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Betts & Associates is committed to providing each of our clients with top quality legal representation and achieving successful outcomes for their cases. We specialize in representing individuals and businesses in all areas of complex civil litigation matters. Our firm provides legal services with skill, strength, and integrity to residents all over the state of Georgia.

Betts and Associates offer a wide range of skills in almost all areas of the legal practice. Our commitment to growing a wide range of more discrete practice areas allows us to better assess client needs and provide prompt and effective legal solutions. Our firm was founded on the belief in providing personal service and valuable legal counsel that addresses our client's needs creatively. After a decade, that has not changed. We ensure that every client's case is carefully handled every step of the way.

If you need advice about the best way to approach and resolve your case, consider Betts & Associates. To request a legal consultation, contact our office at 404-577-8888 to schedule an appointment. We are proud to provide personal service and practical solutions for those with even the most complex legal concerns.

Articles Posted in General GA law

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The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear oral arguments in early December over the wrongful death civil lawsuit filed on behalf of the family of Melvin Williams, a man who was fatally shot by an East Dublin police officer on May 14, 2010.

The incident happened after Williams was stopped and confronted by East Dublin police officer, Jeffrey Deal, after he allegedly ran a stop sign. There is no visual evidence of this moving violation though despite the presence of a police video that has been released to the public. Moreover, it was revealed after the shooting that Officer Deal had not attended the state’s mandatory training on use of deadly force and therefore had lost his power to arrest when the incident occurred.

What the video does show is Officer Deal driving his police car to an East Dublin residence and aggressively approaching Williams who was standing next to his parked vehicle. A fight ensued between Williams and Deal, with Williams asking the officer repeatedly, “What’s wrong with you?!” As the fight escalated, Deal drew his side arm and shot and killed Williams who was unarmed.

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Federal and state authorities are still conducting an investigation over widespread reports of abuse and violence in various Georgia prisons. One case in particular focuses on an inmate, Terrance Dean, who was beaten while handcuffed on December 16, 2010 by seven prison guards at Macon State Prison and had to be hospitalized with life threatening injuries as a result.

The beating ensued after a fight broke out on December 16 between Dean and a guard during an inmate protest over better prison conditions. This resulted in an emergency response team being called in to diffuse the situation. However, after the officers broke up the fight they then handcuffed Dean and led him into the prison gymnasium where they allegedly beat him to the point where he fell into a coma.

Macon State Prison authorities also have been accused of covering up the incident after it happened. For example, Dean’s family was not notified by the Georgia Department of Corrections that Terrance was in the hospital until nearly two weeks after the assault occurred. The family initially found out what happened through an illegal cell phone call that came from inside the prison to Dean’s brother. And Dean’s mother did not get to actually visit her son until January of 2011.

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When a manufacturer makes a product, they must consider the risks and harms that the product could cause. They do this because if a person is injured because of a defective product, the manufacturer will have to pay for the injury.

This has not always been the case. For a very long time, the “general rule” was that a manufacturer could not be sued, even for negligence, by someone with whom he had no contract. This was called the “rule of privity,” and it was most famously set forth in an 1842 case Winterbottom v. Wright. This rule existed for many decades. See this article for more information about the history of product liability.

The law and its assumptions began to change in the middle of the 20th century. Many people consider Ralph Nader the true pioneer of Product Liability. According to his bio, “The crusading attorney first made headlines in 1965 with his book Unsafe at Any Speed, a scathing indictment that lambasted the auto industry for producing unsafe vehicles. The book led to congressional hearings and a series of automobile safety laws passed in 1966. Since 1966, Nader has been responsible for: at least eight major federal consumer protection laws such as the motor vehicle safety laws, Safe Drinking Water Act; the launching of federal regulatory agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Environment Protection Agency (EPA), and Consumer Product Safety Administration; the recall of millions of defective motor vehicles; access to government through the Freedom of Information Act of 1974; and for many lives saved.”

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We are proud to announce that today will be day one of our new office in Rome Georgia. The address is 1900 Turner McCall Blvd SW Rome, GA 30161-3329. You can contact us at (706) 235-7575. Our new office manager Ms. Izzy Reyes will be glad to schedule an appointment to speak with an attorney over the phone or in person. Ms. Reyes is bilingual and is fully capable of handling initial correspondence in both English and Spanish. Please feel free to fax us your information using fax #: (706) 235-7590. The hours of operation for the Rome location will be Monday through Saturday from 10:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.. We look forward to making your acquaintance and as always “Justice Matters”.

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One of the basic tenants of the American judicial system is a trial by a jury of one’s peers. Historically what “one’s peers” means has shifted, but today in Georgia it means all eligible adults. Adults who have criminal convictions or other judicial findings may not be eligible, but nearly all adult Georgians can be called to jury duty. Recently the procedure that counties use to create a pool of jurors for a trial date changed. Under the new law, a list of prospective jurors is created using the Georgia’s driver’s license file and voter registrations. Local county clerks then will draw names randomly from that certified pool. This new procedure is designed to make jury pools morefair and more representative of the population of the county where the trial occurs. (Read more about the change and reasons for it here: http://www.ajc.com/news/state-expands-jury-duty-1468744.html)

Lawyers consider the choice of member of the jury to be a critical moment in the trial. Before potential jurors come to the court house, they typically have filled out a Jury Questionnaire. According to the Jury Commissioner’s Handbook, the personal data solicited on a juror questionnaire generally include: Name, Address, Phone Number, Type and Place of Employment, Work Phone Number, Length of Residency in County, Date of Birth, Sex, Race, U.S. Citizenship (See http://www.georgiacourts.org/aoc/publications/Jury%20Commissioners%20Handbook%20rev05.pdf)

Lawyers use this information to make initial judgments about jurors, based on prior experience about these groups. However, judgments about jurors based on race and sex are considered highly unreliable and discriminatory. Therefore, it is illegal for lawyers to strike or cut jurors based on this information. See Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 106 S. Ct. 1712 (1986); J. E. B. v. Alabama, 511 U.S. 127, 114 S. Ct. 1419 (1994).