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Philip Holloway

    Indigent defense is a complicated issue. Criminal defendants have an absolute constitutional right to be represented by competent counsel and the government has to provide counsel for defendants who cannot afford a lawyer. It doesn’t stop there, however. There is more to indigent defense than simply paying the lawyer. A lawyer without resources for investigators and even expert witnesses is like a captain without a ship. As far back as 1957 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit explained:   Furnishing … a lawyer is not enough: the best lawyer in the world cannot competently defend an accused person if the lawyer cannot obtain existing evidence crucial to the defense, e.g., if the defendant cannot pay the fee of an investigator to find a pivotal missing witness or a necessary document, or that of an expert accountant or a mining engineer or chemist. It might indeed be argued that for the government to defray such expenses which the indigent accused cannot meet, is essential to that assistance of counsel which the Sixth Amendment guarantees …. In such circumstances, if the government does not supply the funds, justice is denied the poor—and represents but a upper-bracket privilege. Most counties in Georgia have a public defender’s office. The Georgia Public Defender Council (GPDC) was created in 2003 and is funded by taxpayers to handle the majority of indigent defense in Georgia. Some indigent defense happens outside this system however. The Grinstead murder trial is one such instance. Ryan Alexander Duke is scheduled to stand trial in Irwin County, Georgia for the murder of high school teacher and beauty queen Tara Grinstead. Duke was arrested with great fanfare in February 2017 for the 2005 alleged murder of Grinstead. He was represented for the next year and a half or so by the public defender’s office for the Tifton Judicial Circuit. He later elected to accept the volunteer services of three Atlanta-area lawyers. His defense is a complicated one and the evidence in the case appears to be extremely voluminous, hyper-technical in some ways, and convoluted. Among other things, the defense is alleging his incriminating statements to investigators qualifies as a “false confession.” For these reasons, the Duke defense team has asked the court to provide funds to pay for defense resources such as investigators and expert witnesses – the sort of resources that any lawyer, prosecutor or defense attorney, needs to properly prepare for and conduct a trial of this magnitude. So far, this funding has been denied. Mr. Duke is of course presumed to be innocent and he is clearly indigent. His election to accept pro bono services of three private attorneys has not changed his indigency. Ironically for Duke, because he accepted the services of volunteer lawyers of his own choosing, he may have to defend himself without the resources he would have had if stayed with the public defender’s office. This illustrates a broader problem with indigent defense in Georgia: How does an indigent defendant level the playing field when represented by private counsel? The Georgia Public Defender Council as an independent state agency and by law is “responsible for assuring that adequate and effective legal representation is provided, independently of political considerations or private interests, to indigent persons…” In 1986, The Georgia Supreme Court held that an indigent defendant has a right to state funds to pay for expert witnesses as related to “critical evidence” that might be open to interpretation among experts. Specifically, the Georgia Supreme Court said that a trial court shall order payment of these funds from public coffers. Every year the legislature funds the GPDC so the GPDC can do its work and pay experts and investigators as needed. The legislature has not made the same provision to fund indigent defense when it occurs outside the framework of the GPDC. So, if the GPDC doesn’t agree to pay these costs, who does? There can be only one answer: the county where the case is pending. But what if the county simply can’t afford it? What if there is a case so big and so complicated that any given county just doesn’t have the money? What if due process and the right to effective counsel demand monies to be paid yet a county – or a court – refuses? Prior to the creation of the GPDC the procedure for obtaining public funds for experts was fairly simple. It was outlined by the Georgia Supreme Court in 1988. Defense counsel – usually court appointed – files a sealed motion with the court explaining what was needed and why. These requests were / are routinely approved so long as the price tag was reasonable. The creation of the GPDC did not abolish this procedure and it is still the norm in many counties in Georgia where indigent defendants are represented by counsel outside of the public defender system. Now back to the earlier question - What if due process and the right to effective counsel demand monies to be paid yet a county – or a court – refuses? Well, in the event of a conviction an appellate reversal may occur. If a trial was expensive the first time around it will be extra costly the second time around. It’s more important to get it right the first time. Judges are obligated to ensure that due process happens in our courts so if the state won’t provide the necessary resources counties are just going to have to step up – and pay up. Philip Holloway, WSB legal analyst, is a criminal lawyer who heads his own firm in Cobb County, Georgia. A former prosecutor and adjunct professor of criminal justice, he is former president of the Cobb County Bar Association's criminal law section. Follow him on Twitter: @PhilHollowayEsq The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 
  • From a court watcher’s perspective it’s apparent to most that the upcoming trial of Ryan Duke, charged with the 2005 murder of South Georgia high school teacher Tara Grinstead is sure to be nothing short of a spectacle of epic proportions. We got a preview of things to come during - of all things - a bond hearing where Duke asked, for the first time in two years, to be released on bond. It wasn’t the denial of bond, nor the fact that Duke asked for bond that is particularly noteworthy. It’s what the bond hearing devolved into that raised eyebrows. Despite losing the motion, the defense unexpectedly was able to depose the lead GBI investigator on a wide range of topics in a dress rehearsal for what promises to be a most controversial trial.  To start, let’s have a look at what a bond hearing is supposed to be.  It’s uncommon for bond to be set in murder cases but it’s not unheard of. Courts are supposed to consider the following factors in making bond decisions and the burden of proof is on the defendant to show that he:  Poses no significant risk of fleeing from the jurisdiction of the court or failing to appear in court when required;  Poses no significant threat or danger to any person, to the community, or to any property in the community;  Poses no significant risk of committing any felony pending trial; and  Poses no significant risk of intimidating witnesses or otherwise obstructing the administration of justice.  Probable cause is not an issue and of course neither is guilt or innocence. A bond hearing is not a trial.  The Duke bond hearing started out as most bond hearings do. The defense called Duke’s brother to testify regarding each of the factors set out above. But then it started a downward spiral into the surreal when the prosecutor called the lead GBI case agent as a witness - presumably as a rebuttal to the defense. A state’s witness, such as an investigator, can occasionally testify - to a point - about “what happened” because that’s relevant - to a point - for the court to determine whether the person poses a danger to the community. But in this case, the testimony was literally all over the place and went into minute detail about many things that have never been heard before. The “bond hearing” was effectively transformed into a deposition - a legal luxury not normally available to a criminal defendant in Georgia.  So just what did we learn from this “bond” hearing? We learned that DNA from the bodily fluid of a police officer was mixed with the victim’s blood on some bedding and that “touch DNA” from Grinstead and Duke (along with DNA from at least two other people) was on a latex glove found outside her residence. “Touch DNA” has its own share of problems in terms of reliability and we can safely expect the defense to explore those problems at trial. Some of that other unidentified DNA from the glove could have come from Bo Dukes - the person accused of helping cover up the murder - and who the defense claims is the actual killer.  We learned there were many investigative steps that could have been taken to verify statements made by both Duke and Dukes. The defense will argue that these follow up steps point to a biased investigation. This could have a huge impact in a trial where the defense will claim that the defendants confession was a false confession.  We learned the GBI, in a breach of protocol and constitutional law, interviewed / talked with Duke twice after he had a lawyer. These interviews were undocumented in the GBI case file. They were not recorded. The DA apparently was unaware at the time that this tactic was being employed by the GBI until the defense raised it with them. The agent didn’t even sign in at the jail. We can only speculate as to why not.  On top of all this, an abundance of otherwise inadmissible evidence consisting of hearsay and innuendo managed to come out publicly at a bond hearing. Most of this wouldn’t have seen the light of day at a trial. As the prosecution correctly pointed out “hearsay” may be admissible at a bond hearing, but it still has to be reliable evidence - not a regurgitation of all the salacious rumors from 2005. And it must be relevant to the issue of bond. It may turn out that the DA made a great tactical mistake by calling their lead case agent to testify and turn this bond hearing into an evidentiary free-for-all with no apparent boundaries. At a minimum it was surely heartbreaking for friends and family of the victim to have to re-live all the pain of the last 13 years by having old wounds reopened in such painful detail.  I’ve previously written about why the venue for this trial really needs to be changed. Now more than ever the jury pool is really tainted - as if it weren’t already. Philip Holloway, WSB legal analyst, is a criminal lawyer who heads his own firm in Cobb County, Georgia. A former prosecutor and adjunct professor of criminal justice, he is former president of the Cobb County Bar Association's criminal law section. Follow him on Twitter: @PhilHollowayEsq The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 
  • Irwin County Superior Court Judge Bill Reinhardt appears set to attempt to seat a jury of Irwin County residents in the trial of Ryan Alexander Duke. Duke is charged with the 2005 murder of Irwin County High School teacher and beauty queen Tara Grinstead. The defense asked for a change of venue, the State did not oppose the change, yet the judge has declined. In my view, this is a mistake. This is a case I have followed closely since the beginning. Way back in what seems like another lifetime I was a police officer in the tiny South Georgia town. I grew up in the area and have even practiced law there. Things are just different there. There's really no other way to put it. It's a great place to live and work but it simply has its own unique character. And the same thing holds true for the local legal system. But a unique local 'flavor' can't outweigh due process and absolute right that a defendant has to a fair trial nor can it outweigh the public's strong interest in a process that yields a result that it can have confidence in. In Georgia, criminal defendants have a constitutional right to be tried in the county where the crime is alleged to have occurred. Defendants can waive this right however and seek a trial elsewhere if a fair and impartial jury can't be seated in that county. At any given time, the population of Irwin County is only about ten thousand people. This case touched nearly every person in Irwin County – personally – in one way or another. It was the local citizens who went door-to-door and field-to-field conducting searches for Tara Grinstead in the days, weeks, and months following her disappearance. It's the local citizens who talk about the case day in and day out in homes, restaurants, offices, and other gatherings. It's the locals who read the local paper when leaked excerpts from the GBI case file were published that described Ryan Duke's incriminating statements to law enforcement on the day of his 2017 arrest. It was the local community that loved their high school history teacher. It's the local community that's locked in a continual debate about whether the authorities have charged the right person. On top of all this, the pretrial publicity has been – and will continue to be – extreme and pervasive. Opinions are strong. The bottom line is that nearly everyone in Irwin County has likely heard of the case and surely a great deal has actually been personally affected by it in some way. Besides helping to ensure a fair trial, there are practical reasons why moving the trial just makes good sense. Chief among those practical reasons is this: in the event of a conviction, the issue of venue will be a major part of the appeal and changing venue removes that consideration. This is a strategic reason why the DA most likely did not oppose the change of venue. He doesn't want to have to try this case twice. In the event of a conviction, the DA needs as few appellate issues to deal with as possible. Moving any trial is no small feat. Logistically it's been described as more difficult than taking a three ring circus on the road. It's expensive too. Irwin County just doesn't have the financial resources that a larger jurisdiction has and moving a trial the likes of this one could cause major financial and other upheaval in terms of government resources. None of these considerations outweigh the right to a fair trial, however, and none of them outweigh the public's right to have confidence in the integrity of the process. Philip Holloway, WSB legal analyst, is a criminal lawyer who heads his own firm in Cobb County, Georgia. A former prosecutor and adjunct professor of criminal justice, he is former president of the Cobb County Bar Association's criminal law section. Follow him on Twitter: @PhilHollowayEsq The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.  
  • Police use of force, deadly or otherwise, has been a particularly hot topic in the news in recent years. In this age of social media and near real-time access to cell phone and other video of law enforcement activity it's inevitable that police work, which has always had an element of violence associated with it, would come under an unprecedented degree of scrutiny. Traditionally, nearly all police work occurred 'out of sight' and accordingly was 'out of mind' - at least to the general public. But those days are over and the police and the public are having to adjust to this 'new normal.'   When I went to the police academy in 1989, I remember being taught in no uncertain terms that deadly force was authorized to stop a fleeing felon. In other words, we were told we could shoot someone who was a felon if they were running away from us. Fortunately I was never in a position to test that dubious training. Police training in all subjects is now light years ahead of where it was then. Training in the area of use of force is even further ahead in my view.   So what is the law in this area? Can an officer lawfully use lethal force against a felon who is merely running away? The answer of course is no. But unfortunately most examples are not that clear.   When we look at any police use of force, there is one word in the English language to consider. That word is: reasonableness   In 1989 the Supreme Court of The United States decided the landmark case of Graham v. Connor and the precedent set by Graham has been the foundation of police training on use of force ever since.   Graham provides that any use of force incident -deadly or otherwise - must be 'objectively reasonable' under the totality of the circumstances and that '[t]he 'reasonableness' of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.' It also clarified 'the 'reasonableness' inquiry in an excessive force case is an objective one: the question is whether the officers' actions are 'objectively reasonable' in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them, without regard to their underlying intent or motivation.'   So the next time we see a viral video of a police shooting or other use of force incident try to apply the apply the Graham standard to it and you'll find that it can be extremely difficult to immediately decide whether it was 'justified.' In fact, the Graham case tells us that these things require a careful, deliberate, and thorough investigation into all the facts and circumstances before deciding that issue. Rarely - if ever - are knee jerk decisions based on a single video or social media post helpful. It's worth noting that under the Graham analysis, the presence or absence of a weapon doesn't prove anything either way. The presence of absence of a weapon is merely one factor that must be considered along with the totality of all other circumstances.   Police work can be - by it's very nature - quite ugly and violent. It's never like it is on TV or in the movies. But it is real life and involves real people. We demand that our police swear to support and defend the constitution and laws so we must in turn judge them - and their actions - according to the constitution and laws as interpreted by the courts. Unlike the court of public opinion or social media, courts and investigators don't have the luxury of picking and choosing what parts of the constitution to apply - in these cases they must follow the Graham analysis to wherever it leads - even if it leads to an unpopular place.   And by the way, it turns out that the 'Fleeing Felon Rule' - which I was taught about in the police academy in 1989 was an old rule, grounded in the old English common law that was largely done away with in 1985 when the Supreme Court decided Tennessee v. Garner and held that the police could be sued for shooting a 15 year-old who was merely fleeing and who otherwise posed no lethal threat. In other words, shooting Garner was not 'reasonable.' Philip Holloway, WSB legal analyst, is a criminal lawyer who heads his own firm in Cobb County, Georgia. A former prosecutor and adjunct professor of criminal justice, he is former president of the Cobb County Bar Association's criminal law section. Follow him on Twitter: @PhilHollowayEsq The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
  • Holloway is the legal analyst for WSB Radio. 

News

  • Multiple fires and violent encounters erupted across Minneapolis, Minnesota, and several other major U.S. cities late Thursday after the death of George Floyd while in police custody sparked the third consecutive night of nationwide protests.  Minneapolis mayor challenges Trump accusation of weakness: ‘We are strong as hell’ Update 3:20 a.m. EDT May 29: Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey addressed U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweet from earlier in the evening which criticized the weakness of the city’s leadership as Thursday night protests turned violent. “Weakness is refusing to take responsibility for your own actions. Weakness is pointing your finger at somebody else, during a time of crisis. Donald Trump knows nothing about the strength of Minneapolis. We are strong as hell. Is this a difficult time period? Yes. But you better be damn sure that we’re going to get through this,” Frey said during a press conference. Trump vows military aid to Minneapolis as protests rage Update 1:32 a.m. EDT May 29: In a series of early-morning tweets, U.S. President Donald Trump criticized protesters in Minneapolis, calling them “THUGS” and promising Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz the weight of the military if needed. Minneapolis officials urge resident caution as third police precinct burns Update 1:05 a.m. EDT May 29: A police spokesman told NPR all personnel at the overrun third precinct are safe, but city leaders warned residents near the blaze to maintain distance, following unconfirmed reports of a possible explosion. “We’re hearing unconfirmed reports that gas lines to the Third Precinct have been cut and other explosive materials are in the building,” the city tweeted. “If you are near the building, for your safety, PLEASE RETREAT in the event the building explodes.” Original report: Protesters have overrun the Minneapolis Police Department Third Precinct, the third straight night of violent protests spreading beyond the city. Flames are visible around the precinct but it is unclear if it is on fire. Livestream video showed the protesters entering the building, where fire alarms blared and sprinklers ran as blazes were set. Police appeared to have left the building located in the neighborhood not far from where Floyd died Monday. A spokesman didn’t immediately respond to messages left by The Associated Press. Anger over the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man in police custody, has spread beyond Minneapolis with looting and fires set along a major St. Paul street. Earlier Thursday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz called in the National Guard to try to stem the violence. The governor’s order did not say how many Guard members were mobilized or whether they would be in service Thursday night. After calling in the Guard, Walz urged widespread changes in the wake of Floyd’s death. It was the third consecutive night of violent protests following Floyd’s death on Monday. In footage recorded by a bystander, Floyd can be seen pleading that he can’t breathe as Officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, kneels on his neck. As minutes pass, Floyd slowly stops talking and moving. Dozens of businesses across the Twin Cities have boarded up windows and doors Thursday in an effort to prevent looting. Minneapolis shut down nearly its entire light-rail system and all bus service through Sunday out of safety concerns. Check back for more on this developing story. The Associated Press contributed to this story.
  • More than 5.8 million people worldwide -- including more than 1.7 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Friday, May 29, continue below:  Tyson Foods shuts down 7th meatpacking facility amid latest coronavirus outbreak Update 2:53 a.m. EDT May 29: Tyson Foods shut down its Storm Lake, Iowa, pork processing plant temporarily, following the latest novel coronavirus outbreak to infect the company’s operations. Citing a “delay in COVID-19 testing results” as a partial reason for the facility’s idling, the company issued a statement attributing the shutdown to “team member absences related to quarantine and other factors” as well. According to the Des Moines Register, 555 of the Storm Lake plant’s 2,517 employees have tested positive for the virus. The two-day stoppage is intended to allow for deep cleaning and sanitization with plans to reopen for business next week, the company statement said. Since the onset of the global pandemic, Tyson has shuttered six other facilities temporarily, including facilities in Waterloo, Columbus Junction and Perry, Iowa, as well as Dakota City, Nebraska; Logansport, Indiana; and Pasco, Washington, the Register reported. Iowa has confirmed a total of 18,586 novel coronavirus cases, resulting in 506 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. US deaths near 102K, total cases soar past 1.7M Published 12:49 a.m. EDT May 29: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States soared past 1.7 million early Friday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,721,750 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 101,617 deaths.  The hardest-hit states remain New York with 366,733 cases and 29,529 deaths and New Jersey with 157,185 cases and 11,409 deaths. Massachusetts, with 94,895 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,640, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 115,833. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 6,000 cases each. Five other states have now confirmed at least 53,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 103,813 cases, resulting in 3,993 deaths • Pennsylvania: 74,220 cases, resulting in 5,373 deaths • Texas: 60,395 cases, resulting in 1,611 deaths • Michigan: 56,014 cases, resulting in 5,732 deaths • Florida: 53,285 cases, resulting in 2,364 deaths Meanwhile, Maryland, Georgia, Connecticut and Virginia each has confirmed at least 41,000 cases; Louisiana, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 33,000 cases; North Carolina, Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee and Washington each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases, followed by Iowa with 18,586 and Arizona with 17,877; Wisconsin and Alabama each has confirmed at least 16,000 cases; Rhode Island and Mississippi each has confirmed at least 14,000 cases; Nebraska, Missouri and South Carolina each has confirmed at least 10,000 cases; Kansas, Kentucky and Delaware each has confirmed at least 9,000 cases; Utah, the District of Columbia and Nevada each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases, followed by New Mexico with 7,364; Arkansas and Oklahoma each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown.
  • The Bethel School District in Washington said it has fired a first-year high school wrestling coach after investigating a social media post that showed him on the ground with a knee on the back of his neck as he smiles and gives a thumbs-up. 'We have completed our investigation. Dave Hollenbeck is no longer employed by the Bethel School District. His behavior was not consistent with our equity initiatives and nondiscrimination policies,” said district spokesman Doug Boyles. The post was in reference to George Floyd, who died Monday after Minneapolis police pinned him to the ground with a knee to the neck. Viral video showed Floyd pleading that he could not breathe. The Bethel School District said it’s investigating a social media post by a first-year high school wrestling coach that showed him on the ground with a knee on the back of his neck as he smiles and gives a thumbs-up. “This is for all the race baiters and people that don’t What (sic) they’re talking about when they’re saying that this could kill you,” reads the Facebook post, which appears to have since been deleted from the Coach Dave Hollenbeck’s page. The post’s caption appears to have been updated as a second screenshot being shared on social media states: “Not dead yet I’m doing this for Are (sic) police officers the media is a race-baiting machine and I’m tired of it I’m going to speak out every time if you don’t like that I’m sorry but I love All people.. Wake up America.” The post is in reference to George Floyd, who died Monday after Minneapolis police pinned him to the ground with a knee to the neck. Viral video shows Floyd pleading that he could not breathe. “There is no reasonable rationale for him to post anything like that,” said Jay Davenport, one of the district parents outraged over the post. “It’s about humanity, it’s about integrity; that post lacks both.' Davenport, a youth sports coach himself, said staying quiet about the post was not an option. “You have young impressionable lives that you’re mentoring and you’re making stuff like this?’ said Davenport. “I have no tolerance for that.” Hollenbeck defended his post in an interview with KIRO-TV. 'I did not tell any lies; I showed that I was OK from a knee on my neck. That is it,” Hollenbeck said. “I did not say anything racist and maybe it was insensitive at the time.” The district said Hollenbeck wasn’t a teacher. 'This was his first year as a wrestling coach at Bethel High School. As wrestling season is over, he is not working for us right now,” Boyles said.
  • More than 5.9 million people worldwide – including more than 1.7 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Thursday, May 28, continue below:  Rising US job losses stir fears of lasting economic damage Update 10:55 p.m. EDT May 28: The coronavirus crisis threw at least 2.1 million Americans out of work last week despite the gradual reopening of businesses around the country, stoking fears Thursday that the scourge is doing deep and potentially long-lasting damage to the U.S. economy. Despite a few glimmers of hope, most of the latest economic news from around the globe was likewise grim, as some of the world’s most populous countries reported rising infections and deaths. The confirmed U.S. death toll has surpassed 100,000, the highest in the world. The latest job-loss figures from the U.S. Labor Department bring to 41 million the running total of Americans who have filed for unemployment benefits since the coronavirus shutdowns took hold in mid-March. There were some encouraging signs: The overall number of Americans currently drawing jobless benefits dropped for the first time since the crisis began, from 25 million to 21 million. And first-time applications for unemployment benefits have fallen for eight straight weeks, as states gradually let stores, restaurants and other businesses reopen and the auto industry starts up factories again. But the number of U.S. workers filing for unemployment benefits is still extraordinarily high by historical standards, and that suggests businesses are failing or permanently downsizing, not just laying off people until the crisis can pass, economists warn. Legal sports betting pitched as California budget salve Update 9:55 p.m. EDT May 28: Two California lawmakers on Thursday pitched legalized sports betting as a way to help prop up a state budget devastated by the economic shutdown designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, though their revised proposal immediately reignited a turf battle between powerful gambling interests. State Sen. Bill Dodd of Napa and Assemblyman Adam Gray of Merced are lobbying to put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would allow horse racetracks and the Las Vegas-style casinos run by American Indian tribes to also offer sports wagering, both at their locations and through mobile devices. The proposal, like others before it, is controversial in part because of competition between gambling interests including card rooms, which offer table games like blackjack and poker. The legislation would also allow tribal casinos to offer craps and roulette, but the California Nations Indian Gaming Association fears it would aid card rooms by legalizing a practice that the state attorney general last year sought to outlaw. Card rooms say the attorney general’s regulatory proposal would change the way player-dealer games like blackjack have operated for decades. The tribal casinos contend that those operations have long been illegal and that writing them into law now would amount to “a massive expansion of games” by their rivals. Association chairman James Siva added that by the time the proposed new revenue surfaces, the economic crisis caused by the pandemic is likely to have subsided. It would take a two-thirds legislative vote to put the Democratic lawmakers’ measure on the ballot, and a majority of voters would then have to approve. Montana gates to Yellowstone park opening Monday Update 8:10 p.m. EDT May 28: Montana’s three entrances to Yellowstone National Park will reopen to visitors Monday, as the state moves to its second phase of restarting the economy after shutdowns because of the coronavirus. Parts of Glacier National Park could open in mid-June, Gov. Steve Bullock added Thursday, but a specific day has not been set. The West Yellowstone, Gardiner and Cooke City entrances to Yellowstone will open two weeks after Wyoming’s entrances near Cody and Jackson. The park, famous for its geysers and bison, remains open for day use only. No overnight accommodations are available, and large tour buses aren’t allowed yet, park Superintendent Cam Sholly said. Park employees won’t be policing visitors’ compliance with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines such as social distancing and wearing masks, Sholly said Thursday. “We have to have the respect of the public to adhere to health guidelines,” he said. The opening of Yellowstone remains a gradual one. Limited overnight facilities, such as cabins and campgrounds, will begin reopening later in June, Sholly said. The Montana gates will reopen at 10 a.m. Monday. Hurricane season to be challenging amid pandemic Update 7:35 p.m. EDT May 28: Emergency management officials briefed President Donald Trump Thursday about the challenges of preparing for what is expected to be an above-average hurricane season amidst a coronavirus pandemic. During an Oval Office meeting, officials reported that the Atlantic hurricane season is expected to have 13 to 19 named storms and six to 10 of those storms could develop into hurricanes. Vice President Mike Pence says that when people are displaced by tropical storms or hurricanes, they are used to congregating at local schools or gyms. He says there will be “different challenges now” and that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has provided recommendations to local and state officials on how to respond to natural disasters during a pandemic. Recommendations include encouraging evacuees to plan on staying with friends and families rather than end up in shelters. In a NY state of mind, Guetta readies virus relief concert Update 6:45 p.m. EDT May 28: When hundreds of artists started singing from their living rooms when the coronavirus pandemic hit, Grammy-winning DJ-producer David Guetta still wanted to perform in front of a live audience. So the hitmaker set up shop in front of a 205-foot pool at the Icon Brickell in downtown Miami, performing for 90 minutes as 8,000 locals danced along from their balconies during the feel-good moment last month. Now, he’s launching his second United At Home event at an undisclosed location in New York on Saturday to connect with fans and raise money for health care workers and virus relief efforts. “A lot of artists, especially DJs, were doing performances from their bedrooms. I felt like that was a little bit frustrating. I really wanted to feel like I have a crowd,” Guetta said in an interview with The Associated Press this week. “So, I had the idea of doing this in the middle of towers and people were on the balconies and that was absolutely amazing.” Job losses continue to mount in US despite reopenings Update 5:50 p.m. EDT May 28: The coronavirus crisis threw at least 2.1 million Americans out of work last week despite the gradual reopening of businesses around the country, stoking fears Thursday that the scourge is doing deep and potentially long-lasting damage to the U.S. economy. Amid a few glimmers of hope, most of the latest economic news from around the globe was likewise grim, as some of the world’s most populous countries continued to report rising infections and deaths. The confirmed U.S. death toll topped 100,000, the highest in the world, on Wednesday. The latest job-loss figures from the U.S. Labor Department bring to 41 million the running total of Americans who have filed for unemployment benefits since the coronavirus shutdowns took hold in mid-March. There were some encouraging signs: The overall number of Americans currently drawing jobless benefits dropped for the first time since the crisis began, from 25 million to 21 million. And first-time applications for unemployment have fallen for eight straight weeks, as states gradually let stores, restaurants and other businesses reopen and the auto industry starts up factories again. But the number of U.S. workers filing for unemployment is still extraordinarily high by historical standards, and that suggests businesses are failing or permanently downsizing, not just laying off people until the crisis can pass, economists warn. “That is the kind of economic destruction you cannot quickly put back in the bottle,” said Adam Ozimek, chief economist at Upwork. Mitch McConnell says wearing masks is important Update 4:55 p.m. EDT May 28: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday preached the importance of wearing masks in public as the nation’s economy reopens from the “cataclysmic” damage inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic. During a tour of hospitals in his home state of Kentucky, the Republican leader stressed wearing masks in public and following social distancing guidelines. “There should be no stigma attached to wearing a mask,” McConnell said during an appearance Thursday in Owensboro. “And even among age groups that are least likely to either contract this disease or die from it, you could be a carrier. So I think what we all need to do is say, ‘OK, I’m going to take responsibility not only for myself but for others.’” McConnell, who is in his late 70s and is in the midst of his own re-election campaign, has worn masks at his appearances. On Thursday, he stuffed the face covering into his coat jacket to speak, then donned it again afterward. President Donald Trump has refused to wear face coverings. Manw coronavirus epidemic, some two weeks ago. The country has been gradually lifting virus restrictions as the number of new cases fell to none or one or two daily. Ohio to allow for outdoor visitations at some assisted living facilities Update 3:45 p.m. EDT May 28: Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio on Thursday announced that, beginning next month, assisted living facilities and intermediate care facilities for people with developmental disabilities in the state will be allowed to resume outdoor visitations, WHIO-TV reported. The governor also announced guidance for county fairs and said he plans to release information about the reopening of amusement parks and zoos next week, according to WHIO-TV. >> Read more on WHIO.com Florida’s Pulse nightclub holding virtual ceremony to remember victims of 2016 mass shooting Update 3:35 p.m. EDT May 28: Officials said Thursday that Pulse nightclub will hold its annual ceremony to remember the 49 people killed at the club in one of the nation’s worst mass shootings online next month due to the coronavirus pandemic, WFTV reported. The ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. local time June 12 on Facebook and YouTube, according to WFTV. The ceremony will also honor survivors of the shooting and first responders. >> Read more on WFTV.com Businesses to face fines of $10K or more if they violate Washington state’s Safe Start plan Update 3 p.m. EDT May 28: Businesses in Washington that stay open or operate in violation of Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order and Safe Start plan could face fines of $10,000 or more, KIRO-TV reported, citing new emergency rules filed Wednesday by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries. The rules allow the Department of Labor & Industries to cite businesses for being open or for operating in a way that is “purposely defying the phased-in approach and, as a result, putting their workers at risk,” officials said. >> Read more on KIRO7.com 2020 Boston Marathon canceled Update 2:55 p.m. EDT May 28: Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston announced Thursday that the Boston Marathon has been canceled for this year, WFXT reported. The mayor had previously announced that the marathon would be postponed until September 14, according to WFXT. However, he said Thursday that it “became increasingly clear” that the planned date was no longer feasible. Instead, organizers plan to hold a virtual marathon, WFXT reported. >> Read more on Boston25News.com NY Gov. Cuomo to issue executive order allowing businesses to deny service to maskless customers Update 2:20 p.m. EDT May 28: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Thursday that he plans to issue an executive order allowing businesses to deny service to customers who decline to wear masks amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “We are giving the store owners the right to say, ‘If you are not wearing a mask, you can’t come in,’” Cuomo said during a news conference. “That store owner has the right to protect himself.” 1,261 new cases of COVID-19 reported in New Jersey Update 1:40 p.m. EDT May 28: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said Thursday that 1,261 new coronavirus infections have been reported, raising the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 157,815. On social media, the governor noted that the number of new cases, new deaths and hospitalized patients reported statewide continued to fall. However, he urged people to continue to practice social distancing measures. “We’re not out of the woods,” he wrote. Officials also reported 66 more deaths associated with the coronavirus pandemic. As of Thursday, 11,401 people have died statewide of COVID-19. Coronavirus restrictions eased on Long Island, continued in New York City Update 1:15 p.m. EDT May 28: The easing of some coronavirus restrictions Wednesday on Long Island left New York City as the only part of the hardest-hit U.S. state that has yet to begin the process of reopening the economy. The sprawling suburbs of Nassau and Suffolk counties, where the virus has killed at least 4,000 people, won approval Tuesday from Gov. Andrew Cuomo to gradually restart construction, manufacturing, agriculture and retail activity two months after nonessential business ceased. The Democratic governor also lobbied President Donald Trump in Washington for help with massive New York City transportation projects — including train tunnels, a subway expansion and an airport rail link — and accused top Republicans who oppose more aid of “abusing” states, such as New York, that suffered heavy coronavirus losses. The projects require some federal funding or approval. Cuomo said he and the Republican president, who are often at odds, will talk again next week. 1,887 new coronavirus infections reported in the UK Update 12:10 p.m. EDT May 28: Officials in the United Kingdom reported 1,887 new coronavirus infections Thursday morning, raising the country’s total number of infections to 269,127. Officials said that as of 5 p.m. local time Wednesday, the most recent date for which data was available, 37,837 people had died nationwide of COVID-19. 74 new fatal coronavirus cases reported in New York Update 11:40 a.m. EDT May 28: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Thursday that 74 more people have died of COVID-19 statewide. The number of new fatal cases reported one day earlier was also 74. The governor said Thursday at a news conference that key indicators of the coronavirus pandemic continued to fall across the board. “The total number of hospitalizations are down. The rolling total is down,” Cuomo said. “The change in intubations -- the number of people put on ventilators -- is down, and that’s good.” COVID-19 hospitalizations in North Carolina reach single-day high for second straight day Update 11:35 a.m. EDT May 28: Health officials in North Carolina reported the state’s highest single-day number of hospitalizations connected to the coronavirus pandemic for a second straight day Thursday, WSOC-TV reported. Officials with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said 708 people were hospitalized due to severe complications associated with the novel coronavirus. Officials said that 29% of the state’s 19,048 in-patient beds and 22% percent of its 3,223 intensive care unit beds remained open Thursday. Officials have reported 25,412 cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina. Nearly 830 people statewide have died of coronavirus infections, WSOC-TV reported. >> Read more on WSOCTV.com Study: 5-day course of remdesivir as effective at treating COVID-19 as 10-day course Update 11:20 a.m. EDT May 28: A study published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine found no major differences between the recoveries of COVID-19 patients who took a five-day course of remdesivir and patients who took a 10-day course of the experimental drug. Dr. Francisco Marty, an associate physician at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, worked on the study, according to WFXT. “People were counting on 10 days of treatment per patient for the supply that’s available,” Marty told WFXT. “Now I think with confidence we can say, five days is enough, so now you have twice as many treatment courses.” >> Read more on Boston25News.com Sen. Tim Kaine says he’s tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies Update 11 a.m. EDT May 28: Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said Thursday that he and his wife, Anne, have tested positive for coronavirus antibodies. Kaine said he tested positive earlier this year for the flu but that even after getting medication to treat the illness, his symptoms lingered. At the end of March, Kaine said he 'experienced new symptoms that I initially thought were flu remnants and a reaction to the unusually high spring pollen count.” He and his wife spoke to their health care providers in early April after she also began to feel ill. “They thought it possible that we had mild cases of coronavirus,” Kaine said. “Due to the national testing shortage, we were not tested for the virus but continued isolating and watched for any worsening of symptoms. By mid-April we were symptom free.' He said he and his wife got positive results from a coronavirus antibody test this month. “While those antibodies could make us less likely to be re-infected or infect others, there is still too much uncertainty over what protection antibodies may actually provide,” he said. 'So we will keep following CDC guideline s —hand-washing, mask wearing, social distancing. We encourage others to do so as well. It shows those around you that you care about them.” 86 new cases of COVID-19 reported in DC Update 10:45 a.m. EDT May 28: Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. said Thursday that 86 new coronavirus infections have been reported in the area, raising the total number of cases in the area to 8,492. Bowser also announced eight more people between the ages of 37 and 96 had died of COVID-19 in Washington D.C., bringing the total number of deaths in the District to 453. Wall Street opens modestly higher, extending recent gains Update 10 a.m. EDT May 28: Stocks are opening slightly higher Thursday on Wall Street, extending recent gains that brought the S&P 500 back above 3,000 for the first time since March. The benchmark index was up about 0.1% in the first few minutes of trading Thursday. Health care companies and makers of consumer products were among the biggest winners in early trading. The modest gains came even as more dire reports on the economy came in, including another 2.1 million claims for unemployment benefits. Twitter fell as President Donald Trump prepared to sign an executive aimed at curbing liability protections for social media companies. Trump shares sympathies after more than 100,000 Americans die of COVID-19 Update 9:50 a.m. EDT May 28: President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Thursday to remember the more than 100,000 Americans who have died after contracting coronavirus infections. The president called the death toll “a very sad milestone.” “To all of the families (and) friends of those who have passed, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy (and) love for everything that these great people stood for (and) represent,” Trump wrote. “God be with you!” The United States has lost more people to the coronavirus pandemic than any other country in the world. Health officials in the country with the second-most number of fatal COVID-19 cases, the United Kingdom, said Wednesday that 37,460 people have died of the viral infection. 41 million Americans have lost jobs since virus hit Update 8:40 a.m. EDT May 28: Roughly 2.1 million people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week, a sign that companies are still slashing jobs in the face of a deep recession even as more businesses reopen and rehire some laid-off employees. About 41 million people have now applied for aid since the virus outbreak intensified in March, though not all of them are still unemployed. The Labor Department’s report Thursday includes a count of all the people now receiving unemployment aid: 21 million. That is a rough measure of the number of unemployed Americans. The national jobless rate was 14.7% in April, the highest since the Great Depression, and many economists expect it will near 20% in May. LA sues wellness company, alleging ‘sophisticated’ fraud via ‘at-home’ COVID-19 testing kits Update 7:29 a.m. EDT May 28: The city of Los Angeles is suing Wellness Matrix Group for what it called a “sophisticated” and “wide ranging” scheme to defraud people concerned about their risk of contracting the novel coronavirus, NPR reported. The suit contends the California-based company sold “at-home” coronavirus tests it claimed falsely were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The company also sold a supposedly coronavirus-killing “virucide,” claiming that the product could 'build a force field around your event or even spray your entire city,” NPR reported. L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer accused the company of “shockingly deceptive conduct” that included attaching “false government registration numbers to these products and fabricated phony scientific studies and white papers to substantiate their false claims,” the news outlet reported. NBA eyes ‘bubble’ to house select family members when season resumes Update 6:58 a.m. EDT May 28: The National Basketball Association and its players’ association are working to craft a plan that will allow select family members to stay in a “bubble” with the teams once the season resumes. The bubble refers to a proposed enclosed environment in which all dwellers live, practice and play games, CNN reported. The discussions come days after the network confirmed the league and players’ association are in talks with Disney to hold the rest of the season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida. Google alerts nearly 2K users hackers posing as WHO targeted them in April Update 6:22 a.m. EDT May 28: Google sent 1,755 warnings to users who were targeted by government-backed hackers in April, according to a Wednesday blog post. The majority of the hacking and phishing schemes Google detected preyed on public fear of the novel coronavirus and lured users into disclosing personal information. The ruses included the creation of spoof email accounts purporting to be the World Health Organization. The ploys typically asked users to sign up for coronavirus updates, but the goal was to mine the information provided for passwords and other private data, The Washington Post reported. Business leaders in the United States, Slovenia, Canada, India, Bahrain, Cyprus and the United Kingdom were the most common targets of the phishing campaigns, the company said in its post. South Korea closing public facilities in Seoul in bid to stop potential COVID-19 outbreak Update 5:55 a.m. EDT May 28: Beginning Friday, South Korea will close all public facilities in Seoul and the surrounding metropolitan area following detection of a novel coronavirus cluster at a logistics center near the South Korean capital, CNN reported. Specifically, government-operated parks and retreat facilities as well as art galleries, museum and theaters will be shuttered until June 14, with all government-hosted events either postponed or canceled, the network reported citing Health Minister Park Neung-hoo. Meanwhile, Park also advised private businesses to follow suit and said residents should refrain from going outdoors or hosting public gatherings until June 14. To date, South Korea has confirmed 11,344 COVID-19 cases, resulting in 269 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. The nation recorded Wednesday its highest spike in new infections since April 5 with 79 new cases, 54 of which have been linked to a logistics center in Bucheon, located about 25 miles from Seoul. To date, 82 cases have been linked to the logistics center cluster, CNN reported. Global coronavirus deaths surpass 356K, worldwide cases top 5.7M Update 4:51 a.m. EDT May 28: The global count of novel coronavirus cases surpassed 5.7 million early Thursday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. In the four months since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, it has infected at least 5,707,163 people worldwide, resulting in at least 356,042 deaths.  Brazil records more than 20K coronavirus cases, 1K deaths in a single day Update 3:47 a.m. EDT May 28: Brazil added another 1,086 coronavirus-related deaths during the past 24 hours bringing its nationwide death toll to 25,598, the nation’s health ministry reported Wednesday. The latest figures, which added 20,599 new cases in one day, bring Brazil’s total number of confirmed infections to 411,821, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. Brazil trails only the United States for the most confirmed cases. American Airlines slashing management, support staff by 30% Update 2:16 a.m. EDT May 28: The ongoing stress caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to pummel the airline industry with one of the United States’ largest carriers telling employees Wednesday that steeper cuts yet are on the way. Elise Eberwein, American Airlines executive vice president of people and global engagement, said in a letter to employees that “fleet retirement accelerations are underway, and we will fly roughly 100 fewer aircraft next summer — mostly widebodies — than we had originally planned.” “Additionally, running a smaller airline means we will need a management and support staff team that is roughly 30% leaner,” Eberwein added. According to The Washington Post, the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline had already reduced its carrying capacity and nearly 39,000 employees have taken either voluntary leave or early retirement. Meanwhile, Eberwein asked any willing employees to leave their jobs voluntarily by June 10, but she also noted that if voluntary departures do not result in the needed 30% reduction in staff, layoffs will be the next step, the Post reported. “There is no doubt this is going to be a painful time for all, especially for our departing colleagues, who have given American Airlines their all and are leaving through no fault of their own,” Eberwein wrote in the letter. “They deserve our respect and gratitude.” US coronavirus cases approach 1.7M, deaths climb past 100K Update 12:44 a.m. EDT May 28: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surged toward 1.7 million early Thursday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,699,933 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 100,442 deaths.  The hardest-hit states remain New York with 364,965 cases and 29,484 deaths and New Jersey with 156,628 cases and 11,339 deaths. Massachusetts, with 94,220 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,547, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 114,306. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 6,000 cases each. Five other states have now confirmed at least 52,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 101,807 cases, resulting in 3,919 deaths • Pennsylvania: 73,557 cases, resulting in 5,265 deaths • Texas: 58,542 cases, resulting in 1,581 deaths • Michigan: 55,608 cases, resulting in 5,334 deaths • Florida: 52,634 cases, resulting in 2,319 deaths Meanwhile, Maryland, Georgia, Connecticut and Virginia each has confirmed at least 40,000 cases; Louisiana, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 32,000 cases; North Carolina, Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee and Washington each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases, followed by Iowa with 18,369 and Arizona with 17,318; Wisconsin and Alabama each has confirmed at least 16,000 cases; Rhode Island and Mississippi each has confirmed at least 15,000 cases; Nebraska and Missouri each has confirmed at least 12,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 10,623; Kansas, Delaware and Kentucky each has confirmed at least 9,000 cases; Utah, the District of Columbia and Nevada each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases, followed by New Mexico with 7,252; Arkansas and Oklahoma each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  •  An enterprising company in Texas is bringing ice-cold margaritas to doorsteps in San Antonio. La Gloria launched its first La Gloria Margarita home delivery truck Thursday. A bright pink truck will take taco kits, chips and salsa and margaritas to anywhere 3 miles from the restaurant. The COVID-19 pandemic has kept from dine in restaurants and shifted the focus to food delivery. Chef Johnny Hernandez hopes that his service will not only provide a way to social distance a bit longer but will help his business recover from this change. 'Our Margarita Trucks are another fun and creative way to adapt to the ever-changing business landscape. Today, safety is top of mind for everyone, and many of our customers are simply not ready to dine out; however, we know that doesn’t mean they don’t crave one of our famous margaritas. Delivering to our customers’ homes does not only make enjoying our signature margaritas safer and more convenient, but this new avenue of serving our customers also helps to rebuild our business in turn allowing us to hire back more members of our team,” Hernandez told KSAT. Additional trucks will be added to the fleet in June, according to San Antonio Magazine. All orders must be placed online in advance and the company can also fulfill next-day orders. Currently there is a $40 minimum purchase and a $5 delivery charge. Unfortunately, in-person orders are not allowed.
  • A Newnan man is accused of an afternoon crime spree that involved stealing his ex-wife’s car and causing two wrecks, authorities said. Carlos J. Dejesus-Hernandez, 56, faces 10 charges after the incident last Friday, according to the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office. His ex-wife accused him of taking the keys in January and waiting until last week to steal her 2019 Chevrolet Malibu. About 2 p.m., a deputy was waved down after a hit-and-run at the intersection of Bullsboro Drive and Celebrate Life Parkway, according to an incident report obtained by AJC.com. The victim said she was slowing down for a red light when her car was rear-ended by a sedan. The driver, later identified as Dejesus-Hernandez, yelled at the woman after the incident and drove off, the report said. An off-duty Union City police officer also happened to be in the area, and he corroborated the woman’s story. While at the scene, the deputy learned that Newnan police were at another hit-and-run scene two traffic lights away, the report said. No one was seriously injured in any of the wrecks. Simultaneously, another deputy was speaking to Dejesus-Hernandez’s ex-wife about her missing vehicle. She said she had a protective order against Dejesus-Hernandez and told deputies where he lived. Authorities realized that all three incidents were connected and went to Dejesus-Hernandez’s house off Lake Shore Drive, the report said. The damaged Chevrolet was outside the home. Authorities arrested Dejesus-Hernandez on counts of aggravated assault, aggravated stalking, leaving the scene of an accident, theft by taking, obstruction, driving on a suspended license and following too closely, jail records show. He was booked into the Coweta County jail, where he remains without bond. You may find this story and more at AJC.com. In other news: