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Roswell Georgia Criminal Law Blog

Making bail can help improve outlook on trial, life

Though the bail reform acts passed in 1966 and 1984 were designed to prevent people charged with a crime from having to pay excessive bail while awaiting a trial, the opposite is often true. A new law set to go in effect in 2020 in New York aims to change this. Under the new law, no bail will be set for people accused of misdemeanors and non-violent crimes. Without bail, these individuals may have a better chance of winning their case.

When a person cannot make bail in Georgia, they have to wait in jail until the trial date. Often the time they wait in jail for trial takes a longer amount of time than the maximum sentence that is set for the alleged crime. Because of this, accused individuals may feel pressured to plead guilty to a crime he or she didn't commit in order to reduce their sentence.

Cops make $35 million marijuana bust in Atlanta

In mid-March, Georgia authorities raided and shut down five marijuana grow houses in the metro Atlanta area. The raids were the culmination of a criminal investigation that began in late 2018.

According to media reports, officers with the Gwinnett County Police Department received information in mid-October about suspected marijuana grow houses in Gwinnett County, Henry County and Clayton County. An investigation into the houses revealed that the locations were residential homes that had been converted into "elaborate" manufacturing setups. When investigators raided the properties, they allegedly found over 1,500 marijuana plants, 22 guns, six cars and $676,000 in cash. The estimated value of the marijuana was $35 million, making the bust one of the largest in Atlanta history.

Today's youth are more likely to get arrested

Many Georgia residents are aware of the large prison population in the U.S. According to a long-running survey representing a crosscut of American society, a greater percentage of younger people have been arrested at least one time than their counterparts in previous generations.

The study was based on a continuing survey that has been ongoing for 50 years. It was conducted by the RAND Corporation, one of the nation's largest public interest research think tanks. The study's results were based on information gathered from 5,000 families over a period of 50-plus years.

Jurors permitted to bring personal beliefs into courtroom

A Georgia defendant going through a trial has a right to expect jurors to be impartial. However, this doesn't mean jurors should be expected to disregard their own individual beliefs and life experiences. This is the gist of a recent ruling made by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The case that led to this decision involved a black man who was convicted by a jury for a charge of possession with intent to distribute.

With any criminal defense case, the prosecution and defense can object to certain actions. This is what happened with this case when a prospective female juror who stated a belief that the court system is rigged against young African American males was excused by the judge. However, the Massachusetts SJC said that the dismissal was wrong because the juror wasn't asked if she could be unbiased about the case. The SJC upheld the man's conviction on the grounds that the outcome was not affected by the dismissal of the juror.

How government shutdowns affect women's shelters

A government shutdown is looming unless lawmakers can reach a deal that includes a temporary spending measure. This is of concern to many individuals, including those seeking protection at domestic violence shelters. Some domestic violence shelters in Georgia and around the country are funded by the federal government. Some are still reeling from the loss of funding that came during the shutdown earlier in 2019.

Although the government reopened in February 2019, there is little assurance that there won't be another shutdown in the future. President Trump was clear when he said that he would not rule out the possibility of there being another shutdown. From his administration's perspective, shutting down the government is a tool that could be used to get funding for the border wall.

Programs use alternatives to incarceration for violent crimes

The FIRST STEP Act, which became a law in 2018, may affect some federal prisoners in Georgia who were convicted of nonviolent crimes, but a large portion of the prison population will not benefit from this reform. However, some jurisdictions are working to introduce alternatives to incarceration, even for people who have committed violent crimes, with some success.

While it is important to prioritize public safety, some crimes that are classified as violent, such as simple assault, may not involve physical harm to another person. Furthermore, long prison sentences may increase recidivism in some cases while some alternative programs have been shown to reduce it. Not all violent offenders go on to commit another crime.

The true impact of low-level charges

Georgia residents who are charged with a misdemeanor could face jail time or a fine. However, for some defendants, it can be difficult to pay fines and other costs associated with going through the criminal justice system. A lack of financial resources can also influence how their cases play out. This is because they may not have the money needed to pay bail, which means that it could be several days spent in jail before seeing a judge.

Those who cannot pay fines or other fees could be sentenced to jail time, which could result in additional financial penalties. To some, these fines are considered to be a regressive tax on the poor. A lack of funds could also mean using a public defender instead of hiring an attorney. With 13 million misdemeanor cases in the United States each year, public defenders are often pressured to not file motions or take other steps to help clients.

Can the First Offender Act benefit me?

Having a criminal record can limit housing and job opportunities, making it difficult to put the past behind you. However, if you are a first-time offender, you may be able to be sentenced under the First Offender Act. Then, if you successfully complete your sentence and probation, a conviction or charge will not appear on your record.

This act can offer an opportunity for a fresh start after a mistake. Without a conviction or charge on record, it is easier to get quality jobs and housing. However, for this act to benefit you, you must meet the eligibility requirements.

Man faces drug charges after probation-office arrest

A 25-year-old Georgia man is facing drug charges after he was taken into custody by the state's probation office. The Milledgeville man had gone to the probation office in order to check in at a scheduled meeting with his probation officer. Before being allowed to enter the meeting, he was searched for the presence of weapons. Even though no weapons were discovered, the probation officer later ordered the man to turn out the pockets of his pants. During that time, the officer said that he noticed a small plastic packet containing a white powder.

The probation officer reportedly grabbed the baggie from the man and questioned him about its contents. According to police, the man immediately admitted that the bag contained cocaine. After confiscating the bag, sheriff's deputies arrested the man, taking him to the Baldwin County Law Enforcement Center where he was jailed. The man is now facing drug charges, accused of possession of cocaine in violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act. It was not reported why the man was initially on probation or if this was also related to drug allegations.

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