Tue., November 2, 2010 2:37pm (EDT)

Special Session For Poor Defendants Sought
By Susanna Capelouto
Updated: 3 years ago

Georgia’s 7 year old Public Defender Standards Council wants a special session of the legislature to address funding for the indigent defense system. Its board has made the request to Governor Perdue.

Georgia does not have enough defense lawyers to handle new death penalty cases according to the Public Defender Standards Council. Lawyers say defendants are kept in jails for many years, because they can’t get proper representation. Wyc Orr is a member of the council. He says not getting speedy trials is not only unconstitutional but unfair to the victims’ families and the defendants.

“You know we criticize totalitarian regimes for putting people in jail and throwing the keys away in many cases and we’re doing the same thing in Georgia so to speak and we’re much better than that.”

Wyc and his council say a special session of the legislature is needed to address the funding gap. The Governor’s office says a special session would be costly. The issue is likely to come up in the next scheduled session beginning in January.