September 2015
President's Corner

I am both honored and grateful to have the opportunity to lead and serve the Gwinnett County Bar Association in our 54th year.  I look forward to a year that attempts to capitalize on the momentum that saw us close our year with both the Past Presidents dinner, which provided us an opportunity to reconnect and have fellowship with those members and leaders of our organization who paved the way for so many of us today, and the events surrounding our annual celebration of Law Day. 

Our plans for the first half of the bar year include re-establishing a Young Lawyers Division for Gwinnett, as we seek to increase the involvement of our younger lawyers within the Gwinnett community and make them aware of service opportunities to the profession and to the public.  To that end, we will be promoting the opportunity to volunteer for the 2016 Georgia Mock Trial Competition.  There are Regional and District Competitions that take place in January of 2016 before the culmination of the State Finals Competition, which will be held at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center in March of 2016. Read More...

Meet the New GCBA Board Members! 

Joshua Huckaby, President
Josh Huckaby grew up in Snellville, Georgia, attending Shiloh High School.  After graduating from the University of Georgia as a "Double Dawg", Josh took a job in Toccoa, Georgia with a small general practice firm.  After spending three years there, Josh relocated to Dacula, Georgia, obtaining a job with his current firm, O'Kelley & Sorohan, Attorneys at Law, LLC.  After spending three years closing residential loans, Josh took a position within the firm's litigation department, which he currently heads and which largely focuses on residential real-estate matters.  Josh lives in Dacula with his beautiful wife, Michelle, and their three children, Bryan, Nicole and Mia.

Chuck Efstration, President Elect

Chuck Efstration grew up in Gwinnett County, attending Greater Atlanta Christian School.  After graduating from the University of Georgia and Mercer Law School, Chuck returned to Gwinnett County to prosecute felony offenses as an Assistant District Attorney.  In 2013, Chuck was elected to serve the Dacula, Lawrenceville and Hamilton Mill communities in the Georgia House of Representatives.  Today, Chuck owns a general practice law firm serving Gwinnett County clients. 

Carlton Rouse, Vice President

Carlton Rouse served the Gwinnett County Bar Association for nearly three years, first as the Law Day Chair in 2013, then as the Community Liaison, the secretary of the bar, and now serves as the Vice President.  Carlton has a boutique practice that offers representation to clients in the metro Atlanta area and in Gwinnett with respect to Criminal Defense, Serious Personal Injury, Consumer Bankruptcy, and domestic cases. Prior to opening his firm, Carlton earned his law degree while studying in Boston at Northeastern University and graduated with a J.D. and M.B.A. in 2002. He earned his bachelor's degree from Clark Atlanta University in 1998.

Carlton is currently an active participant with the Gwinnett Community Based Mentor Program, Lawyers Association, Atlanta Legal Aid, and he volunteers within his church. Carlton enjoys spending time with family and playing golf. 

Jon Setzer, Treasurer

Jon Setzer is a Senior Assistant District Attorney with the Gwinnett Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office, where he has been for the last seven years. Prior to joining the Gwinnett District Attorney's Office, he worked for the Oconee Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office in Eastman, Georgia for two years. Jon earned his law degree from Emory University in 2006 and his Bachelor's Degree in Economics and Sociology from Vanderbilt University in 2003. Jon regularly assists Vanderbilt's Office of Admissions with alumni interviews for prospective students and college fairs at local high schools.

Jon is the treasurer of the Gwinnett County Bar Association this year, and he has previously served as the Law Day Chairperson and a liaison with the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Georgia. He was previously the chairperson of the Georgia High School Mock Trial Committee and continues to serve on the State Finals Planning Board, Law Academy Faculty, and Problem Subcommittee for that program. Jon is a 2013 graduate of the Young Lawyers Division's Leadership Academy. Jon lives in Suwanee with his wife, Heather, and their son, Caleb. He plays soccer for Brick Store Football Club and holds a United States Soccer Federation National Coaching License.

Donald Lee, Secretary
I'm a recovering Yankee having been born and raised in Maryland, went to Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) for college and Thomas Jefferson School of Law (San Diego, CA) for graduate school. I currently reside in Sugar Hill (right next to North Gwinnett High School) with my wife, 3 year old son, newborn son (due date 9/16/15) and our standard schnauzer, Max.
I moved to Atlanta on a whim after some of my college buddies coaxed me to move here after one of our annual Bonnaroo trips. I initially settled in the Virginia Highlands and then Decatur as a public defender for Fulton County for 6 years. Simultaneously, I was a mentor with Big Brother, Big Sister of Atlanta and then a spot opened up at Gwinnett County Juvenile Court as a Guardian ad Litem. That vacancy, county demographics and quality of life brought me OTP.

Dodie Sachs, Law Day Chair

Dorothy "Dodie" Rosenberger Sachs is an associate attorney in the Litigation Department  of O'Kelley and Sorohan Attorneys at Law, LLC, and practices in the areas of real estate litigation, homeowner's association representation, and family law.  Mrs. Sachs earned her J.D. from Tulane University School of Law. While in law school, in addition to her studies, Mrs. Sachs volunteered in the New Orleans public schools teaching reading and basic math to eighth graders, worked for a social security disability firm, and for Chico's FAS. She is also an alumna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she majored in Religious Studies from 1993 to 1997.
Mrs. Sachs is the recipient of the 2014 Volunteer of the Year Award from the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, and the 2015 Pro Bono Project Award from the Gwinnett County Bar Association and the Gwinnett Pro Bono Project.  Mrs. Sachs is also a member of the 2015 Leadership Academy Class of the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers (GAWL).  Mrs. Sachs was the Neighborhood Networking Lunch (NNL) coordinator for the Gwinnett Chapter of the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers for several years, as well as their Secretary for two terms.   Presently, Mrs. Sachs is the Law Day Chair for the Gwinnett County Bar Association, after serving as the Membership Chair for several years.

September Bar Speakers 

Ronald L. Carlson (Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Law, Emeritus, University of Georgia School of Law): Ron Carlson was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, as well as the Federal Bar Association's highest honor, the Earl Kintner Award.  The ABA recognized him with the ALI-ABA Harrison Tweed Award, their top award for CLE contributions at the national level.  He has received every faculty honor presented by the law school student body at least once: the Student Bar Association Faculty Book Award for Excellence in Teaching, which is now the C. Ronald Ellington Award for Excellence in Teaching, the John C. O'Byrne Memorial Award for Significant Contributions Furthering Student-Faculty Relations and the Student Bar Association Professionalism Award. He was the first Georgia Law professor to receive the Josiah Meigs Award for Teaching Excellence from UGA.  He also was awarded the 1987 Roscoe Pound Foundation's Richard S. Jacobson Award, honoring a single national law professor for the teaching of trial advocacy.  Professor Carlson was the lead and sole attorney for indigent prisoners in two significant U.S. Supreme Court appeals, Long v. District Court (establishing indigent habeas applicant's right to transcript) and Johnson v. Bennett (prisoner freed after 34 years of confinement).  He is the author of 15 books on evidence, trial practice and criminal procedure, including the book Carlson on Evidence, co-authored with son Mike Carlson.  Carlson regularly comments on WSB radio on high-profile Georgia criminal cases.

Michael Scott Carlson (Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney, Cobb Judicial Circuit; Adjunct Professor of Law, Atlanta's John Marshall Law School; Judge, Georgia Court Martial Review Panel):
Mike Carlson, who holds an "AV Preeminent" (highest possible) Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating, received his A.B degree from the University of Georgia and his J.D. degree  from Washington and Lee University in 1992, where he earned, among other distinctions, the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association Award for his "excellence in demonstrating the talents and attributes of the trial advocate."  After first engaging in private practice, where he focused on civil litigation and media law, Carlson has worked as an assistant district attorney since 1997, now as a Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney with the Cobb County District Attorney's Office.  During his career as a prosecutor, Carlson has successfully tried and handled numerous high-profile cases and appeals, including death penalty trials.  An author and frequent speaker on issues of evidence, trial practice and criminal procedure to Georgia's bench and bar, Carlson has served on the adjunct faculty of Atlanta's John Marshall Law School and Emory University School of Law, and is a mentor and lecturer at the Gary Christy Memorial Trial Skills Clinic at the University Of Georgia School Of Law.  In 2015, Governor Nathan Deal appointed Carlson to the Georgia Court Martial Review Panel. 
Among the professional awards and recognition that Carlson has received include the following: Faculty Medallion from the Institute of Continuing Judicial Education of Georgia for consistently outstanding ratings as a presenter at judges conferences; Prosecuting Attorneys' Council of Georgia's J. Roger Thompson (now Thompson-Jones) award for training beginning level prosecutors; selection as a Master in the Joseph Henry Lumpkin Inn of American Court; named by James Magazine as one of "the most influential lawyers in Georgia"; and special recognition from the District Attorneys' Association of Georgia and the Georgia Gang Investigators Association.  More information on Michael here

Strickland vs. Alexander:
Garnishment law declared unconstitutional

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia issued a ruling on September 8, 2015 declaring that Georgia's garnishment statute is unconstitutional, and issued an injunction to the Clerk of Court in Gwinnett County to stop issuing Summons of Garnishment.  This injunction only applies to Gwinnett County as the underlying case arises from our County.  A summary of the case follows, but the whole opinion can be found in the case Tony W. Strickland v. Richard T. Alexander, Clerk of Court of the State Court of Gwinnett County, Georgia, Civil Action File No. 1.:12-CV-02735-MHS. Click here to read entire opinion 

In Memoriam of Judge Gene Reeves
By Warren Davis, Judge, Superior Ct, Senior Contributing Editor

A legend within the Gwinnett Bar recently passed away. His name, Clarence 'Gene' Reeves, Jr.   I worked with Judge Reeves for 17 years.  Judge Reeves was renowned for giving young offenders 'a second chance.' He would say, 'use it to change your changed mine.'  

Here's that story. Gene was born in Meridian, MS during the Depression. Gene's first 'second chance' was his own adoption by a loving family.  Then, after high school, Gene enlisted in the Air Force. His unit was deployed to Korea. His base was overrun. Gene was wounded.

Gene returned from war, moving to Gwinnett. He joined the Gwinnett Sheriff's Department. He was the first Gwinnett officer to complete the F.B.I. Academy. He attended John Marshall Law School at night. Gene joined the Georgia Bar in 1964.   
Gene was a trial lawyer. At the time, Georgia's electric chair seldom collected dust.   Read more... 

News & Events!

The Bar at the Bar!
Fall membership drive  will be held in October at the 1818 Club. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks!

Local Attorney Elected Master of the Joseph Henry Lumpkin American Inn of Court

Andersen Tate & Carr is honored to announce that Thomas T. Tate has been elected as a Master of the Joseph Henry Lumpkin American Inn of Court.  Masters are judges and lawyers of great experience, who are recognized as being among the ablest in the profession and who themselves exhibit the excellence in professionalism, ethics, civility, and legal skills that the Inn seeks to foster.  The list of members is a prestigious one, and includes some of the top judges from all levels of the judiciary as well as attorneys from some of the best firms in the state.  Congratulations to Tom Tate for earning this high distinction!
'Workhorse of the Year' awarded to 
Judge Blum!

Chief Magistrate, Kristina Blum, was recognized by the Council of Magistrate Court Judges as the 'Workhorse of the Year' at its annual meeting.  Judge Blum serves as an officer for the Council and is its president-elect.  She teaches CJE courses around the state. 

This honor was particularly appreciated as she was nominated by her own judges. Congratulations to Judge Blum!
Law Enforcement Appreciation Picnic

As many of you are aware, each year the Gwinnett County Bar Association in conjunction with the Gwinnett Chiefs Association sponsors the Law Enforcement Appreciation Picnic which is well-attended by officers and their families.  The picnic is one of the larger projects sponsored by the Bar.  

The picnic will be held at Rhodes Jordan Park in Lawrenceville on Saturday, October 17, 2015, from 10-1.  Please consider donating either your time or money (or both) to make the picnic the success it has been in years past.  The Bar collects donations, which are then used to purchase door prizes for the officers and their families.  The prize drawing is done for both the adults and the children.  If we don't have good prizes, the officers won't come back next year.  If you can donate money, please make the check payable to the GCBA and send it to the attention of Julie Potts in the Solicitor's Office. 
If you wish to volunteer your time at the picnic, please email Julie Potts.  I know with the help of each and every one of you that this year's picnic will be even more successful than last year!  

Judge Steven Franzen, A Distinguished Member of the GCBA
By Margaret Gettle Washburn, Senior Contributing Editor

Judge Stephen Franzen', Gwinnett County Juvenile Court, was the first lawyer or judge from the Gwinnett Judicial Circuit to be named as a member of the Charles Longstreet Weltner Family Inn of Court, American Inns of Court, in 2003.  The mission of the American Inns of Court Foundation is to lead the movement to elevate the American practice of law by promoting the ideals of excellence and professionalism, the exercise of civility and courtroom competence, the spirit of mutual cooperation and camaraderie, and adherence to legal ethics through membership in American Inns of Court.  This particular Inn of Court is dedicated to the improvement of family law practice, share ideas and build camaraderie among the lawyers and Judges.  

Judge Franzen' is a Judge of this Inn of Court and has served as program chair and committee chair.  He is a graduate of Duke University, B.A. and received his J.D. at the University of Georgia in 1979.  After two years in private practice, he joined the Office of the District Attorney in Gwinnett and served as Chief Assistant Attorney from 1985-1991.  Judge Franzen' was appointed as Judge of the Juvenile Court of Gwinnett County in 1991 and continues to serve.  He has served as President of the Georgia Council of Juvenile Court Judges; and served on the Georgia Supreme Court Child Placement Project Advisory/Implementation Committee, the Georgia Commission on Child Support.  He was named a Senior Fellow with the Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic at Emory University in 2008; and since 2009 serves as CJCJ representative on the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.

Firing an Employee Based on FMLA Technicalities can Result in Attorney's Fees

An employee claims she has injured her knee - again - and has been referred to an orthopedist. She requests medical leave and asks for Family and Medical Act leave forms. Then she asks for a couple of extra days to return the forms, claiming that her orthopedist is on leave.
In the meantime, she faxes in past doctors' notes that released her to return to work more than ten days earlier. Her doctor eventually faxes in her FMLA forms - four days late. The forms request a total of 13 weeks leave, despite the FMLA allowing for only 12 weeks. 
The employer - shocked that the employee is requesting leave when her doctor has already authorized her return - fires the woman before her FMLA forms are reviewed. Is this okay?
Fall is in the Air!

With Labor Day weekend flying by and the start of a new season closely approaching, we all hope to have a little time to ourselves for much needed rest and relaxation this autumn. That is, if our busy schedules allow us to even consider relaxing for even one moment!
In the event you are planning time off without your smartphone pinging and email chirping, I have some suggestions for you to unwind. Click here for spa, restaurant, and pumpkin patch reviews!
Special Education in Public Schools

Members of the Gwinnett Bar may ask what I do in private practice. I usually reply I represent families of children with disabilities in special education. "What is special education law?" they ask. Well, that is difficult to explain in a few words, but I will try to give you a very condensed version of special education law.    
Special education law has evolved quite a bit since Congress enacted the Education for All Handicapped Children's Act in 1975. The current law, which is entitled "The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004" or IDEA, 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq., is a comprehensive statute with a stated purpose "to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living." 20 U.S.C. 1400(d)(1)(A). Read More...
Jackson vs. Sanders: We Had a Deal... Then we Changed it - Who Needs the Courts?
By Margaret Gettle Washburn, Senior Contributing Editor
13 May Margaret Washburn

This case has it all:  Supersedeas Bond, Determination of Self-Employment Income, Change in Parenting Plans, Attorneys Fees, and an Agreement made between the Parties, NOT incorporated in a court order, and the Court of
Appeals Finds the Agreement Enforceable. This is a long opinion but worth the time to read!

Court of Appeals of Georgia

Doug JACKSON, herein referred to as Father, filed a petition for modification of custody, seeking additional parenting time with his then 11-year-old son. The child's mother, Lisa SANDERS, herein referred to as Mother, opposed the petition and filed a counterclaim for past-due child support. After a bench trial, the trial court denied Father's petition, awarded Mother past-due child support, increased the amount of Father's monthly child-support payment, issued a new parenting plan, awarded attorney fees to Mother, and ordered Father to pay a supersedeas bond in satisfaction of the court's judgment.  Click here to read more...
Milich Minute

This month's question.  Frank is charged with breaking into a house.  The homeowner would testify that an anonymous phone caller told her: "Frank broke into our house."
Defense objects that this just might be hearsay.
Which is the best answer?
1. Sustained.  Offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted.
2.  Sustained.  Its relevance asks the jury to assume the caller was not lying or mistaken.
3.  Both 1 and 2.
4.  Overruled.  Anonymous callers never lie.

12 Milich

Criminal Defense Updates

Long-time attorney Clint Rhodes will take over as president of the Gwinnett County Bar Association's Criminal Defense Section.

The Criminal Defense Section will hold its next meeting Sept. 10 from 5:30 -7:30 p.m. on the patio of La Cazuela, 179 West Crogan St. in Lawrenceville. Food and beverages will be provided. The social event is free to members and $10 for guests.

 The Section will hold its Criminal Defense Seminar Oct. 29 at GJCA. Section me

etings are also scheduled for Oct. 2 and Nov. 6 at La Cazuela in downtown Lawrenceville from 11:45 a.m. - 1 p.m. Members are free, guests are $10.

The Section also wants to remind members that to remain on the Gwinnett County appointed list, attorneys must attend at least six hours of criminal defense CLE annually.
"We always have excellent speakers and topics," said Pam Britt, of the Criminal Defense Section. "Now is the time to join and renew your membership!"

Photo: Outgoing Chair Jim Wall on the left and incoming 'Chair' Clint Rhodes on the right.
Estate Planning and Probate Updates

We will meet the second Tuesday of every other month at 12:00 noon in a private room at LongHorn Steakhouse in Lawrenceville.  The restaurant is located at 800 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30043 and can be reached at 770-338-0646.  We will have a guest speaker at each meeting, TBA.
Please save the date for the following meetings of the Estate Planning & Probate Section:
Sept 8, 2015
November 10, 2015
January 12, 2016
March 8, 2016
May 10, 2016
July 12, 2016
 You do not have to be a member 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. 

State Court Notifying Defendants of First Offender Rights

Pro se defendants now have an additional waiver of rights form to complete when entering a plea in Gwinnett County State Court.
All pro se defendants must now sign a notice acknowledging that they understand their first offender rights under OCGA 42-8-61. Georgia House Bill 310, which went into effect July 1, requires the Court to inform defendants of their right to enter a plea as a first offender if eligible.
To comply with the new legislation, Gwinnett County State Court judges now require all pro se defendants to sign the "Notice Regarding First Offender Sentencing Pursuant to OCGA 42-8-61." Defendants entering pleas in State Court must sign and indicate whether they are qualified to be sentenced as a first offender and if they desire to be sentenced under the statute.
Under the new legislation, attorneys are responsible for informing their clients whether they are eligible to be sentenced as a first offender. In Superior Court, defendants are informed of their rights orally on the record.




In This Issue
September Bar Meeting Details

September 18th
at 12pm 
at the 1818 Club
6500 Sugarloaf Parkway
Duluth, GA 30097

Gwinnett County Bar Association | | [email protected] |
P.O.Box 576
Lawrenceville, GA 30046