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April 19, 2009

Georgia struggles to pay for a costly capital system

This morning's Atlanta Journal Constitution has this article about the ugly reality of capital case costs, headlined "‘Crisis’ in death-penalty trial system: Too little money available, attorney says." Here is how it starts:

They involve some of Georgia’s most heinous slayings, with death-penalty defendants accused of massacres, child killings, crimes of unthinkable depravity.

Yet almost one in five of all pending capital cases statewide is stalled because there is no money to pay for the defense of the accused. Judges and prosecutors are exasperated. Defense attorneys are filing contempt motions and asking to withdraw from their cases.

“It’s a constitutional crisis,” Forsyth Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Bagley said at a recent hearing for Frank Ortegon Jr., accused of a murderous rampage at a farmhouse three years ago. Not only is a defendant’s right to a fair and speedy trial compromised, Bagley said, but the community isn’t getting resolution, either.

April 19, 2009 at 07:30 AM | Permalink

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