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Dekalb DUI: DeKalb County Government fires trash worker referenced in corruption report for being arrested for DUI while working

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DeKalb County has fired a trash collector who was arrested for DUI while driving a government truck, then rehired months later.

The March 2011 arrest of Sidarius Johnson, 33, comprised a paragraph in the 40-page corruption report handed to the county last week by special investigators Mike Bowers and Richard Hyde. Johnson, however, was not identified by name.

The report said that after the arrest, “the impound fee of $140 was paid using county funds. The employee pled guilty to DUI and resigned from the Sanitation Department. The next week he was rehired by the county.”

Sidarius Johnson photo

County spokesman Burke Brennan said Johnson was actually rehired six months later. He was fired Monday, Brennan said.

Johnson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that a deputy director fired him because he didn’t disclose the DUI when he reapplied for his job. He could not explain why, but said it wouldn’t have disqualified him even if he had disclosed it.

Johnson said he will appeal his firing.

“I can only say that the county knew about the situation and failed to take any actions until after this corruption report was released,” he said in a prepared statement. “This is a violation of my rights as a county employee, and that’s why I’m fighting for my job back.”

DUI Defense: Trial date set in DUI case of Atlanta Hawks’ coach Mike Budenholzer

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The Ajc’s reports

A trial date of Oct. 8 has been set in the driving under the influence case of Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer.

The case will be heard in Fulton County State Court by Judge Diane E. Bessen at 9 a.m.. Budenholzer entered a not guilty plea on two misdemeanor charges in the case on July 28. According to court records, Budenholzer waived a jury trial at that time.

Budenholzer faces misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence alcohol less safe and defective or no taillights from an arrest Aug. 28, 2013 after being stopped by police at 10:30 p.m. at 10th Street and Crescent Avenue in Midtown.

The case was moved to Fulton County State Court at the request of the prosecutor’s office during the initial hearing in Atlanta Municipal Court in October 2013. The statute of limitations was due to expire in three months when the case was placed on the court docket in May.

Budenholzer faces up to a year in jail, as much as a $1,000 fine, a driver’s license suspension and community services for a first-time offense. If Budenholzer is found guilty, he would also face a likely two-game suspension from the NBA.

The trial date comes between the Hawks’ first two exhibition games of the preseason. They are scheduled to play the Cavaliers in Cincinnati on Oct. 7 and the Pelicans in Jacksonville on Oct. 9.

Dekalb County Criminal Procedure

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This article is a good picture on criminal procedure after arrest but before indictment:

Rapper Young Thug waived Monday morning his preliminary hearing in DeKalb County court, Channel 2 Action News reported.

The rapper, whose real name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, was scheduled to be in court following his July 15 arrest on charges including terroristic threats. He is accused of threatening a security guard at Perimeter Mall on July 7.

During a preliminary hearing, authorities outline their initial case against a defendant and a magistrate judge decides if there is sufficient evidence for the case to proceed to superior court. The case also proceeds if a defendant waives their hearing.

Following Williams’ arrest, local police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation served search warrants at his Sandy Springs home, leading to additional marijuana, cocaine and weapons charges against the rapper. Those charges were filed in Fulton County.

Williams was also recently named in an indictment linking him to the April shooting of rapper Lil Wayne’s tour buses. Although Williams has not been charged in the incident, his tour manager Jimmy Winfrey was indicted on 30 charges.

Williams is best known for his 2013 single “Stoner” and is a member of Gucci Mane’s Atlanta-based record label.

DUI Defense: DeKalb DUI driver in triple fatality crash attempted to flee

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he alleged drunk driver accused of causing a triple fatal crash Sunday morning attempted to leave the scene in a Good Samaritan’s vehicle, DeKalb police said.

DeKalb County police spokesman Capt. S.R. Fore said Monday that 27-year-old Marvin Lynch had been arrested in connection with the wreck at the intersection of Marbut Road and Lithonia Industrial Boulevard. Lynch, a Marietta resident, was being held at the DeKalb County jail on three counts of vehicular homicide and individual charges of DUI, hit and run and failure to obey a traffic device.

According to Fore, Lynch was driving a Mercedes SUV along Marbut Road at about 7 a.m. Sunday when he ran the red light at Lithonia Industrial Boulevard. He collided with a Nissan Maxima, killing all three occupants.

Those occupants were identified Monday as Cora Rhodes Lyles, 65, of Stone Mountain, and Willie Mae and Vernon Webster Hatley, 65 and 67, respectively, of Raleigh, N.C.

Raleigh TV station WRAL reported that the trio was on the way to church.

After the crash, Lynch allegedly attempted to leave the scene by “getting in the driver’s seat of a vehicle belonging to (a) passerby that stopped to render aid.”

“He was subdued by others on scene until officers arrived,” Fore said.

Speed and alcohol contributed to the crash, Fore said.

Decatur Mayor Pro Tem pleads guilty to drunk driving, sentenced in city court

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Decatur Mayor Pro Tem Kecia Cunningham pleaded guilty to charges of driving under the influence and was sentenced on July 8.

Cunningham appeared in Decatur City Court before a DeKalb County Magistrate Judge, Matt McCoyd. The judge was filling in for the city judges, who are appointed by the City Commission.

McCoyd accepted the plea and sentenced Cunningham to 12 months probation, a $750 fine and 40 hours of community service. As part of her sentence, she must undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation. She is also supposed to serve one day in jail, but the judge gave Cunningham credit for the time she served after she was arrested on June 11.

He advised Cunningham that she still had the right to a trial on the charges. Cunningham’s attorney said she understood but wanted to put the episode behind her.

“She has taken full responsibility and is prepared to accept the sentence of the court,” her attorney said.

Under the terms of the plea deal, Cunningham will have a limited driving permit because this is her first DUI offense.

Cunningham has served on the City Commission since 1999, was arrested by a Decatur Police Officer shortly after midnight on June 11.

The officer was travelling eastbound on East College near the intersection with Sams Crossing. He noticed a 2002 Lexus traveling south on Sams Crossing. The officer said the Lexus, “Made an improper right turn onto East College Avenue and failed to maintain its lane.”

“I observed the Lexus make a wide right turn, enter into the center lane of travel, straddling the dotted white line and jerk back into the curb lane headed westbound,” the officer wrote.

The officer made a U-turn and caught up with the Lexus to observe the behavior of the driver. He saw the Lexus begin to “drift heavily within its lane.” The Lexus moved over into the center lane without using a turn signal.

“While traveling the center lane, the Lexus crossed over the double solid yellow line, began straddling the yellow line with the center of the vehicle with both driver side tires in the opposite lane of travel,” the officer wrote. “After traveling several feet, the Lexus drifted back into its own lane of travel.”

The officer turned on his lights and the Lexus pulled into the rear parking lot behind Trackside Tavern. The Lexus is a convertible and its top was down during the stop, the officer noted. He said he immediately noticed a strong odor of alcohol when he began talking to Cunningham. When the officer asked her why she didn’t maintain her lane, she explained that “Something happened near my feet.” Cunningham was not wearing any shoes at the time.

Cunningham told officers she was coming from her office on Johnson Ferry Road. The officer asked if she made any stops on the way home, and Cunningham said she’d been to the Capital City Cigar Club, 19 miles outside the Decatur City Limits. She told the officer she’d had a cigar and a glass of wine 45 minutes before the stop.

During the field sobriety test Cunningham was unsteady on her feet. She had trouble taking the walk and turn test, and at one point had to stop walking to regain her balance. Her blood alcohol level was .147. The legal limit in Georgia is .08.

Cunningham later admitted to the officer she had a vodka and cranberry in addition to a glass of wine. The officer found a bottle opener inside the Lexus and a wine cork inside the trunk.

When Decaturish first reported the arrest, Cunningham expressed regret for her actions.

“I accept responsibility and intend to accept the consequences,” she said. “I anticipate this will be handled as any other matter, and I am embarrassed. It’s a personal matter that I’m embarrassed by.”

Decatur mayor pro tem arrested for DUI

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Decatur Commissioner Kecia Cunningham was arrested this month for driving under the influence.

Cunningham, who serves as the commission’s mayor pro tem, was arrested June 11.

“I accept responsibility and intend to accept the consequences. I anticipate this will be handled as any other matter, and I am embarrassed. It’s a personal matter that I’m embarrassed by,” she told Decaturish news website.

According to the police report, Cunningham was stopped shortly after midnight on June 11 after a Decatur police officer noticed her making an improper turn on East College Avenue near Sams Crossing. Cunningham also failed to maintain a lane and was driving erratically, according to the report.

Cunningham told the police officer she stopped at the Capital City Cigar Club in Sandy Springs after work before heading home and that she had a glass of wine, a vodka and cranberry cocktail and a cigar. She agreed to a breathalyzer test and her blood alcohol level was .147; in Georgia, one is considered drunk with a score of .08 or higher.

Cunningham made history in 1999 when she became the first openly gay African American elected to public office in Georgia and the Southeast when she was elected to the Decatur Commission. In 2013 she was named mayor pro tem of Decatur and was reappointed to the post in 2015.

During her time on the commission, Cunningham was a leading proponent of the city adopting a domestic partner benefits policy for its employees.

In 2013 she told Georgia Voice she is bisexual.

Cunningham is up for re-election this year.

Dekalb County Criminal Courts: Two Dekalb Judges Appointed by Governor Deal

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Gov. Nathan Deal appointed two DeKalb County judges today: state Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Brookhaven, and Jean-Paul “JP” Boulee, a partner with the law firm of Jones Day who previously served as a captain in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps.

 

Rep. Mike Jacobs will be taking Judge Eleanor Ross’s State Court position.  Jean-Paul Boulee will be taking Superior Court Judge Becker’s position.

Decatur Police Department Investigates Vehicular Homicide

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On Tuesday, May 12, 2015, Scott Boulevard will be closed between Clairemont Avenue and Coventry Road from 9:30 am to approximately 11:30 am for an accident reconstruction.

You can get more info on the deadly vehicle accident that occurred on Scott Boulevard on April 25th here.

Georgia Legalizes Decriminalizes Medical Marijuana

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After many decades of inconvenience, medical cannabis also known as marijuana has finally been legalized in Georgia for medical uses. House Bill 885 was signed into law at 11 a.m. on April 16th, 2015 by Republican governor Nathan Deal. The act is called Haleigh’s Hope Act.

The act is named for Haleigh Cox, a 5-year-old girl with medication-resistant epilepsy. Haleigh was on the brink of death and her parents had to move her to Colorado, where medical cannabis was legal. It was the only thing that would work to keep her alive. This particular case prompted the legalization of cannabis oil in GA.

However, the new Georgia law is still extremely restrictive. The only thing that is legal is cannabis oil, not any other form of cannabis. The cannabis oil is only allowed to have a low ThC level, no more than 5 percent. The federal law remains the same; marijuana is federally illegal to grow or sell, despite what the state law says.

The medical marijuana law only allows patients with a few specific disorders to be diagnosed with a prescription for it.  These disorders include cancer, Crohn’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, mitochondrial disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, seizure disorders and sickle cell disease.  The only distributor that is currently in Georgia is the Halcyon Organics in Little Five Points.  Cultivation is still not legal in Georgia.

Haleigh’s Hope Act is indeed a step forward towards marijuana decriminalization even if this act is incredibly minimal and restrictive.

Telecommunications Firm Accused of Defrauding Customers on Inmate Calls

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Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. sues inmate collect call provider Global Tel Link in Federal Court.  Andrew has applied for class action status for all effected consumers.