Of Counsel

Legal Notes on Georgia and The South

Today’s Nichols Update

Posted by Maggie on November 7, 2007

The Daily Report today has two letters in defense of Judge Schwall, who sent an email last week criticizing Judge Fuller, who is overseeing the Nichols case. The first is by a local attorney who argues that Schwall isn’t at fault, but the leaker of the email is at fault. (It appears he is not a criminal attorney.) The second is from the DA in Bainbridge who defends Schwall personally.

Both these letters are in response to letters sent in on Monday (which I haven’t previously linked to). The first is by a local criminal defense attorney who has tried two homicide cases before Judge Fuller. The second is a pretty nasty takedown of Schwall.

Tensions are obviously running high. As for Schwall’s actions, I think it was certainly an unwise move, even if the email was only sent to other Judges. Especially in a case that is getting daily press coverage. As for the leaker, well if there weren’t any leakers around we’d hardly have any news. Putting something in an email means it can be forwarded.

I’m hopeful that the Supreme Court won’t step in to further complicate the case. With all the outcry, it’s practically impossible for Fuller to put on a trial right now. And if that’s what the prosecution really wants, they should step back and make that a reasonable undertaking for all parties involved. We have yet to hit the 3-year mark since the crimes occurred and it’s not that unusual for a death penalty case to take longer than that. Hell, it’s not unusual for a regular old felony or misdemeanor to sit that long in some counties.

One of those editorials I linked to asked everyone to take a deep breath and step back. I agree. And that needs to include the prosecution, who seem to have it as their personal goal to destroy Georgia indigent defense.

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