RE: PETITION FOR FINAL SETTLEMENT OF ACCOUNTS AND RESPONSE; PETITION FOR EXTRA ORDINARY COMPENSATION AND RESPONSE; PETITION THAT ADMINISTRATOR NOT BE DISCHARGED AND RESPONSE; REQUEST THAT PETITION TO RESIGN BE GRANTED; OBJECTION TO VOLUNTARY DISMISSAL OF PETITION FOR RESIGNATION AND RESPONSE; ANY OTHER PENDING MATTERS
PINKIE TURNER TOOMER, Judge, Fulton County Probate Court
Julie H. Caplan, Staff Attorney
Patrick Miller, Court Reporter
Justice Center Tower, Courtroom 2-B, 185 Central Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Siblings — Maria Kingery and Fredy Alvarez — squabble over their parents’ estates consisting of a house, a car, and a bank account. Nydeo still by Nydia Tisdale.
• Maria Alvarez Kingery, 50% heir, Marietta, GA
• John Charles Barrett, Esq., counsel to Mrs. Kingery, Barrett Legal LLC, Kennesaw, GA
• Fredy Maximo Alvarez, Esq. 50% heir (pro se), Law Office of Fredy M. Alvarez, Atlanta, GA
• Walter Hamberg, III, Esq., administrator of both estates, The Hamberg Law Firm LLC, Atlanta, GA
• John Wesley Spears, Jr., Esq., counsel to Mr. Hamberg, Spears & Spears, P.C., Decatur, GA
Part 1 — Thursday, July 20, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. pre-trial, and 10 a.m. trial, till 12:30 p.m.
00:00 Parties enter courtroom.
02:09 State of Georgia Seal: Wisdom, Justice, Moderation.
04:43 Court reporter Patrick Miller arrives.
05:47 Counsel plays musical, squeaky chairs.
06:52 Maria’s friend Sharon, and husband Terry Kingery enter.
12:01 Another court reporter arrives.
14:50 Pre-trial in jury room with Judge Pinkie T. Toomer.
17:00 Court reporter Patrick Miller meets video journalist Nydia Tisdale.
23:56 Bailiff announces the judge is on her way out.
24:08 Bailiff: All rise! Probate Court of Fulton County is now in session. The Honorable Judge Pinkie T. Toomer presiding. Court come to order.
24:33 Staff attorney Julie H. Caplan hands out bottled water in the well, and hands case files to Judge Pinkie Toomer.
24:55 Style of the case: Estate of Graciela Alvarez, deceased, estate number 223254 and Estate of Federico Alvarez, deceased, estate number 223354, final settlement of accounts.
26:46 Witnesses who may testify are sworn in.
Potential witnesses are sworn in. (Left to right) John Barrett, heir Maria Kingery, heir Fredy Alvarez, Hon. Judge Pinkie Toomer, court reporter Patrick Miller, John Spears Jr., administrator Walter Hamberg III, judge’s staff attorney Julie Caplan, and witness Brian Deutsch. Nydeo still by Nydia Tisdale.
27:22 Judge Toomer: Raise your rights hand, please. Do you each solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony and information you will give before this tribunal will be the truth, the whole truth, so help you God. Do you so swear or affirm?
Judge Toomer: Excellent, thank you.
27:36 Rule of sequestration of witnesses invoked.
28:11 Amendments to the petition delivered by Walter Hamberg III.
28:56 Motion by John Spears Jr. for Walter Hamberg III regarding dismissal of administrator.
30:36 Response by John Barrett for Maria Kingery.
31:03 Judge Toomer: Voluntary dismissal is moot.
31:12 Opening statement by John Spears Jr. for Walter Hamberg III.
35:33 Fredy Alvarez and John Barrett waive opening statements.
35:42 Walter Hamberg III, administrator of both estates.
36:14 Direct examination of Walter Hamberg III by John Spears Jr.
1:41:07 Cross examination of Walter Hamberg III by Fredy Alvarez.
2:13:54 Cross examination of Walter Hamberg III by John Barrett.
2:35:16 Redirect of Walter Hamberg III by John Spears Jr.
2:36:12 Attempted recross of Walter Hamberg III by Fredy Alvarez.
2:37:07 Let’s break for lunch till 1:15 p.m.
2:37:51 Discussion of upcoming testimony to follow lunch break.
SECOND WITNESS (dismissed)
2:38:26 Real estate agent Ken Kraften with The Zac Team-ReMax, witness for Maria Kingery, released without testifying.
2:40:38 Walter Hamberg III steps down from witness stand.
Part 2 — Thursday, July 20, 2017 at 1:15 p.m. till 4 p.m.
00:00 State of Georgia Seal: Wisdom, Justice, Moderation.
00:05 Bailiff: Courtroom come to order. Remain seated.
00:21 Judge Pinkie T. Toomer: Alright, I’m ready, Mr. Spears. Who’s next?
00:29 John H. Spears Jr., Esq.
00:51 Direct examination of John Spears Jr. by Walter Hamberg III.
1:02:51 Nydia Tisdale: I was just wanting to make sure the microphones are turned on. That’s all, thank you.
Judge Toomer: They’re not. Thank you.
1:03:21 Cross examination of John Spears Jr. by Fredy Alvarez.
1:19:41 Cross examination of John Spears Jr. by John Barrett.
1:29:40 Redirect of John Spears Jr. by Walter Hamberg III.
1:30:28 Recross of John Spears Jr. by Fredy Alvarez.
1:31:19 John Spears Jr. steps down from witness stand.
1:31:22 Ann J. Herrera, Esq.
1:31:51 Staff attorney Julie H. Caplan hands out bottled water in the well.
1:32:29 Ann Herrera enters courtroom.
1:32:45 Ann Herrera sworn in.
1:32:55 Direct examination of Ann Herrera by John Spears Jr.
1:46:52 Ann Herrera steps down from witness stand.
1:47:30 Ann Herrera to Bailiff: I can go home.
Terry Kingery holds door for Ann Herrera.
1:47:42 Brian Michael Deutsch, Esq.
1:48:16 Brian Deutsch enters courtroom.
1:49:13 Direct examination of Brian Deutsch by Walter Hamberg III.
1:59:59 Cross examination of Brian Deutsch by John Barrett.
2:01:19 Redirect of Brian Deutsch by Walter Hamberg III.
2:01:37 Brian Deutsch steps down from witness stand.
2:01:52 Administrator rests.
2:01:56 Five-minute comfort break.
2:03:10 Date and time to continue trial scheduled for Monday afternoon, July 24, 2017 at 1 p.m.
2:06:38 Witness Craig T. Jones excused till Monday.
2:07:22 Fredy Máximo Álvarez, Esq.
2:07:42 John Spears: We all agree to share on the take-down of this.
2:08:11 Fredy Alvarez: Bad chair.
John Spears: Just don’t fall off the ledge. Everybody’s been warned.
Judge Toomer: Yeah, we have to warn people because that ledge is a problem.
2:10:43 Discussion about exhibits.
2:13:47 Fredy Alvarez testifies.
2:25:51 Cross examination of Fredy Alvarez by John Barrett.
2:30:47 Cross examination of Fredy Alvarez by John Spears Jr.
2:31:26 Fredy Alvarez steps down from the witness stand.
2:31:38 Judge Toomer: Do we have anything else to talk about other than reconvening on Monday, 1 o’clock?
Video journalist Nydia Tisdale (raises her hand): Your Honor.
Judge Toomer: Film crew in the back.
Nydia Tisdale: Yes, your Honor. Will my permission slip be recognized on Monday, as well, to return?
2:32:30 Fredy Alvarez: Your Honor, can we do it at 2 o’clock instead of 1, on Monday?
Judge Toomer: Would you all agree to coming at 2 on Monday?
John Spears: Yes, your Honor.
2:33:45 Judge Toomer: Alright, is there anything I am missing, Miss Caplan?
Julie Caplan: No ma’am, except for the exhibits.
2:36:45 Judge Toomer: Thank you, all. Appreciate your time.
2:39:28 Judge Toomer reviews updated Rule 10 request to record.
2:39:58 Nydia Tisdale receives signed Rule 10 from Julie Caplan.
Part 3 — Monday, July 24, 2017 at 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
00:00 State of Georgia Seal: Wisdom, Justice, Moderation.
08:44 Bailiff: We have everyone here, right?
John Barrett: Yes.
Fredy Alvarez [nods yes].
John Spears [off camera]: Yes, sir.
09:55 Bailiff: All rise. State Court of Fulton County is now in session. The Honorable Judge Pinkie T. Toomer residing. The court will now come to order.
Judge Toomer: Well, not quite. Good afternoon, everyone. Probate Court is in order.
11:21 I think we’re ready for you, Mr. Barrett.
11:25 Craig T. Jones, Esq.
11:49 Craig T. Jones sworn in.
12:09 Direct examination of Craig Jones by John Barrett.
25:34 Cross examination of Craig Jones by Fredy Alvarez.
38:23 Cross examination of Craig Jones by John Spears Jr.
39:01 Craig Jones steps down from witness stand and takes his leave.
39:24 Maria I. Kingery, heir to estate.
39:46 Maria I. Kingery sworn in.
40:17 Direct examination of Maria Kingery by John Barrett.
46:50 Maria Kingery has emails to submit to the court.
47:05 John Spears and Fredy Alvarez object.
47:17 John Barrett responds.
48:10 Judge Toomer rules on which exhibits to allow and which exhibits to exclude.
52:08 Five-minute break to cull exhibits.
53:15 Julie Caplan passes out bottled water in the well.
55:38 Nydia Tisdale discusses with Judge Toomer the proposed changes to Uniform Superior Court Rule 22 controlling cameras in the courtroom being discussed by the Council of Superior Court Judges in St. Simons today.
56:56 Waiting for John Barrett and Maria Kingery to return.
57:36 Julie Caplan calls on John Barrett and Maria Kingery.
58:06 Maria Kingery and John Barrett return to courtroom.
EIGHTH WITNESS (continued)
58:25 Maria Kingery returns to the witness stand.
58:59 John Barrett continues direct examination of Maria Kingery.
1:20:23 John Barrett takes two minutes with his client.
1:20:32 Maria Kingery: My sincere apologies to this court.
1:20:40 Judge Toomer: Your lawyer wants to talk to you for a couple of minutes.
1:23:00 Cross examination of Maria Kingery by Fredy Alvarez.
1:24:20 Cross examination of Maria Kingery by John Spears Jr.
1:27:03 Maria Kingery steps down from the witness stand.
1:27:33 John Barrett: No further witnesses.
1:28:14 Closing argument by Fredy Alvarez.
1:45:45 Closing argument by John Barrett.
1:51:35 Closing argument by John Spears Jr.
1:56:31 Closing comments by Judge Pinkie Toomer.
1:58:02 Judge Toomer: Thank you all. I think this matter is concluded. You’re free to go. Thank you, sir. Thank you, sir.
Counsel: Thank you, your Honor.
Judge Toomer: Thank you, all. I appreciate your time. I’m sorry, sometimes it’s unfortunate that we get to this kind of litigation, but this is what we do. Thank you.
1:58:23 Maria Kingery: Due to fraud, nothing else.
1:58:31 Parties pack up and exit courtroom.
Nydeos and stills by Nydia Tisdale for AboutForsyth.com.
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