Box 15, Folder 12, Document 2

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Box 15, Folder 12, Document 2

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THE RESPONSE OF THE CITY ATTORNEY TO THE INQUIRY
OF THE HONORABLE IVAN ALLEN, JR o, MAYOR OF THE
CITY OF ATLANTA UNDER DATE OF MARCH 19, 1968,
WITH RESPECT TO HIS INQUIRY CONCERNING REQUESTED
ACTION TO BE TAKEN BY CITY DEPARTMENTS AND
PUBLIC AGENCIES.
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/
Following the ~ormat adopted by Mayor Allen in his
communique to all depar tment heads dated March 19, . 1968, please
be advised that no report ~as filed with respect to Paragraph 1
thereof inasmuch as the Law Departmen t of the City of Atlanta is
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the type of department which would be involved in the type
oi activity set forth therein. · Consequently, no report is made
lorn this d~partment concerning that feature of the letter.
With respect to Paragraph
2
of the report dealing with
Chapter 10 of Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil
Disorders, please be advised that the following represents a report
of that chapter as the same is broken dO'wn in the book itself.
The chapter is broken into two phases which shall be
discussed in seritam fashion.
·
The first phase concerns short range work which should
be done and after each suggestion, a comment will be made concerning
how the Law Department may aid in the implementation thereof.
(a)
Establish neighborh9od action task force - it is the
opinion of this department that we might do nothing effective with
respect to the implementation of this:
· (b)
Establish effective grievance - response mechanism -
it is the opinion of th e Law Departi:lent that we would be in a position
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to assist h ere in that should such grievance - response hearings
be held, an Associ a te City Attorney could be present in order to
det ermine whether or not any proposed action taken would be legally


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permissible.
(c)
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Expand lega l services f0r the poor - inasmuch as
the function of the City Attorney's Office is to represent the
Mayor and Board of Aldermen, it is our opinion that this matter
should be best be left to the Atlanta Bar Association and related
agencies, such as, but not limited to, The Emory University School
of Law.
(s:l)
Financial · assistance - we do not feel we could be
of any assistance here.
(e)
Hearing ghetto problems and enacting appropriate
local legislation - we could be of assistance here as indicated
under (b) ( a&:tl-n=b o-l] above.
(f)
residents -
Expand employment by City Governrrent of ghetto
this_ department would not be able to assist in this
part"icular function.
- - -- with respect to the long term recommendations set forth
in Chapter 10, and adopting the same format above set forth, this
is our response to those.
(a)
Establish neighborhood city halls · - the Law De-
-~
par t ment would in all prob ability not be of any assistance in
this r e sp ect.
(b)
Deve lop
mult i - service c ent ers - this appears
.,
to deal with such thi ngs as parks and rec reationa l faciliti es
�. and the Law Dep ar tment ·would in all probability not be in a
posi t ion to be of any assistance here.
(c)
Improve political rep r esentation~ _jt has long
beeri the opinion of this department, as the sami has been ·
.
.
expressed thr ough the City Attorney, that the disproportionate
representation cr eated by malapportioned wards is, if not
unconstitutiona l, a bad practice.
This is even though all
aldermen are elect e d. on a city-wide .basis.
Admittedly, the
law's present posture se~ms to . be. city-wide elections are
sufficient to take this situation out of any constitutionally
infirm probl_em ·areas; however, a recent case in the Supreme
·,
Court of the United States, coming out of Texas, and which we
have not had an opportunity to digest, might indicate that
opposition is not as sound as it was prior to the opinion
set forth in the case.
In any event, this department stands
ready, willing and able to assist in such legisiation as is
necessary to cure malapportioned
.
. wards.
(d)
More effective community participation - it is
doubtful that the Law Department could serve in this particular
function.
With respect to the specific questions asked in Para~
graph 2, we feel that ' (a), (b) and (c) have already been answered
in the analysis and as to estimating the probable _cos·t involved,
we deem that the functions which we would do, as the same are set
fo r th a bove, would be done without any incr eased cost to the City
of At l ant a over and abov e the retainer s curr ently being paid to
t he sever a l a t to r neys conne c ted with the Law Depart ment .
.,
�With respect to the third paragraph of the letter of
Mar ch 19, 196 8 from Mayor Allen to the several department heads,
the follo wing constitutes our response as the same concerns itself
with Chapt e r 13 of the report of the National Advisory Commission
on Civi l Disorder s.
A work is necessar y with respect to some of ·the considerat ion s rais e d in this chapter and how the same has been
analyz e d by this department.
In all probability the report pretty
well hits the nail on the head when it indicates in Chapter 13
that the handling and prosecution under a mass arrest situation is
t _o tally diff~r ent from any normal type of operation that obtains
in the several courts that would have jurisdi ction over the type
of offenses tha t are normally committed during times of riot and
violence.
Also, the report seems to hit the nail on the head
when it indicates tha~ the administration of justice is an
incomplete function when primary emphasis is placed on the quelling
of the riots and virtually no emphasis is placed upon the prosecu~
tion and conviction· of people who -i;-1ere involved in the riots. The
repor-t of this department will primarily concern itself with these
two featu r es of Chapter 13.
It is the feeling of this department that the City of
Atlanta have on a st?ndby b a sis, certain members of the local
bar to act as both pro haec vice judg es and prosecutors.
The
r eason no recommendation is being made with respect. to defense
coun s e l is that it is our f ee ling that the public de fender syst em
now e st ablished by the Fulton Sup erior Court is sufficient to take
c are o f :,th i s feat ur e of the administration of justice.
c
It is our

thinking tha t the lo cal b ar would ri se to the oc c as i on and tha t
�these services would be furnished the City of Atlania at no
cost to the City of Atlanta.
Inasmuch as· the cry goes up concerning police brutality
during post arrests, thi~ department · feels ' that responsible members
of the negro coITLmunity should have access to detention areas of
the city jail for the purp·ose of assuring the negro_ public
that no abuse of prisoners is taking _place.
As a concomitant
of this, of course, the police would not abuse prisoners.
Also, a matter ·which should be considered is the
p ssibility _of holding neighborhood courts for bendable and
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recognisance offenses in an effort to keep the jails to a normal
population.
The implementation of this recommendation would be
difficult; however, we might even go so far as to have the
basements of schools utilized during periods of crisis for the
purpose of having a judge set bond and for the pu~pose of having
representatives of the several bonding companies present.
In
addition to schools, perhaps other public buildings located near
the areas would be permissible for this type of situation.
As above set forth, one of the grave problems concerning
the aftermath of riots is that in very few instances have prosecutions which ensued as the resul:t of riots been successfully
carried forward to conviction.
We feel that this shortcoming might
in part be attributable to lack on the part of policemen of knowing
what state or local laws are violated in a riot situation.
To
this end, it is our thinking that a representative of the SolicitorGeneral!s office, the Solicitor of the Criminal Court of Fulton



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County and the City Attorney, acting as a team, make lectures
or talk s to the polic e force in ord er to refamiliarize th em with
�what does in fact constitute criminal activity in this area.
Also, it is respectfully requested that the poiice begin using
photographic equipment a~d motion _pictures in order that proper
demonstrative evidence might be used by the prosecution for
the conviction of people who violate the law in this type of
situation.
No recommendation is made with respect to bonding
inasmuch as it is our opinion that the criterion
rlready est~b1ished by the several judges of the Municipal
Court are sufficient.
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  1. http://allenarchive.iac.gatech.edu/originals/ahc_CAR_015_015_012_002.pdf

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