Medlin Law Firm - September 2019

The Medl in News


As good as the U.S. court system is, it can still make mistakes. Convincing our jury of the truth is crucial. Th e c h a r a c t e r s i n “Pre sumed Innocent ” address this responsibility in very interesting ways. Rusty is an upstanding person and role model in his community, where he fights for his innocence and believes that the system will ultimately exonerate him. Yet, he i s al so human. Near the end of the trial, he becomes overwhelmed and depressed as things


You don’t often think of lawyers as also being novelists, but that kind of surprise is what attorney and novelist Scott Turow’s “Presumed Innocent” evokes. In many ways, the novel is a rediscovery of what it means to be invested in justice and law. To celebrate International Literacy Day on Sept. 8, I thought I’d talk about one of the most important books I’ve ever read. While “Presumed Innocent” is a work of fiction, Scott Turow is a real attorney and has prosecuted high-profile corruption cases as the assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago. After he left the office, he became an award-winning legal thriller novelist and has received awards like the Silver Dagger Award of the British Crime Writers’ Association. “Presumed Innocent” is the very first book he ever published. The main character, Rozat “Rusty” Sabich, is a young prosecutor who is accused of killing a woman. Although he’s in a bad situation, he has strong faith in the court system and knows things will swing in his favor — except they don’t. Although the jury requires evidence beyond reasonable doubt in order for Rusty to be found guilty, there are a few complications. For example, Rusty had an affair with the murder victim that supposedly ended a few months before the murder. It’s a very compelling read about how easy it is to presume a person to be guilty of a crime they didn’t commit, even with how our court system is designed. In my line of work, it reminds me of how important defense attorneys can be. They’re often the only help the accused party gets, even if it’s years after they were accused.

don’t go his way. For the first time in his career, he is disillusioned with the law, believing that, perhaps, it is actually easy to convict innocent people. His human characteristics and imperfections are interesting when portrayed within his optimistic view of the legal system. If you get a chance, I highly recommend picking up “Presumed Innocent” or any other Scott Turow novel. You don’t have to be an attorney to understand the story. He’s a wonderful writer, and you’ll join the thousands of readers who have been surprised by the twists and turns he takes.

I hope you all have a great start to your fall.

– Gary L. Medlin, Esq. | Pg. 1

What Happened on the 21st Night of September?

4 Decades of Earth, Wind & Fire’s ‘September’

“Do you remember the 21st night of September?”

phrase “ba-dee-ya,”whichWhite included in the chorus. Throughout the songwriting process, Willis begged to change the phrase to real words. At the final vocal session, Willis finally demanded to know what ba-dee-ya meant. White replied, “Who cares?” “I learned my greatest lesson ever in songwriting from him,”Willis recalled in a 2014 interviewwith NPR, “which was never let the lyric get in the way of the groove.” The groove is why “September” has stood the test of time, right from that very first lyric. For decades, people have askedWillis and members of the band about the significance of Sept. 21. As it turns out, there isn’t much beyond the sound. “We went through all the dates: ‘Do you remember the first, the second, the third, the fourth …’ and the one that just felt the best was the 21st,” Willis explained.

In 1978, Maurice White of the band Earth, Wind & Fire first asked this question in the song “September,” a funky disco song that quickly topped the charts. While disco may be dead today, “September” certainly isn’t. The song is still featured in movies, TV shows, and wedding playlists. On Sept. 21, 2019, the funk hit was streamed over 2.5 million times. It’s no wonder that the Los Angeles City Council declared Sept. 21 Earth, Wind & Fire Day. The story behind “September” is almost as enduring as the song itself. It was co-written by White and Allee Willis, who eventually became a Grammy-winning songwriter and Tony nominee. But before any of that, Willis was a struggling songwriter in Los Angeles living off food stamps. When White reached out and asked Willis to help write the next Earth, Wind & Fire hit, it was truly her big break.

White and Willis proved to be excellent songwriting partners, but they clashed over one key element of the song: the nonsensical

The truth is that nothing happened on the 21st night of September — except a whole lot of dancing.


Just because you were convicted doesn’t mean it has to haunt your job opportunities for the rest of your life.

Just as Gary Medlin explained on the cover, it’s very possible for our court system to make big, big mistakes. We are the field experts in catching these mistakes, and if we do, it’s possible that you’ll receive post- conviction relief, such as getting an expunction of your criminal records. Expunction is a legal term that refers to your conviction being erased by the court, making your records not accessible through state or federal repositories. Although it deals with criminal charges, the expunction process is civil in nature. The process involves a petitioner asking courts to declare his or her records expunged. Once your record is expunged, criminal charges won’t appear on your background checks conducted by employers, landlords, and others. This can be highly advantageous for jumping back into your life after a conviction. With many employers starting to hire again, now is the best time to get your record expunged. Learn more about this and many other tips in the Medlin Law Firm eBook, “Criminal Defense & The COVID-19 Outbreak: What Police Are Enforcing & How to Protect Your Legal Rights.”

At the Medlin Law Firm, we have extensive experience getting convictions overturned or expunged from your record. For example, during our comprehensive, in-depth look at your case, we will study everything, including the investigation, the pre-trial phase, the trial phase, and the conviction. We will identify all appealable issues and draft arguments on those to present in court. Depending on your case, we may be able to get you relief, such as:

Immediate release from incarceration

A new trial

Sentence reduction or modification

Writ of habeas corpus

New DNA testing

Other appropriate measures | Pg. 2

‘Anatomy of a Murder’ (1959) Not only is this courtroom drama often praised as one of the best of its genre, but it also features James Stewart as the leading character. Plus, the score was composed by jazz legend Duke Ellington. It was controversial in its time for being the first movie to mention “panties.” Between an entertaining cast and very compelling courtroom scenes, you’ll find yourself laughing out loud to the energetic humor behind this 60-year-old movie.

Legal dramas aren’t only the product of our fascination with the courtroom— they also exist because we’re drawn to human nature and understanding how ordinary people determine justice in our American democracy. “Presumed Innocent” by Scott Turow is an incredible legal thriller novel, but there are many amazing courtroom narratives on the big screen, as well. If you’re interested in the conversations people have behind closed doors in the legal system, you’ll appreciate these picks. ‘12 Angry Men’ (1957) What happens when 12 ordinary people have to decide whether or not a young boy who is accused of killing his father lives or dies? That’s the type of question our legal system asks every day. “12 Angry Men” features a long conversation between 12 jury members and, while it isn’t an adrenaline- rush of a movie, it’s exciting to see the findings and revelations they make. It’s a movie that has aged gracefully in our times, as many of the characters and their perspectives are very relatable. They outwardly address prejudice and what it means to convict someone based on evidence that goes beyond “reasonable doubt.” HAVE YOU SEEN THESE CLASSIC LEGAL DRAMAS? Change Up Your Weekend With a Vintage Movie

‘The Verdict’ (1982) Directed by the same director (Sidney Lumet) as “12 Angry Men,” you’ll find that the storytelling and involvement of the human psyche is just as important and prevalent in “The Verdict,” although it certainly doesn’t stay in one jury room. An alcoholic lawyer, Frank Galvin (Paul Newman), picks up a medical malpractice case that just might save his practice and, in a deeper sense, himself.

Escape into a completely different time with these classics. We hope you will get a chance to watch them this month!

Easy Stuffed Sweet Potatoes Who says a loaded potato has to clog your arteries? In this healthy version that serves four, a sweet potato base is topped with fiber-rich bean salsa.



4 medium sweet potatoes

1 tsp coriander

1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup sour cream

2 medium tomatoes, diced

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cumin


1. With a fork, prick each sweet potato a few times. Microwave the potatoes on high 12–15 minutes, or until cooked through.

2. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the beans, tomatoes, olive oil, cumin, coriander, and salt. When the potatoes are done, microwave the mixture on high for 2–3 minutes. 3. Cool potatoes slightly, then cut each potato open lengthwise. Pull the halves apart to create space to spoon the warm bean salsa inside.

4. Add a scoop of sour cream to each potato, garnish with cilantro, and serve! | Pg. 3

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE 1. The Importance of Defense Attorneys

2. The Truth Behind the 21st Night of September

Is It Possible to Erase Your Conviction From Your Records?

3. Have You Seen These Classic Legal Dramas?

Easy Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

4. 3 Fun FamilyActivities for Fall


3 Fun Family Activities for Fall

It’s fall, which means social media will soon be saturated with pictures of your friends enjoying “classic” fall activities. Photos of leaf peeping, apple picking, and the occasional scarecrow run rampant. But rather than following the herd, you can make your family the trendsetter of unique fall activities! Here are a few outdoor endeavors your family will love. Get gardening. Fall is the time for harvest, but if you want to enjoy flowers in the spring, it’s also a time for planting. The cooler autumn air is easier on plants, but the soil is still warm enough for roots to grow before the ground freezes for winter. Tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths are all spring bulbs that need to be planted in the fall. Do a little research with your family to determine the best time to start planting in your area. Pan for gold. Here’s one that’s really off the beaten path: Take your family on an adventure panning for gold! Start by planning a road trip out to an

old ghost town. Many of them have great tourist attractions that include gold panning. You probably won’t get rich, but it will still be a fun story. If you’re not able to make the trip, you can always create a gold panning operation at home! Visit panning-for-gold-activity for a great step-by-step guide on how to go panning for gold in your own backyard. Plan a fall photo shoot. It’s time to freshen up those family pictures hanging around the house. The changing leaves provide a beautiful background for any family portrait. Better yet, the cooler temperatures mean that an outdoor photo shoot won’t be nearly as uncomfortable as it would be in the summer. You can take your pictures by the trees in the front yard or make a daytrip of it. What about pictures at the corn maze or pumpkin patch? It’s never too soon to start planning this year’s holiday card.

Spend this fall outdoors and create great new memories with your family! | Pg. 4

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