Criminal Law Cases and News

  • Ed Garland and Don Samuel dismantle state's case against NFL star Ray Lewis, murder charges dropped

    June 2000 - Ed Garland and Don Samuel, after eviscerating the State's case, crafted an agreement whereby the murder charges against Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis were dropped in the stabbing deaths of two men outside a Super Bowl party in Atlanta, in exchange for pleading guilty to a misdemeanor. Sports Illustrated reported on the story.

    "It's a good day for Ray," defense attorney Don Samuel said as he entered the courthouse.

    Defense attorney Ed Garland said he and Lewis discussed the plea agreement and went over his testimony before going to court.

    "He said a prayer with me about his duties and his responsibilities and what he was doing and he was happy to go forward and let the truth--all of it--come out," he said.

    Garland said that Lewis' only crime was to tell his two companions after the brawl that led to the deaths, "Keep your mouth shut," and giving an incomplete statement to police.

    "He fully acknowledges his responsibility for those acts," Garland said after the plea was entered.

    Lewis and two friends, Joseph Sweeting and Reginald Oakley, were charged with murder, felony murder and aggravated assault in the stabbings of Richard Lollar and Jacinth Baker in the early-morning hours of Jan. 31, 2000.

  • Ed Garland negotiates minimal sentence for nfl player Jamal Lewis

    October 2004 - Faced with charges of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, using a cellphone to arrange a drug transaction, and attempted cocaine possession, Baltimore Ravens running back Jamal Lewis officially entered a guilty plea in federal court only to the cellphone charge in a plea deal crafted by Ed Garland. Lewis had been accused of helping broker a cocaine deal during conversations with a government informant in Atlanta during the summer of 2000. Baltimore news station WBAL-TV reported on the story.

    The plea agreement, entered in Atlanta, called for Lewis to serve a sentence of four months in a minimum-security prison and two months in a halfway house. No quantity of drug would be specified, thus allowing for the low sentence.

    Commenting on the case, Ed Garland said: "Jamal made an introduction to someone he had known in high school, that's what he pled guilty to doing. He had no expectation of receiving anything from the transaction. He made the mistake of giving in to the transaction."

    Garland explained that Lewis wanted to enter the plea, after which they reviewed the case carefully and presented evidence to the government, which Garland believes affected this case. "A 20-year-old boy can make some stupid mistakes, and that's what happened," Garland said. "What Jamal did was say to us: 'If my conduct makes me guilty of a crime, I want to accept it, face it, receive my punishment and acknowledge it.'"

  • Ed Garland and Don Samuel's sentencing agreement for Rapper T.I. draws praise

    March 2009 - Rapper T.I. pled guilty to federal weapons charges which could have resulted in lengthy prison term. Instead, his defense attorneys Ed Garland and Don Samuel crafted a unique sentencing agreement that emphasized community service and reduced his time in prison down to a year and a day. As a result T.I. made hundreds of public appearances in front of at-risk youth stressing a message of nonviolence and respect for the law.

    The positive impact of T.I.'s speeches drew dozens of letters of appreciation from numerous teachers and students as well as such notable people as former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young and Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court Leah Ward Sears. The success of T.I.'s community service work surpassed all expectations and even received favorable comments from the U.S. District Judge and the U.S. Attorney who tried the case. In addition to the 1,000 hours of community service, T.I., whose name is Clifford Harris, was ordered to serve a year and one day in prison and pay a $100,000 fine.

  • Ed Garland obtains dismissal of charges filed against steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger

    April 2010 - After five weeks of intense investigation, Ocmulgee Circuit District Attorney Fred Bright announced he would not pursue charges against Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in connection with a sexual assault allegation by a 20-year-old college student in Milledgeville, Georgia. Bright stated that because allegations could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt there would be no arrest nor criminal prosecution against Mr. Roethlisberger.

    Roethlisberger's attorney, Ed Garland, stated, "As we said from the beginning [of the allegations], we believed the facts would show that no crime had been committed."

    On ESPN.com, Lester Munson wrote as follows: "Roethlisberger's attorney, Ed Garland, also was investigating the incident. Was his investigation a factor in the decision not to file charges? In all likelihood, yes. In addition to his brilliance in the courtroom, Garland has the capacity to gather evidence that even the best of police detectives have missed. He demonstrated his investigative skills in his defense of Ray Lewis against double murder charges in 2000. Garland not only gathers important evidence, he presents it in a manner no prosecutor can ignore. We might never know exactly what Garland turned up in his investigation, but we can be reasonably sure that Bright reviewed it carefully as he made his decision."

  • 'Outlaw' Client Of Don Samuel And Kristen Novay Acquitted Mid-Trial

    September 2014 – As reported in the AJC and Daily Report, Attorneys Don Samuel and Kristen Novay obtained an acquittal of their 'Outlaw’ client. A federal indictment accused their client of obstructing a grand juryinvestigation of the Outlaw Motorcycle Club in 2012 when he closed down a clubhouse in Cleveland, Ga., after the client received a tip that the local club leader was a federal informant. Through their cross examination of the Government’s witnesses, Samuel and Novay demonstrated to the Court that there was no evidence of corrupt intent to obstruct anything—much less a grand jury of which their client was not even aware. At the close of the Government’s case, the judge agreed and entered judgments of acquittal on all counts for all defendants. As Don Samuel told the Daily Report "What was he [McDaniel] supposed to do?" Samuel said the judge asked. "In the government’s view, apparently, there was nothing he could do. He couldn't tell anybody, because that would be obstruction; he couldn’t tell people at the clubhouse to stop committing crimes, because that would obstruct the grand jury’s continued investigation. It seems to me that shutting down the clubhouse was the best option available to him."

    Click here to read the Daily Report article.

  • Ed Garland denies allegations that prominent residential real estate law firm founder embezzled $30 million

    August 2014 - As reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Daily Report, among other news outlets, Ed Garland, upon learning of a civil lawsuit accusing his client Nat Hardwick of misappropriating $30 million from Mr. Hardwick’s law firm, Morris Hardwick Schneider, and affiliated title company, LandCastle Title, immediately extolled Mr. Hardwick’s innocence, calling the allegations against his client false. As quoted in the Daily Report, Mr. Garland said that his client "is not guilty of any improper, illegal or unethical conduct," and that "[t]he law firm was profitable, and Nat believed that all of the money he received was properly distributed to him as his share of the profits of the firm." And as quoted in the AJC, Mr. Garland noted that "[a]nybody who knows Nat knows that he loves the law firm, its employees, the attorneys and the firm’s many loyal clients. He would never knowingly or intentionally take money he was not entitled to or harm the firm or its clients in any way." Click here to read the full article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and here to read the full article from the Daily Report.

    News Links:

    http://www.ajc.com/news/business/firm-says-atlanta-law-partner-embezzled-30-million/ng9hN/

    http://www.dailyreportonline.com/id=1202668286577/Hardwick-Denies-Embezzling-from-Firm?slreturn=20140830191154

  • John Garland and Kristen Novay secure acquittal for client charged with murder in Fulton County

    April 2014 - After a hard fought trial lasting two weeks a jury returned a verdict of not guilty on all counts for a client facing life in prison on charges of Malice Murder, two counts of Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault, Possession of a Firearm during the commission of a felony, and attempted sale of drugs. In a case that centered on the issue of self-defense, John Garland and Kristen Novay were able to obtain key rulings from the court to exclude irrelevant and prejudicial evidence, eventually leading to the dismissal of one of the Felony Murder counts as well as the Drug count before the case ever went to the Jury. During cross examination of the State's key witnesses Mr. Garland and Ms. Novay were able to demonstrate the contradictions and inherent unreliability of the State's claims. Furthermore, Ms. Novay and Mr. Garland were able to locate, subpoena and bring to the stand a police officer who provided testimony that further undermined the credibility of the State's claims. After over 24hrs of deliberations filled with insightful questions from the Jury, the Jury returned a verdict of not guilty on all counts (Click here to see a copy of the verdict form).

  • Charges dropped against husband and wife "as soon as Don Samuel shows up, everything changes"

    April 2012 - as reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Covington News Don Samuel is credited with obtaining the dismissal of all charges against his clients, husband and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Kalonji. At the time of his clients’ arrest, Mr. and Mrs. Kalonji were helping their son, Bruno, change the locks on his new home when they were confronted by two men carry ar-15 assault rifles who threatened to shoot them and held them against their will. Upon the arrival of the Newton County sheriff's department the Kalonji's were arrested for loitering and prowling. However, after the Kalonji's lawyer Don Samuel met with the Newton County Sheriff's Office and district Attorney the charges against the Kalonji's were dismissed and charges of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal trespass were brought against the Canoles. Mr. Samuel was quoted in the AJC as stating; "If the police had made just one call to Bruno, this all could've been avoided". Click here to read the full article from the AJC. Click here to read another article from the AJC. The Covington News quoted Mr. Samuel as explaining; "I can't even imagine what the explanation is going to be by the six officers who were on the scene that night... that can't be the way that deputies on the scene govern themselves so something is really wrong at that point." Click here to read the full article from the Covington News.

    John Garland persuades The Supreme Court of Georgia that Gwinnet wiretapping procedures are illegal, Secures Suppression of Evidence, Charges Dismissed

  • Ed Garland in showdown with Dekalb County and the state of Georgia over the constitutionality of "computer gaming machines"

    April 2012 - Ed Garland, representing a DeKalb Defendant, is fighting to keep his client out of jail while also fighting a new law proposed in the State of Georgia to ban computer gaming machines. Ed Garland's client, an owner of seven stores who sold phone calling cards and used gaming promotions as a marketing tool, faces up to 20 years in prison. As quoted in Daily Report, Ed Garland stated, "What we did was lawful, absolutely legal and no different from any other sweepstakes. We were selling phone cards as a business, a legitimate business, as a marketing promotion." Ed Garland plans to fight DeKalb County and the State of Georgia by challenging the Constitutionality of the current and proposed statutes on Equal Protection Grounds. A link to the full article is available here

  • ED Garland Secures Complete Dismissal For NFL Linebacker

    March 2012 - Ed Garland and Janice Singer-Capek, of Thompson & Singer, P.A., obtained a complete dismissal of all charges against NFL Seattle Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill. As reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, FoxSports.com, Seattle Times and other news sources, he had been charged with possession of marijuana after police officers obtained a search warrant, raided his condo and found a small amount of the illegal substance. The charges were potentially devastating to Hill's pro football career. Ed Garland and Ms. Singer-Capek worked quickly to refute the charges and demonstrate their client's innocence; the charges were dismissed approximately two weeks after Leroy Hill was arrested. Garland told reporters that Hill was "innocent of having any knowledge that trace amounts of marijuana were in his apartment." A urine test, taken by Hill immediately following his arrest, was negative for any drugs in his system. Hill has since re-signed with the Seahawks. Click here to read the full articles.

  • Don Samuel and Kristen Wright Novay Persuade the Supreme Court of Georgia to Declare Assisted Suicide Law Unconstitutional, Charges Against the Medical Director of a Right-To-Die Organization Dismissed.

    January 2012-- The Supreme Court of Georgia dismissed charges against the medical director of a right-to-die organization represented by Don Samuel and Kristen Wright Novay. The attorneys challenged the Georgia statute relating to assisted suicide on the grounds that it violated their client's First Amendment rights. As reported from several news sources, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Associated Press, Washington Post and New York Times, the Supreme Court of Georgia agreed and held that Georgia's law is unconstitutional because it does not explicitly forbid assisted suicide but prescribes felony charges against a person who "publicly advertises, offers or holds himself out as offering that he or she will intentionally and actively assist another person in the commission of suicide and commits any overt act to further that purpose."

    According to the Court, "[t]he State has failed to provide any explanation or evidence as to why a public advertisement or offer to assist in an otherwise legal activity is sufficiently problematic to justify an intrusion on protected speech rights." Samuel commented: "There should be little doubt that the state Legislature should do a better job. This statute outlawed speech, pure and simple, and that's something the law cannot do. If the legislature wants to go back and make all assisted suicides a crime, there are dozens of state laws they can pattern it after." The members of Final Exit Network said they saw the court's decision as vindication.

  • Amanda Clark Palmer and Kristen Wright Novay obtain justice for an innocent client, wrongfully accused of battery

    July 2011 - Attorneys Amanda Clark Palmer and Kristen Wright Novay obtained an acquittal for their client charged with battery and criminal trespass in Clayton County. The State claimed that the client had physically battered two other women by choking and hitting them. Over a two day trial the State presented three witnesses - the two alleged victims and another eyewitness - who all claimed our client was the aggressor. Palmer argued to the judge that the State had failed to prove their case on three of four counts; the judge agreed and directed a verdict for those counts. The client took the stand and denied all charges. Novay showed the jury the inconsistencies in the witnesses' testimony and argued they couldn't be believed under oath. The jury agreed, and after deliberating for only 4 minutes found the client not guilty on the remaining charge.

  • Don Samuel and Patrick Sullivan obtain acquittal for record label owner charged with possession of over 100 kilos of marijuana

    June 2011- Don Samuel and Patrick Sullivan obtained an acquittal for a record label owner charged in a conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana in the Middle District of Alabama. Federal authorities alleged that, for more than a decade, a number of individuals were involved with the importation of thousands of pounds of marijuana from Mexico to the Southeastern United States. After a jury trial, Samuel and Sullivan, along with co-counsel Steve Sadow, were able to obtain a not-guilty verdict on all counts of the indictment.

  • Don Samuel and Kristen Wright Novay obtain acquittal of doctor in Arizona charged with assisting suicide

    April 2011 - Michael Kiefer of the Tuscon Sun reported that attorneys Don Samuel and Kristen Wright Novay obtained an acquittal for a medical director of a right-to-die group who was charged with assisting suicide in Arizona. The client, Dr. Lawrence Egbert, is an 82-year-old Baltimore anesthesiologist, medical director and co-founder of the right-to-die group Final Exit Network.

    It's not illegal to commit suicide in Arizona, but it is illegal to help someone else commit suicide. The question before the jury was whether Egbert had conspired to commit manslaughter in the death of a Phoenix woman who took her own life. At trial, Don Samuel argued: "(Final Exit) is registered with the U.S. government," he said. "Do you think the Gambino family has a trademark? What kind of conspiracy has a website?" Novay also argued, "These aren't roving gang members; they're 80-year-old citizen volunteers. They talk to the person. They counsel them. They are there. It's about dignity and peace."

    Ultimately, the jury found the client not guilty of conspiracy to commit manslaughter by aiding suicide after a three week trial. Commenting after trial, Kristen Wright Novay said: "The issue is that the laws aren't clearly defined. The goal is to follow the law and the law says not to aid, so they didn't."

    Samuel and Novay will also defend Egbert against similar criminal charges in Georgia. Jeffry Scott of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on the effect of the Arizona victory in the Georgia case. Samuel commented: "I think it has a huge impact on the Georgia case."

    "The jury found that Dr. Egbert, by what he did, was not to assist in suicide by any reasonable definition of the word 'assist,'" said Samuel. The attorney said Egbert's involvement in the Phoenix case is the same as it was in the Georgia case. "Dr. Egbert never went to Arizona and he never went to Forsyth County," said Samuel. The Georgia trial is expected to start next year.

    April 2011 - Attorneys Don Samuel and Kristen Wright Novay obtained an acquittal for a medical director of a right-to-die group who was charged with assisting suicide in Arizona. The client, Dr. Lawrence Egbert, is an 82-year-old Baltimore anesthesiologist, medical director and co-founder of the right-to-die group Final Exit Network.

    It's not illegal to commit suicide in Arizona, but it is illegal to help someone else commit suicide. The question before the jury was whether Egbert had conspired to commit manslaughter in the death of a Phoenix woman who took her own life. At trial, Don Samuel argued: "(Final Exit) is registered with the U.S. government," he said. "Do you think the Gambino family has a trademark? What kind of conspiracy has a website?" Novay also argued, "These aren't roving gang members; they're 80-year-old citizen volunteers. They talk to the person. They counsel them. They are there. It's about dignity and peace."

    Ultimately, the jury found the client not guilty of conspiracy to commit manslaughter by aiding suicide after a three week trial. Commenting after trial, Kristen Wright Novay said: "The issue is that the laws aren't clearly defined. The goal is to follow the law and the law says not to aid, so they didn't."

  • Don Samuel asks supreme court to overturn physician's felony murder conviction

    March 2011 - Walter C. Jones of the Florida Times-Union reported on oral arguments in the Georgia Supreme Court in the case of former St. Marys physician Noel Chua, who was convicted in 2007 for the 2005 death of then patient Jamie Carter, a 19-year-old college student who was living in the doctor's spare bedroom. Medical experts testified that Carter, who helped out at the doctor's office, died of a drug overdose. Chua's attorney, Don Samuel, told the seven justices that the doctor made proper prescriptions for Carter's chronic pain, headaches and insomnia. "The state asks this court, for the first time, to affirm a conviction of murder for a doctor who prescribed pain medication to a man who, without the doctor's knowledge or assistance or acquiescence, overdosed on drugs." A decision isn't likely for several months.

  • Ed garland, Jana Harris, and Kristen Wright Novay obtain acquittal of ex-va doctor charged with sexual assault in federal case

    February 2011 - The Atlanta Journal & Constitution reported that a federal jury acquitted, Devashish Ray, a former Veteran Affairs doctor of sexually assaulting a female patient and then lying about it to federal investigators. Federal authorities alleged that during an examination of a female patient, Ray groped her and then tried to convince her to take off her pants. During lengthy testimony on the witness stand, Ray denied all charges. Ray's lawyer, Ed Garland was quoted by Bill Rankin of the Atlanta Journal & Constitution as saying: "This caused tremendous agony to an innocent man...It was devastating to him that anyone would even accuse him of something like that. It's so wonderful to have this lifted off of him."

    February 2011 - Ed Garland, Jana Harris, and Kristen Wright Novay obtained the acquittal of Devashish Ray, a former Veteran Affairs doctor accused of sexually assaulting a female patient and then lying about it to federal investigators. Federal authorities alleged that during an examination of a female patient, Ray groped her and then tried to convince her to take off her pants. During lengthy testimony on the witness stand, Ray denied all charges. Ray's lawyer, Ed Garland was quoted by Bill Rankin of the Atlanta Journal & Constitution as saying: "This caused tremendous agony to an innocent man...It was devastating to him that anyone would even accuse him of something like that. It's so wonderful to have this lifted off of him."

  • Attorneys for right-to-die group argue Georgia's assisted suicide law is unconstitutional

    December 2010 - The Atlanta Journal & Constitution & the Associated Press reported that in a three-hour hearing in Forsyth County Superior court, attorneys for the right-to-die group Final Exit Network pressed Superior Court Judge David L. Dickinson to dismiss the criminal charges faced by their clients. Don Samuel, attorney for Dr. Lawrence Egbert, was quoted by Greg Bluestein of the Associated Press as saying: "We are being prosecuted for publicly advertising something that's perfectly legal ...This couldn't possibly be a crime." In the hearing the lawyers argued that the law, (O.C.G.A. 16-5-5) which makes it a felony for anyone to publicly advertise to assist with a suicide, is unconstitutional because it improperly restricts free speech. UPDATE: January 2012, Georgia Supreme Court declared Georgia's assisted suicide law unconstitutional and dismissed all charges.

  • Garland & Samuel hired in alleged fraud case

    August 2010 - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the "well-known Atlanta criminal defense attorneys Ed Garland and Don Samuel" have been hired by Michael Rand, the former chief accounting officer of Beazer Homes USA, to defend him from federal charges alleging the commission of securities fraud and conspiracy during his tenure at Beazer Homes.

  • Don Samuel overturns rape conviction

    July 2010 - The Peachtree City Citizen and Creative Loafing newspapers reported that the Georgia Court of Appeals overturned a rape conviction in the case of Zachary Higgins of Sharpsburg. The Court ruled that evidence in the original trial may have prejudiced the jury in the March 2009 trial which resulted in a 35-year prison sentence.

    Attorneys Don Samuel and Charles Lea of Garland, Samuel & Loeb successfully represented Higgins in the appellate case but were not involved in the 2009 trial. Lea was quoted by journalist Gwynedd Stuart as saying, "There were a host of very serious errors [in the original trial] that had nothing to do with similar transaction evidence. We believe at a new trial he will be successful."

  • Ed Garland and John Garland obtain dismissal of all murder and arson charges in Dahlman case

    May 2010 - The Fayette Daily News, FOX5 TV News, and the Atlanta Journal & Constitution reported that all charges against Scott and Valerie Dahlman in the death of Mr. Dahlman's mother, Frances, were dropped in Fayette County Superior Court by Assistant District Attorney Warren Sellers. In documents submitted in Fayette County, Sellers said there was insufficient evidence and the case could not be prosecuted.

    In the AJC article by Marcus Garner, John A. Garland, the attorney for the Dahlmans, stated that "the facts overwhelmingly support the determination that Frances Dahlman's death was a tragic accident, and the Dahlmans are innocent," and he was prepared to defend his clients with experts who would have supported their innocence.

  • Garland obtains bond in federal bank fraud case

    May 2010 - The New York Times, The Miami Herald, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the Atlanta Business Chronicle are among the newspapers covering a story involving federal indictments against two bank officers and a Florida-based real estate developer in the failure of Integrity Bank, located in Alpharetta, GA. The developer, Mr. Guy Mitchell, is represented by Atlanta attorney Edward Garland. Mitchell pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, bank fraud and bribery, and was released on $2.5-million bond.

    Following the May 7th hearing in federal court, defense attorney Garland told reporters that Mr. Mitchell is not guilty of the charges, but that he was a victim of the national economy and of the bank's liberal lending policies. "The collapse of the economy caused the bank failure, not his activity," Mr. Garland told reporters. "Mr. Mitchell was a successful real estate developer who had many proper loans from Integrity Bank. He didn't bribe any bank officers nor did he engage in any illegal activity."

    The journalists reporting on this story include Bill Rankin and Péralte C. Paul of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Robbie Brown of the New York Times, J. Scott Trubey of the Atlanta Business Chronicle, and Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald.

  • Ed Garland quoted in ajc: "a TRIAL IS A KIND OF WAR"

    March 2010 - In an interview with trial attorney Ed Garland, journalist Tom Sebulis asked about the superstar cases that Garland has handled in his four-and-a-half decades as a criminal defense lawyer ("A trial ultimately is a contest, a kind of war," March 28, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution). Garland currently represents Pittsburgh Steeler's quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who is being investigated for an alleged sexual assault in Milledgeville, GA. Previous high-profile clients have included Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, hockey star Dany Heatley, and rap celebrity T.I.

    In the wide-ranging interview, they discussed why celebrities choose Garland when they get into trouble, the special pressures of defending high-profile clients, the fall-out of a "rush to judgment" by prosecutors and the public, and some insights into the Brian Nichols murder case.

    Garland also spoke of the reaction he got from the decision in the weapons-possession case of T.I., the rapper whose name is Clifford Harris. Garland was praised for crafting the sentence that utilized T.I.'s unique ability to deliver a positive message to troubled youth. T.I. served a short sentence in jail but spent a much longer time in a public crusade against teen violence. (Georgia public television is currently broadcasting a program with former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young interviewing T.I. about his community service efforts advising at-risk teens to avoid the trouble he confronted.)

    When asked what it is like to prepare a major case, Garland said, "A trial ultimately is a contest, a kind of war, and whoever goes into it needs to go into it with that thought, with a huge amount of energy. You need to like the combat and you need to be prepared for the ordeal."

  • John Garland obtains dismissal of rico charges against dj drama

    November 2009 - Garland, Samuel & Loeb attorney John Garland represented Atlanta-based Hip-Hop deejay, DJ Drama on RICO charges arising out of allegations that he produced mix-tapes without the proper authorization from the artists and labels. John was able to negotiate a resolution that resulted in the State dropping all charges against his client.

  • Attorney Don Samuel asks Georgia Supreme Court for new trial

    June 2009 - As reported by Alan Riquelmy of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, defense attorney Don Samuel told the Georgia Supreme Court justices on Monday, June 8, that his client, Farnsworth Coleman, should get a new trial because certain important evidence was blocked in the 2004 murder trial. The Assistant District Attorney Kristy Dugan argued that the evidence was not admitted because it was hearsay. The evidence in question involves prior criminal records and actions by a victim as well as the absence of jury instructions about self defense.

    The case involved the 2003 murder of two men in Columbus, Georgia. Samuel told Riquelmy that the court did not indicate when it would rule, and if the court were to rule in Mr. Coleman's favor he would receive a new trial.

  • Garland, Samuel & Loeb attorney helps NFL star Pacman Jones avoid jail time in felony obstruction of an officer case

    February 2008 - Garland, Samuel & Loeb attorney Manny Arora helped Tennessee Titans cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones reach a plea agreement in the felony obstruction of an officer case he was facing in Fayette County, Georgia. The Nashville City Paper reported on the story.

    Jones reached an agreement that is the equivalent of a no contest plea for obstruction of a police officer and was given three years probation, according to Arora.

    Jones had originally been charged after allegedly scuffling with police officers after he was sitting in a parked car with his pregnant girlfriend and a male friend.

    He was accused by police of biting an officer on the hand in a scuffle.

    "We maintain that Adam is innocent in these matters, but felt that it was best to go ahead and accept this agreement rather than fight it in court and risk possible incarceration," Arora said. "You have a situation where the accounts of the five police officers and those of Adam and his pregnant girlfriend do not corroborate."

  • Ed and John Garland help former Morris Brown financial aid director avoid years of prison time

    June 2005 - Ed and John Garland represented the former Financial Aid Director of Morris Brown University, Parvesh Singh, in Federal Court in the Northern District of Georgia against the accusation that Mr. Singh committed financial aid fraud that led to the collapse of Morris Brown University in a 34-count indictment. The government charged that Singh swindled federal loan programs for more than $5 million, signed up hundreds of students for loans they didn't want, and then used the money to pay the school's bills.

    Amy Argent Singer of the Washington Post quoted John Garland who pointed out that Singh came to Morris Brown after a sterling career of more than 25 years in financial aid, and did his best to help a school that was already $8 million in debt. He further noted that prosecutors did not allege that Singh pocketed any money.

    "He came in, and he imposed a best-practices system on a university that was in complete disarray," Garland said. "He had no knowledge of any funds going to ineligible students."

    WSBTV reporter Carol Sbarge also quoted Ed Garland who said that Singh was a "selfless educator who has spent his entire life working to make student aid work for the benefit of poor students." "He conducted himself in strict accordance with the rules established for the administration of student aid."

    Though he was facing years in prison, Ed and John negotiated a plea that resulted in 18 months home confinement.

  • Ed Garland and Don Samuel help Atlanta thrasher star Dany Heatley avoid twenty years in prison for three years of probation

    February 2005 - Garland Samuel & Loeb attorneys Ed Garland and Don Samuel helped Atlanta Thrasher Dany Heatley, a Canadian citizen and MVP of the 2003 NHL All-Star game, avoid serious criminal charges that could have resulted in a twenty year prison sentence.

    Heatley was charged with first and second-degree vehicular homicide, reckless driving, driving too fast for conditions, failure to maintain his lane and speeding after causing a one-car crash in Buckhead that killed his passenger and teammate, Dan Snyder.

    Scott Burnside of ESPN quoted Ed Garland , "We don't want any sentence that would put him in jail, destroy his career or have him deported from the United States." Garland achieved this objective, reaching a resolution where Heatley would plead guilty to a misdemeanor traffic violation and receive only three years of probation.

    Harry R. Weber of the Associated Press reported that if the case went to trial and Heatley was convicted on all counts, the hockey star would have faced up to 20 years in prison and fines totaling $5,000.

    Prosecutor Shondeana Crews said police experts found Heatley was driving at least 82 mph. Defense attorney Ed Garland said one expert thought Heatley was driving only 55 mph. The speed limit was 35 mph.

    Fulton County Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes said he noted the discrepancies among speed estimates when agreeing to the plea.