THE DEFENSE REPORT
HOW I DESTRESS MYSELF AND OTHERS COMING DOWN TO EARTH
Whenever I’d ask my dad what it was like being a pilot, he’d tell me the job consisted of “long periods of calm with brief moments of being scared out of your mind.” While I never got behind the controls of an aircraft myself, I did eventually come to know what he was talking about. Quiet periods followed by flashes of sheer terror is exactly what it’s like to be a young attorney. Okay, well, I won’t say taking a case to trial is exactly like flying a plane, but they both have their moments of extreme stress. After years of law school, it can feel easy to cruise through the pretrial process with minimal turbulence. Doing research, prepping your case, gathering evidence — these can almost be calming activities if you like the work. But when it comes to landing a favorable verdict, even an experienced attorney’s blood pressure can spike. In both cases, the real pressure comes from the fact that lives are on the line. A defense attorney may not literally be delivering dozens of people safely to the ground from 30,000 feet, but the way they handle a trial can dramatically impact the life of the person they represent and their family. That’s a pressure any responsible attorney is deeply aware of any time they step into a courtroom. Of course, it gets better with time. As years pass, the more you’re prepared for whatever crosswinds the prosecution throw your way. You still have moments where something new crops up — unique cases and niche situations can rattle even the most experienced lawyers. The difference is that these veteran attorneys know how to respond under the pressure. I bring all this up because April is, among other things, Stress Awareness Month. My line of work is far from the only one that can be high-pressure at times, but I am still often asked how I deal with the weight of responsibility that being an attorney carries. I wish I had some magic, life-changing advice on the subject, but the truth is my stress management is pretty run-of-the-mill.
When I get home after preparing for a difficult case, my go-to remedy is lying on the couch with my girlfriend’s Chihuahua, Coco. As well- known as her breed is for anxiety, Coco still has a very calming presence. Eventually I pull myself out of the living room and go work out, putting the stress-created nervous energy to good use and making it that much easier to get a good night’s rest. One thing I’ve also found helps in stressful situations is talking out a problem with someone. Keeping concerns locked up inside your own head has a tendency to make problems seem bigger than they actually are. Regularly, after meeting with a new client for the first time, they tell me, “I feel so much better after talking to you.” And there’s something to that. Facing a criminal charge can seem like the end of the world, at first. As I see it, part of my job is to help you see that there is life after an arrest, and you can get back to your normal life. Still, I know how much these fears can keep people up at night, which is why I keep my cellphone on at almost all hours. If you have a question that’s keeping you from getting a good night’s rest, by all means, call me. I’m happy to address your concerns and bring your anxiety levels back down to earth. Feel free to reach me at (678) 358-6141.
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CELEBRATE EARTH DAY EVERY DAY
Usually, we hear about carbon footprints in the context of reducing our own impact on the planet. But did you know that businesses, not individuals, are actually the biggest polluters out there? Even when you add everyone on Earth together, their environmental impact hardly stacks up against big business. In a 2017 report, the CDP, an organization that discloses environmental data of major businesses worldwide, states that only 100 companies have produced more than 70% of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. So if you’re a business owner, then the future is largely in your hands! Luckily, you can take dozens of easy steps to reduce your business’s carbon footprint, no matter its size. Here are a few ways to get started. 1. RETHINK YOUR LIGHTING. The less energy your company uses, the greener you’ll be! For an easy first step, swap out any incandescent bulbs in your office with LEDs or compact
fluorescent lightbulbs. Also, consider installing smart lighting or timers to reduce the time lights stay on. 2. START AN OFFICE COMPOSTING PROGRAM. I f you already recycle, then go a step further and create a composting program to capture your food waste. Add compost collection bins to your office and check with your city about composting options. If your area lacks commercial compost, then an employee with a home compost pile might love to have extra scraps! 3. SWAP OUT YOUR PLASTICS. Take inventory of everything your office uses and start making green swaps. Ditch plastic silverware in the kitchen and instead opt for a reusable set to save money and emissions. 4. CONSIDER WAYS TO CUT TRAVEL. Transportation accounted for more than 24% of global carbon dioxide emissions in 2016. If you can limit the time you and your
employees spend traveling, then you can decimate that total! Consider letting your staff work from home and start joining more meetings virtually. 5. GET YOUR EMPLOYEES ON BOARD. When it comes to reducing emissions, nothing is more important than collective action. Don’t stop at making green changes in the office. Go the extra mile and explain the logic behind them to your employees. They might take similar eco-friendly steps in their own lives, creating a positive ripple effect. Together, you really can make a difference.
Found With Marijuana?
YOU MAY STILL HAVE OPTIONS
prosecution offices, where you will not be required to enter a guilty plea, or even set foot in a courtroom. The diversion is essentially a deal struck between your lawyer and prosecutors to keep your record clean. You will usually have to meet a few requirements, such as community service and/or classes on drug abuse. Failing to meet these requirements may land you back in court, however, so it’s key to commit to the guidelines set out in this offer. CONDITIONAL DISCHARGES For those who may or may not have a criminal record but are facing their first drug related charge, a judge may offer a similar arrangement to a pretrial diversion. You will be required to plead guilty to possession, but in exchange for agreeing to certain stipulations, the ruling will be “conditionally” dismissed. So long as you meet the court’s
conditions (which can be rigorous), the guilty charge will not be entered into your record. One misstep, however, and that guilty plea may go into full effect. FIGHTING THE CHARGES For those who already have a history of drug convictions, or are otherwise unable to meet the requirements of the above options, fighting for your rights in court is still an option. Even if it seems like the prosecution has all the evidence they need to convict you, this may not be the case. The Fourth Amendment gives you very strong rights against unlawful searches, and police often overstep these bounds while searching for marijuana. A skilled lawyer who can prove these constitutional rights were violated may be able to get your case thrown out of court.
If you’re found possessing marijuana, it can feel like the end of the world. While certain jurisdictions in this state have moved to decriminalize the substance, Georgia authorities and federal law still treat the possession of less than an ounce of the drug very seriously. But while you may think prosecutors have an open and shut case against you, make no mistake, you have options. DIVERSIONS If you have no prior criminal history, this may be the best option for you. A pretrial diversion is an option offered by some
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JUDGING THE JURY
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it 100 times: No two cases are the same. Innumerable factors can influence how an individual charge might be resolved — from the circumstances of the arrest to the jurisdiction it occurred in. But even if by some cosmic coincidence, two cases had identical facts and were tried by the same judge, there would still be a major defining difference between them: the jury. As you may remember from civics class, the Constitution guarantees us the right to be judged by “a jury of one’s peers.” It sounds straightforward: Our fellow citizens are the ones to determine whether we’re innocent or guilty. But determining which citizens actually sit and judge you can be the factor that makes or breaks your case. No jury exists in a vacuum. Each is comprised of individuals who bring their own predispositions, beliefs, and histories into the courtroom. A potential juror who lost a loved one in a car accident may be predisposed to believe the prosecution in a DUI trial, for example. This is why attorneys need to hone their jury-screening skills to defend their client’s right to a fair trial. Expert criminal defense attorneys devote much of their professional careers to studying jury selection. Depending on the case, this can be a prolonged and time consuming process — one more reason to avoid using overburdened public defenders. But the best lawyers know how much hinges on this critical selection process. The best opening arguments, evidence presentations, and closing statements won’t make a difference if a jury isn’t inclined to listen. This is a difficult hurdle for defense lawyers because, despite the fact defendants are supposed to be viewed as “innocent until proven guilty,” many people are prone to believing in law enforcement and the prosecution. The benefit of being a firm dedicated to criminal defense is that our team is deeply familiar with the rigorous work that goes into jury selection. If your case is going to trail, you can be confident that we will fight to ensure your side of the story is given the fair shake it deserves.
EASY DEVILED EGGS
While the kids hunt for Easter eggs in the yard, whip up this easy deviled egg recipe for a hearty snack that’s sure to satisfy any craving.
INGREDIENTS • 1/2 cup mayonnaise • 2 tbsp milk • 1 tsp dried parsley flakes • 1/2 tsp dill weed • 1/2 tsp fresh chives, minced • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
DIRECTIONS 1. In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, milk, parsley flakes, dill, chives, mustard, salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper. Mix well and set aside. 2. Cut eggs lengthwise and remove yolks carefully to preserve egg whites. 3. In a small bowl, mash yolks. 4. Mix mashed yolks with mayonnaise mixture. 5. Spoon or pipe the mixture back into the egg whites. 6. Garnish with fresh parsley and paprika. Refrigerate before serving.
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Jim’s Guide to Destressing
5 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Business’s Carbon Footprint Options After a Marijuana Bust
The Importance of Jury Selection Easy Deviled Eggs
The Best Locations for Spring Blooms
IN THESE BEAUTIFUL LOCATIONS SEE SPRING BLOOM
Spring is here, which means beautiful flowers are finally showing themselves after a long winter. Here are some of the best places in the U.S. to see flower blossoms and welcome the season.
more. For a truly unique experience, you can even ascend the town’s titular Crested Butte to spot some rare alpine sunflowers next to the picturesque West Elk Mountains.
GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park stretches across North Carolina and Tennessee, and while its scenery is beautiful year-round, the park is especially alluring to nature enthusiasts during the spring. Through this season, miles of lady’s-slipper orchids, irises, cardinal flowers, and lilies dot its lush green landscape. It’s dubbed “Wildflower National Park” throughout this time of year, and you can experience it by car or on foot. The park also offers expert-led tours that weave through the flowers during their peak bloom.
The California Poppy Reserve in Lancaster, California, is a 1,780-acre park that features sloping hills covered with fields of vibrant orange, yellow, and red poppies in the spring. Warm temperatures and heavy rainfall across Southern California during this time of year create a brief period of thick blooms as far as the eye can see. And while the poppies can be enjoyed from the comfort of your car, the best way to experience them is to walk the leisurely Antelope Loop Trail for a breathtaking, up-close adventure. Spring flora is gorgeous and naturally attracts large crowds of people every year. If you plan to visit any of these destinations, just remember that their ecosystems are delicate. Respect park signs, stay on designated trails, and do your part to make sure these flowers return year after year for future generations to enjoy.
Crested Butte, Colorado, is best known for its winter sports and summer hikes. But recently it has drawn the attention of flower enthusiasts for its unique pink, orange, and gold alpine wildflowers that appear in the spring. This natural phenomenon even inspired the creation of the annual Wildflower Festival in midsummer, which features nature walks, art, photography, culinary experiences, and
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