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Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

When a nurse struggles with substance use, he or she may worry that seeking help will result in career damage. In fact, self-reporting a problem with drugs or alcohol can help protect your ability to practice as a nurse.

Learn how a DUI or drug diversion arrest could impact your Georgia nursing license.

Understanding mandatory reporting requirements

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020.

A major part of the CARES Act provided for a total of $669 million in federal funds to be designated for financial relief for small and medium-sized businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The crush of applications meant the fund ran out in minutes. Lenders scrambled to handle applications and disburse money to struggling businesses, with 4 million disbursements made by the middle of May. However, many companies that were eligible were unable to access assistance. Public outcry about nationally recognized businesses receiving funds led to the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department establishing a “Safe Harbor” return program whereby businesses could return loans. The Safe Harbor deadline, originally set for May 7, was extended twice but ended on May 18.

Now, federal authorities are investigating and filing fraud charges against those thought to have taken advantage of the new program. Applicants who falsely certified any part of the loan request could face criminal charges, fines, and restitution. In addition, as forgiveness applications are submitted and approved, use of PPP funds for anything other than allowed business purposes could subject applicants to investigation.

This past week, Conaway & Strickler’s Meg Strickler and Chelsea Thomas tried a capital case in Fulton County Superior Court.  Our client was facing life in prison. Ms. Thomas and Ms. Strickler were able to secure a NOT GUILTY verdict. The jury deliberated just 30 minutes.

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Something viewed as a humorous prank by one person could be perceived in a much different light by another. Every action taken, regardless of someone’s age, can potentially bring life-changing consequences. A college scholarship student in Georgia is likely preparing a criminal defense due to his actions involving a photo he allegedly snapped and posted on social media.

In Nov. 2016, a cadet at the University of North Georgia in his junior year went to a restroom in the Military Leadership Center in Dahlonega. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the cadet apparently saw one of his instructors at a urinal with his shorts pulled down. The cadet allegedly took a photo with his phone and sent it to some of his friends. Following that, the photo was purportedly shared on a messaging app and was seen by hundreds of viewers.

News of the photo reached university officials, and the cadet was asked to show it to his superiors. He now faces up to six years in prison regarding a felony charge of unlawful eavesdropping or surveillance and a misdemeanor charge of transmission of photography depicting nudity. Reports say that he could also be fined $51,000 for the incident. In addition, the student may lose his scholarship, which included funding for his room, meals, books and tuition.

Crime rates are high in many areas. However, not all people charged with crimes are convicted. In fact, some accused individuals are successful in having their charges lowered or their cases dismissed entirely. Often, aggressive strategies help defendants protect their rights and preserve their freedoms. There are at least 22 people in Georgia who are likely focused on criminal defense after their recent arrests over a six-day period.

Columbus police investigated various possible crime situations in the area. In addition to arresting so many people, authorities say they also recovered over $100,000 in stolen property. A special operations division and patrol unit combined efforts in this particular investigation.

Authorities say 10 vehicles that had previously been reported stolen were seized. All of the persons arrested will have their day in court. Regardless of how minor or serious charges are, American jurisprudence protects the rights of every accused individual by allowing him or her to present a defense and by guaranteeing the presumption of innocence unless and until prosecutors prove otherwise in court. It can be quite intimidating to go up against tenacious prosecutors, however, which is why it is highly advisable to act alongside experienced and aggressive defense assistance.

Criminal Defense: In criminal trials, prosecutors will often attempt to bring in prior convictions or prior bad acts in trial as a way to persuade jurors as to a defendant’s guilt. These are fights that our fought before trial in pretrial hearings. The case against actor Bill Cosby is a great example of a prosecutor trying to get in prior bad acts. Cosby faces sexual assault charges in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Today, the prosecutor attempted to win a preliminary hearing arguing for the testimony of more than twelve women to testify at Cosby’s upcoming trial. The prosecutor argued a concept that we use in Georgia of “similar transactions”. If the judge allows this testimonry to come in, it will ease the prosecutor’s burden of showing intent and it will most definitly bolster the prosecution’s case against Cosby. In Georgia, these “other acts”, like in Pennsylvania, need to be similar enough so that they show the “handiwork of the same perpetrator,” (the PA prosecutor’s words from today) and the limited purpose of showing the defendant’s state of mind, knowledge, intent, or mode of operation in the crime charge (Georgia). In both states, the judge will focus on the similarities versus the differences in making his/her decision in allowing similar transactions in.

Interestingly, the prosecutor has a tough burden in the Cosby case. The Pennsylvania State Supreme Court recently ruled against allowing too many victims testifying. What is a good limit? The judge will probably rule on this issue today.

For additional blog entries, see here.

Criminal Defense attorney Meg Strickler has been covering the Ross Harris #hotcardeath trial for WXIA NBC Affiliate in Atlanta.  She has appeared throughout the more than month long trial with anchor Vinnie Politan and his dream team of legal experts.  Click here for a sample of her commentary.  Ross Harris is accused of intentionally leaving his 22 month old son, Cooper, in a his small SUV to die on a very hot day in June of 2014 in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.  The jury will probably come back this week with a verdict of at least the Felony Murder charge of Cruelty to Children second degree and counts six through eight that focus on his sexting with a minor.  His sentencing will probably be postponed for a bit of time after the trial ends.  But, ultimately, Ross Harris could be taxed with the famous “trial tax” and receive a long sentence of life plus an additional amount of years.  He will not get out of prison.

When trying a criminal case, there are many elements that come in to play.  Seasoned criminal defense attorneys, like Dan Conaway and Meg Strickler, are an essential part of a successful trial.  Most criminal cases require extensive knowledge and experience and Conaway & Strickler, PC has both.  But, also the lawyers for the defense and prosecution in the Ross Harris case are great examples of exceptional lawyers.  

When an incident occurs, it is CRUCIAL to hire an attorney as soon as possible.  With today’s technology, every word and movement is recorded. Do not add to the government’s case by talking freely with any government authority!  Allow the lawyer to assist early on.  It can only help.  

Criminal Defense: The use of experts is an important decision in the defense of a criminal case.  If the government, for example, has chosen to bring an expert on as part of their case, it may be an absolute necessity to obtain an expert on the defense side to refute the various statements made by the government’s expert.  The use of experts by the defense can also be quite helpful in the pre indictment discussions with government.  

Criminal defense attorney Meg Strickler has been commenting on the Ross Harris hot car death trial on various media outlets.  In this case, the defense put on an expert as part of their case.  Experts are often called upon by the government and the defense.  In the Ross Harris case, the defense called a “memory” expert to try and explain away the fact that Ross Harris allegedly “forgot” his child in the back seat of his car and the child died.  The defense alleged that this was all a tragic accident as opposed to something reckless or maliciously done by the defendant.  The cross examination, however, brought down any effectiveness that may have occured.  And the cross of this expert is now going to be a classic “how to” for future lawyers to dismantle anything the expert has stated on direct.  Please see my commentary here.   Criminal defense attorneys like Dan Conaway and Meg Strickler will work to obtain the best expert(s) in your case and use it in trial as applicable.  But, also, Conaway & Strickler will also know, through years of trial experience, when to use experts and when not to utilize them.  

For additional blogs, please see here.

Georgia state apparently had arrest warrants issued for two persons who happen to be married to each other. An incident recently occurred that led to accusations against the husband for property damage and other offenses. The encounter reportedly resulted in both husband and wife being placed under arrest and in need of criminal defense.

Allegedly, the spouses, both of whom are age 43, had decided to go for a swim without wearing any clothing. Another woman, age 40, appears to have contacted local law enforcement, saying that she and her friend had become engaged in a dispute with the man at a boating dock. She said she had asked the man if the floating device he was using belonged to him. At that point, she claims the man brandished a knife.

The woman said the man became irate and punched her friend. It seems she and her friend then tried to flee the area in their vehicle; while doing so, she says the belligerent man broke the rear window of the car. Eventually, police arrested the couple after finding them swimming naked in the water. The woman is said to have gone peacefully with the officers, but the man allegedly grew more and more violent as time went on, even threatening the lives of the police officers.

Criminal Defense: Dan Conaway, author of Arrested, Battling America’s Criminal Justice System was recently awarded yet another 5 star review for his book.

This book is an excellent resource if:

1. You are a “good, decent law-abiding citizen” who believes you could never end up involved in anything related to criminal activity

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