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Sometimes the system works

Let me first begin this post with the clear statement that I do not support one side or the other in the fight I describe below and I am not providing the history that led up to this or rendering any opinion on it.  I was struck by the fact that on the day of the College Football Championship game in Atlanta, something in a Nevada courtroom occurred which is extremely important in our justice system.  Although Judges can’t really pick sides in a case, they are humans and make mistakes.  Because they (and jurors) are the guardians of the rule of law, we need for them to be able to set aside personal prejudices and to do what is right, regardless of whether they like the party who benefits or not.    In practice and fact though, this is an enormously hard thing for humans to do.  It takes COURAGE.

To make my point, I will share this new development with you from a federal criminal case in Utah.  A rancher, Cliven Bundy,  (and others) had been in an old decades long fight over grazing rights on federal land that many considered to be state land.  Eventually, federal criminal charges were brought against the rancher and his sons.   The entire history has been very controversial, but that is not important.

On March 10, 2016, Bundy also filed a lawsuit against Judge Gloria Navarro, Senator Harry Reid, Reid’s son Rory, and President Barack Obama, alleging a number of conspiracy theories and describing the judge as a “Latino activist.”[52][53] A day later, Bundy’s lawyer attempted to serve the judge with the lawsuit during a detention hearing, demanding that the judge recuse herself from the proceedings because she was now involved in a legal conflict with Bundy. The motion was quickly denied, but the judge gave Bundy’s lawyer until May 25 to make a case as to whether her previous work as a prosecutor in Clark County, Nevada merited any recusal.[54] On May 25, Judge Navarro denied Bundy’s motion for her recusal from the case, and ruled that he would not be granted bail due to factors including:[55]

His history of ignoring federal laws and court orders.

The number of supporters willing to act as “armed bodyguards”.

The chance that he would flee from arrest or fail to report for court appearances as ordered.

The potential for violence by his supporters, constituting a danger to the community.

On October 17, 2016, Bundy dismissed his lawsuit against Navarro, President Obama, and the Reids.[58]

On December 21, a mistrial was declared, in part, due to prosecutorial misconduct, including failure to release Brady material. http://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2017/12/mistrial_declared_in_cliven_bu.html BLM Special Agent Larry Wooten was fired for objecting to the abuses of the standoff and the investigation. He was removed from the investigation and his papers confiscated. He created the following linked document from memory and became a whistleblower. https://www.scribd.com/document/367299399/Whistleblower-Larry-Wooten-former-Special-Agent-Bureau-of-Land-management-Email

Then on January 8, 2018, the unthinkable happened:

Charges against rancher Cliven Bundy, three others are dismissed

By Steve Kurtz

Published January 08, 2018

FoxNews.com  (and I am not pushing Fox News, its just that they were the first to report this)

A federal judge dismissed all charges against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, his two sons and another man on Monday after accusing prosecutors of willfully withholding evidence from Bundy’s lawyers.

U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro cited “flagrant prosecutorial misconduct” in her decision to dismiss all charges against the Nevada rancher and three others.

“The court finds that the universal sense of justice has been violated,” Navarro said.

“Either the government lied or [it’s actions were] so grossly negligent as to be tantamount to lying.”

– Judge Andrew Napolitano

On Dec. 20, Navarro declared a mistrial in the high-profile Bundy case. It was only the latest, stunning development in the saga of the Nevada rancher, who led a tense, armed standoff with federal officials trying to take over his land. The clash served as a public repudiation of the federal government.

The Brady rule, named after the landmark 1963 Supreme Court case known as Brady vs. Maryland, holds that failure to disclose such evidence violates a defendant’s right to due process.

“In this case the failures to comply with Brady were exquisite, extraordinary,” said Fox News legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano. “The judge exercised tremendous patience.”

The 71-year-old Bundy’s battle with the federal government eventually led to what became known as the Bundy standoff of 2014. But it began long before that.

Untitled

To many, Bundy is a folk hero who stood up to the federal government  (Associated Press)

In the early 1990s, the U.S. government limited grazing rights on federal lands in order to protect the desert tortoise habitat. In 1993, Bundy, in protest, refused to renew his permit for cattle grazing, and continued grazing his livestock on these public lands. He didn’t recognize the authority of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over the sovereign state of Nevada.

The federal courts sided with the BLM, and Bundy didn’t seem to have a legal leg to stand on. Nevertheless, the rancher and the government continued this dispute for 20 years, and Bundy ended up owing over $1 million in fees and fines.

Things came to a head in 2014, when officials planned to capture and impound cattle trespassing on government land. Protesters, many armed, tried to block the authorities, which led to a standoff. For a time, they even shut down a portion of I-15, the main interstate highway running through Southern Nevada.

Tensions escalated until officials, fearing for the general safety, announced they would return Bundy’s cattle and suspend the roundup.

Afterward, Bundy continued to graze his cattle and not pay fees. He and his fellow protesters were heroes to some, but criminals to the federal government. Bundy, along with others seen as leaders of the standoff, including sons Ammon and Ryan and militia member Ryan Payne, were charged with numerous felonies, including conspiracy, assault on a federal officer and using a firearm in a violent crime. They faced many years in prison.

The Bundy case finally went to trial last October. But just two months later, it ended with Navarro angry, the feds humiliated and Bundy – at least to his supporters – vindicated.

Navarro had suspended the trial earlier and warned of a mistrial when prosecutors released information after a discovery deadline. Overall, the government was late in handing over more than 3,300 pages of documents. Further, some defense requests for information that ultimately came to light had been ridiculed by prosecutors as “fantastical” and a “fishing expedition.”

“Either the government lied or [its actions were] so grossly negligent as to be tantamount to lying,” Napolitano said. “This happened over and over again.”

Navarro said Monday it was clear the FBI was involved in the prosecution and it was not a coincidence that most of the evidence that was held back – which would have worked in Bundy’s favor – came from the FBI, AZCentral reported.

The newspaper said after the courtroom doors opened following Navarro’s ruling, a huge cheer went up from a crowd of spectators that had gathered outside.

Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this report.

————————————————————————————————————-

Judge Navarro is a hero in my book. She got it right.   Even if Bundy and sons were in fact guilty (and I have no idea there), Judge Navarro was somehow able to put aside her own personal prejudices.  She had been personally sued by this man and he had basically said that her race made her be prejudiced against him.  Faced with repeated governmental misconduct, Judge Navarro said  “enough is enough!”.  She wasn’t going to let the government steamroll a man and his family and supporters by withholding evidence and violation basic constitutional rights to due process.  Since she is a federal judge, appointed by the President and approved by the Senate, by all expectations, she would naturally side with the government in most disputes.  But, she upheld the law.  The law is more important than any one man, because it protects all of us.

This is not a civil case, which is what I do. However, I have done lots of criminal cases on my career.  In a civil case a Judge has lots of ways that they can help or hurt a party.  Judges have “discretion” in certain matters and largely control what happens at trial.  They can favor one side or the other without doing anything that will get them in trouble.  At times, however, I have seen Judges in civil cases bend over backwards to make sure both sides get a fair trial.  Judges have a lot of power to punish litigants (and lawyers) that behave badly.  I have had Judges to exercise courage on the level of Judge Navarro, without fear of consequences.  Those moments make me proud to call myself a lawyer.   Without Judges like that though, our individual rights mean nothing.   “We the people” are supposed to have the power to control governmental abuses, but it takes courageous judges in order to help us do that.

Find a brave Judge today and hug them.  Tell them you are proud of them and thank them for their service.   They have a tough job to do.

Until next time, May we treat each other the way we would like to be treated ourselves.

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GOVERNOR’S OFFICE OF HIGHWAY SAFETY

Overview

Georgia Personal Injury Attorney’s in Bainbridge, GA as well as statewide, saw an increase in cases overall in 2017. Many Attorneys like Mark F. Milhollin / Milhollin Law have seen an increase in Truck (Semi-Truck), Auto, Motorcycle and Recreational Vehicle Injuries throughout 2017 that resulted in head Injuries, back Injuries, neck Injuries and unfortunately child Injuries suffered with and without seatbelts.

Many of the Injured have survived horrific accidents and although the level of medical care is fantastic in Georgia, many of these individuals sustain lasting/permanent disabilities (now and in the future).

After steadily declining since 2006, Georgia traffic fatalities increased dramatically in 2015, and increased again the following year. In 2016, the State of Georgia suffered 1,554 fatalities in motor vehicle crashes (an 8.5% increase from 2015). Impaired driving killed 368 persons in those crashes (a 2.7k increase over 2015), and unrestrained fatalities numbered 476 (up 15.8% from 2015). Two hundred and sixty-six (266) of the total 1,554 fatalities were related to speeding — a 2.7k increase over 2015. Although fatalities still have not returned to the levels seen in 2007, when Georgia experienced 1,641 traffic fatalities, the statistics continue to be troubling. The nation as a whole and our neighboring states all saw increases as well (U.S. up 5.6%, Alabama up 22.1%, Florida up 8.0%, South Carolina up 3.7%, and Tennessee up 8.2%). Preliminary estimates for 2017 suggest that the number and rate of fatalities may at last be decreasing again, thanks to GOHS’ evidence-based traffic safety enforcement plan.

Press Release

Press Release (For immediate release)

The Milhollin Law Firm Announces new location in Bainbridge, GA


ATLANTA–(GA NEWS ONLINE)–The Milhollin Law Firm announces that they have moved into a NEW office location across from the Decatur County Court House at: 306 N. West Street, Bainbridge, GA 39817.


In an interview today, Mark F. Milhollin was quoted as saying, “My wife Margueritte and I have met and gotten the know some of the wonderful people in and around Bainbridge, after a while the polite question surfaces. It usually takes more than one meeting or introduction, but I can see the look in their eyes from the outset. They have lived in Bainbridge for at least a long time, if not their whole lives, as generations have before them. They all wonder “Why?” – “Why Bainbridge?”. Sometimes I guess folks can’t see what is right in front of them, because they have been standing too close to it to focus on it and see the big picture. It’s the old “can’t see the forest for the leaves on the trees” adage. After having offices in Marietta and Kennesaw since 1992, my wife and I decided to move out of Metro Atlanta.

Our children were grown and gone for the most part. We had both had more than enough of Atlanta traffic, where at times you can spend an hour and a half and not go 10 miles. My wife and I discussed escaping from Metro Atlanta, a lawyer friend in Albany, Robert Margeson, who I had done a few cases with, told us that Bainbridge would be a great place for us to live. I do personal injury cases and he said there was no one there who did only that type of law. I had been to Bainbridge many times, to duck hunt on Lake Seminole, and I knew the area and had met many fine people whenever I had been there. On faith, we started the roll the ball. It would be a slow process, as I had to downsize, finish up some courts cases and a trial or two. We would be moving both home and office, so it would be a logistical nightmare that we would be accomplishing day by day for months on end.

So, we are glad to be here and look forward to meeting more of the community!”


Mark F. Milhollin, P.C.. represents people who have been caused injury due to the negligent or intentional acts of individuals and corporations.

Contacts

The Milhollin Law Firm
Mark F. Milhollin, P.C., 229-299-8200
Fax: 229-299-4100
www.AmmunitionfortheInjured.com

Release Summary

The Milhollin Law Firm Announces their new location at 306 N. West Street, Bainbridge, GA 39817

Contacts

The Milhollin Law Firm
Mark F. Milhollin, P.C., 229-299-8200
Fax: 229-299-4100
www.AmmunitionfortheInjured.com

Uncategorized

Why Ya’ll Moving to Bainbridge?

As my wife Margueritte and I have met and gotten the know some of the wonderful people in and around Bainbridge, after a while the polite question surfaces. It usually takes more than one meeting or introduction, but I can see the look in their eyes from the outset. They have lived in Bainbridge for at least a long time, if not their whole lives, as generations have before them. They all wonder “Why?” – “Why Bainbridge?”. Sometimes I guess folks can’t see what is right in front of them, because they have been standing too close to it to focus on it and see the big picture. It’s the old “can’t see the forest for the leaves on the trees” adage. So, please permit me to step back from the leaves on the trees and to give you my perspective of the forest:

why1

After having offices in Marietta and Kennesaw since 1992, my wife and I decided to move out of Metro Atlanta. Our children were grown and gone for the most part. We had both had more than enough of Atlanta traffic, where at times you can spend an hour and a half and not go 10 miles. My mom lived in South Georgia (I was born in Coffee County) and we started looking South of Cuthbert and West of Valdosta, to see what was appealing. You see, I am from a small town, where both sides were farmers for almost 100 years. Before that, both sides of my family lived in the mountains of North Georgia, long before the War of Northern Aggression, which both sides of my family had fought in.

In the early part of the last century they had all traded in steep red clay terraced farm land for the flat black sand dirt in Coffee County. As a child, my parents moved to Tucker, in DeKalb County, and my mom taught in a new school that we lived only four houses away from. At first, it was not so bad. We had bird dogs in a backyard pen and the vacant land behind our subdivision let us three boys continue to go afield on “safaris” and hunt rabbits and be mischievous boys (as God intended). Soon enough, another subdivision sprang up behind our house and took away that after school fun and we were then forced to rely on trips to rural areas and family farms to fulfill that basic need. Soon enough though, Tucker was not a small town anymore.

Well I was born in a small town
And I live in a small town
Prob’ly die in a small town
Oh, those small – communities

I spent most of my Summers in South Georgia, fishing and working in tobacco, and eventually went to Georgia Military College in Milledgeville. I loved the rich history of the school and found out that other family members before me had gone there as well. Men who’d grown up together and fought in wars together still gathered at the barber shop and the hardware store to mull over the state of the world. The Pharmacy, Five and Dime, and Army Navy Store were run by the same families. The same families still sent their sons and daughters to Georgia Military College and Georgia College. There was no Home Depot or Lowe’s or Wal-Mart. Milledgeville was a community and still very much a small town where people knew each other. After GMC, I went to Athens to attend the University of Georgia. I quickly found out that Athens was no small town anymore and I longed for Milledgeville again, where I went back to and finished my degree at Georgia College, with many friends that I had then known for years. After that, I attended various Army schools and ended up in the National Guard in Thomaston, Georgia for many years – another small town. I was building houses, swinging a hammer and on rainy days I looked over my possible entrance to law school and took the placement test. That Summer, I went back to Fort Benning to attend Infantry Mortar Platoon Officer School (way too much math in that pre-GPS age) and, two days before we were to graduate, I got notice from the Georgia State University College of Law that I could attend law school there if I could be there by Friday. We graduated Wednesday and I headed back to the big city. That was in 1987, over 30 years ago, and aside from some Army tours, and a few foreign countries, I have been in or near the big city ever since. However, my favorite law case has always been one that was “OTP”, that is “Outside the Perimeter” of Interstate 285 that surrounds and encircles Atlanta. I have been fortunate enough to represent people all over the state, as well as to be involved in cases in other states as well. Throughout, I always had the longing for smaller towns.

As my wife and I discussed escaping from Metro Atlanta, a lawyer friend in Albany, Robert Margeson, who I had done a few cases with, told us that Bainbridge would be a great place for us to live. I do personal injury cases and he said there was no one there who did only that type of law. I had been to Bainbridge many times, to duck hunt on Lake Seminole, and I knew the area and had met many fine people whenever I had been there. On faith, we started the roll the ball. It would be a slow process, as I had to downsize, finish up some courts cases and a trial or two. We would be moving both home and office, so it would be a logistical nightmare that we would be accomplishing day by day for months on end. The first step was getting out of my hunting club and cabin in Talbot County, which my son and I had been in for approximately 14 years. I packed out, sold my equity and the shack, and left there in May. Since August of 2017, we have been moving both house and office. In that process, we had to have a lot of work done on both locations and that process confirmed to us that we had made the best choice possible. One of the first people we met said he wished he had known me before, because he had been in a bad wreck and could not find anyone local who only did the type of case that I do, so he’d hired a big firm from out of state who had an office in Atlanta. He had never met his lawyer face to face. The sellers of the house we bought told us at closing that they were moving to Kennesaw. I actually felt sorry for them and wondered if they had any idea of what they were getting into.

After we had closed on the house purchase, I went by Boyd’s to get some barbeque to take to my wife at the house. While I was waiting for my to-go order, a fellow who was also waiting on his to go order, struck up a conversation with me and said that he had been badly injured at work from a defectively manufactured product six months before, and had been unable to return to work. At that late date, the product had disappeared and there wasn’t much that I could do for him. But, what he told me next stuck with me – he said “We don’t have anyone around her who does what you do, Bainbridge needs someone who does what you do”. I was moved to the point of tears. “Thank You God for confirming my mission. We acted and worked on faith and you gave me confirmation.”

For generations now, mostly during and after World War II, families have left the small towns. They left the farms and the way of life they’d known for what was conceived to be better opportunities, whether that was working for plane or car manufacturers, or carpet mills, or other big global corporate businesses. Most people who live in and around Atlanta now are not even from this State. That community has become millions of people, stuck in traffic, hammering away at their cell phones, always in a hurry and typically running late. Schools are the only real “community” left and that ends when your kids leave. When my mom retired from teaching school, she eventually returned to her family home in Broxton, Georgia, and was there when her mom “Granny Stella” lived out her last years, as well as her two sisters, my Great Aunts. My mom went to a small church and was always the first one to bring food to funerals, visit the sick, and take care of people, just like her mom and grandmother had done. She enjoyed her class reunions over the years, only to see the numbers left in attendance dwindle down each year. Recently, my uncle Fred moved from the big city where he had been for over 50 years, back to Coffee County, and this week married a girl he had known since high school. Love springs eternal …

All my friends are so small town
My parents live in a same small town
My job is so small town
Provides little opportunity, hey!

Educated in a small town
Taught to fear Jesus in a small town
Used to daydream in that small town
Another born romantic that’s me

But I’ve seen it all in a small town
Had myself a ball in a small town
Married an L.A. (Chicago) doll and brought her to this small town
Now she’s small town just like me

My wife and I went to The American on the square in Bainbridge the other day to eat lunch, which opened about the time we were first moving to Bainbridge. (If you have not been there to eat yet, get busy because you deserve it and will be very glad you did). We had heard that the owners, Heather and Chef Tyler, had picked Bainbridge to open their amazing restaurant because there was nothing like it here. That sounded eerily familiar to the advice I had been given earlier. My wife likes their food so much that she decided to get a bunch of gift certificates for Christmas. We had been told that we had been given the first gift certificate they ever issued by our real estate agent, who had helped us to get a house. We closed on a house right before they opened. Rollins chose well.

As my nineteen year old son and I and many others worked to rehab the office space I had chosen, right across from the courthouse, the community apparently took notice. My son was clearing brush and weeds and re-landscaping the street with flowers one Friday afternoon. He came rushing back in the office all excited and said ”Dad people are driving by and honking and yelling out their windows ‘looks good !!!’ and giving me the thumbs up.” I laughed at his state of surprise. You don’t get that in or near Atlanta, where he had done a lot of landscaping. Up North, you get neighbors who report you to City Hall or even call the police because your trash can sat out at the street a few extra hours, or you are not splitting firewood quick enough, or some rain water ran down their driveway. There is no sense of community there. My son had told me years back that he wanted a sense of community. Honestly, I could not provide him with much of one in Cobb County. I smiled and wanted to laugh whenever people in Atlanta asked if I knew lawyer so-and-so. There are over 10,000 lawyers in Metro Atlanta, so unless they do exactly what I do, chances are that I did not know them and would never even meet them. My son’s first impression of Bainbridge was that people care about their community – and about him. My mom came over from her house about two and half hours away, to visit us in Bainbridge, and as I was driving her home that night, she decided right then that she was moving to Bainbridge too. My wife and I were overjoyed that she would be coming to live with us. She has driven all over town checking it out and talking to people and hoeps ot be here full-time soon.

The other day we saw someone we knew on the Square, Rollins. He had another gentleman with him, whom he introduced us to. All four of us had arrived at The American at the same time and we were very happy when they said they’d join us for lunch. We were taking Chef Tyler some citrus, and as we chatted and got to know John, we found out he was from a small town in Alabama, but he and his wife had lived and worked in big cities all over the country. They had recently re-settled in Bainbridge. Inevitably, the subject of conversation got around to us two couples being newcomers to Bainbridge and John asked if people around town had asked us why we moved to Bainbridge. He and my wife and I all thought that was very funny, because there really are too many good reasons to list. Rollins talked about how he had grown up within a stone’s throw of where we sat. I thought about how lucky he was and hoped that he knew that. (I think he did). Looking out over the square from our booth, the simplest most obvious answer to “Why are y’all moving to Bainbridge?” was out there – staring right at all of us:
Bottom Line: Bainbridge is simply a wonderful place filled with wonderful people. There is no place we’d rather be and have the privilege to call “home”.

No I cannot forget where it is that I come from
I cannot forget the people who love me
Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be

Got nothing against a big town
Still hayseed enough to say
Look who’s in the big town
But my bed is in a small town
Oh, that’s good enough for me

Well I was born in a small town
And I can breathe in a small town
Gonna die in a small town
Ah, that’s prob’ly where they’ll bury me

Post Script – As I was writing this, a childhood friend from Tucker texted me and 19 of our other classmates from Brocket Elementary School. We had all gone on to Tucker High School together and some had graduated college together as well. It was a special group of people. This friend had married a man from Thomasville many years back and they had raised a fine family together there. I have seen her a few times since High School, but she had texted us today to let our “community” know that one of us had fallen ill and was in the hospital and unlikely to make it. People in a community care about and have compassion for one another. Enough said.

NEXT UP: WHY I DO WHAT I DO.

Until then, I wish everyone a Happy New Year, a peaceful and prosperous 2018, and may we love one another and treat each other as we would wish to be treated ourselves.

Lyrics in bold = to “Small Town” – courtesy of John Mellencamp, ©