Public defender budget concerns association president - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Public defender budget concerns association president

Albany attorney Pete Donaldson Albany attorney Pete Donaldson

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –   Continuing state budget cuts is having a dramatic effect on the justice system in Georgia, and a state attorney group worries it will get worse for prison inmates and people awaiting trial. 

The President elect of the Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Albany attorney Pete Donaldson, says Georgia's court system is already strained by state budget cuts, with more cuts expected.

A Fulton County judge has ordered the state to provide within 30 days public defense attorneys to indigent inmates who have been without legal counsel for years to file their appeals. 

"The longer we go without adequate funding to do that, the more you are going to see people who should be in prison out, and people who shouldn't be in. If we are going to have a justice system, we need to fund it," said Donaldson.

Donaldson said the state is in a tough situation, with less money to run the court and prison systems, but crime increasing in part because of the bad economy.

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