Azaleas, March Madness and Judge Wilkinson

If you’ve never been to Savannah, GA in mid-March, put it on your bucket list. Today was one of those lovely, mid-70s days, where the azaleas are blooming and the town is booming with the buzz of St. Patrick’s Day upcoming - that inexplicable touch of infinity. And, I love March Madness. Is there really any better time of the year? Where else can you see Valpo can knock off a number 4 seed with 2.5 seconds remaining in a mad full court dash for 2, or the wonderfully named Shaka Smart lead VCU to victory over Kansas?

But, away from the mid-March reverie. Yesterday, Fourth Circuit Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson, wrote an Op Ed piece in the NYT, entitled – Cry, the Beloved Constitution (a play on the beautifully written Cry the Beloved Country about apartheid South Africa). Some question whether Judge Wilkinson should have written in reference to the current national debate about the Affordable Care Act. But, Judge Wilkinson’s piece is far more than that. He writes eloquently, in my view, about the debates tearing at our country – from the left and right, but concludes that he would not lose faith given,

where democracy has brought this country. . . All factions owe their fellow citizens the hope and the prospect of democratic change, not the message that their views have been constitutionally condemned and their opponents’ views carved in the stone of our founding charter. Restraint has much to commend it as a judicial value, not least of which is that it extends the hand of tolerance and respect to those whose views we may not share, but whose citizenship we do share and whose love of family, community and country burns no less brightly than our own.

President's Day

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

Abraham Lincoln

A couple of notable news items locally at the end of last week. On Thursday, President Obama nominated Jill A. Pryor, a partner at Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore, LLP, in Atlanta to serve on the Eleventh Circuit. Pryor graduated from William & Mary, then attended Yale University Law. She clerked for Judge Edmondson on the Eleventh Circuit, then spent her entire professional career with Bondurant, Mixson. President Obama said of Pryor that "she will be a diligent, judicious and esteemed addition to the Eleventh Circuit bench."

On Friday, Sally Yates, the U.S. Attorney, for the Northern District of Georgia announced that H. Gregory Cordell of Cartersville, Georgia was sentenced to 2 years, 3 months in federal prison for mortgage fraud. Yates said that Cordell, "lied on mortgage applications to get over $1 million in loans, he fraudulently inflated the purchase price to get a bigger mortgage and then was paid a kickback under the table from the proceeds." The U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta has been extraordinarily slow to pull the trigger on financial institution fraud cases, despite the fact that Georgia leads the league in defunct banks.

I'll follow up more this week on my thoughts regarding why this administration has faltered in its pursuit of financial fraud matters.


Anand Leaving Atlanta USAO For Federal Magistrate Position

Justin Anand, 40, Deputy Chief of Economic Crimes at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Georgia, is leaving that office in June to become the newest U.S. Magistrate Judge in that district. Justin distinguished himself during his 8 year tenure at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta with his hard work and professionalism.

Justin graduated from Harvard Law School in 1998, clerked for a district court judge in the Southern District of New York and then spent four years working as a litigation associate at a large corporate firm in New York City.


Justin has been at the forefront of many of the major prosecutions conducted by the Atlanta USAO over the last few years and is well regarded by colleagues, defense counsel and of course, the judiciary. His efforts in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta will be missed.