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William James Atkins

William Atkins’s Answers

59 total

  • How do I Report a Georgia State Patrol or how should I handle this situation

    Friday night I was pulled over by a Georgia State patrol officer when Asked him why he pulled me over he was very rude to me and told me my registration was suspended he ended up giving me a ticket, then he apparently didnt like how i signed my na...

    William’s Answer

    Go to the Georgia State Patrol website. Locate the Post closest to the area where you were stopped (that is likely where he works). There will be an address and a telephone number for that POST. Call the number and confirm that he works there. Then send a written complaint in to the POST commander.

    Good luck to you. This sounds like an unfortunate situation. I would observe, however, that if your registration was expired he can lawfully have your vehicle towed as it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle with a suspended registration. With that said, it is pretty unusual for an officer to do so.

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  • Is it obstuction when on my property for not wanting give my name and askin why they need my name and what reasonable suspicion

    the deputy knocked on my door and asked if a person was inside i asked why ? he then got angry and said he had a warrent.i told the person inside to come out.then he asked me for my name.i asked why?he said tell me your name or ill arrest you for ...

    William’s Answer

    Unfortunately, this situation is not uncommon. Very few police officers understand the scope of the 4th Amendment when serving an arrest warrant.

    I am going to assume that the person they were looking for does not normally reside at your home. If that is the case, law enforcement cannot enter the home of a third party to search for the subject of an arrest warrant unless they have secured a search warrant for the residence, receive consent from the home owner, or have exigent circumstances to enter the home. See Stegald v. U.S. (US Supreme Court decision) If the subject of the arrest warrant did reside in your home, the police can enter to serve a felony arrest warrant. Payton v. New York (U.S. Supreme Court).

    Under the facts you describe, you did not commit obstruction because you told the person he was looking for to come outside. If you had lied about the person's presence in your home, or otherwise attempted to interfere with his investigation, probable cause may well have existed to arrest you.

    Once the suspect came outside (or really even before that), you were under no obligation to identify yourself to the police officer (unless he had reason to suspect you were the subject of the AW). His conduct was inappropriate.

    I encourage you to file an internal affairs complaint with his employer. They have a duty to conduct an investigation upon receiving the complaint. The only way to stop this kind of conduct is to report it. It will also create a record of his behavior. If it occurs again, your report will matter.

    As you were not actually detained, I do not think it is worthwhile to pursue a civil rights action. Best of luck to you. If you have more questions, feel fee to contact my office. We specialize in civil rights matters involving police misconduct.

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  • What information should I give and to whom regarding the following mistreatment of an inmate in state prison by prison staff?

    I have received letters from an inmate detailing various accounts of mistreatment by prison staff, including the warden and medical director. This inmate has suffered and been faced with life-threatening situations, including withholding medicine ...

    William’s Answer

    The remedies available to the inmate depend on whether he is a State prisoner serving a sentence or a pre-trial detainee awaiting trial in a local jail. From your post, it appears that the inmate is a State prisoner and is thus subject to the Federal Prison Litigation Reform Act. We do not typically get involved in cases involving FPLRA as it places significant limitations on the client's ability to recover damages for his claims. Nevertheless, the State has constitutional obligation to provide adequate medical care to persons in prison. The prisoner must be able to establish that he/she has a serious medical condition such that failure to provide adequate medical treatment would be so far below the standard of care as to be deliberately indifferent. That is a very difficult standard in civil rights law. I would encourage you to contact your local office of the American Civil Liberties Union or the Southern Center for Human Rights. Both organizations will sometimes look into prison abuse cases or, at a minimum, may be able to refer you to an attorney who is willing to assist on a pro bono basis.

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  • Does a school teacher have immunity if she violates a school policy and causes severe harm to a student

    if a school teacher brings an item into the school that is not allowed and causes bodily harm to a student does he or she have immunity under the law

    William’s Answer

    Your question does not offer enough detail for a definitive answer. However, I can offer some sense of how immunity works for school teachers in Georgia. Under Georgia law, public officials (including teachers) are generally entitled to "official immunity" for negligent acts committed during the course and scope of their employment, unless the act (or omission) was ministerial in nature.

    For example, in a recent Georgia Supreme Court case, a school employee at the front desk allowed a man to pick up his child without first checking to be sure the man (the child's father) was on the list of authorized persons to pick up the child. The father kidnapped the child. the Court held that the act of checking the list was ministerial, that is, the employee did not have a choice not to look at the list first. In another recent decision, the Supreme Court held that a teacher's failure to require students to wear safety glasses during a science experiment was discretionary, even though school policy required wearing the safety glasses. Because the teacher had discretion, the teacher was entitled to official immunity.

    With that information in mind, the answer to your question depends on (a) what the item was; (b) exactly what the policy says; and (c) the nature of the injury to the student. To use a extreme example, every school (actually state and federal law) prohibit anyone from bringing a weapon onto school property. If a teacher did so, left the weapon unattended, and a student hurt themselves, that could give rise to liability.

    I would encourage you to discuss your case with an attorney who specializes in civil rights, education or serious personal injury law. This is a specialized area of law. You should not retain or consider the advice of attorneys who do not practice in this specialized area. My law firm does specialize in this field. If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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  • Is this legal and what can happen? A little over a month ago the police and some people dressed up in green bused down my moms

    door and said they was here on an extended search warrant. While they had me, my mom, and my three year old son on the ground with 5 shoot guns in are face, I asked to see the search warrant. One of the officers told me " NO don't worry about that...

    William’s Answer

    I believe this is part of another post and I already provided a response to that post. Please consider calling our office to discuss your criminal and potential civil rights matter.

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  • Is this legal and what can be done? A little over a month ago the police and some people dressed in green bused down my moms

    door and said they was here on an extended search warrant. While they had me, my mom, and my three year old son on the ground with 5 shoot guns in are face, I asked to see the search warrant. One of the officers told me " NO don't worry about that...

    William’s Answer

    I had a little trouble following your post here. There are several things you should be aware of that apply to police power to execute a "no knock" search warrant or arrest warrant. First, the police must have a separate search warrant issued by a magistrate and supported by probable cause to enter the home of a third party for the purpose of executing an arrest warrant on a person who is not an owner/resident of that home. If your baby's father did not reside in the home (or the police did not have a good faith belief that he was a resident), they needed a SW to enter (unless one of several exceptions to the warrant clause applied, i.e. exigent circumstances).
    What doesn't make sense from your post is why either you or your mother would go to jail, unless you committed a crime in the officer's presence while they were executing the SW or the officers found drugs or other illegal contraband in the house.

    Our law firm specializes in criminal defense and civil police misconduct cases. If you would like to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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  • Is this a violation of ferpa and if so, can I file a lawsuit for this violation?

    My spanish professor has this habit of announcing to the entire class when we have received an embarassingly low score on a test or assignment. For example, we had a mock court case recently and I was not in class on the date prior to this debate....

    William’s Answer

    I am sorry that your professor embarrassed you. However, there is certainly no basis for filing a federal law suit. I would suggest speaking to your professor after class. Express your concerns and ask her to stop doing it. If she does it again, go to the Dean of Students and express your concerns.

    I would observe that - in my own experience - professors in college and certainly in law school have no hesitation in embarrassing a student who is not prepared for class. I'm not sure I see anything wrong with that. Being prepared for class is your job (just like their job is to be prepared to teach it). In the real world, supervisors have a low tolerance for employees who are not prepared for meetings or do not get their work done on time. Excuses just don't matter. Why weren't you in class? Did you skip? Did you have a conflict? What efforts did you make to find out what happened that day?

    So, the best remedy for your situation is, show up for class and be prepared.

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  • Is it possible for me to force my ex-company to pay bonus' due me even though I was laid off?

    I was laid off in May in Atlanta, GA and was due to get wages and bonus direct deposited into my account one week later. Unfortunately, when I was laid off, I received a check in the mail for wages and one week vacation, but no bonus. The bonus ...

    William’s Answer

    As a general rule in Georgia, you would not be entitled to recover a bonus post termination. However, in a sales context, (1) if the bonus is non-discretionary, i.e. based on pre-set numerical goals not subject to any subjective evaluation by the employer (a commission) and (2) the sale upon which the commission (bonus) is based is completed (the company has received the $) prior to termination, then the commission may be recoverable.

    If you wish to discuss this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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  • Is there such a thing as sentence reduction ?

    My friend was sentenced to 10 years as a first time offender for "intent to defraud a retailer", a charge that carries a 1 to 10 year sentence. He took that as a plea deal out of desperation after being one year in county jail and having 2 bad exp...

    William’s Answer

    Douglas County has two terms of court, beginning on January 1 and July 1 each year. A criminal defendant may attempt to withdraw a plea within the same term of court in which it was entered. However, it is within the Court's discretion. I prosecuted for some time in Douglas County. It seems unusual that your friend would receive a 10 year sentence for this offense, unless the amount involved was particularly high. Should you wish to discuss this matter further, I would encourage you to contact our firm and discuss this matter further with one of our attorneys.

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  • My rites having been detained under Shopkeeper's privilege.

    Lets assume i am leaving walmart after paying. On my way to the door the manager asks for my receipt. Note: He did not see me paying for my items. I politely refuse and continue walking. He instructs a security officer to stop who stands in-front ...

    William’s Answer

    If the initial detention was improper - that is, you paid for your items and he had not reasonable basis to suspect that you were shoplifting, the detention is illegal and actionable. The length of time, intrusiveness of the search, etc. are relevant to your damages.
    The claim, in this instance, would likely be for False Imprisonment. These claims can be worth pursuing, particularly against a company like Walmart. But it is only a claim if you did nothing at all wrong to justify the initial detention. If that is the case, I encourage you to discuss this with an attorney.

    My law firm handles these matters. We have had good success pursuing claims like this throughout Georgia. You should feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss your case in further detail.

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