September 2019 Newsletter

GCBA President 2019-2020
President's Corner
By Donald Lee   
The kids are back in school, college football Saturdays are in full swing and no more summer vacation excuses, as the second half of 2019 begins in earnest.  A re-commitment to the practice is obliged, as we strive for a good close to the end of the year.  As I mentioned at our first bar meeting back in August, I am not big into self-aggrandizement with formal installations.  I genuinely believe that all of us saying the Pledge of Allegiance before each bar meeting is a good personal re-installation to all of us to uphold the practice of law, US and Georgia Constitutions. What an honor to be bestowed upon each of us to be able to practice in this classic and distinguished profession.
September 20th is our next meeting and will feature Lawrenceville Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson and City Manager Chuck Warbington.  Almost all of us call Lawrenceville our work home and they will enlighten the membership of the development that is occurring on the South Lawn.  I am excited to see the final product.  I am curious to know what price points and types of development are in the works.  I promise that you will learn much about what the City of Lawrenceville had to delicately navigate in making their South Lawn vision a reality.  Please join us!
September Luncheon
September 20, 2019 at 12pm, at
The 1818 Club
6500 Sugarloaf Pkwy.
Duluth, GA 30097

This month we present  
Lawrenceville Mayor Julie Jordan Johnson and
City Manager Chuck Warbington
as our guest speakers.

August Luncheon Recap
We had a fantastic turnout for our August Luncheon, co-sponsored by GAPABA and KABA-GA!  Brent Bohanan from Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity and U.S. Attorney B-Jay Pak spoke to a full house!  Donald Lee was announced as the first Korean-American President of the GCBA, a milestone in this ever-changing county!
Judge Rodney Harris appointed as the next Gwinnett County Juvenile Court Judge!
The Superior Court judges interviewed 13 candidates to appoint a Juvenile Court judge to fill the vacant position created when Gov. Kemp appointed Judge Tadia Whitner to the Superior Court bench.
The Hon. Rodney A. Harris, Associate Judge of the Juvenile Court and Judge, Recorder's Court of Gwinnett County has been unanimously appointed to become our next judge of the Juvenile Court.
Judge Harris brings years of Juvenile Court experience to the bench.  He began practicing in Juvenile Court in 1997 and has over 20 years of experience working in that court.  In 2018, Judge Harris became an Associate Judge of Juvenile Court.  
Judge Harris has a long history of proven leadership to provide community support to young people.
His other community service includes Leadership Gwinnett and United Way.  He is a former recipient of the Chief Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service and the Martin Luther King Community Service Award.
2019 Past Presidents' Dinner
by Dodie Sachs, GCBA President-Elect

In August, the GCBA honored our past presidents with a dinner at 1910 Public House Restaurant in the private Apothecary Room.  The Board was thrilled that so many of our past presidents were able to attend the dinner.  I know that people changed travel plans, and came to dinner while their juries were out.  We appreciate the sacrifices and hard work you offered the bar both while you were on the Board and to make the dinner.   
Many of the Past Presidents had great ideas for future programming for the GCBA.  I look forward to making as many of their ideas come to fruition as possible.  We also had several past presidents offer words of wisdom to share with the membership.  We will be featuring their comments in future newsletters.
Past Presidents, please continue to share your great ideas with the Board and all future boards of the GCBA.  We really do welcome your input and perspective.  I look forward to seeing you at Past President Dinners in the future.
2019 Gate City Bar/GABWA Annual Judicial Reception
Some familiar Gwinnett faces were in attendance at the Annual Gate City Bar/GABWA Judicial Reception last month.  Can you name all the Gwinnett folks you see?  (Photo credit: Don Morgan Photography)  

Family Law Section Update
by June Lynn - Section Chair 

The Family Law Section thanks Honorable Judges Hutchinson, Mason, and Schrader for sharing their insights at the first Judges Panel and Gwinnett Bar Association Family Law Section breakfast of the year. If you missed this event, ask a section member for the extremally useful insider information we learned about including child support deviations, judges' pet peeves, and the ever elusive alimony question.  In addition, we  hope all attendees will act on Judge Schrader's advice to take care of your physical and mental health.

Our next meeting will take place on October 30, 2019 at 12:00 p.m. in the Gwinnett County Courthouse Breezeway (which is located on the first floor right next to the main entrance and security point).  The cost will be $5 for members and $10 for nonmembers.  We look forward to another great turnout and welcome all  members of Gwinnett Bar Association to attend as well as non- members and third parties.

If you would like to be added to the Family law Section  email list to receive updates and events announcements, please email at
We will announce our speaker for October 30, 2019 lunch in a couple of weeks.
Juvenile Law Section Update
by Kelly Kautz - Section President
The Juvenile Law Section will be working on raising money for a worthy cause.  We want to purchase duffel bags for those children who are placed in foster care.  So often, children are asked to leave their homes without any notice and often in the middle of the night.  They do not have time to pack and literally have belongings thrown into a garbage bag which they then carry with them throughout their placement.  The Juvenile Law Section is collecting money to purchase duffel bags in bulk (thereby lowering the cost) now through November.  If you would like to contribute, please contact
or one of our officers.   
Pro Bono Update
Thank you to this month's volunteers!
Pro Bono Representation

Ethel D. Andersen
Jerry A. Daniels
Laura J. Friedman
Vanessa I. Kosky
Laura M. Mayfield
Michael C. Murphy
Probate Clinic 
Walter J. Clarke  
Brook Davidson 
Martha Sue French 
Terri O'Neil 
Anna Orkins 
John Strupe 
Eric P. Wilborn
Consumer Law Clinic

Martha Sue French 
Terri O'Neil 
Craig W. Sherrer 
Christina D. Wagner
Family Law Information Class 

Sarah M. Steele
Criminal Defense Section Update
By Laura Mayfield, GCCDB Communications Officer
The next meeting of the Gwinnett County Criminal Defense Bar is Friday, September 27 from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.  Our speaker will be Tiana Garner, Chief Deputy Clerk for the Gwinnett County Clerk of Court.  She will update us on developments in the Clerk's office and the new online system.  The meeting will be held at Longhorn Steakhouse, 800 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, Lawrenceville, GA 30043.

The Gwinnett County Criminal Defense Bar held its August 2019 monthly meeting at the Gwinnet t County Detention Center.  The speaker, Sonya Lawhorn, Discharge Planer at the jail, offered insight to the inmate care and the range of resources and services available upon release.

2019 GCCDB Slate of Officers:
Richard Armond, President
Morris Margulis, President-elect
Jessica Towne, Vice president
Drew Mosely, Treasurer
Laura Mayfield, Communications
Interested in joining the section or want to RSVP for a monthly meeting?  Please contact section President Richard Armond at
A CORRECTION from last month's newsletter - we listed the date of the Holiday Party as December 7, 2019, when in reality it will be held on DECEMBER 6, 2019.  Make sure to amend your calendars!

The remainder of this calendar year's events:
  • Sept. 20, 2019 - luncheon
  • Oct. 18, 2019 - luncheon
  • Oct. 26, 2019 - Law Enforcement Appreciation Picnic
  • Nov. 15, 2019 - luncheon
  • Dec. 6, 2019 - Winter Party (no Dec. luncheon)
The 2019 Law Enforcement Appreciation Day Picnic is fast approaching on October 26, 2019 from 11:00-2:00 and we need your help!

As many of you are aware, each year the Gwinnett County Bar Association and Gwinnett Chiefs Association sponsor the picnic to support and thank our local law enforcement officers.  The picnic is one of the larger projects sponsored by the Bar, but we need your help to make it a success.  With donations from bar members like you, we are able to purchase door prizes for the officers and their families.  Officers, their families, and children always look forward to having prize tables stocked with exciting prizes.  We can't make that happen without your help!

If you can donate money, please make checks payable to the GCBA and send it to the attention of Amina Bakari in the District Attorney's Office or mail to PO Box 576 Lawrenceville, GA 30046.

If you wish to volunteer your time at the picnic, please email Amina Bakari at 
2019 Empire Atlanta
High School Mock Trial Competition
By Sanjeev Viswan, Judge Recruitment Division - Empire Atlanta
On behalf of 350 remarkable high school students, I am writing to invite the members of the Gwinnett County Bar Association to join us for a mock trial competition on September 21-22, 2019, at the Georgia World Congress Center.  Students from 11 states and 3 countries are participating in the program, including 6 schools from the state of Georgia.  Since June, they have been preparing to litigate a challenging (mock) case, and need lawyers in the Atlanta metropolitan area to serve as their jurors and lawyers to serve as their judges.
As a high school student, I competed in the Empire Mock Trial program, so this outreach is personal for me.   I know what a difference our program can make in the life of a high school student.  And I also know how important it is for us to recruit judges and jurors who are motivated to work with our students.  Lawyers who have participated or judged in advocacy competitions, like mock trial and moot court, make for excellent mock trial judges.  There is even an oral argument component of our mock trials, making it especially fun for our attorney volunteers!

Please contact David Walker if you have any questions or need assistance in registering or donating. Thanks!
Email address:   
Office phone: 770-972-3803
Cell phone: 404-234-6299
Attorney II (Appointed) - Gwinnett County Law Department
The position of Senior Assistant County Attorney will primarily be working with matters arising from the judicial system (Court System, District Attorney, Solicitor General and Administrative Office of the Courts), the Tax Commissioner, pro se litigation, excess proceeds claims, and interpleader matters, as well as other duties as assigned under the general supervision of a Deputy County Attorney.  
  • Juris Doctorate and 10 or more years of experience as an attorney;
  • Member in good standing of the Georgia Bar and admitted to practice in the Superior Courts of Georgia, United States District Court, Court of Appeals for the State of Georgia,  Supreme Court of Georgia and other courts as necessary;
  • Substantial experience working as a local government attorney;
  • Excellent writing skills
To apply, click here! 
Reprinted with permission, Chief Judge Ben Studdard and courtesy of ICJE.
State v. Baddeley, 348 Ga.App. 844, 823 S.E.2d 373 (February 6, 2019).  
Physical precedent only. In prosecution for DUI and related offenses, trial court erred in granting motion to suppress results of State blood test. Evidence didn't support finding that a reasonable person would have felt intimidated by trooper's statement to defendant that he would "yank" defendant's license based on his refusal. "Baddeley testified that he changed his mind in part because the trooper said that he was going to 'yank' Baddeley's license. He also testified that he changed his mind because he felt 'very intimidated' by the trooper's 'body language and the way he was looking at me.'" Held, "there are no objective facts in the transcript upon which the trial court was authorized to conclude that a reasonable 63-year-old person would not feel free to decline the trooper's request for a blood test. Indeed, Baddeley initially refused to take the test, which reflects that he knew he had a right to do so. The only purported evidence to the contrary is that Baddeley felt intimidated by the trooper's 'body language and the way he was looking at [him].' But Baddeley did not describe the relevant body language or demeanor in any way. And the trial court's finding that 'the Trooper's demeanor changed when [Baddeley] refused [to take the test]' is wholly unsupported by the record and therefore clearly erroneous. There is no testimony about the trooper's demeanor nor a change in it. All we have is Baddeley's subjective feeling of intimidation. Although the trooper testified that Baddeley became argumentative at one point, there is no evidence regarding the topic of that argument or whether it contributed to Baddeley's feeling of intimidation. McFadden dissents from the majority's failure to show due deference to the trial court's findings of fact, and its apparent holding "that a defendant whose consent was in fact secured by intimidation may not be found to have been intimidated if-in the opinion of the appellate court-a reasonable person would not have been intimidated." "The issue to be decided in cases like the one before us is not how a hypothetical reasonable person might feel. Rather, it is to determine whether, under the totality of the circumstances, the officer used fear, intimidation, or threats to obtain consent from the individual defendant before the court."
Ledbetter v. State, 349 Ga.App. 154, 825 S.E.2d 530 (March 5, 2019).  
Following nolle pros of family violence battery and related charges, state court's order denying motion to restrict record affirmed in part, vacated in part. 1. Motion was properly denied as to GCIC/GBI "because the Georgia Crime Information Center was required to automatically restrict Ledbetter's record" under OCGA § 35-3-37(h)(2)(A). "And even if the record was not subject to automatic restriction, nothing in the statute permits the state court to order the Georgia Crime Information Center/Georgia Bureau of Investigation to restrict a record that is not subject to automatic restriction." 2. Motion was properly denied as to police and sheriff because "Ledbetter was required to direct his own request for restriction 'to the appropriate county or municipal jail or detention center.'[fn] Then, only if the 'entity decline[d] to restrict access to such information,' could Ledbetter 'file a civil action in the superior court where the entity is located.' OCGA § 35-3-37(l) (emphasis supplied). Thereafter, the entity's decision may only be upheld if the court determines 'by clear and convincing evidence that the individual did not meet the criteria' for automatic record restriction under subsections (h) and (j) of OCGA § 35-3-37." Defendant here filed motion in state court rather than civil action in superior court. 3. Order vacated and remanded as to court records. Trial court's order denying motion recites that defendant's charges were nolle prossed for "unrestrictable reasons," without reference to any such reasons, and the record reflects none. Court of Appeals remands for consideration of whether any such reasons exist, such as "a plea agreement resulting in a conviction of the individual for an offense arising out of the same underlying transaction or occurrence as the conviction," OCGA § 35-3-37(i)(1)(A), or because "[t]he conduct which resulted in the arrest of the individual was part of a pattern of criminal activity which was prosecuted in another court of the state or a foreign nation," OCGA § 35-3-37(i)(1)(A).
Gwinnett Reentry Intervention Program announces new clinician!

The Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office is excited to announce that the Gwinnett Reentry Intervention Program (GRIP), in partnership with United Way of Greater Atlanta and through View Point Health, officially has a clinician.  Kafilat Oseni LPC will conduct onsite mental health and substance abuse evaluations.  If there is a need for a defendant to have either type of evaluation, as ordered by the court, the order can simply be sent to  Lastly, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to the GRIP Coordinator.
GRIP Coordinator
Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office
Gwinnett Reentry Intervention Program
2900 University Parkway, Lawrenceville, GA 30043
Office: 770-619-6494
Cell: 678-367-1831
Yes, Online Profiles Matter for Lawyers: Nine Simple Tips for Maximizing Avvo
By now, every lawyer in America has heard of Avvo.  Some of us love it; some hate it.  Either way, it's not going away.  It has been online for over a decade and has millions of users.  It also ranks very high in Google searches.  So, what should lawyers do about and with Avvo?  
First, some basics:
Avvo creates a placeholder profile for every lawyer it can identify.  You can "claim" your profile or let it sit out there.  If it just sits out there, unclaimed, you are missing out on potential free exposure to your target audience.  I would even argue that it can undermine whatever brand you are attempting to create.  I have known well-established lawyers who don't claim their profile.  Or, they claim it, but let it sit there with a low rating.  Why do that?  It is easy and FREE to build out your profile and maintain it.  Not to worry, you need not be a tech expert to do this, I promise.  
Here are 9 simple tips for maximizing the impact of your FREE (did I mention this?)  Avvo profile:
1. Claim it!  Easy peasy.  Just do it.  Or, better yet, delegate it to someone below your pay grade.  Anyone younger than about 30 can do this for you in less time than it will take to read this article.
2. Add a NICE, CURRENT headshot.  Every lawyer needs a professional headshot.  If you are even just 3 months into practice, you should have this done.  If you work for a firm, they should pay.  If you work for yourself, find someone good and "just do it!"  I recommend having your hair and makeup professionally done as well.  Gentlemen, this includes you.  Get a fresh haircut, beard trim, and let the makeup artist apply a little powder.  No one wants to look "shiny" in a headshot.  You will want to use these for at least 3-5 years.  Do NOT post a "selfie" from your phone to Avvo.  Your profile will not look professional or serious.  It is better to leave the photo spot empty than post something unprofessional.
3. Input the data you are prompted to add, i.e., education, experience, etc.  If you write it directly into the Avvo software, it will not check for spelling and grammatical errors.  Any amount of narrative copy should be cut and pasted into Word to check for these types of errors.  You are a lawyer.  Potential clients expect you to be able to WRITE, people.  If you are not a strong writer, delegate it.  But make sure you proof it for accuracy and tone.  You will need to provide a current resume or all information required in another form to your copywriter.
4. Dig deep for both "publications" and "speaking engagements."  The Avvo algorithm cannot judge the QUALITY of your published works or talks.  This means that, for new attorneys, for example, a piece of writing could be something you published in law school.  For established attorneys, you could write a basic article for your local bar association's newsletter. Easy peasy, right?  As for speaking engagements, it could be talking to lawyers or non-lawyers.  On profiles I have built, we have included time my client spent speaking to residents of a homeless shelter through a legal aid project, as well as talks she gave to law students and practicing paralegals.  These two fields are easy to complete and will boost your rating.
5. Honors/Awards:  This has been the only category I have seen, over the years, that not everyone can fulfill.  Obviously, you cannot "control" whether you receive an honor or award. However, you can influence the process.  For example, if you are in a solo practice or small firm, you can reach out to other solo/small-firmers with requests to vote for each other in "Super Lawyer" evaluation processes.  (The big firms do this!) Legal aid and local and state bars also tend to give awards for completing pro bono hours or charity/fundraising efforts.
6. Peer Endorsements:  These can be from any attorney you know, including opposing counsel, co-counsel, or simply a colleague who can honestly comment on your wonderful attributes.  I HIGHLY recommend spacing out requests to colleagues so it does not appear you lined them all up on the same day.  This looks disingenuous.  Also, you may not want to request an endorsement from someone you are not likewise comfortable endorsing, because he/she is bound to ask that you return the favor.
7. Client Reviews:  You should be asking every single satisfied client to give you a positive review.  If you are not 100% sure it will be positive, don't ask.  In many states, it is unethical to give the client anything of value for a review, so definitely check your own bar rules on this.  You can send the client the request from inside Avvo.  Or, copy and paste the link to an email. Either way, definitely make it EASY for the client to do this for you. Some firms now have iPads available in the waiting area and ask clients to do the review during their last visit to the office. You could even carry the firm iPad to court and ask the client to do it there, if that will be your last in-person contact with the client.
8. Avvo Rating Badge:  This is another easy, FREE way to increase your rating.  Copy and paste the badge code to your website.  It then shows your Avvo rating on your website.  Obviously, the higher your rating, the better. I would not place the badge on a website unless it is at least an 8.  As you continue to flesh out your Avvo profile, the rating automatically improves on both Avvo and what is visible on your website.
9. One last point:  There is no need to pay for advertising or to answer questions to improve your rating.  Many attorneys think these two things are necessary.  In my experience of building and maintaining profiles, they are not.  I have clients with "10" ratings who have done neither.  Personally, when I was practicing law, I never answered questions because there is no way to do a conflict check with a random stranger on the Internet and I hesitate to give ANY sort of legal advice based on a mere snippet of facts.  But, you do you.  If you decide to give answers, make sure you are complying with all applicable bar rules.... Which brings me to another crucial point: Make sure you know how your state bar feels about Avvo.  Many state bars have had to issue ethics opinions on different aspects of this site.  If you wonder about your bar, start with a search on "advertising" since most states consider a site like this to be "attorney advertising."
I hope the above tips and information have been helpful to you.  As promised, they are all very basic.  There are many more aspects of Avvo I would love to explain to you.  I am happy to advise you/your copywriter on how to maximize Avvo or to do it for you.  Just text or call me at (904) 994-2481 or email me at
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