ilikeyyc
Posts: 1326
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2003 8:09 am

Georgia Public Defenders Out Of Money

Wed Feb 07, 2007 1:38 pm

I was listening to the radio this morning and it was reported that the Georgia Public Defenders Standards Council will run out of money next week. The reason for the lack of money: Brian Nichols, the Atlanta Courthouse shooter who killed 5 people in March 2005. Nichols will be using public defenders and public money to pay for his trial. So far, over one million dollars has been alloted for this trial. For the Public defenders to get more money requires an act of the state legislature and the approval of Governor Sonny Perdue. Such a process is expected to take until May.

Quote:
The council warned that as a result "in death penalty cases, including this case, the council will be forced to suspend payment of all bills for attorneys fees and expenses as of Feb. 15 until the council receives the necessary funds to resume payment."

http://www.macon.com/mld/macon/news/...rce=rss&channel=macon_crime_courts
Fighting Absurdity with Absurdity!
 
Go3Team
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Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2004 1:19 am

RE: Georgia Public Defenders Out Of Money

Wed Feb 07, 2007 2:04 pm

Makes me think what happens to the clients of lawyers that won't work until paid. I think that lawyers should have a mandatory percentage of their caseload "pro bono".
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TransWorldSTL
Posts: 556
Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 9:21 am

RE: Georgia Public Defenders Out Of Money

Wed Feb 07, 2007 3:16 pm

What will happen if they can't get enough lawyers working pay-less to cover the amount needed?
 
AirCop
Posts: 5553
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2005 2:39 am

RE: Georgia Public Defenders Out Of Money

Thu Feb 08, 2007 3:50 am

Quoting Ilikeyyc (Thread starter):
Nichols will be using public defenders and public money to pay for his trial. So far, over one million dollars has been alloted for this trial.

This is a major problem over the entire country, these capital cases cost are very expensive. Our new county attorney is has currently over 120 individuals awaiting trial on death penalty cases. The total is near what is already on death row. The system is ready to break. Arizona has strict standards as to whom can provide legal defense for a death penalty case, and that pool of attorneys has been exhausted. Combine with his idea of charging illegal immigrants with conspiracy to smuggle themeselves into the country, the criminal dockets are full. I suppose the State Supreme Court will step in, and ruled someone constitutional rights were violated due to lack of a reasonable time to go to trial and maybe the county attorney will understand the concept of a plea agreement.
 
ilikeyyc
Posts: 1326
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2003 8:09 am

RE: Georgia Public Defenders Out Of Money

Thu Feb 08, 2007 1:22 pm

Quoting AirCop (Reply 3):
Our new county attorney is has currently over 120 individuals awaiting trial on death penalty cases.

120 cases just in one county!!! It sounds like that system should have broken a long time ago.

The thing is though, if the defendant isn't paying for his/her defense, then why settle? Why not try to fight it since there is no money coming out of his/her pocket, there really isn't any incentive to settle.
Fighting Absurdity with Absurdity!
 
N1120A
Posts: 26467
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 5:40 pm

RE: Georgia Public Defenders Out Of Money

Thu Feb 08, 2007 1:59 pm

Quoting Go3Team (Reply 1):
I think that lawyers should have a mandatory percentage of their caseload "pro bono".

You seem to think that all lawyers are either 1) loaded or 2) criminal lawyers. Neither is even close to true.

Quoting AirCop (Reply 3):
Arizona has strict standards as to whom can provide legal defense for a death penalty case, and that pool of attorneys has been exhausted.

All states have rather strict death penalty standards, requiring death penalty qualification for those who want to practice in the area. This is for pretty good reason, but the numbers just aren't there to handle all the stuff that now comes up for the death penalty.

Quoting AirCop (Reply 3):
I suppose the State Supreme Court will step in, and ruled someone constitutional rights were violated due to lack of a reasonable time to go to trial and maybe the county attorney will understand the concept of a plea agreement.

Here in Louisiana, we have had a massive problem with 6th Amendment violations of late and what is happening in Georgia is going to lead to the same there.

Quoting Ilikeyyc (Reply 4):
The thing is though, if the defendant isn't paying for his/her defense, then why settle? Why not try to fight it since there is no money coming out of his/her pocket, there really isn't any incentive to settle.

You are confusing two terms. Settlement is the term used in civil cases, Plea is the term used in criminal cases. Still, the vast majority of indigent defendants plead their cases despite the fact that they don't pay out of pocket for their defense.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
ilikeyyc
Posts: 1326
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2003 8:09 am

RE: Georgia Public Defenders Out Of Money

Thu Feb 08, 2007 3:22 pm

Quoting N1120A (Reply 5):
You are confusing two terms. Settlement is the term used in civil cases, Plea is the term used in criminal cases.

Well I learned something in the case of Plea vs. Settle.  Smile
Fighting Absurdity with Absurdity!
 
MaidensGator
Posts: 848
Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2007 12:02 pm

RE: Georgia Public Defenders Out Of Money

Thu Feb 08, 2007 3:22 pm

Quoting Go3Team (Reply 1):
I think that lawyers should have a mandatory percentage of their caseload "pro bono".

I think you should deliver my stuff for free....
The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.
 
MaidensGator
Posts: 848
Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2007 12:02 pm

RE: Georgia Public Defenders Out Of Money

Fri Feb 09, 2007 9:28 am

Quoting MaidensGator (Reply 7):
Quoting Go3Team (Reply 1):
I think that lawyers should have a mandatory percentage of their caseload "pro bono".

I think you should deliver my stuff for free....

I posted that remark late last night when I should have been sleeping. I realize it sounds a bit cynical, so I'll elaborate a bit. Pro Bono work is not required in my state, but the Bar has an aspirational goal of 10 hours a year for each lawyer. We have to report our pro bono time annually. We can't report work for which we're not paid if the client stiffs us; pro bono has to be the intent from the beginning. I'm on the list with our local Legal Aid and I usually report between 20 and 40 hours. That means I donated time worth thousands of dollars to help out people that needed it and couldn't afford it. I have a primarily civil practice, so that's not really related to the topic of this thread.

As noted in the article linked in the first post, the Council in Georgia balked at paying experts in a death penalty case. These cases are incredibly expensive. A similar situation occurred where I live. The money was running out before the new fiscal year started. The local criminal attorneys were NOT withdrawing from the cases. They were trying to get them continued so they could hire investigators, experts, etc. They have to incur those expenses to give a defendant a proper defense. If the defendant doesn't get a proper defense, that's grounds for appeal and possible reversal of any conviction. By the way, most of those criminal lawyers that take those cases are compensated at a much lower rate than they get when hired privately. Personally, I don't believe in going easy on criminals, but if they don't get a fair trial, it harms all of us.
The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.
 
AirCop
Posts: 5553
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2005 2:39 am

RE: Georgia Public Defenders Out Of Money

Fri Feb 09, 2007 9:48 am

Quoting MaidensGator (Reply 8):
Personally, I don't believe in going easy on criminals, but if they don't get a fair trial, it harms all of us.

You're right on point. I believe some Texas death penalty cases were send back because: 1) an defense attorney sleeping in court; 2) another case where the attorney didn't put up a defense.
When someone's life is on the line, the defendant's show be able to have a proper defense.

Quoting MaidensGator (Reply 8):
I posted that remark late last night when I should have been sleeping

Looks like you only had about five hours of sleep; I feel for you.
 
N1120A
Posts: 26467
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 5:40 pm

RE: Georgia Public Defenders Out Of Money

Fri Feb 09, 2007 10:00 am

Quoting AirCop (Reply 9):
When someone's life is on the line, the defendant's show be able to have a proper defense.

When someone's liberty or reputation is on the line, the same can be said. The 6th Amendment guarantees every person accused of a crime in the United States the right to the effective assistance of counsel. If they can't afford counsel, the state must provide counsel for them. It is not a private lawyer's responsibility to essentially pay for a defense they have already paid for through their taxes.

Quoting MaidensGator (Reply 8):
I posted that remark late last night when I should have been sleeping. I realize it sounds a bit cynical, so I'll elaborate a bit.

Nothing cynical about it.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss

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