Jeffrey E. Johnston

Evans Legal Issues Blog

Georgia judge rules search of rapper's car was illegal

A judge has ruled that police violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights of rapper Jeffery Lamar Williams when they pulled his Mercedes-Benz Maybach over in October 2017. The March 21 ruling means that the drugs, cash and weapons allegedly found in the 27-year-old entertainer's vehicle cannot be used by prosecutors because they were the fruits of an illegal search. However, the ruling does not bring the case to an end as prosecutors could choose to go to court with their remaining evidence. The rapper faces up to five years in jail if he is convicted on all charges.

Williams, who is more commonly known by his stage name Young Thug, was charged with gun possession and drug possession with the intent to distribute after Georgia police allegedly discovered two guns, an undisclosed amount of U.S. currency and drugs including Xanax, ecstasy, marijuana and codeine in his vehicle. Police say that they decided to search the sedan after noticing the smell of marijuana.

Distracted driving can be dangerous in work zones

Distracted driving can be dangerous on Georgia roads and others throughout the country. In the time it takes to read a single text message, a vehicle traveling at 55 miles per hour will cover the length of a football field. Further research indicates that drivers who are distracted for any reason are more likely to get into an accident in a highway work zone.

Specifically, drivers are 29 times likelier to get in a crash while using a cell phone or being distracted by another passenger in such an area. There are many ways in which public policy could change to make it less probable that people will engage in distracted driving. A few ideas include an outright ban on texting while driving or improving driver education programs. It may also be possible to create new technology, such as vehicles that drive themselves, to help combat the problem.

Arrest rates increasing sharply among all demographic groups

A report published in the academic peer-reviewed journal Crime & Delinquency suggests that a sharp rise in the number of young people taken into custody in Georgia and around the country is the result of more rigorous law enforcement. Researchers from the RAND Corporation reached this conclusion after studying data on thousands of American households that was collected over several decades by the Panel Study of Income Dynamics.

The California-based nonprofit think tank observed a sharp rise in arrests in every demographic group they looked at with the most noticeable increases among women and white men. An American under the age of 36 is now about 2.6 times more likely to have been arrested at least once than an individual of retirement age. The study also reveals that white men are now being arrested at almost three times the rate they were just a few decades ago and the chances of a woman being taken into custody before reaching her 26th birthday have risen from around 1 percent to almost 15 percent.

Man charged with murder in woman's death

A Georgia man has been taken into custody in connection with the murder of a 55-year-old woman. On Jan. 25, someone phoned the Douglas County Sheriff's Office at around 7 a.m. with a report that a body was in the grass by a road.

After investigators sent the woman's body to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations forensic laboratory, the state medical examiner determined that the death had been a homicide. Investigators say that she appeared to have been strangled and that her murder occurred at a different location from where she was found.

Study ties prescription opioids to deadly accidents

While the nationwide opiate crisis has drawn attention in Georgia due to growing issues with addiction as well as fatal overdoses linked to potent substances, some research may indicate that prescription opioids may also be related to some deadly car crashes. According to a study, the drivers who were found to have caused fatal accidents were almost twice as likely as the ones who weren't responsible to have been under the influence of prescription opioids at the time of the accidents.

Researchers investigated 18,321 motor vehicle accidents from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which is a federal database that records crashes in which people lost their lives. They examined only the accidents that involved two cars. In all cases, they discovered that the most common cause of these crashes was one driver's failure to remain in the proper lane of traffic. Substance use was a significant issue that turned up repeatedly, especially alcohol. Over 5,000 of the at-fault drivers had alcohol in their systems at the time of the crash, and even 1,815 of the drivers who were not responsible for the accident tested positive for alcohol consumption.

Carrying drugs in Georgia can result in serious penalties

Georgia residents who are charged with being in possession of a controlled substance could face significant penalties. Those penalties may include a driver's license suspension in addition to jail time and a fine. State law has separate sentencing guidelines for those who are found to be in possession of marijuana. The exact sentence depends on the quantity a person is found with. Those who possess 1 ounce or less of the substance could spend up to a year in prison.

A fine of up to $1,000 may also be included if a person is convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession. Those who are charged with a felony for possession of more than 1 ounce will receive at least a year in prison and a fine of $5,000. Individuals who are found with any other Schedule I or II narcotic drug will face anywhere from 2 to 15 years in prison for a first offense.

When should I change my tires?

Does it seem like your car isn’t handling very well in the rain? Can you remember the last time you changed your tires?

Just the same as a car needs an oil change and a wash every now and then, changing the tires on your car is essential to keep your car running smoothly.

7 people arrested for running meth ring in Georgia

On Feb. 9, federal agents took seven people into custody for allegedly running a drug ring in Georgia. The arrests were made in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

Media reports indicate that Drug Enforcement Administration agents executed multiple search warrants at properties in Milton and Ellenwood. During the ensuing searches, they reportedly uncovered two methamphetamine manufacturing labs and several hundred pounds of meth in liquid and crystal forms. The seized drugs have an estimated street value exceeding $1.5 million.

Why speeding deaths still occur

Excessive speed is to blame in roughly one out of every three traffic deaths in Georgia and throughout the country. This was one of the key takeaways from a recent report issued by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). The GHSA report says that speeding deaths occur because there is no stigma attached to driving too fast. However, it does say that there are ways to help drivers reduce their speeds.

For example, roundabouts and other features could be installed that require drivers to slow down. In addition, increased law enforcement could work in getting drivers to travel at slower speeds. Enforcing the law can be achieved through both human intervention and automated tools. Educating the public about the dangers of speeding is another way to reduce the number of injuries and deaths that occur on roadways. According to safety advocates, drivers should be aware that speeding could increase both the likelihood and severity of a car accident.

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