11Alive Investigative Report: Why Were 27 DUI Related Cases Dismissed?

11Alive Investigative Reporter Rebecca Lindstrom has been following a story featuring a Fulton County State Magistrate Court judge that dismissed 27 DUI-related cases in just one day on December 12, 2017. A jury never heard any of the evidence in any of the 27 dismissed cases.


During her investigation, Lindstrom discovered that 7 of the cases included drivers that had suspended licenses or no licenses at all; 2 of the cases alleged drivers were under the influence of drugs or alcohol with children in the car; and 10 cases involved drivers with more than 1 previous DUI arrest.


In her series investigating the 27 case dismissals, Lindstrom turned to MADD Georgia State Executive Director Debbie Day. “This is a violent crime,” Day said, “we count on our law enforcement officers and our judicial system to protect the public. We have an expectation that the facts of the cases related to DUI will be heard.”


Lindstrom spoke to Emily Bowman and her mother Debbie, about the danger DUI drivers pose to those around them. Emily was hit by a drunk driver as a pedestrian while walking in Athens in 2013. Emily was so severely injured in the crash that it was 14 months before she was able to speak her first word. Now, Emily and her mother Debbie are active volunteers for MADD Georgia and share their story of how a drunk driver changed their lives forever.


“Every month we go, it seems like there’s more and more and more,” Debbie Bowman stated, referring to the number of DUI offenders present at the monthly MADD Georgia Victim Impact Panels at Canton City Hall, where she and Emily share their stories to demonstrate that drinking and driving has tragic consequences.


Emily’s recovery has been a long road, but she is set to return to taking classes Kennesaw State University in the fall as part of a program for students with disabilities. Her first class will be in public speaking. Emily shares her powerful story to people across the state of Georgia.

Solicitor Gammage and his team are working to appeal the judge’s decision to dismiss those 27 cases, but the final decision is in the hands of the State Court of Appeals.


11Alive’s Rebecca Lindstrom will continue to follow the story as the Solicitor General’s office continues its appeal of those 27 dismissed cases.

Click on each segment from the 11Alive Investigators below for more details about the case and to hear from Emily and Debbie Bowman: