How We Would Represent Paper Boi from “Atlanta”

How We Would Represent Paper Boi from “Atlanta”

One of this season’s hottest new shows is FX’s Atlanta. If you are unfamiliar with the show, the premise is this: Alfred Miles, a.k.a. Paper Boi, is a small-time rapper from Atlanta, trying to make it big in the music business. His cousin, Earn, is trying to represent him so they both can get paid. For the sake of publicity, they make appearances in nightclubs, on public television and in other venues. The most recent episode, simply called “The Club,” revolves around one such appearance.

In that episode, Paper Boi agreed to appear at one of Atlanta’s hottest (fictional) nightclub, Primal. However, he is upstaged when an NFL superstar also shows up, so Paper Boi and Earn decide to just get paid and leave. Earn has a tough time getting their payment from the club owner, so Paper Boi steps in and takes matters into his own hands. Once they get paid, they prepare to leave, when suddenly shots are fired outside the nightclub. Paper Boi, Earn and a couple other friends flee to an all-night diner (that looks suspiciously like Waffle House). It is there they hear on the news that Paper Boi is wanted for questioning regarding armed robbery.

So, with Paper Boi wanted for questioning, and it not being his first offense, his best bet is to contact an attorney immediately. Let’s imagine he decides to contact Hawkins Spizman Kilgo to represent him. Here’s how we would do it.

The Initial Questioning

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Paper Boi from “Atlanta.” Credit: FX

First, we would advise Paper Boi to not to talk to police.  Even if they threaten arrest, there are few benefits to assist the police in investigating the case. In reality, they either have sufficient evidence to arrest him or not.  If they do, they can go apply for an arrest warrant.  If they don’t, even better. Either way, Paper Boi should hire an attorney, and utilize his 5th amendment right against self-incrimination. From there, if there is sufficient evidence even without a confession, Paper Boi could be jailed until his bond hearing, which we would make sure was as low as possible. If there wasn’t enough evidence, he would demand a preliminary hearing and force the state to prove the case against him.  

Evidence Against Paper Boi

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Credit: FX

Based on how Atlanta portrayed the alleged robbery, there are a few different pieces of evidence against Paper Boi. The first is the security footage from cameras in the hallway leading to the club owner’s office. It was clear Paper Boi and a few members of his entourage made their way back into the office. However, it does not appear there are any cameras in the office itself. And with the sleazy nature of the club owner, this does not come as a surprise. At this point, it seems it would be the club owner’s word against Paper Boi’s.

But, the trail of evidence does not end there. Paper Boi did assault the club owner to get the money he was owed. This was caught on video by a member of his entourage using his smartphone. That video could be subpoenaed for evidence in the crime, which would show Paper Boi committing a crime — but not armed robbery. Armed robbery involves using a weapon, which Paper Boi clearly did not have.  That could make a big difference in how the state handles the case.

The Case

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Credit: FX

To defend Paper Boi, we would first work to persuade a judge to exclude specific pieces of evidence via the filing of pretrial motions to suppress. The evidence against him seems substantial. But that is assuming that evidence is admissible.  If the judge rules the evidence in, we would then try to negotiate a reduced sentence with the district attorney. One major stipulation would be to drop the charge of armed robbery to a lesser offense. If the district attorney is unwilling to do so, we would have the opportunity to take the case to trial to demonstrate there was reasonable doubt surrounding these allegations against Paper Boi. The burden of proof is on the prosecutor, so they may find it difficult to prove Paper Boi’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. However, even if that charge doesn’t stick, he may be tried for just robbery, which could still be challenging. As such, cutting a deal may be the best bet, especially with his prior convictions.

Though the case for Paper Boi’s defense is fictional, yours isn’t. If you’ve been charged with robbery in Atlanta, you need an experienced team of criminal defense attorneys by your side. Contact us today for a free consultation and case evaluation.

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