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GACDL: The Most Important Legal Resource

for Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyers

Time to apply for the 18th Annual Bill Daniel Trial Advocacy Program! See link below for details! 

GACDL  P.O. Box 68  Decatur, GA 30031

"To promote fairness and justice through membership education, services and support, public outreach, and a commitment to quality representation for all.”    

  - GACDL Mission Statement

Angie Coggins- GACDL President

Proud to Be a Public Defender

The year was 1978. The place was Northside Junior High School. That is where it all began.

I was in eighth grade and took a class entitled, “Youth In Law.” It was all about the juvenile justice system. On the first day of class, our teacher announced that as part of the course, we would have a mock trial towards the end of the quarter (if “junior high” didn’t date me, then the fact that we were on a quarter system certainly does!). I couldn’t wait. When the time came, I was fortunate enough to get to play the defense attorney. Of course, I was appointed, not retained—and thus began my career as a public defender. My mock client probably didn’t think she was so lucky to have me as her lawyer, since the mock jury found her mock guilty. However, in my defense, I was not as effective as I could have been, because I was not yet a member of GACDL!

I am now a proud member of GACDL and have been for more than 27 years. I am honored and humbled to be the new President of this most amazing and valuable organization. I cannot imagine my legal life without the support, guidance, and wisdom of the wonderful, learned, and always helpful members of this great association. I cannot imagine my personal life without the precious friendships that were formed thanks to GACDL.

Last August, because of my involvement with GACDL, I found myself in the Republic of Georgia (ROG) with six of my colleagues, recruited to teach trial skills to lawyers who were about to start conducting jury trials for the first time in their country’s history. Over the course of eighteen-months, we will have the privilege of teaching lawyers in the “other Georgia” the same trial skills that we teach to GACDL members in the Bill Daniel Trial Advocacy Program—the same skills that we find so essential and persuasive in defending our clients back home.

We kicked off the program in Tbilisi, the capital of ROG, where, over several days, we met with prosecutors, judges, state bar members, private defense lawyers, and staff from the Public Defender’s Office. As a proud, lifelong public defender (at least since the 8 th grade), I was encouraged by the fact that a country with such a “new” Constitution already had established an agency dedicated to defending poor people charged with crimes. The right to be represented by a lawyer, even if you could not afford one, is now considered a basic right under the Republic of Georgia’s new Constitution; but that’s only because of lawyers like us fighting for that right in the United States. Our efforts here have become the model for countries halfway around the world. It’s really something we all should be proud of as a group.

I repeat: I am a proud, lifelong public defender. I know all too well the misconceptions, mis-perceptions, and misgivings of those who are uninformed and unaware of the hard work, hard times, and heartache that are part of a public defender’s daily existence. That is why, during my term as President, I hope to convince every public defender in Georgia to join GACDL and become a gratified member of this most amazing group of criminal defense lawyers. GACDL is an inclusive organization, serving private defense lawyers and public defenders alike, throughout this state. I think that it is important for public defenders to realize that, although they often suffer harsh and unfair criticism from clients, families of clients, and sometimes the media, there is no doubt that GACDL supports and appreciates them—no question that GACDL understands and respects the noble call they serve.

To our current and future members: I thank you for the honor and privilege of serving as President of this tremendous organization, which has been and always will be a source of support, inspiration, and help to me. I pledge to uphold GACDL’s mission statement in the year 2017 and beyond, and hope that GACDL will come to mean as much to each of you as it does to me.


Angie Coggins

Perry, GA

GEORGIA TO GEORGIA TRIAL ADVOCACY PROJECT- GACDL President Bob Rubin, President-elect Angie Coggins, Co-Founder Dick Rubin, Past-Presidents Doug Peters and Frank Hogue, Secretary Laura Hogue, and Treasurer Jason Sheffield just spent a week in Tblisi, Georgia for the new "Georgia to Georgia" lawyers project. Our attorneys will be training their attorneys in Trial Advocacy Skills in this new, ongoing project. More information on this coming soon. 

GACDL attorneys in Tblisi, Georgia: Angie Coggins, Doug Peters, Bob Rubin, Laura Hogue, Jason Sheffield, Dick Rubin, and Frank Hogue 

Upcoming events

04 Oct 2017 • UGA Center for Continuing Education
03 Nov 2017 12:55 PM • Brasstown Valley Resort, Young Harris, GA
19 Jan 2018 • State Bar of Georgia Headquarters
01 Mar 2018 • State Bar of Georgia Headquarters
19 Apr 2018 • Westin, Jekyll Island, GA
02 Nov 2018 • Brasstown Valley Resort- Young Harris, GA
25 Jan 2019 • State Bar of Georgia Headquarters
28 Feb 2019 • State Bar of Georgia Headquarters

Interesting in Sponsoring a GACDL Event? 

GACDL is the largest member supported state criminal defense association in the country and holds at least 4 seminars per year with 150-300 attendees. Sponsorship is a great way to reach thousands of lawyers both at the event and digitally through our seminar app!

Space fills up quickly! Contact us today about sponsorship opportunities by clicking here!

Largest Member Only Supported Statewide Criminal Defense Association in the U.S.

Since 1974, the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (GACDL) has been the most important organization for lawyers involved in the defense of the accused in the State of Georgia. In fact, GACDL is the largest member supported statewide criminal defense association in the United States.

Over 1800 Members Safeguarding the Constitution

GACDL is comprised of criminal defense lawyers, law school students, and full time criminal defense investigators who stand together in the commitment to safeguard the constitutional guarantees of fairness in the criminal justice process.

GACDL makes its voice for fair and effective criminal justice heard in the courts, the legislature, and the community.

End of an Era! 

It is with deep regret that we announce that our beloved editor of this publication Carl Greenberg has now retired from writing and editing “What’s the Decision.” Carl has been GACDL’s longest producing editor of “What’s the Decision,” with a run of 17 years! It is difficult to imagine the amount of time and effort that Carl has given to this project every single month for such a long time. He did it all as a volunteer out of the goodness of his very large heart. Carl is a true believer who succeeded in giving GACDL’s members the best, most accurate information on current opinions, in an enjoyable and readable format. GACDL can never adequately thank Carl enough for this incredible gift. If you would like to thank Carl personally, please do so at: GACDL is pleased to announce that Margaret Heinen will be following in Carl’s footsteps as the next editor of “What’s the Decision.” GACDL’s Executive VP Scott Key will continue to edit the 11th Circuit decisions, working closely with Margaret.

GACDL's new Legislative Liaison, Mazie Lynn Causey 

NEW LEGISLATIVE LIAISON- After a tremendous tenure of advocacy under the Gold Dome, Sandra Michaels will no longer be leading legislative efforts for GACDL. We are indebted to Sandra for her years of ensuring that the perspective of both the criminal defense bar and our clients has had a meaningful voice.

We are pleased to welcome Mazie Lynn Causey as our next legislative advocate. Prior to accepting this position, Mazie Lynn has focused her practice on indigent defense having worked for the Georgia Justice Project, the DeKalb County Public Defender, and the Georgia Capital Defender. Mazie Lynn will continue to build on Sandra’s efforts in her work with the Legislative Committee, the General Assembly, and the Governor’s Council on Criminal Justice Reform.

Please join me in welcoming Mazie Lynn to her new role.

Thank you,

Robert G. Rubin, President, GACDL

Purpose of GACDL

To provide an appropriate state organization representing those lawyers who are actively engaged in the defense of criminal cases;

  • To resist proposed legislation or rules which would curtail such rights and to promote sound alternatives;
  • To promote educational activities to improve the skills and knowledge of lawyers engaged in the defense of criminal cases;
  • To improve the judicial system and to urge the selection and appointment to the bench of well-qualified and experienced lawyers;
  • To improve the correctional system and to seek more effective rehabilitation opportunities for those convicted of crimes;
  • To promote constant improvement in the administration of criminal justice.

Click here to learn more about GACDL

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GACDL P.O. Box 29653 Atlanta, Georgia 30359  404-248-1777 

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