Georgia prosecutor and judge get unrepresented man 30 days in jail for hauling trash before 7:00 a.m.
If criminal defendant Kevin McGill’s ordeal is common there, the Sandy Springs, Georgia, criminal “justice” system is something out of the human rights-shredding Soviet Union, hauling a lawyer-less sanitation worker, Kevin McGill, to jail for thirty days for starting his work before 7:00 a.m.
Fortunately, Mr. McGill has now hired a lawyer, Kimberly Bandoh, to seek to withdraw his guilty plea. I urge prosecuting city solicitor Bill Riley not to oppose the guilty plea withdrawal, particularly if Mr. McGill did not validly waive his right to counsel and to a trial at the front end, which waiver omissions are a common failing in too many courthouses in too many jailable settings.
Did Mr. McGill’s employer require starting work before the law’s 7:00 a.m. start time, or put such a heavy workload on its employees that starting work this early was the only way to get all the work done on time?
As with many jurisdictions’ statutory schemes, Sandy Springs’ local ordinance code needs to be rewritten to sufficiently put people on notice of which law violations are jailable in the first place. Nowhere is jail mentioned in Sandy Springs’s solid waste ordinance section, which says:
(c) (1) Collection times.Save and except as provided in this section, collection shall not start before 7:00 a.m. nor continue after 7:00 p.m. at any location. Operations may only be conducted Monday through Saturday.
(2) Variances.Company may request variances to this collection period for properties in which normal collection procedures would cause a clear and present safety hazard…
Instead, an entirely different chapter of the Sandy Springs Code alerts people that violating the trash pickup time is jailable:
Except as otherwise provided, a person convicted of a violation of this Code shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $1,000.00, imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, confinement at labor for a period of time not to exceed 30 days, or any combination thereof.
Watch the video interview of Mr. McGill. How much I love dealing with such kind and optimistic people as he. He did not deserve this mistreatment in his case; nobody does.
Why did the judge go along with the prosecutor’s recommendation to slam Mr. McGill — only on the job for three months — with thirty days in jail? This all is a travesty of justice, which merits an opposing call or letter/email (at least to urge not opposing the withdrawal of Mr. McGill’s guilty plea to city solicitor Bill Riley, who apparently serves one or more additional municipalities, and the city government.
ADDENDUM: TY my teacher Ernie Lewis for alerting me to this travesty of justice.