skip to Main Content

ASK THE BARRISTER: Is Civility Incompatible with Advocacy?

Dear Barrister:

I had a dream last night; actually it was more of a nightmare. I observed a heated courtroom exchange between an attorney and a judge.

The attorney objected to statements made by opposing counsel during opening arguments. During the course of his objection, he suggested as fact that which the court knew was tenuous at best. The judge chided the lawyer rather sternly, reminding the attorney that he was not new to the bench, had reached adulthood many decades earlier, and was nobody’s fool. He suggested that the attorney not waste the court’s time or taxpayer dollars with time-wasting shenanigans. The attorney nodded, as if he understood, and then repeated that for which the Court had just rebuked him.

Read More

Juvenile Court and Child Advocate Volunteers Honored

The DeKalb County Juvenile Court and the Child Advocate Network, Inc., honored more than 400 volunteers at the Annual Volunteer Ceremony in September. The featured guest speaker was Emmy award-winning co-anchor for FOX 5 News Amanda Davis. Ms. Davis was honored for her tireless work and commitment to youth in Wednesday’s Child, a FOX 5 weekly series profiling foster care children who are available for adoption and in need of permanent homes in Georgia.

Read More

Attributing Blame: The Psychology of Blame and Its Use in Trial Strategy

by Jeri Kagel, M.Ed., J.D.

When something bad happens, it is human nature to want to blame something, or more often, someone. Identifying a source for blame provides closure for past wrongs, gives a sense of present control, and often eases fear of future harm. In a trial, be it civil or criminal, jurors are asked to determine blame. Twelve people who are strangers to each other, strangers to the parties, and strangers to the situation on trial must decide who or what is to blame, and the degree of blameworthiness.

Read More

DeKalb DA Gwen Keyes-Fleming To Speak at September Bar Luncheon

DeKalb County District Attorney Gwen Keyes-Fleming

Gwen Keyes-Fleming

Gwen Keyes-Fleming, DeKalb County’s District Attorney, will speak to the DeKalb Bar at our September luncheon. Please join us to hear about the new initiatives her office has begun for DeKalb County.

Ms. Keyes-Fleming took office as district attorney in January 2005 and is the first African-American and first woman to serve in this post. The DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office prosecutes between 6,000 and 8,000 felony cases annually. As district attorney, Ms. Keyes-Fleming manages and trains approximately 55 attorneys, more than 100 support personnel, and administers a $12 million budget.

Some of her key initiatives as district attorney include the creation of a pre-trial diversion program, expanding support services for victims, dedicating resources that focus on crimes against women, white-collar crime, gang violence, truancy among teens and Just Us G.A.L.S., Girls Achieving Leadership & Success, an annual teenage mentoring workshop.

Read More

Embracing Change, Holding on to Tradition

President’s Page
Embracing Change, Holding on to Tradition
September has always symbolized new beginnings for me. Growing up in New England, we started school in September. There is nothing like donning new school clothes, the smell of freshly sharpened pencils, and to follow through with your intent to get all A’s throughout the school year! My son’s middle school science teacher has the following quote on his web page: “We all start with a 100 percent, or with a 0 percent; which is it?” My intention is to start with a 100 percent pledge to maintain the legacy of commitment that the past presidents of the DeKalb Bar Association have exemplified over the past 45 years.
I am pleased to live in a country where we can embrace change while holding on to tradition. The DBA Board met this summer to assess what the DBA has to offer its members in terms of education, specific practice services, social activities and community involvement.
We are going to continue the tradition of having lunches in the historic DeKalb County Courthouse. However, we are going to embrace change by substituting the October and February lunches with a continuing legal education seminar followed by an opportunity to socialize and discuss the lessons of the day.
We are going to continue the tradition of providing items to families in need during the holiday season. However, we are going to embrace change by becoming more active in the DeKalb County community. We have a new Community Outreach Committee that will focus on educating and informing the community of how the law affects important issues such as the elderly, veteran affairs, and teens.
Many of you serve the community through your place of worship, coaching sports teams and serving on neighborhood civic associations. I encourage you to continue these activities. Let’s embrace change by giving back to the community the benefit of our vast years of legal training.
Over the past several years, the DBA has created the Trial Lawyers Section, the Young Lawyers Division and the Family Law Section. Let’s look forward to increasing specific practice services with speaker series and panel discussions.
Most of our socializing occurs during our luncheon meetings. However, many members do not have an opportunity to break bread during the day. Our Social Committee has plans to include our North DeKalb County and South DeKalb County members through breakfast meetings, as well as, cultural and sporting events.
As always, we will continue our DBA traditions of celebrating the holidays in December and honoring our DeKalb County judiciary in March. We will also continue our active inter-bar relations with the Multi-Bar Leadership Council.
Our State Bar of Georgia award-winning newsletter and website layout design guru, Marcia Lampe, encouraged the DBA to embrace the 21st century by changing the newsletter format to a blog format, which allows you an opportunity to make comments to articles.
As we embrace change and hold on to our DBA traditions, I encourage you to make honest assessments in a DeKalb Bar survey that will be emailed to you this month. I also encourage you to become actively involved in a committee. The DeKalbBar Association consists of nearly 450 members. To succeed, we will need participation from all of our members, not just the board of sixteen. Visit the DBA website, www.dekalbbar.org, for a list and description of the committees. If you cannot join a committee, please consider sponsoring a panel discussion or social event.
United States Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall once commented, “What is the quality of your intent? Certain people have a way of saying things that shake us at the core. Even when the words do not seem harsh or offensive, the impact is shattering. What we could be experiencing is the intent behind the words. When we intend to do good, we do. When we intend to do harm, it happens. What each of us must come to realize is that our intent always comes through. We cannot sugarcoat the feelings in our heart of hearts. The emotion is the energy that motivates. We cannot ignore what we really want to create. We should be honest and do it the way we feel it. What we owe to ourselves and everyone around is to examine the reasons of our true intent. My intent will be evident in the results.”
I welcome your comments and suggestions for the coming year. Please feel free to contact me at president@dekalbbar.org.

Denise Warner

Denise Warner

Letter from the DeKalb Bar President

September has always symbolized new beginnings for me. Growing up in New England, we started school in September. There is nothing like donning new school clothes, the smell of freshly sharpened pencils, and to follow through with your intent to get all As throughout the school year! My son’s middle school science teacher has the following quote on his web page: “We all start with a 100 percent, or with a 0 percent; which is it?” My intention is to start with a 100 percent pledge to maintain the legacy of commitment that the past presidents of the DeKalb Bar Association have exemplified over the past 45 years.

I am pleased to live in a country where we can embrace change while holding on to tradition. The DBA Board met this summer to assess what the DBA has to offer its members in terms of education, specific practice services, social activities and community involvement.

Read More
Back To Top