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GA Lawmakers Target Judge for High Defense Costs

Posted Oct 26, 2007 7:01 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A special legislative committee has been formed to investigate whether the Georgia judge overseeing the trial of a courthouse shooting suspect should be impeached because of spiraling defense costs.

Georgia House Speaker Glenn Richardson set up the committee because he is angered about nearly $2 million already spent on the defense of Brian Nichols, accused of killing four people in a shooting spree that began during his trial for rape, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Judge Hilton Fuller had halted Nichols’ trial after defense lawyers complained of unpaid legal bills and said they were paying trial costs out of their own pockets. The state public defender’s office has said it can’t continue funding the case.

House Majority Whip Barry Fleming will lead the inquiry. “There is apparently no sufficient accounting for close to $2 million already spent," he told the AJC. "How many more millions will be spent giving Brian Nichols a defense that no one, including the taxpayers, could afford for themselves?"

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