March 28, from 8 AM to 5 PM.

We will be meeting at GJAC in Conference room C, and space will be limited. 
Please contact Sean Goldstein, section president, at  sean@seangoldsteinlaw.com, for details and RSVP information, or to join the group.
2018-19 GCCDB Slate of Officers:
Sean Goldstein, President
Richard Armond, President-elect
Jessica Towne, Vice president
Drew Mosely, Treasurer
Morris Margulis, Communications
GWINNETT PRO BONO JANUARY VOLUNTEERS
 
Pro Bono Representation
Sarah Avraham
Tracy S. Drake
Vanessa I. Kosky

Probate Clinic
Lauren A. Bryant
Walter J. Clarke
Dawn Deans
Robert W. Hughes Jr.
N. Wallace Kelleman
John M. Miles
Ashley Scarpetta

Consumer Law Clinic
Dawn C. Deans

Family Law Information Class
Cheryl Kelly 

Thank you!!
  March 1st and 2nd
Cool Ray Field
2500 Buford Dr.
Lawrenceville, GA 30043

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For our 2019 Law Day Project
we are going back to the the Sip and Swine Festival!  Volunteers are needed to help pour beer Various time slots available.
 
Click here for time slots and Volunteer Application

Click here for more details about the 
2019 Sip and Swine Festival

Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Conferenc with Pete Wright, Esq.

Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Conference, a Wrightslaw training program featuring Pete Wright, Esq., is being sponsored by A. Kelley Neal, Esq. This is a fundraiser and community event for the benefit of Georgia Legal Services Program - Macon.

Thursday February 21, 2019 9am-4:30pm
2491 Gray Highway
Macon, GA 31211 
 
Registration Fee: $115, $150 with CLE credit included

Program Description

One-day special education law and advocacy programs focus on five areas:
  • special education law, rights and responsibilities
  • McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
  • tests and measurements to measure progress & regression
  • SMART IEPs
  • introduction to tactics & strategies for effective advocacy
Conference fee includes lunch, a Wrightslaw highlighter pen and the three Wrightslaw books which retail for $62.85

ATTORNEYS WANTED
 
Litigation Associate Attorney
Job Description 
Fenwick Thompson & Associates, LLC is seeking a Full-time Litigation Associate Attorney to join its team of highly motivated and experienced professionals. This is a wonderful opportunity for a motivated associate with family law and personal injury litigation experience, as well as exceptional written, organizational and communication skills to be part of a team which handles entertainment law, family law, and personal injury law cases. 

The Position 
Minimum Qualifications:
* JD from an accredited law school; 
* Admitted to practice in the state of Georgia; 
* 5 years of family law and personal injury litigation experience; and 
* Superior communication, writing, and research skills. 
Responsibilities:
* Independently manage a litigation caseload, working cases from intake to conclusion; 
* Represent clients in family law and personal injury cases; 
* Regularly handle court appearances, depositions, and mediations; and 
* Communicate regularly with clients and provide status reports. 
Experience:  
* Litigation: 5 years (Required) 
License:
* Georgia Bar (Required) 
* Other State Licenses, a plus

Juvenile Court Attorney II
Class Summary
Juvenile Court exercises jurisdiction in cases involving delinquent, unruly, deprived, and runaway offenders under the age of 18.  Juvenile Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Superior courts involving capital offenses, custody, child support cases, and termination of parental rights.

The position will work at the Courthouse Annex Building in Lawrenceville, Georgia.The incumbent will be responsible for opening cases, preparing and reviewing a variety of legal documents, offerings, and requests for information, and conducting a variety of legal research, analysis, and document preparation. The incumbent will also consult with and respond to County employees, victims, witnesses, and/or other interested parties on proper legal procedures and will appear in court to participate in prosecution or defense activities and range of other related duties. 

The Grade for this position is 104.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:
  • Juris Doctorate;
  • Four years of experience as an attorney;
  • Or, an equivalent combination of education and experience sufficient to successfully perform the essential duties of the job.

Apply by February 11, 2019 


 

UPDATED Judiciary Contact List

of  all Gwinnett Courts and auxiliary services

GWINNETT CONNECTION
To Kill a Mockingbird

6:20 pm on Wednesday January 30th

Movie Tavern - Suwanee
2855 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Rd
Suwanee, GA 30024

Meet at the bar inside the movie theater at 5:45pm. 
Buy your own ticket.

Transit Referendum set for March 19 on Gwinnett Ballots
Gwinnett County residents will go to the polls March 19 to vote on a  contract for the provision of expanded transit services. If the referendum passes, Gwinnett's transit system and services will expand b
ased on Gwinnett's plan and its contract with MARTA. The expansion will be funded through a one-cent sales tax for transit. The contract provides control to Gwinnett over funds, expenditures, projects, and services. It requires Gwinnett funds to be spent for the benefit of Gwinnett. It sets Gwinnett's transit plan, Connect Gwinnett, as the source of transit projects. It also provides Gwinnett with three seats on the MARTA board.

In preparation for the March 19 transit contract referendum, the County will host a series of open house education sessions: 

Monday, February 11 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Dacula Park Activity Building
2735 Old Auburn Road, Dacula
Tuesday, February 12 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Sugar Hill City Hall
5039 W. Broad Street, Sugar Hill
Thursday, February 21 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Shorty Howell Park Activity Building
2750 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth
Saturday, February 23 - 10:00am to 1:00pm
Snellville City Hall
2342 Oak Road, Snellville
Thursday, February 28 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Gwinnett Fire Academy
3608 Braselton Highway, Dacula

 
For more information about the contract, please visit  the website. For more information about the transit plan, visit the  Connect Gwinnett: Transit plan website.
Lilburn Police Department Citizen's Academy Accepting Applications
 
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The Citizen's Police Academy (CPA) is a 13-week program designed to educate and inform citizens about issues that face law enforcement efforts in the City of Lilburn. Each CPA session consists of 13 consecutive, two-hour Thursday night classes. The instruction is comprehensive, and each week a separate area of the department is covered. Topics include crime prevention and community based policing, drugs, K9, traffic enforcement and accident investigations, criminal investigations, the Use of Force Model and use of force training, firearms safety and the law, as well as a tour of the Gwinnett County Jail.

The goal of the Lilburn Police Department Citizen's Police Academy is not only to help local residents better understand police work in their community, but to develop stronger ties between our community and the department.

Who Can Apply? 
* Minimum age of 21
* Preference given to those who live or work within the city limits of Lilburn
* No prior felony arrests or crimes of moral turpitude
* No misdemeanor arrests within one year of the application
* Must commit to attending a minimum of 10 out of 13 classes
* Must possess a valid Georgia Driver's License

Registration deadline is Feb. 15, 2019.
Lilburn Camp Creek Cleanup and Beautification

Saturday, February 23, 2019
9am-1pm

Volunteers are needed to help with removing litter and doing invasive plant species removal.  Volunteers will meet at the Gartrell Nash Pavilion in Lilburn City Park. Please wear closed-toe shoes or boots and long pants. Long sleeves are recommended. Other items to consider bringing include a water bottle, snack, sunscreen, and bug spray.

Get out and get busy helping us make trash extinct! Removing litter from our local water bodies helps to protect our shared water resources and gives us pride in our community. In
addition to removing litter, we will also be doing invasive plant
species removal.
Lilburn City Park
76 Main St.
Lilburn, GA 30047


To volunteer email Jordan Girard and register at volunteetgwinnett.com
LEGAL UPDATES
STRICKLAND v. The STATE:  § 40 - 6 - 49 . Following too closely: What does this mean?
By Margaret Gettle Washburn

This is a new and very interesting case, that will undoubtedly be cited in most State, Recorders and traffic courts.

Judge Trenton  Brown , authored the opinion for the Court of Appeals. Jackie Patterson , Atlanta, Brandon D. Dixon, represented the Appellant, Tasha Mosley , Solicitor General, Clayton County, for Appellee.
The Defendant, Antonio Strickland, was charged by Uniform Traffic Citation with "Following too Closely" in violation of OCGA § 40-6-49 . At the close of evidence during his bench trial, the Defendant Strickland made an oral motion to quash the charge, which the trial court denied. The Defendant filed for an appeal, contending that the trial court erred in denying his motion to quash because the charge in the citation failed to allege the essential elements of the offense.
 
The Court of Appeals agreed with the Defendant and reversed the trial court, holding: "the true test of the sufficiency of an indictment or accusation or citation is not whether it could have been made more definite and certain (or, for that matter, perfect,) but whether it contains the elements of the offense intended to be charged, and sufficiently apprises the defendant of what he must be prepared to meet, and in case any other proceedings are taken against him for a similar offense, whether the record shows with accuracy to what extent he may plead a former acquittal or conviction." Thomason v. State, 196 Ga. App. 447, 448 (2), 396 S.E.2d 79 (1990) ....
 

Counterpoint: Keep Selling the Reasons You Need Time Off From Work
By Lisa B. Golan

Per the New York Times article "The Death of the Sick Day," due to new flexible work-from-home and time-off policies, "no longer does [an] employee have to 'sell' their sickness to the boss with a list of symptoms."

I disagree. If employees want to be protected against possible disciplinary action for taking leave, the better course is to "sell it". Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) eligible employees are entitled to 12 weeks of job protected leave, but only if the employee provides sufficient information for their employer to know that the leave may be for an FMLA qualifying reason. Qualifying reasons include their own or a close family member's serious health condition (including time off needed for chronic medical conditions); pregnancy and bonding with a newborn, adopted or foster child in their first year; and for qualified exigencies for military personnel and their families. If employees meet FMLA notice requirements, their "employers cannot use the taking of FMLA leave as a negative factor in employment action ...; nor can FMLA leave be counted under no fault attendance policies." 29 C.F.R. §825.220(c). And, the FMLA not only allows employees to take off full-days, with limited exceptions, it also permits employees to work reduced-hours schedules or to take intermittent leave in increments as small as the shortest period of time the employer uses to account for other forms of leave, and at a maximum in hourly increments. 29 C.F.R. §825.202-205...
Help your clients with Georgia Film Tax Credits
By: John Thomas, Partner at Whaley Hammonds Tomasello, P.C., 

So many of Georgia's mature industries, from construction to technology, are participating in the State's growing film and television industry. Yallywood is growing and creating jobs and an economic impact at a rate that has surprised almost everyone. But while everyone from carpenters to electricians are finding opportunities to benefit from new production projects, professional service firms have been slow to react to the growing need for specialized advice related to the tax credit. Attorneys can help their clients by educating them on how the growth of this industry can benefit them directly through state income tax savings!

The continued growth of this burgeoning industry depends heavily on the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act. The Act created a direct tax benefit for production companies creating content in the state. The tax credit program is pretty simple. For every qualified dollar that companies spend producing qualified projects in the state of Georgia, the state awards a 30% transferrable tax credit against Georgia income tax. The projects are qualified by the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Once the project has been completed, the tax credits generated by the production can be sold to other Georgia taxpayers, including individuals and corporations.

Attorneys with clients who pay income tax in the state of Georgia have an opportunity to help. As the industry grows, the need for buyers grows, and there is a clear incentive for your clients to participate. Every dollar of credit purchased by your clients will cost between 88 and 92 cents, providing between an 8 and 12 percent savings on the state tax bill. While there will be a capital gain on the savings, the tax benefit is still clear. Additionally, this is now a mature state tax credit program, with clear guidelines for mitigating risk. These include:...
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