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Judge Halts Trial Due to Defense Funding Woes

Posted Oct 17, 2007 1:16 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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An Atlanta judge has halted jury selection in the trial of an alleged courthouse gunman because the state says it has no more money to pay the defendant’s lawyers.

Judge Hilton Fuller granted a defense motion to stop the trial of Brian Nichols until the funding problem is resolved, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The defense said it cannot continue to pay trial costs with "no realistic end in sight,” the Associated Press reports.

Nichols is charged with killing four people in a shooting spree that began during his trial for rape.

"I'm interested in getting this case tried ... in a way the Constitution requires," Fuller said. He ordered the state body responsible for indigent funding, the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council, to explain why it should not be held in contempt in a hearing on Monday.

Last week Fuller ordered Fulton County to pick up legal fees for one of Nichols’ lawyers. He has three other lawyers, one of whom is working for free, ABAJournal.com noted in an earlier post.

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