Of Counsel

Legal Notes on Georgia and The South

More on Monday’s Nichols Hearing

Posted by Maggie on September 19, 2007

The Daily Report has a thorough write-up of Monday’s Nichols hearing. They make it clear that Mack Crawford DID show up, contrary to my previous post. He was there with Cindy Wang, GPDSC’s GC, and it appears that both have been made special assistant attorney generals for the purpose of representing GPDSC regarding funding matters in the Nichols case. They tried to argue that a bill passed this year requires Nichols to have only two attorneys and limits fees to $95 per hour. Of course, there’s nothing about retroactivity in the bill.

This limitation is troubling. Consider the staff involved in the Nichols case. 5 Senior ADA’s. Input from the District Attorney. Local, state, and federal law enforcement. How are two defense attorneys supposed to fairly combat all that power?

Even more troubling, of course, is GPDSC continuing to take a stance that harms defendants instead of helps them.

Another aspect I haven’t discussed before is how annoying this whole case is to everyday PD’s. They don’t have the resources to try even minor cases as effectively as they’d like. They are often unable to adequately investigate or hire experts due to funding and staff constraints. While they all want Nichols to get a fair defense, it has a tendency to overshadow just how unfair it all is for the thousands of other defendants who don’t get any attention. I haven’t yet heard anything positive from GPDSC about making efforts to obtain sufficient funds for ALL defendants.

Also sad is this comment by an ADA on the case: “Several times, we’ve heard, ‘We need more money because of the extraordinary nature of this case,'” said Quinn. “The only thing extraordinary is the amount of direct evidence.” To me it seems elementary that an extraordinary amount of evidence means an extraordinary amount of review and attempts to respond. I would hope prosecutors would support efforts to obtain an adequate defense, because you know it’s going to be the primary issue should there be an appeal.

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