Counties may help fund death penalty cases -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Counties may help fund death penalty cases

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March 5, 2008

Albany -- Georgia's public defender system may soon get more help from local governments.

Georgia's House passed a bill Monday that would require local counties to chip in money for some death penalty defenses.

Under the bill, the state would pay the first $150,000 of each capital punishment defense.

But the county would pay 25 percent of the next $100,000, and half of the expenses beyond.

"Well we operate out of the Public Defenders office under the regulations of the state. And right now the state is funding about $480,000 a year and Dougherty County is funding a one point ninety-three million," said Dougherty County District 1 Commissioner, Lamar Hudgins.

Changes were initiated by the case against accused courthouse gunman Brian Nichols, whose case racked up over $1.8 million in defense charges.

This bill will now go before the state Senate.