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Judge sentences our firm’s client to probation while sentencing co-defendants to lengthy prison terms

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Following a client’s guilty plea to burglary and other serious felony offenses, attorney Kim Stephens persuaded a judge in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia to grant his client First Offender treatment which kept the client from having a felony conviction on his record among other benefits.  Most importantly, though, Stephens persuaded the judge to sentence his client to probation with no time to be served in prison.  The two co-defendants in the case, our client’s father and brother (both of whom were represented by other attorneys), were sentenced to 8 years and 6 years in prison respectively to be followed by lengthy terms of probation.

To see the full story, please go to http://onlineathens.com/stories/040111/new_808531746.shtml

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Kim Stephens and Page Pate win “NOT GUILTY” verdict for a Georgia Doctor charged with unlawfully distributing controlled substances

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In January, 2012, after nearly six years of waiting, Dr. Paul Raber of Lavonia was acquitted by a Hart County jury of thirty-three felony counts of unlawfully distributing controlled substances. Following the trial in a courtroom filled with dozens of Dr. Raber’s family, friends, and loyal patients, the jury returned with its “not guilty” verdicts after less than thirty minutes of deliberation.

Dr. Raber was represented by attorneys Kim Stephens of Athens and Page Pate of Atlanta, who had began working with him when charges were first filed back in 2007. The case had already been taken to the Supreme Court of Georgia on a pre-trial appeal before it came back to Hart County for trial. At the Supreme Court, Page argued that the statute Dr. Raber had been charged under, OCGA § 16-13-41(h) was unconstitutionally vague because it did not clearly make pre-signing prescriptions a crime, much less a felony.

The Supreme Court, by a slim margin of 4-3, ruled that the statute wasn’t constitutionally defective and that the word “issue” might not require actually giving a prescription to a patient or end user. At trial, Page argued just the opposite, that Dr. Raber had not “issued” any prescriptions at all, and the jury seems to have agreed.

Vaguely worded statutes such as the section of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act at issue in this case pose a grave danger to the public. Because many statutes like this one are worded so poorly, they can be twisted to mean virtually anything a motivated prosecutor wants them to mean. In the case of the GCSA, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and other health professionals may be at risk of prosecution for actions that are not even clearly criminal at the time they are done. Thankfully, the jury in this case was able to see that the prosecution was not applying the law as it had been intended: to prevent doctors from being “drug dealers with medical licenses,” as Georgia Supreme Court Justice Hunstein described it in her dissenting opinion in Dr. Raber’s appeal.

Our congratulations to Dr. Raber and his family, who are surely relieved that this long ordeal is behind them.

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7 Finalist Named for Georgia Supreme Court

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ATLANTA  —
The state’s Judicial Nominating Commission said in a statement Friday that it has sent seven names to the governor for a vacancy on the Georgia Supreme Court that will come in July with the retirement of Chief Justice George Carley.  The list submitted to the governor includes: Cynthia J. Becker, Keith Blackwell, Lisa Branch, Michael Brown, Billy Ray, Tillman Self and Ben Studdard. 

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Kim Stephens provides assistance as legal expert to media in former UGA football player case.

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Kim T. Stephens relied upon as legal expert in former UGA football player Isiaah Crowell Case (July, 2012)

Whether it’s his gun or not is not the issue,” Stephens said. “The issue for him is to get his life back on track. That’s what he needs to be doing right now” so that he will not ruin a potentially great college and NFL career by being accused, falsely or not, of relatively minor criminal offenses.

For the complete national Fox Sports article, please go to http://georgia.scout.com/2/1199926.html

For the complete Atlanta Journal Constitution article, please go to http://blogs.ajc.com/uga-sports-blog/2012/07/02/legal-experts-isaiah-crowell-faces-5-years-in-prison-but-probation-likely/

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