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Convicted drug trafficker may get new trial

POSTED: February 18, 2009 4:00 a.m.

The Georgia State Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for a Lilburn woman convicted in 2007 of trafficking amphetamine in Dawson County.

  

The Georgia State Supreme Court ruled in favor of Shannon Bradford, 38, on grounds the defense was not granted a continuance when she was tried.

  

Bradford, who received a 12-year sentence for her involvement in a 2002 and 2003 methamphetamine investigation that spanned several north Georgia counties, appealed the verdict by a Dawson County Superior Court jury.

  

Jurors found her guilty of conspiracy to traffic amphetamine, trafficking amphetamine and conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine.

  

Bradford’s attorney, Rafe Banks III, also argued that her convictions in Dawson County violated the constitutional rule against double jeopardy.

  

Bradford pleaded guilty and was convicted on similar charges in Gwinnett County. She received 10 years probation as a first offender.

  

The court of appeals rejected the double jeopardy claim.

  

Two others were also arrested in the case that Northeastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Lee Darragh said involved bringing “large quantities of amphetamine and methamphetamine into Dawson County.”

  

Ben Wesley Bishop, 44, of Dawsonville was sentenced in 2007 for trafficking amphetamine and possession of methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana with the intent to distribute.

  

Bishop pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 12 years with four to serve.

  

David D. Gates, 41, of Cumming pleaded guilty to trafficking methamphetamine and received an eight-year sentence, according to court records.

  

Assistant District Attorney John Wilbanks said his office is weighing whether to ask the high court to reconsider its ruling on Bradford’s trial.

  

“Hopefully, they’ll reconsider and narrow their holding,” he said. “If they don’t then it would come back to us.”

  

E-mail Michele Hester at michele@dawsonnews.com.

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