By Kevin Palmer
On November 17, 2016, The Georgia Court of Appeals decided the case of Bonner versus The State. The court reversed Bonner’s judgement, meaning the trial judge and district attorney were negligent. Bonner stole a car but entered a guilty plea to the charge of theft by receiving stolen property and was sentenced to 8 years, with 12 months to serve. The appeals court decision stated Georgia law specifies the person who stole property cannot be charged with theft by receiving the same stolen property.
Ignoring the appeals court decision, negligent district attorneys are still charging people who stole property with theft by receiving the same stolen property. This suggests prosecutors are leading grand juries to issue indictments on a charge that cannot be proven in court. Even worse, negligent defense attorneys go along and ill-advise clients to plead guilty to the baseless charge. This practice has led to several unjust sentences.
In 2017, an Augusta, Georgia teenager stole two handguns from two unlocked automobiles. Just like in the Bonner case, the district attorney charged the teen with two counts of theft by receiving stolen property which carried two 10-year sentences. The defense attorney went along and ill-advised the teen to plead guilty. In 2018, the teen was sentenced to a 20-year sentence.
To the detriment of society, several attorneys don’t practice rule of law, but law of expediency.