Originally created 11/22/06

Across Georgia



Police shootings may go before grand jury

ATLANTA - The district attorney in a suburban Atlanta county where 12 people have been killed by police so far this year said Tuesday her office might present evidence to a grand jury that could bring criminal charges.

DeKalb County District Attorney Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming said her decision whether to go before a criminal grand jury will depend on her review of the individual shooting cases.

She told The Associated Press that at the very least her office will go before a separate civil grand jury that will review the police department's administrative procedures and could issue recommendations or conclusions about the county police department's conduct. The civil grand jury will have subpoena power.

The review of shootings and in-custody deaths involves 15 incidents from Jan. 1 through Sept. 12. A fatal police shooting that occurred Sept. 2 is expected to be included later when police conclude their internal review of two fatal police shootings that occurred in October and one that occurred earlier this month.

High court overturns asbestos claims law

ATLANTA - The Georgia Supreme Court has overturned a state law that made it more difficult for people to file suit for asbestos-related ailments. The court said that the law retroactively applied to cases filed before it was passed last year.

The law said any asbestos claims pending on April 12, 2005, would be dismissed unless the plaintiffs showed asbestos to be a "substantial contributing factor" to their conditions.

The Supreme Court opinion, written by Justice Carol Hunstein, concurred with a lower court ruling that the law added "a new element to their claim, one that did not exist when the original cause of action accrued."

Retailers want beer, wine sales on Sunday

ATLANTA - Georgia retailers want the Legislature to consider allowing stores to sell beer and wine on Sundays.

Few other states also prohibit beer and wine sales on Sunday.

But past efforts to change the law have seldom gotten far in the Legislature, whether it was controlled by Democrats or Republicans.

The latest effort is being made by the Georgia Food Industry Association and Georgia Association of Convenience Stores. The two groups provide free food and drink to lawmakers while they are in session. Retailers want the chance to compete with restaurants and bars that can sell beer and wine on Sundays.

But the traditionally conservative Legislature has expressed opposition to allowing the sale of beer and wine on a day when many go to church. And Gov. Sonny Perdue, who is also a conservative Christian, has vetoed liquor legislation in the past.

- Edited from wire reports