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December 6, 2012

High costs for taxpayers for high-profile capital resentencing effort

This New York Daily News piece, headlined "Re-sentencing cop killer Ronell Wilson could push Brooklyn federal court over fiscal cliff," provides an interesting accounting of the costs to taxpayers from a high-profile capital case.  Here are excerpts:

Re-sentencing gangster Ronell Wilson for killing two NYPD detectives could push Brooklyn federal court over the fiscal cliff.  Taxpayers have shelled out nearly $1 million to cover defense lawyers and expert witnesses since the Bloods thug's death sentence was reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals in February 2011.

The $965,000 tab is expected to grow by several hundred thousand dollars because invoices have not been submitted for a hearing that ended Thursday to determine whether Wilson is mentally disabled, the Daily News has learned.

Six shrinks, whose travel and lodgings were paid for by the government, testified for Wilson.  "The amount of money being spent is crazy," said a source close to the case.

Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis is signing checks to cover defense costs, while the prosecutors' costs are picked up by the U.S. Justice Department.  The psychiatric experts charge roughly $250 to $350 per hour for court work, sources said.  A spokesman for Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch declined to comment on the expenditures.

Dr. George Woods, a forensic psychiatrist, was asked about his fee during cross-examination by Assistant U.S. Attorney James McGovern.  "I don't mean to embarrass you, but how much are you getting paid," McGovern asked.  Woods replied he had already received $59,000 and expected to pocket an additional $68,000....

Wilson was sentenced to death by lethal injection by a Brooklyn jury for the execution-style killings of hero undercovers Rodney Andrews and James Nemorin.  The sentence was overturned due to prosecutorial error and sent back for re-sentencing.

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December 6, 2012 at 10:18 AM | Permalink


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Those expenses are crazy. Frankly the court should have reigned it in and, IMO, Garaufis is the one to blame. Six shrinks??? Unnecessary. And one of them alone at an expense of $127,000! That's absolutely outrageous. The court should be ashamed. Every expense related to this case should be audited.

Posted by: Sam | Dec 6, 2012 1:48:07 PM

Another activist federal judge . . . . in other news, the sun rose in the east this morning.

Posted by: federalist | Dec 7, 2012 12:06:41 AM

"High costs for taxpayers for high-profile capital resentencing effort"

Some might think that there is an inexpressably high cost in having two people murdered. Of course this would only be true if the lives of murder victims are thought to be have any worth at all. Let me check with the NACDL on that.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 7, 2012 9:36:30 AM

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