Donald F. Samuel
Don Samuel has practiced with Garland, Samuel & Loeb since 1982. His practice is devoted primarily to criminal defense and appeals in both the state and federal courts. He has appeared in federal courts throughout the country and participated in one United States Supreme Court case, State of Georgia v. Scott Fitz Randolph.
He has an active trial practice, having tried over 100 cases in the state and federal trial courts in matters as diverse as tax evasion, money laundering, mail fraud, murder, and public corruption cases. He has tried death penalty cases (none of his clients has ever been sentenced to death), and was teamed up with his long-time partner, Ed Garland, in the defense of Ray Lewis, Jamal Lewis, Dany Heatley, and Rapper T.I.
Don is ranked among the Top 100 Georgia Super Lawyers, has been listed in Best Lawyers since 1991, and was recognized in Georgia Trend magazine's Legal Elite for his work in criminal defense law. He is a past President of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (GACDL), is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), was elected in 1999 to membership in the American Board of Criminal Lawyers, and was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers in 2000.
He is known for his scholarship: He has authored three books on criminal law that are relied on by judges, prosecutors and lawyers throughout the southeast. They are Georgia Criminal Law Case Finder, Eleventh Circuit Criminal Handbook, and Federal Criminal Law Digest. He is the author of several law review articles in the Georgia Bar Journal. The most recent is The Fourth Amendment and Computers: Is a Computer Just Another Container or Are New Rules Required to Reflect New Technologies? (February 2009). He also teaches an upper level criminal law course at Georgia State University School of Law.
Among his more notable cases are:
- Don recently won a reversal in the Georgia Court of Appeals of a rape conviction of a 20-year old who was sentenced to 35 years without parole. Garland, Samuel & Loeb was hired after the defendant was convicted and scored the victory in a unanimous decision by the Georgia Court of Appeals. State v. Higgins (Ga. Court of Appeals 2010).
- Ed Garland, Don Samuel and John Garland represented Ben Roethlisberger, the All-Star Quarterback with the Pittsburgh Steelers and successfully convinced the prosecutor in Baldwin County to bring no charges against him in connection with an alleged rape of a college student.
- The 2009 case involving Clifford Harris (Rapper T.I.) who pled guilty to federal weapons charges and could have received a 15-year prison sentence. Instead, Don and his law partner, Ed Garland, crafted a sentence that emphasized community service by speaking to at-risk youth, and a year-and-a-day prison term.
- The last three of the murder trials of Jim Williams, the antique dealer in Savannah, Georgia, whose case was chronicled in the best-selling book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Williams was tried four times for the same murder before being acquitted in the last trial.
- Represented Walter Leroy Moody, the Georgia man charged with sending mail bombs that killed an Eleventh Circuit judge, as well as a civil rights lawyer in Savannah.
Defended the juvenile T.J. Solomon who was charged with shooting six fellow students at Heritage High School in Conyers, Georgia, in 1999.
- Defended Ray Lewis, the Baltimore Ravens' All-Pro Linebacker who was charged with a double murder in Atlanta in 2000. All charges were dropped just prior to the close of the state's case in exchange for a plea to a misdemeanor with twelve months probation.
- Represented the Chief Financial Officer in 2001 in the Gold Club Trial. This federal RICO case resulted in a misdemeanor plea for his client in the fourteenth week of trial.
- Defense counsel in the case of State v. Dorsey, involving murder charges against the Sheriff of DeKalb County who was charged with arranging for the assassination of the man who was elected to replace him as Sheriff.
- Counsel in the successful 2006 U.S. Supreme Court case State of Georgia v. Scott Fitz Randolph, which established the right of a co-inhabitant to refuse to allow law enforcement officers to enter a house.
Don has spoken at seminars, conferences and Continuing Legal Education classes including the Eleventh Circuit Judicial Conference and the annual Georgia Superior Court Judges' Conference. He is a frequent guest on CNN and local television programs concerning legal matters.
He is married to the award-winning author Melissa Fay Greene, who wrote There Is No Me Without You, a book about the AIDS crisis in Ethiopia; The Temple Bombing, which chronicled the story of the 1958 bombing of The Temple in Atlanta, Georgia; and Praying for Sheetrock, a non-fiction account of the civil rights movement in McIntosh County, Georgia. Don and Melissa have nine children, including one child they adopted from rural Bulgaria and four children they adopted from Ethiopia.
Areas of Practice
- Criminal Trial Practice State & Federal
- Criminal Appellate Practice State & Federal
- Georgia, 1980
- U.S. District Court Northern District of Georgia, 1980
- U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit, 1982
- U.S. Supreme Court, 1992
- U.S. Tax Court, 1994
- Supreme Court of Georgia, 1980
- University of Georgia School of Law, Athens, Georgia - 1980
- Honors: Cum Laude
- Law Journal: Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, Editor
- Oberlin College - 1975
- GEORGIA CRIMINAL LAW CASE FINDER, Lexis Law Publishing
- ELEVENTH CIRCUIT CRIMINAL HANDBOOK, Lexis Law Publishing
- FEDERAL CRIMINAL LAW DIGEST, James Publishing Company, 1999
- Georgia RICO, Georgia Bar Journal, Winter, 1984
- The Money Laundering Control Act of 1986: Will Attorneys Be Taken to the Cleaners?, Georgia Bar Journal, Spring, 1988
- The 1994 Georgia Criminal Procedure Discovery Bill, Georgia Bar Journal, January, 1995
- Abolishing the Forfeiture Laws, Georgia Bar Journal, Spring, 1995
- US v. Sullivan (United States District Court)
- State v. Dorsey
- Speaker, Eleventh Circuit Judicial Conference, 1999
- Speaker, Continuing Legal Education Seminars in Georgia
- Speaker, American Bar Association Annual Meeting
- Speaker, National Conference of Federal Public Defenders
- Adjunct Professor, Georgia State University, School of Law
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (GACDL), Past-President
- National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), Member
- American Board of Criminal Lawyers, Member, 1999 - Present
- American College of Trial Lawyers, 2000 - Present
Past Employment Positions
- United States Court Judge Harold L. Murphy (N.D. Ga.), Law Clerk