Judge Draws Ire for Shelving Capital Trial

Six other states can't fund them; issue may be bigger than injection
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2007 7:18 PM CDT
This undated photo supplied by the Florida Department of Corrections shows the gurney used to execute death row inmates with a lethal injection in Starke, Fla. The botched death of death row inmate Angel...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Judge Hilton Fuller has drawn ire for shelving a Georgia death penalty case, but other states are hitting the same snag: low funds for capital court costs, the New York Times reports. Georgia can’t afford the $1.2 million to defend Brian Nichols, charged with killing four in a 2005 courthouse shooting. Six other states can't afford capital trials, which need defenders to make “extraordinary efforts," the American Bar Association says.

Congress offers to “fast track” capital trials, but so far no state has anted up the dough. And advocates say that well-funded states, like North Carolina, do cut down on capital cases. But it's no solace to Judge Fuller, who is facing possible impeachment, a lawsuit, and angry critics. “I’m beginning to think I am a fool for taking this case,” he said. "I thought people would give me the benefit of the doubt. That was naive.”