March 2019 Newsletter

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

The month of March usually means that warmer weather is just around the corner. Spring is often viewed as a time of change or renewal. Much of what I've talked about in this space over the course of my year as President so far has dealt with transition. In our profession, we are continually moving from one thing to the next.  
For some of us, the end of March means making sure that CLE credits are up to date. The past few years, the Bar Association has sponsored or helped facilitate CLE course around this time of year to make sure there are opportunities for our members to stay up to date on the requirements to be in good standing to practice. This year is no different. We have not one, but two CLE opportunities coming up. First, on March 15, Parag Shah, with myCLE, will be joining us for a full day of CLE, with a focus on discovery and electronic evidence. And then, on March 29, our Criminal Defense Section is sponsoring a second full-day CLE program just in time for the March 31 deadline. Both CLE programs will offer ethics, professionalism, and trial credits.
For others, Spring brings with it the last step before summer and vacations. Spring Break is only a few short weeks away. Before much longer, Summer will be here. Many of us will begin planning for the end of a school year and graduations and trips to relax and disengage from our stressful profession for a few days. However, sometimes Summer brings with it challenges. For many years, the Attorney General's Office has led the Legal Food Frenzy. This program provides a great benefit for those who, during the summer, don't always have three meals a day as they do during the school year. I hope that you will take a few minutes to consider what a huge help for our state this program has been and choose to contribute this year.
For me, March brings the beginning of the MLS season, and this year, an opportunity for our own Atlanta United to defend a championship. And, change is an apt word to describe our hometown soccer club. Miguel Almirón has moved on to Newcastle United, where he is already making his mark, and we have a new coach in Frank de Boer. While the season is off to a start that reflects that change, I, for one, am looking forward to how the team deals with the change.
While for many Spring means change, change does not have to be drastic or negative. We all deal with change, but we have a great Bar Association, and it is my hope that we can find the positive in the continuous transition that we all experience.
February Luncheon
We would like to thank Michael Carlson for coming to our last meeting and presenting an very informative overview of the "new" Georgia Evidence Code.  Bar members were able to purchase The Carlson's On Evidence for a discount!

We also heard from Alfia Tarassenko who provided information about the upcoming Legal Food Frenzy competition,  April 22 - May 3, 2019.

Please note  i n lieu of  the March luncheon, GCBA will be sponsoring a day long CLE at the 1818 Club on March 15, 2019.
See below for more details!
Mark Your Calendars!
This Year's Monthly Meetings:      
  • April 19 
  • May 17
Other Events:
            • March 15     GCBA CLE (in lieu of the March Meeting)
                     Gwinnett Gladiators Hockey Game
            • March 29     GCCDB CLE

March 15, 2019 9:00am-4:15pm
The 1818 Club

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 Gwinnett Estate Planning and Probate Section (EPPS) is pleased to host Richard Bryson, of Bryson Law Firm, P.C., on Tuesday, March 12.   The meeting will be at 12:00 noon at Dominick's Italian Restaurant on the Square, 197 W Crogan Street, Lawrenceville, GA 30046.  Please email Melody Glouton if you plan to attend. 
Richard is a local Gwinnett attorney with an office located in Suwanee.  He has over 15 years of experience with trusts, estates, business formation and representation, asset protection, incapacity planning, elder law, real estate services, and tax planning.  Richard will present on the recent tax law changes that effect estate planning attorneys, as well as a discussion on irrevocable trusts. 
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.  This CLE will be eligible for 7 general, 1 professionalism, 1 ethics, and a minimum of 3 trial hours pending State Bar Approval.  These hours CAN be applied to 2018 requirements.  It will satisfy the Gwinnett Indigent Defense CLE requirements for 2018.  

The CLE will be titled "Trial by Combat" and will offer instruction on various areas of trials. Speakers include Judge Warren Davis, DUI guru Ashley Schiavone, and Walton County trial warrior David Boyle! If you are looking to sharpen your trial sword, this is the CLE for you!  

Register now for the CLE on  March 29, from 9 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, 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

Pro Bono Representation
Scott A. Boykin
Kevin G. Moore

Probate Clinic
Dana C. Ashford
Lauren A. Bryant
Walter J. Clarke
Dawn Deans
Donald S. Horace
Lauren M. Pendley
Nathan Pate Powell
Ashley Scarpetta
Deana M. Spencer
Jammie Taire

Family Law Information Class
Dawn C. Deans 

Thank you!!
Adult Guardianship CLE
UPDATED Judiciary Contact List
Please note the contact list included in the February Newsletter did not contain the most updated information
of  all Gwinnett Courts and auxiliary services
One or two offices available for rent in existing, local law office.  Rent of $750 includes use of phone number, utilities, conference rooms and reception services.  Please call 770-466-6149 to inquire.
GA House Passes HB 21, to Create an 11th Superior Court Judge, in 2020

As Gwinnett County continues to grow, our needs are being represented at the capitol. On February 7, 2019 the House passed HB 21 to add one judge to the Gwinnett County Superior Court bench. This bill was sponsored by many, including Rep. Chuck Efstration, and newly elected Rep. Bonnie Rich. The bill is currently being reviewed in the Senate. If successfully passed and signed by the Governor, a new judge could be appointed beginning January 2020.

Left to Right: Rep. Chuck Efstration, Judge Melodie Conner, Rep. Bonnie Rich, Chief Judge George Hutchinson
Parent Accountability Court (PAC) Graduation
By Dodie Sachs
I had the honor of being invited to attend the January 31, 2019 graduation of the Parent Accountability Court (PAC) program in Gwinnett County. The PAC is a joint effort of the Division of Child Support Services and the Superior Court Judges and aims to offer an alternative to incarceration and to help chronic nonpayers of child support make regular payments. Judge Kathryn Schrader (GCBA President 1995 - 1996) implemented this program in Gwinnett County in April 2014.
During the graduation program, the participants had the opportunity to speak about the importance of the program. The participants said that without the PAC program they would have continued to be incarcerated for the same behavior. They were glad the PAC program helped end their cycle of nonpayment and incarceration and get their life and relationship with their children back on track.
If you know of a chronic nonpayer of child support that you think would benefit from the PAC program, either the noncustodial parent or the custodial parent needs to initiate a case with the Division of Child Support Services and refer themselves or the other party to the PAC program. Custodial and Noncustodial Parents can apply for services by using the Customer Online Services portal at You can also contact Sherry Schmidt Ellison, Special Assistant Attorney General or Porsche Giboney, the local Gwinnett County Coordinator, by email or at  1-844-694-2347, for additional information about the program, and to refer participants to the PAC Program.
The PAC Program also needs individuals who would be willing to teach a life skills class or provide materials for participants on topics such as budgeting. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Sherry Schmidt Ellison.
Lilburn Jumps into Spring

Lilburchaun Parade | Saturday, March 16, 2019 | Lilburn City Park
Dress in your most festive St. Patrick's Day attire and join a bagpipe player and leprechaun stilt walker in a parade around Lilburn City Park!  Celebrate St. Paddy's in the park! Inviting all Leprechauns and Lilburchauns to participate in the city's first annual Lilburchaun Parade.  We will crown the best leprechaun look-alikes, also known as our first ever Lilburchaus! Prizes will be awarded!  Enjoy a variety of entertainment, children's activities and Irish themed refreshments while they last!

Easter Egg Hunt | Saturday, April 13, 2019 | Lilburn City Park
The Easter Egg Hunt is for children up to 12 years of age. Children will be divided into age categories. Each group will take turns finding eggs, with eggs being replenished on the field between groups.  The egg hunts will begin at 11 a.m. Don't forget to bring your basket!
Other activities: 
  • Photos with Easter Bunny (don't forget your camera!)
  • Inflatables
  • Petting zoo
  • Face painting
Don't Forget to Spring Forward your clock on March 10th
HERNANDEZ v. The STATE, The Implied Consent: "Is that just like a Georgia thing"?  
By Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
The Defendant, Amanda Hernandez, appealed the denial of her motion to suppress the results of her blood test following her arrest for DUI. Because her consent to the blood test was premised on inaccurate information as to the consequences of refusing consent, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's ruling.
The Court of Appeals, Judge Barnes, Presiding Judge, found that: "[O]n a motion to suppress, the State has the burden of proving that a search was lawful." State v. Hammond, 313 Ga. App. 882, 883-884, 723 S.E.2d 89 (2012) Thus, "when relying on the consent exception to the warrant requirement, the State has the burden of proving that the accused acted freely and voluntarily under the totality of the circumstances." Williams v. State, 296 Ga. 817, 821, 771 S.E.2d 373 (2015) . Where, as here, the relevant facts are undisputed, this Court's review is de novo. State v. Oyeniyi, 335 Ga. App. 575, 575-576, 782 S.E.2d 476 (2016) ".
As per the testimony at the hearing, Hernandez was stopped by a Georgia State Patrol trooper for speeding on October 2, 2015. At the stop, Hernandez produced a valid Washington State driver's license, but when the trooper noticed the odor of alcohol, he began a DUI investigation. A portion of the conversation exchange was included:
Trooper: No, you don't have to. You asked-
Hernandez : But if I don't, you'll-suspend my license?
Trooper: Yes...

Opportunity Zones - Are these for Real?
By Toni Schwahn 

Opportunity Zones were created in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 and are intended to expand investment in lower income areas. The attraction of Qualified Opportunity Zones is that a taxpayer can defer long term capital gains until the end of 2026 if the replacement property is held that long.
Investment in a Qualified Opportunity Zone is done through a Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF). The QOF is formed as either a partnership or corporation and the taxpayer defers his gain into the QOF. An individual cannot start their own QOF. The QOF must hold 90% of their assets in a Qualified Opportunity Zone and purchase the eligible property after December 31, 2017.

The eligible gain deferral must be long term and be the result of a sale to an unrelated person. Eligible sales must occur between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2026. A partnership may elect to defer all or part of a gain into a QOF. If the partnership does not elect to defer the gain; the partners may elect to defer their portion of the gain into a QOF.

With Opportunity Zones just being created there are still issues to be worked out, including what happens after 2026. There are still many benefits of deferring long term capital gains with an investment in a QOF. The most appealing benefit of Qualified Opportunity Zones is the increase in the property basis after 10 years. However, unlike a 1031 exchange, a portion of the deferred gain in a Qualified Opportunity Zone will be taxable in 2026 and depending on tax rates this could create large tax burdens on the investor...
Giving Teens a Choice

We all recognize that teenagers have lives outside of their parents - lives they would much rather cultivate than their relationship with their parents! But we also know that during the teen years, a lot of things can go awry if a good solid parent/child bond is not in place. When I was a teen, I avoided a lot of trouble because of two things: (1) I didn't want to disappointment my parents and (2) I was fearful of their consequences. That's why we teach an hour-long section in our Basic Seminar for divorcing parents about the importance of balancing nurturing with discipline across all ages of childhood. When a child grows up with a good balance of those two things, we hope he respects and loves his parents enough to manage his own behavior in childhood, and then respect himself enough in adulthood to continue.

So, there's that nagging question, then, about how much we should let teens have a say in their relationship with a parent after divorce or separation. It's impossible to convince a 15-year-old how important their relationship with a parent will mean to them in twenty years. They live in the here and now, and if, as a teen, I'm annoyed with my parent and he or she is making life more complicated, then of course, I will choose not to spend time with that parent if I am given a choice. Those of us who had parents who didn't divorce weren't given that choice (and I had an annoying parent too), so why should these kids get to choose?...

Articles and Updates Welcome!

If you would like to contribute to the GCBA Monthly Newsletter,  
e-mail submissions by the 5th of each month to Editor  

Visit our Facebook Page and our Website to stay updated until our next newsletter.
Place article copy here. Be sure to make the articles short and concise as people tend not to read much more than a couple of paragraphs. Place article copy here.