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Former Fulton County, Ga., prosecutor Shawn E. LaGrua will become a DeKalb County assistant district attorney and head the county’s new public corruption unit, according to District Attorney J. Thomas Morgan III. She will begin Feb. 5. LaGrua, who successfully prosecuted two high-profile murder cases as a Fulton assistant district attorney, was a fellow DeKalb assistant district attorney with Morgan 10 years ago. LaGrua left the Fulton district attorney’s office in 1999 to become an assistant district attorney with the Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit. Morgan said that LaGrua, like all the other DeKalb assistant district attorneys, will assist with the grand jury investigations into DeKalb Sheriff-elect Derwin Brown’s murder and public corruption in the DeKalb sheriff’s office under former Sheriff Sidney Dorsey. Morgan adds that his office will be creating a public corruption unit within the next two to three months. He says the unit will become LaGrua’s “pet project” to figure out how DeKalb can improve its public corruption prosecution efforts. “We cannot always rely on the feds,” Morgan says, because the FBI and other federal authorities sometimes “have their hands full.” LaGrua initially will work as a trial attorney in the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Hilton M. Fuller Jr., where she’ll join Daniel Max Hirsh, another assistant district attorney. She’ll prosecute Senate Bill 440 cases, known as “440s.” Morgan says the law gives superior courts jurisdiction over prosecution of juveniles charged with adult crimes such as murder, armed robbery and rape. While a Fulton assistant district attorney, LaGrua successfully prosecuted Victorino Fitz, who authorities said ordered the “Trash Bag” killings of 1998. Fitz allegedly ordered two members of the Latin Kings gang to kill three men in the spring of 1998. Two of the bodies were wrapped in black plastic trash bags. Fitz was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences and two years. LaGrua also prosecuted Alexander N. Head, who was convicted of killing 8-year-old Brandon Searcy and sentenced to two life sentences plus 60 years. The Searcy boy disappeared from a southeast Atlanta school bus stop in 1997 and was later found strangled. In 1996, LaGrua unsuccessfully prosecuted Hajj Womack and Grady McCray, who allegedly took part in a string of armed robberies to buy weapons and equipment for the Five Percent Nation, an Islamic sect. She also gained attention for successfully prosecuting the “bad cops” burglary and robbery ring in 1995. COOK HONORED The Georgia Trial Lawyers Association roasted and toasted Bobby Lee Cook on Friday. Tributes were offered the prominent criminal defense attorney by Gov. Roy Barnes; U.S. District Court Judge Marvin H. Shoob; Georgia Court of Appeals Presiding Judge Marion T. Pope Jr.; Douglas N. Peters of Peters, Roberts, Borsuk & Guest; Edward T.M. Garland of Garland, Samuel & Loeb; Tennessee criminal attorney Robert W. Ritchie of Knoxville’s Ritchie, Fels & Dillard; and Nicholas A. Lotito of Davis Zipperman Kirschenbaum & Lotito. Judge Pope said that during one of Cook’s trials, he would repeatedly thank Pope for overruling Cook’s objections. After the trial, Pope asked Cook why he would thank the judge for ruling against him. Pope said that Cook replied, “When I thank you, Judge, the jury thinks you’re ruling for me.” Barnes said he learned his first fee-setting lesson from Cook. When Barnes and Cook tried a case together and attended their first client meeting, Barnes said Cook told him, “Let me set the fee.” While Cook smoked a cigar and blew smoke rings, Barnes said, he told the client that the fee would be $75,000 and later added, “Now, that’ll be the retainer.” After the meeting, Barnes said Cook told him, “Son, let me tell you: You learned a good lesson here. Always quote the fee and if a fellow doesn’t pass out, just add, ‘Now, that’ll be the retainer.’ “ Cook is known in courtrooms across the state for his “dramatic voice that thunders, then softly entices,” Garland told the crowd. “You can hear the glory and greatness of freedom and liberty, and with that voice, he has set them free.” After reminiscences, the group then unveiled its lasting tribute to Cook — a portrait of the defense lawyer in the Summerville courthouse. The painting, by Canadian artist Trevor Goring, will hang in the lawyers’ lounge of the Georgia Supreme Court. “It’s better to be hung in the Court,” quipped Cook, “than be hung by the Court.” RUSSIAN OUTREACH OVER ARTIST IP RIGHTS Joseph M. Beck, an intellectual property partner at Kilpatrick Stockton, has been invited to teach Russians about capitalism. In February, Beck will travel to St. Petersburg to present a series of seminars and lectures on copyright law to Russian artists, playwrights, movie producers, publishers and attorneys. Beck says Russian artists have many concerns about how to comply with copyright law and earn income from their artistic works. Until the fall of the Soviet Union, Beck says, Russia’s socialist government prevented artists from owning their work. “They had not been able to think of a copyright as property,” says Beck. “It belonged to the state. There was no need to license it or derive revenue from it.” Beck says that the Internet also drives a demand for copyright education in Russia. For example, he says, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg needs to learn about intellectual property in order to digitize and market images of its art collection. CEC International Partners, a New York corporation sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, organized and funded the seminar. CEC promotes and conducts cooperative exchanges of information between the U.S. and the nations that composed the former Soviet Union. The company commissioned the Gallup St. Petersburg Research Company to conduct expert interviews and an extensive survey of artists across Russia to determine what they wanted to know about copyrights. BRUTUS ON TRIAL He came; he saw; he did not conquer. DeKalb DA Morgan failed in his prosecution efforts of Brutus, Julius Caesar’s assassin, in a Jan. 19 mock murder trial to benefit the Georgia Shakespeare Festival. The defendant, Brutus, had hired attorney Donald F. Samuel of Garland, Samuel & Loeb, to represent him. Nine members of the mock Senate voted against execution for Brutus. “Brutus was not executed,” Morgan said, “But it didn’t matter. He was going to kill himself anyway.” Judge Robert J. Castellani of the DeKalb County Superior Court presided over the trial. Briefly … Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice has two new members in the firm’s Atlanta office. Steven B. Drucker and Sarah Anne Keefe were named members as of Jan. 1. Womble Carlyle is a limited liability company, and a “member” is equivalent to a “partner” in a general partnership law firm. Drucker practices in the firm’s corporate and securities group. Keefe is in the firm’s intellectual property section of the technology and commerce group. Keefe says she is a nonequity partner. Womble Carlyle’s Atlanta office managing partner Steven S. Dunlevie explains that a nonequity partner, or “salaried member” in Womble Carlyle parlance, does not “participate in excess compensation” and does not vote on “who becomes an equity partner” of the firm. Drucker would not comment on whether he is an equity or nonequity partner. LAWYERS JOIN CHAMBER Attorneys named to the 2001 Board of Directors of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce include Brunswick lawyer James A. Bishop; J. David Chesnut of Chesnut, Livingston & Pye; John A. Dickerson of McClure, Ramsey, Dickerson & Escoe in Toccoa; Dunlevie of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice; Thomas J. Harrold Jr. of Miller & Martin; Catherine M. Hobart of Smith, Currie & Hancock; Keith W. Mason of Long Aldridge & Norman; Mallory E. Phillips III of Ford & Harrison; Herbert J. Short Jr. of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan; Caryl G. Smith of Hunton & Williams; James S. Stokes of Alston & Bird; Edward J. Tarver of Augusta’s Hull, Towill, Norman, Barrett & Salley; Lizanne Thomas of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue; Robert W. Webb. Jr. of Troutman Sanders; Charles W. Whitney of Duane, Morris & Heckscher; Joel C. Williams Jr. of Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy; and Richard G. Woodward of King & Spalding. The 3,300-member Georgia Chamber represents business community issues in the state legislature and is involved in the state’s economic development marketing efforts. Julia D. Gray’s e-mail address is [email protected] Senior reporter Trisha Renaud contributed to this column. Her e-mail address is [email protected]

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