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Judge Washes Hands of Defense Fee Controversy

Posted Oct 19, 2007 10:45 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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An Atlanta judge is bowing out of the controversy over funding for lawyers representing alleged courthouse gunman Brian Nichols.

Judge Hilton Fuller Jr. asked that another judge be appointed to consider whether a state body should be held in contempt for failing to pay attorney fees in the case, according to the Fulton County Daily Report.

Last week Fuller ordered the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council to pay more than $150,000 in unpaid attorney fees and to confirm that it would continue to pay the legal tab. He halted the case on Wednesday when defense lawyers said they could not continue to pay trial costs with “no realistic end in sight.”

But the council voted against paying any more money yesterday. Council chairman Wilson DuBose said the state has already paid $1.2 million on Nichols’ defense and cannot continue to meet its obligations in other cases if it keeps on paying.

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

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