October 2016
President's Corner

Atlanta attorney Linda Klein began her term as president of the American Bar Association in August with an important mission.  She proposed an ABA agenda to provide American veterans with greater access to legal assistance.  

Ms. Klein first became interested in this issue through volunteering at an Atlanta homeless shelter.  She learned that nearly half of the top ten challenges leading to veteran homelessness requires legal assistance to reach a solution.  

In response, the ABA has created the Veterans Legal Services Initiative to create partnerships and engagement opportunities to address the needs of veterans.  With Veterans Day approaching in November, some Bar members might be asking how to be of assistance.  

Attorneys may visit the State Bar of Georgia's Military and Veterans Legal Assistance Program webpage, with opportunities for involvement here: https://www.gabar.org/publicservice/militarylegalassistance.cfm.

October Bar Luncheon: 
Listening Skills for Lawyers

Speaker: The Honorable Warren Davis, Superior Court of Gwinnett County
Judge of the Month: The Honorable Kristina Hammer Blum, Chief Magistrate Judge

Join us on October 21 for one of our favorite speakers, Judge Warren Davis, with the topic: "Listening Skills for Lawyers."  We will also host Chief Magistrate Judge Kristina Blum as our Judge of the Month for October.  We look forward to seeing you on October 21 at noon at the 1818 Club.  
October Bar Luncheon Sponsor: 
Carpe Argentum

Jodi A. Miles is the owner of Carpe Argentum (Latin for "seize the silver") and offers practice management coaching services to lawyers and law firms. Ms. Miles is a member of the Florida Bar where she practiced law for fifteen years, including running her own firm. Ms. Miles has been helping attorneys nationwide since 2006 in the areas of marketing, profitability, staffing, systems implementation, and time management. You may reach her at (904) 994-2481 or JodiAMiles@gmail.com. Her website is: www.carpeargentum.net and she is on Facebook at Carpe Argentum. 
Sheffield v. Sheffield, A16A1135
Georgia Court of Appeals, (9/21/2016, 9/30/2016) 
by Margaret Gettle Washburn, Senior Contributing Editor

In a recent opinion, Judge Carla Wong McMillian, for the Court, found that, although the Gwinnett County Juvenile Court "clearly intended to act in the best interests of the Child, we must reverse the grant of joint legal custody to the Mother and Grandmother and remand for further proceedings on the question of legal custody."

The Mother, Kaleigh Sheffield, appealed the juvenile court's final order awarding joint legal custody of her minor child to her mother, Holly Sheffield, the child's Grandmother.  The Mother asserted that the juvenile court erred in awarding joint legal custody of the Child to her and the Grandmother after finding that she is fit to parent.  She did not enumerate as error the award of primary physical custody to the Grandmother.  The Court of Appeals, on this sole enumeration of error, reversed and remanded for further proceedings.  
Click here to continue reading
Archaic or Esoteric: The Practice of Law

A Judge once said, "The practice of law is an art as well as knowing what is in the Code book. It's a relationship as well as the law." The new Georgia Evidence Code went into effect on January 1, 2013. As of the date of this writing, it is October 1, 2016. If you haven't read it lately, take a look. If you're a practitioner and a statute doesn't make sense,  perhaps you should challenge it on constitutional grounds. If you're a Judge and a statute doesn't make sense, you should pray that someone does. A lawyer did this recently in DeKalb County and Judge Seeliger to his credit ruled that the Violation of Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, O.C.G.A.
 16-15-9, was unconstitutional. That's progress. The take away, some laws should not be on the books.  Click here for full article
Mystery Bar Member
by Judge Warren Davis

Many of our members have unique prior professions, education backgrounds and fascinating life experiences. See if you can guess this month's profiled member: 13 Mystery guest

  • Married his high school sweetheart and has been married 28 years (9/2016)
  • Has over 50 parachute jumps from planes and helicopters (while in the Army)
  • Graduate of Gwinnett's Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program & Gwinnett Citizen's Fire Academy
  • Coaches youth football 


The ABCs of Interference Under the Americans with Disabilities Act
by Lisa B. Golan, Attorney at Law

The EEOC recently issued new guidance on retaliation in violation of federal discrimination statutes.  See EEOC Release Dated 8-29-16.  It includes a revision of the EEOC Compliance Manual Chapter on Retaliation, a Small Business Fact Sheet and Questions and Answers on Retaliation and Related Issues.
As with other discrimination statutes, it is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act for an employer to retaliate against an employee for raising ADA rights.  A lesser known provision of the ADA provides in addition that:

"It shall be unlawful to coerce, intimidate, threaten or interfere with any individual in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of his or her having exercised or enjoyed, or ...having aided or encouraged any other individual in the exercise or enjoyment, of any right granted or protected by [the ADA]." 42 U.S.C. §12203(b).

Voting Rights and Adult Guardianship

In light of the upcoming election, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the voting rights of adults under guardianship in Georgia. There are several relevant laws:
  • The Constitution of Georgia Says: "A person adjudicated mentally incompetent cannot register, remain registered, orvote unless the disability has been removed. GA. art. 2, 1, III(b).
  • Georgia election code says: ". . . no person who has been judicially determined to be mentally incompetent mayregister, remain registered, or vote unless the disability has been removed." OCGA 21-2-216(b).
  • Georgia guardianship code says: "The appointment of a guardian is not a determination regarding the right of the ward to vote." OCGA  29-4-20(b).
These laws seem at least potentially in conflict because when a guardian is appointed for an adult in the probate courts of Georgia, the court is recognizing a lack of capacity in the person under guardianship. One could reasonably think that the appointment of a guardian renders someone judicially "mentally incompetent" and therefore unable to vote in Georgia.
 
A 1995 Official Opinion of the Georgia Attorney General clears up the confusion: "[N]either the Constitution nor the corresponding statutory provisions specifically define the term "mental incompetence." This term is not synonymous with mental disability, mental illness or mental retardation. 1985 Op. Att'y Gen. 85-48. Even where a guardian is appointed for an incapacitated adult, the law provides that there must be an independent determination of whether such an incapacitated person would also be "mentally incompetent" so as to lose their right to vote. O.C.G.A. 29-5-7(f)." 1995 Op. Att'y Gen. 95-27 (link to full opinion: http://law.ga.gov/opinion/95-27).  
See you at the polls!!
It's Always Happening in Magistrate Court!
by Judge Kristina Blum

Magistrate Court Welcomed 2 New Magistrate Judges
The Gwinnett County Magistrate Court recently posted openings for new part time Magistrates and received a great response.  Former Chief Magistrates Judge Warren Davis and Judge George Hutchinson assisted with the interviews.  After considering a number of qualified applicants, John Ireland and Deepak ("DJ") Jeyaram were selected as the newest members of the Gwinnett County Magistrate Court. 

Judge Jeyaram is an AV Rated and designated Super Lawyer; he has been practicing law for almost 20 years.  He is the managing partner of Jeyaram and Associates, a Duluth-based litigation firm specializing in healthcare law, corporate law, special needs trusts, and wills, trusts and estates.  Before founding his own firm, Judge Jeyaram was a senior associate with the law firms of Morris, Manning & Martin and Drew, Eckl & Farnham.  Judge Jeyaram also served as the Deputy Director for Legal Services with the Georgia Department of Community Health and as a Georgia Administrative Law Judge with the Office of State Administrative Hearings.

Judge Ireland began his career as a financial broker/trader.  Fluent in French, he traveled the world as a staff member for the Chicago Board of Trade developing options markets.  After retiring early from his successful finance career, Judge Ireland went to law school.  For the past 19 years, Judge Ireland has represented clients in a variety of matters including civil, domestic, bankruptcy and criminal cases.  He brings to the Court a wealth of experience that already includes a good working knowledge of Magistrate Court functions. 

The Gwinnett County Magistrate Court works hard to provide fair, efficient, knowledgeable, and effective service to all litigants and attorneys.  The experience Judge Jeyaram and Judge Ireland bring to the Court will further support that mission and vision.  

Self Service Kiosks are Almost Here!
The Magistrate Court continues to look for creative and innovative ways to use technology to improve access to quality justice.  Towards that mission, the Magistrate Court recently obtained four new Self Service Kiosks that will be installed at both GJAC and the Jail Court Annex.  The GJAC kiosks will allow litigants to electronically create and generate statements of claim and answers in both general civil and landlord/tenant matters through an "interview-style" format that educates litigants on what information needs to be included in their pleadings.  The other two kiosks will be installed at the Jail Court Annex for litigants' use in preparing Warrant Applications and Family Violence Petitions.  And, once the Clerk of Court goes live with E-Filing, litigants will be able to directly submit/E-File the pleadings they create using the kiosks.

Language Access Initiatives
The Gwinnett County Magistrate Court remains committed to language access for all citizens.  In the past year, the Court has created five informational brochures on the topics of Landlord/Tenant, Civil, Family Violence, Warrant Applications, and Garnishments.  Each of these brochures has been color coded and translated into Spanish, Vietnamese and Korean.  We are currently working to expand our brochure library with informational brochures on Post Judgment Collection and Abandoned Motor Vehicles.   Google Translate has also been added to the Gwinnett Courts website.  A button in the top right hand corner of the website can be used to translate all the information contained on the website into any language.
 
In recognition of Magistrate Court's language access initiatives, Judge Blum will be participating in two panel discussions with Justice Melton, Justice Blackwell, Chief Judge Sara Doyle, and Superior Court Judge Horace Johnson at the Eliminating Barriers to Justice III: Language Access, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Georgia's Criminal and Civil Justice Systems CLE on October 20, 2016, at Georgia State University (GSU) College of Law.


News & Events

Judge Conner and Judge Blum Elected to Judicial Council of Georgia!

Chief Superior Court Judge Melodie Snell Conner and Chief Magistrate Judge Kristina Hammer Blum have been elected to Georgia's Judicial Council. Judge Conner is on the Council after having been elected Administrative Law Judge representing the Ninth Judicial District. Judge Blum is serving her second term on the Judicial Council, after having been elected President of the Council of Magistrate Court Judges. 
 
The Judicial Council is the policy-making body for Georgia's judiciary, chaired by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia. The Judicial Council is composed of 27 members, representing every class of court and the State Bar of Georgia. The Council meets at least four times a year to consider new judgeships, budgetary and legislative matters, and judicial branch programs and policies.


Law Day 2017 Volunteers Needed!

Over the course of the next year, GCBA intends to honor the 2017 Law Day theme "The 14thAmendment: Transforming American Democracy" through its educational outreach, community service project, and Law Day banquet. We will need local attorneys to aid us in this endeavor! 

Opportunities will include career day presentations, individual classroom presentations at the Gwinnett County Schools, and community service projects. If you are interested in volunteering your time, please contact Danielle Britt Mays at dmays@cbjblawfirm.com or 770.271.2991.
Milich Minute

Assault case:  Prosecution offers a Facebook page it claims is Defendant's.
The page has photos and text that appear to be connected to Defendant.
The Defense objects that the page is not authentic.

Which is the best answer?
  1. Overruled if a witness with personal knowledge testifies that she recognizes the photos and "friends" who posted on the page.
  2. Overruled if the page was password protected
  3. Sustained unless the prosecution can prove the page was created on Defendant's computer
  4. Sustained unless the State had a warrant to search and capture the Facebook page.

12 Milich

Click to purchase his book here!
Criminal Defense Update

The Criminal Section Lunch was held on Friday, October 7th featuring Deputy Assistant Solicitor Joelle Nzaire. Last month, the Criminal Section thoroughly enjoyed the presentations by Brandi Robertson and Grace Holloway from the law library, as well as Kimberly Ciccaglione and Hayat Zamayar from the AOC.

 

DON'T MISS YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A SCHOLARSHIP TO THE GACDL FALL SEMINAR!

To RSVP or Join the section, please contact Constancia Carter at ccarter@cclflaw.com.

Next Meeting Dates:
November: See you at GACDL's Fall Seminar in Brasstown Valley, 
Young Harris, GA
December: Toy Raiser TBD

Lunch is $5 for section members and $10 for non-section members. 
Estate Planning and Probate Update: 
Save the Date and CLE Announcement

Please save the date for the following EPPS lunch meetings at 12:00pm (speaker and location details to follow):
 
November 8, 2016
January 10, 2017
March 14, 2017
May 9, 2017
July 11, 2017

Note that you do not have to be a member of the section to attend the meetings and no need to RSVP, 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
 
Atlanta Bar Association CLE: 
Winter Is Coming - Planning During the Last Few Months of Life
 
The Atlanta Bar Association's Estate Planning & Probate and Elder Law Sections and the Financial Planning Association (FPA) of Georgia are partnering together for a joint presentation titled "Winter is Coming - Planning During the Last Few Months of Life." The program will be held on Thursday, October 20, 2016 at Dentons (303 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 5300, Atlanta, Georgia 30308) from 6:30 p.m. - 8:15 p.m. The panel will include The Honorable Jeryl D. Rosh of the DeKalb County Probate Court, elder law attorney Brian Deutsch of McCurdy & Candler, and financial planner David Hultstrom of Financial Architects, LLC, and will be led by estate planning attorney Shelly Donaldson of The Donaldson Firm. Attendees will be eligible for 1.5 CLE and CP hours.
 
Registration is through the Atlanta Bar: $25 (add $10 for 1.5 CLE hours) for members of the Estate Planning & Probate and Elder Law sections or $50 for non-member attorneys (add $15 for 1.5 CLE hours), and $25 for members of FPA of Georgia or $50 for non-member financial planners. Please see the Atlanta Bar Association's website for registration and more details.
Family Law Section Update: 
Next Meeting Information

The Family Law Section of the Gwinnett County Bar Association is hosting its regularly scheduled meeting. Lunch is free for section members. All are welcome to attend. The meeting starts at 12:00 p.m. and generally lasts for approximately one hour.  For additional information please email the Chair, Sharon Jackson at sharonjacksonlaw@gmail.com or send a text to 678-992-3799.

Our next meeting for family law is the last Wednesday in October (October 26, 2016) at 12:00 noon at  La Cazuela Mexican Restaurant (Upstairs Meeting Room) 179 West Crogan Street, Lawrenceville, GA 30046.

Upcoming Events:  (The last Wednesday of every other month - even months)
Office Furniture for Sale!

Office furniture includes pieces shown in photos above, the desk set and conference table set. Selling for $750 OBO.

Please contact Ali Jamal if you're interested via email at ajamal@jamallaw.com
Office Space for Rent!
  
Office space for rent in downtown Lawrenceville, GA in the Langley Commons office park . It's less than a mile from the Gwinnett County courthouse, has a conference room and access to the use of a receptionist. 

Anyone interested can contact Constancia Carter at: (770) 939-0226 or via e-mail at ccarter@cclflaw.com.
In This Issue
October Bar Meeting Details

Friday, October 21st
from 12pm - 1pm 
at the 1818 Club
6500 Sugarloaf Parkway
#300
Duluth, GA 30097

Gwinnett County Bar Association | | warren.davis@gwinnettcounty.com | http://www.gcba.org
P.O.Box 576
Lawrenceville, GA 30046