Yeargan & Kert - March 2020


MARCH 2020 404-467-1747

WHY MANY GEORGIANS WILL BREAK THE LAW THIS MONTH DON’T CHANCE THE BRACKET I ’ll come out and say it. I’m not a huge college basketball fan. NCAA games in general weren’t a huge draw for me in undergrad or law school — Emory isn’t exactly known for its sports teams. I’ll still have a good game on in the background occasionally, and I can understand the hype around March Madness. But one thing that always interests me this time of year is how many people make those tournament brackets. I don’t want to be a killjoy, but this is the lawyer in me coming out. Those brackets we see getting put together by celebrities on Twitter and national news, those friendly office competitions to see who can make the closest prediction — they’re depicting something that can be deeply illegal in this state. Even if you’re just playing for pocket change. The truth is that we live in a state with some of the harshest gambling laws in the country, and plenty of people run afoul of them year-round. And this isn’t just backroom poker games, either. Charities that fail to file the proper paperwork ahead of a raffle event or an unsanctioned bingo game fall on the wrong side of the law here in Georgia, and sports gambling is no exception. In fact, the only real way you can “roll the dice” in this state — without filing lots of paperwork — is playing the lottery.

While it’s rare for these instances to be prosecuted, you probably don’t want to go posting about your “office pool” on Facebook, or taking Instagram pictures of the wad of cash you just won for picking which underdog team would make it to the final 4. This isn’t too much of a problem for me. I’m not one for sports gambling to begin with — too many unknown factors. I prefer competitions where there’s a greater amount of skill involved than random chance, so in states where it’s legal, I may play a few rounds of blackjack or poker. At least those game games aren’t just about the hand you’re dealt, but how you play it. Which, honestly, is a lot like being a lawyer. I hear novice attorneys sometimes talk about “rolling the dice” on jury selection, and I can understand the sentiment. There’s very little control you can have over who those six very important court members are going to be.


However, more experienced lawyers know the way you approach a case can make up for that “bad hand” of jurors. After all, what we do is far too important to be left to chance. –Jim Yeargan

Now, I’m not saying the swat team is going to kick down your door for filling out a March Madness bracket. But I am pointing out that this time of year, many Georgian sports fans unwittingly break the law participating in something that’s fine in other parts of the country.



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You have two options in front of you. They both sound great, are backed by research, and could transform your business for the better, but you can only choose one. Which do you commit to? When you’re faced with two equally worthwhile options, science says the best way to make a decision is to flip a coin. When you flip a coin, you’re not really leaving the decision up to chance; you’re actually calling on your intuition to guide you. The practice is often regarded as unscientific, but there’s a lot of research to support making intuitive decisions. Friederike Fabritius and Hans W. Hagemann, authors of “The Leading Brain: Neuroscience Hacks to Work Smarter, Better, Happier,” explain how we develop that “gut feeling.” Intuitive decisions are driven by two structures in your brain: the basal ganglia and the insula. The basal ganglia are connected

to movement and building habits. The insula, part of the cerebral cortex, becomes engaged when you experience pain, feel love, listen to music, or even enjoy a piece of chocolate. Neuroscientists believe the insula is responsible for self-awareness, particularly for recognizing changes in your body. you aren’t consciously thinking about it. If you make a conscious decision that agrees with the subconscious solution of your basal ganglia, your brain gives off a subtle reward. The decision doesn’t have to be logical to feel right — that’s your gut feeling. However, if the conscious and subconscious parts of your brain don’t agree, your insula detects the discrepancy and registers a threat. It’s the “I have a bad feeling about this” response. When you have to solve a problem, your basal ganglia start working on a solution, even if

your accumulated experience.” According to the authors, flipping a coin is the best way to really listen to your basal ganglia and insula. Your subconscious brain has already made a decision; flipping a coin helps you test your intuition about each option. If the coin lands on heads and you feel relieved, then heads is the right choice. However, if the coin lands on tails and you’re uncertain or want to flip again, then that’s your intuition saying the other option is the better choice. So, the next time you’re caught in a pickle, grab the nearest quarter and put your intuition to the test.

Fabritius and Hagemann note that gut feelings “represent the most efficient use of

Legal Missteps


INCOMPLETE POLICE REPORTS Many officers keep reliable, meticulous records of their arrests — others leave much to be desired. Police reports are an invaluable source of evidence in any case: They help us know how events occurred from the officer’s perspective. Sometimes, these reports reveal their perspective was skewed or even flat out wrong. Omitted details key to your case, false information such as an incorrect address or license plate number, or other such major oversights can lead to a case being dismissed. Of course, even when you see these mistakes made in the moment, it’s easy to feel powerless to stop them. Arguing with an officer in the moment is never the solution. Your right to a fair trial and legal representation are your best chance of rectifying these missteps.

need to have a reason for stopping your vehicle. They can’t pull you over on a hunch, or because they think you “look suspicious.” If the officer cannot provide a valid reason for why they stopped your car in particular, then any evidence they gathered from the stop will be inadmissible in court. BOTCHING THE BREATH TEST The breathalyzer test relies on a lot of complex factors in order to work properly. This includes correctly calibrating the kit and following specific protocol to ensure that blood-alcohol readings are as accurate as possible. However, some officers cut corners, administering the test incorrectly and potentially botching the results. If you or your legal representative can prove this was the case, the test cannot be used against you.

While it can be comforting to think of police officers as infallible administrators of justice, the truth is that they’re just as human as the rest of us. Missteps, unconscious biases, fatigue — innumerable factors can lead a member of law enforcement to under- perform or overstep their duties. These are just a few of the mistakes an officer can make — mistakes that can lead to you winding up in court. LACKING PROBABLE CAUSE If you’ve ever been pulled over despite obeying all traffic laws, this may have happened to you. Under the law, officers



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Drug crimes are serious charges that carry hefty sentences. And yet, with all the national talk about decriminalizing certain class 1 narcotics, many make the mistake of having a lax attitude about these substances. But the truth is, when it comes to drugs and law enforcement, you can’t believe everything you hear. These are just a few myths that get everyday people in trouble.



This is something you see a lot on shows like “Cops” — a vehicle gets pulled over, and the driver tries to throw a bag of drugs into the woods. These desperate attempts spring from a false assumption that “possession” means “literally on your person.” In reality, “constructive possession” charges exist, which essentially state that as long as you have intent and capacity to keep control of a substance, then you can be found guilty. Trying to lob a substance away from you can just end up making things worse for you in the long run. While we like to think the law is applied uniformly in every case, this is simply not the truth. Every case is different, and the unique factors tied to your situation will influence the outcome. Just because you know someone who had a great outcome, don’t assume that will be the case for you. At the same time, just because someone you know went to jail on similar charges, it doesn’t mean that has to be your fate. If you knowingly provide transportation to someone with a controlled substance, you are no longer an innocent party. As long as the prosecution can prove you were aware of the drugs, or that your passenger was on their way to get drugs, you can be found guilty of a number of serious charges, including being an accessory or accomplice in your friend’s crime. Don’t let hearsay and a few wayward internet searches land you in legal hot water. Know the facts and protect your rights the responsible way. MY FRIEND GOT THE SAME CHARGES DISMISSED, I’LL BE FINE. GIVING MY FRIEND WITH DRUGS A RIDE ISN’T A CRIME.

Keep dinner light, simple, and easy with this paleo-friendly recipe.

INGREDIENTS • 2 salmon fillets (10 oz total) • 1 tsp salt • 2 tbsp ghee

• Zest from 1 orange • 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice • 1 tsp tapioca starch

• 1 tbsp garlic, minced • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

DIRECTIONS 1. Heat oven to 425 F, and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. 2. Salt each fillet with 1/2 tsp salt. Bake for 6–8 minutes. 3. In a saucepan, combine ghee and garlic and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. 4. Add rosemary, zest, and juice. Cook for another 3 minutes. 5. Stir in tapioca starch until lumps disappear and mixture thickens. 6. Plate salmon and top with orange sauce.



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Yeargan & Kert, LLC 1170 Peachtree Street Suite 1200 Atlanta, GA 30309 404-467-1747



Are Sports Brackets Illegal?

Heads or Tails? Common Police Mistakes

Drug Crime Myths Orange Glazed Salmon

Switch Up Family Game Night



As one of the most popular gaming consoles, the Nintendo Switch draws the attention of gamers and nongamers alike. It offers hundreds of games for people of all different ages and preferences. If you’re thinking about adding to your family’s game collection, take a look at these five family-friendly options everyone can enjoy. SUPER MARIO PARTY AND MARIO KART 8 DELUXE If you’re looking for fun multiplayer games, look no further. Super Mario Party and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe allow up to eight players to get together and play against each other, giving people the chance to race, fight, and compete in a friendly atmosphere. The games offer a number of terrains and game boards to play through, each with unique challenges for players to overcome. SUPER SMASH BROS. ULTIMATE There’s nothing like grabbing a group of friends to fight it out with your favorite video game characters. The Smash Bros. games have been around since 1999, making it possible for Link to fight head-on with Mario or Samus Aran to take on Fox McCloud. With Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, you can choose your favorite Nintendo, Sega, or Square Enix characters and see who comes out on top!

POKEMON The Pokemon franchise has lasted for over two decades and continues to be a source of entertainment for people of all ages. With Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield, players can take on trainers, face gym leaders, or even play with other Pokemon trainers throughout the Galar region. Both games are capable of online connectivity to other real-world players, letting trainers battle and trade globally. SPLATOON 2 This game offers a fun and colorful twist on a typical shooter game. Up to eight players can battle it out with one another and attempt to paint the other players with their own colors. Splatoon 2 can also be played online, making it a great family game. No matter how far away you are from one another, you can always play Splatoon 2 together for as long as you’d like. Video games are a great source of entertainment and relaxation, but it’s important not to overdo it. Remember to take small breaks to stretch, get something to eat, and head outside for some fresh air.



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