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Promises to Keep Fairness and Equal Justice for the Poor in Court Ga 2000

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PROMISES TO KEEP:
ACHIEVING FAIRNESS AND EQUAL JUSTICE
FOR THE POOR IN CRIMINAL CASES

A PRELIMINARY REPORT
ON GEORGIA’S COMPLIANCE WITH THE
CONSTITUTIONS OF GEORGIA AND THE UNITED STATES
IN PROVIDING REPRESENTATION
TO POOR PEOPLE ACCUSED OF CRIMES

by the

SOUTHERN CENTER for HUMAN RIGHTS
Stephen B. Bright, Director
November, 2000

[I]n our adversary system of criminal justice, any
person haled into court, who is too poor to hire a
lawyer, cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel
is provided for him. . . . [L]awyers in criminal cases
are necessities, not luxuries. The right of one
charged with crime to counsel may not be deemed
fundamental and essential to fair trials in some
countries, but it is in ours.
Even the intelligent and educated layman . . .
requires the guiding hand of counsel at every step in
the proceedings against him.
- United States Supreme Court
Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335, 344 (1963).

We set our sights on the embarrassing target of
mediocrity. I guess that means about halfway. And
that raises a question. Are we willing to put up with
halfway justice? To my way of thinking, one-half
justice must mean one-half injustice, and one-half
injustice is no justice at all.
- Chief Justice Harold Clarke
Annual State of the Judiciary Address
to the Georgia General Assembly, 1993
i

About this report
In the last twenty years, the Southern Center for Human Rights has observed, documented and
litigated deficiencies in Georgia’s indigent defense system. The Center has litigated numerous cases of
ineffective assistance of counsel throughout Georgia, prevailing in many of them. The Center’s lawyers have
been shocked by the poor quality of legal representation provided in some of the most serious cases, those in
which the death penalty is sought, and concerned because those same lawyers often handle only courtappointed cases. The Center has seen cases in which court-appointed lawyers failed to conduct any
investigation, referred to their clients with a racial slur, had no knowledge of the governing law, were absent
from the courtroom during parts of the trial, distanced themselves from their clients during closing argument,
and failed to provide any advocacy for their clients. In the course of litigating cases involving conditions at jails
and prisons, the Center’s attorneys have repeatedly heard complaints by inmates that court-appointed lawyers
did not visit them. The attorney sign-in logs at the jails corroborated these complaints. The Center regularly
receives complaints from inmates about the failure of court-appointed lawyers to visit them, explain their legal
situations to them, and work on their cases.
The Center has also provided assistance to many lawyers who are assigned to defend the poor in
criminal cases in Georgia. The Center’s staff has observed the frustration of conscientious lawyers who have
been assigned complex cases they do not feel competent to handle at minimal rates of compensation and
without the resources needed to defend the cases properly.
Upon becoming aware of these problems, the Center has sought to improve the quality of representation
for poor people accused of crimes. The Center has successfully challenged in two class action cases the failure
of counties to provide lawyers to poor people accused of crimes. The Center has published various articles on
indigent defense issues. The most recent, Neither Equal Nor Just: The Rationing and Denial of Legal Services to the
Poor When Life and Liberty Are at Stake was published in New York University’s ANNUAL SURVEY OF AMERICAN
LAW (1997).
This year, the Center has undertaken a systematic study of the quality of representation provided for
poor people in Georgia’s criminal courts. The Center’s staff has examined records in the offices of clerks of
court and county commissions in a number of counties; observed proceedings in Superior, State, and municipal
courts; conducted interviews of various participants in the process; reviewed studies made by others; analyzed
information available on the internet or obtained through the Georgia Public Records Law regarding the
funding of indigent defense by the counties and the state; and obtained through the Public Records Law and
examined applications submitted by counties to the Georgia Indigent Defense Council.
This examination of the quality of justice for Georgia’s poor is far from complete, but what has been
found thus far is deeply disturbing. It is offered to inform those interested in equal justice of some of the serious
deficiencies that have come to the attention of the authors, to demonstrate the urgency of the need to correct
those deficiencies, and to provide a basis for further study and for proposals to bring about the fair and equal
treatment for all people who come before the courts.
This report was prepared by Stephen B. Bright, Marion Chartoff, Lisa Kung, Caitlin Medlock, and
ii

Alexander Rundlet. They may be reached at the Southern Center for Human Rights, 83 Poplar Street, Atlanta,
GA 30303-2122, (404) 688-1202.

iii

The integrity and legitimacy of Georgia’s system of justice depends upon providing poor people
with competent representation in cases in which their life or liberty is at stake. Competent representation is
the most fundamental element of fairness. An adversary system of justice cannot function properly when
one side is not competently represented. Zealous representation and rigorous adversarial testing are
essential if the courts are to be properly informed of the law and reach accurate and just results. As
Attorney General Janet Reno has observed, if justice is available only to those who can pay for a lawyer,
“that’s not justice, and that does not give people confidence in the justice system.”1 Chief Justice Harold
Clarke delivered a similar message to the Georgia legislature in 1994: “[A] judicial system which fails to
provide fair and equal treatment to all the people deserves the dishonor of all the people.”2
However, it is undeniable that the legal representation provided for poor people in criminal cases in
Georgia is, at best, extremely uneven from one county to another and that some people do not receive fair
and equal treatment. Some receive no representation at all and are forced to fend for themselves without a
lawyer – some even in felony cases. Some receive only perfunctory representation – sometimes having
nothing more than hurried, whispered conversations with their court-appointed lawyer outside the
courtroom or even in open court before entering a guilty plea or going to trial. Others may languish in jail for
days, weeks or months before seeing a lawyer. Court-appointed lawyers often lack the time, knowledge
and resources to conduct an independent investigation and raise appropriate legal issues. Of course, many
poor people receive competent representation. However, the constitutions of Georgia and the United
States require representation for all persons charged with felonies and all those charged with misdemeanors
who face imprisonment. Only by looking at the deficiencies, and the reasons for them, can the deficiencies
be corrected.
This preliminary report sets forth the constitutional, ethical and professional requirements that
counsel be provided to poor people accused of crimes, describes some of the more egregious failures to
comply with this requirement, and examines briefly some of the reasons for those failures. It is offered to
inform those interested in equal justice of some of the serious deficiencies that have come to the attention of
the authors, to demonstrate the urgency of the need to correct those deficiencies, and to provide a basis for
further study and for proposals to bring about the fair and equal treatment for all people who come before
the courts.

THE CONSTITUTIONAL, ETHICAL AND PROFESSIONAL REQUIREMENTS
The Georgia Constitution provides that “[e]very person charged with an offense against the laws of
this state shall have the privilege and benefit of counsel.”3 The Sixth Amendment to the United States
Constitution provides that “[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right . . . to have the
Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”4
The United States Supreme Court held in 1963 in Gideon v. Wainwright 5 that the federal
constitutional right to counsel requires the appointment of an attorney to represent a poor person charged
with a felony offense. The Court explained:

4

In our adversary system of criminal justice, any person haled into court, who is too poor
to hire a lawyer, cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided for him. This
seems to us to be an obvious truth. Governments, both state and federal, quite properly
spend vast sums of money to establish machinery to try defendants accused of crime.
Lawyers to prosecute are everywhere deemed essential to protect the public’s interest in an
orderly society. Similarly, there are few defendants charged with crime, few indeed, who
fail to hire the best lawyers they can get to prepare and present their defenses. That
government hires lawyers to prosecute and defendants who have the money hire lawyers to
defend are the strongest indications of the wide-spread belief that lawyers in criminal courts
are necessities, not luxuries. The right of one charged with crime to counsel may not be
deemed fundamental and essential to fair trials in some countries, but it is in ours.6
In describing the essential nature of counsel for those accused of crimes, the Court quoted from its earlier
decision in Powell v. Alabama:
The right to be heard would be, in many cases, of little avail if it did not comprehend the
right to be heard by counsel. Even the intelligent and educated layman has small and
sometimes no skill in the science of law. If charged with crime, he is incapable, generally,
of determining for himself whether the indictment is good or bad. He is unfamiliar with the
rules of evidence. Left without the aid of counsel he may be put on trial without a proper
charge, and convicted upon incompetent evidence, or evidence irrelevant to the issue or
otherwise inadmissible. He lacks both the skill and knowledge adequately to prepare his
defense, even though he have a perfect one. He requires the guiding hand of counsel at
every step in the proceedings against him. Without it, though he be not guilty, he faces the
danger of conviction because he does not know how to establish his innocence.7
The same day it handed down its decision in Gideon, the Court held in Douglas v. California that
the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment require that a lawyer be
provided to a poor person on direct appeal. 8 A few years earlier, the Court held in Griffin v. Illinois that
the federal constitution requires states to provide transcripts to poor defendants for purposes of appeal.
Writing for the Court, Justice Hugo Black stated, “There can be no equal justice where the kind of trial a
man gets depends on the amount of money he has.”9 The Canons of Ethics of the State Bar of Georgia
provide: “A basic tenet of the professional responsibility of lawyers is that every person in our society
should have ready access to the independent professional services of a lawyer of integrity and
competence.”10
Expressing its disapproval of “assembly line justice” and “[i]nadequate attention . . . given to the
individual defendant” in misdemeanor cases, the Court held in 1972 in the case of Argersinger v. Hamlin
that counsel must be provided in any case in which a person faces imprisonment.11 In the case of In re
Gault, the Court recognized that a “juvenile needs the assistance of counsel to cope with problems of law,
to make skilled inquiry into the facts, to insist upon regularity of the proceedings, and to ascertain whether
he has a defense and to prepare and submit it.”12 The Court recognized the “dangers and disadvantages of
self-representation” in Faretta v. California and required that courts not allow individuals to represent
themselves unless the courts first warned them of those “dangers and disadvantages” and then determined
that any decision to waive counsel was made “with eyes wide open.”13 The Court held in Ake v.
5

Oklahoma that due process requires that the defense be provided expert assistance if it is necessary for a
fair trial.14
Complementing these constitutional mandates, the Canons of Ethics of the State Bar of Georgia
commit the legal profession to “the principle that high quality legal services should be available to all” and
require lawyers to represent clients competently and zealously within the bounds of the law, exercising
independent professional judgment on behalf of the client.15
In short, the Constitution and the Canons of Ethics require that the poor person accused of a crime
be represented as an individual by a competent lawyer. Accordingly, a lawyer who defends a poor person
accused of a crime must be knowledgeable about the criminal and constitutional law and the rules of
evidence and procedure. Upon appointment, he or she should promptly interview the client, conduct an
independent investigation, obtain any relevant records, obtain discovery, make an assessment of the
prosecution’s case, and provide the accused with informed advice on issues such as whether to plead guilty
or go to trial and whether to testify. If the case is tried, the lawyer must subject the prosecution’s case to
adversarial testing and, if appropriate, present evidence on behalf of the accused. If the client is to be
sentenced, whether because of a guilty plea or verdict, the lawyer has a duty to present the court with
information relevant to sentencing and to advocate on the client’s behalf with regard to sentence.16
As a result of these constitutional, ethical and professional requirements, many poor people charged
with crimes have been capably defended by competent lawyers supported by the resources necessary to
provide an adequate defense. Some counties have created and funded programs which secure capable
lawyers and provide them with training and supervision, adequate compensation, and investigative and
expert assistance. Even where such programs do not exist, some members of the legal profession, with
extraordinary dedication and selflessness, have provided excellent representation in spite of modest
compensation, limited resources for investigative and expert assistance, and, in many instances, heavy
caseloads.
In many instances, however, the fairness and equality required by the Constitution are not realized in
practice. It is those instances which require attention if the constitutional and professional goals of equal and
fair justice are to be realized.

THE CRISIS AND THE CHALLENGE
Providing representation to poor people charged with crimes is an immense challenge. Over 80
percent of people accused of crimes are poor and cannot afford a lawyer. Although presumed innocent by
the law, they are assumed to be guilty by much of the public. They are unpopular and have no political
power. These and other factors have caused the state and local governments to strive not toward the
much-celebrated constitutional command of equal justice, but, rather, as observed by Chief Justice Harold
Clarke in his 1993 address to the legislature, toward “the embarrassing target of mediocrity.”17 As a result,
indigent defense in Georgia lacks the funding, structure and independence necessary to provide quality
representation to poor people accused of crimes. An American Bar Association report in 1993 found that
“long-term neglect and underfunding of indigent defense have created a crisis of extraordinary proportions in
many states throughout the country.”18
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Even prior to the ABA’s 1993 report, the crisis had been recognized in Georgia. Former Court of
Appeals Judge Irwin Stolz, who chaired a subcommittee of the Governor’s Judicial Process Review
Commission in 1985, had pronounced the system “terrible” and added, “It’s almost enough to make a
cynic out of you.”19 The Atlanta Constitution published a series on rural justice in 1987, which reported
that in one judicial circuit poor people were languishing in jails for months without lawyers and meeting their
lawyers for the first time in court on the day of their plea.20 The Constitution quoted House Majority
Leader Larry Walker (D-Perry) acknowledging that “the hodgepodge system [of indigent defense] we’ve
got is inadequate.”21
Some significant steps have since been taken to fulfill the responsibility of Georgia and its legal
profession to provide representation to poor people accused of crimes. The legislature appropriated state
funds in 1989 to support indigent defense – although the $1 million appropriated was less than half the $2.5
million proposed by the governor – and has increased state funding in subsequent years to its present level
of $4.9 million. It also created an office to specialize in the defense of capital cases, thereby improving
representation in those cases both by direct representation and through training and guidance given by
specialists in that office to lawyers throughout the state. The Georgia Supreme Court established guidelines
regarding the prompt appointment of counsel, compensation for counsel, caseload limits and other aspects
of indigent defense. Training programs are now available at little or no cost to lawyers who represent the
poor.
Despite these steps, however, funding still remains woefully inadequate, the guidelines adopted by
the Georgia Supreme Court are not enforced, and provision of representation to the poor remains
fragmented – indigent defense is left up to each of Georgia’s 159 counties. By contrast, the state’s district
attorneys are organized by the state’s 48 judicial circuits. In most counties, an uncompensated, threeperson committee is charged with overseeing the provision of representation to indigents by either
appointing individual lawyers to individual cases and paying the lawyer by the hour or by the case (an
“appointed lawyer” program), by contracting with an attorney or group of attorneys to represent all indigent
defendants in the county over a period of time for a fixed sum (a “contract defender” program), or by
creating a public defender’s office (a “public defender” program).
Some major deficiencies in this system of indigent defense have not escaped public attention. The
ABC News program, Nightline, earlier this year featured one county’s contract defender as an example of
deficient representation. In 1995, the Fulton County Daily Report disclosed that members of one
county’s three-person committee that was supposedly overseeing the indigent defense program conducted
no oversight over the quality of indigent defense; the committee’s only function was to sign the application
form for state supplemental funds. The responsibility of assigning lawyers to represent the poor was left
with the sheriff, who withheld appointments from lawyers who did not accept plea offers.22
Thus, the approach to indigent defense remains, as Senator Walker described it, “a hodgepodge.”
As a result, too often the kind of justice a person receives depends upon the money he or she has. In some
courts, poor people – even those charged with felonies – are still subject to the kind of “assembly line
justice” the United States Supreme Court condemned in Argersinger v. Hamlin. Many localities have
become accustomed to systems and practices which simply do not measure up to what the constitutions of
Georgia and the United States require. For example:
7

·

Some adults and children who cannot afford a lawyer plead guilty – even to felony
charges – and are sentenced to prison or jail without the assistance of an attorney.

·

In some municipal and state courts, there are no lawyers available to represent
indigent defendants. Virtually all the poor people are processed through those
courts without a lawyer. In some of the courts, the few who ask for a lawyer are
taken into custody and their cases are transferred to another court, where a new
bond is set. Counsel is also assigned, but the accused may face greater punishment
than would have been imposed in the original court.

·

Indigent people may languish in jail for weeks or months before meeting with a
lawyer, despite guidelines adopted by the Georgia Supreme Court which require
that lawyers be appointed within 72 hours of arrest and that lawyers meet promptly
with their clients.

·

In some courts, the determination of whether an accused can or cannot afford a
lawyer is based on factors such as ability to make bail.

·

Even after a lawyer has been appointed, some indigent people cannot communicate
with their lawyer because their lawyer does not visit the jail, accept telephone calls
from their clients, or reply to letters and family inquiries, despite guidelines adopted
by the Georgia Supreme Court which require a lawyer to meet with his or her client
promptly after appointment.

·

Many poor people meet their court-appointed lawyers for the first time on the
same day they enter a guilty plea and are sentenced.

·

Some lawyers are paid $50 or less per case to defend the poor.

·

Appointed counsel in many counties rarely hire investigators and expert witnesses.
Many lawyers do not seek funds for investigators or experts because they do not
think that there is any chance the judge will order that funds be provided.

·

Some court-appointed lawyers handle several times the number of cases set out in
the guidelines adopted by the Georgia Supreme Court. As a result, their clients do
not receive the individualized attention to which they are entitled.

·

Because many of the lawyers appointed to defend the poor do not specialize in
criminal law, they may be unaware of important developments in the law as well as
in areas such as forensic sciences and mental health.

·

Important legal issues are not raised by motion or otherwise in many cases.
Motions practice is virtually non-existent in some counties; in some others, the
same boilerplate motions are filed in virtually every case.
8

·

There is no exploration of sentencing alternatives or advocacy regarding sentence
in many cases.

·

Despite their poverty, those convicted are often fined and required to pay court
costs and various fees and surcharges they cannot afford.

·

Even though state funding is available, 23 counties do not receive state funding.
Thirteen counties have never applied for state funding since it has been available.
One county’s reason for not seeking state funding was that it was too difficult to
complete the application form.

These practices affect the lives of the thousands of people who are hurriedly processed through
Georgia’s courts, instead of being represented by competent, zealous and independent counsel as required
by the constitutions of Georgia and the United States and the ethical and professional standards of the legal
community.

Pleading without consultation with a lawyer
In most courts in the United States, it is exceedingly rare for people to represent themselves in
criminal cases. Only one percent of felony defendants represented themselves in the nation’s 75 largest
counties in 1992.23 In some Georgia counties, however, a much higher percentage of people plead guilty or
go to trial without the assistance of counsel. Many represent themselves not because of a desire to do so
but because of subtle or overt pressure, because they do not understand that they have the right to a lawyer
free of charge, because lawyers are not available, or because the attorney made available by the court has a
reputation of doing more harm than good to the clients he represents.
For example, in one Superior Court, between January 1999 and May 2000, 218 people – over
one-third of indigent defendants – represented themselves. Of that number, 216 entered guilty pleas and
received sentences ranging from probation to years in prison. The county’s two contract defenders each
handled 117 cases during this same period.
In some courts, judges direct unrepresented individuals to speak with the district attorney. The
uncounseled individual may talk with the prosecutor and enter a guilty plea even though the lawyers who
contract with the county to defend the poor are in the courtroom. When a plea bargain is reached, the
defendant typically waives his or her right to counsel, pleads guilty and is sentenced. In one Superior Court
recently, the contract lawyer watched eight out of 34 defendants who appeared before the court that day –
24 percent of defendants – speak with the prosecutor, enter guilty pleas and be sentenced. The presiding
judge advised these defendants of their right to appointed counsel but, the judge never inquired into whether
the defendants could afford a lawyer to represent them, never advised them of the benefits of proceeding
with counsel and, in violation of Faretta v. California, never warned them of the dangers, disadvantages
and potential consequences of proceeding without counsel. The county where this occurred ranked among
the lowest of all Georgia counties in the amount spent on indigent defense during the preceding year.

9

In one state court, individuals were given a form upon entering the courtroom entitled “waiver of
rights for plea” which listed the rights they would waive by pleading guilty upon signing the form. Nowhere
on the form were defendants informed that they had a right to consult with counsel to help them decide
whether or not to plead guilty. No lawyers were available to assist those who wanted representation. Most
cases were disposed of by uncounseled guilty pleas. It took a federal lawsuit to compel county and judicial
officials to advise poor people of their right to counsel, but this practice continues in many other courts.
Proceedings for juveniles are sometimes scarcely any different. Even though the United States
Supreme Court held in In re Gault that “[t]he juvenile needs the assistance of counsel to cope with
problems of law, to make skilled inquiry into the facts, to insist upon regularity of the proceedings, and to
ascertain whether he has a defense and to prepare and submit it,”24 children – who are certainly among
those most in need of the guiding hand of counsel – in large and small counties alike, are led through a series
of questions that many do not understand in which the judge extracts from the child a “waiver” of the right
to counsel.
The United States Supreme Court has made it clear that entry of a guilty plea does not dispense
with the need for counsel: “Counsel is needed so that the accused may know precisely what he is doing, so
that he is fully aware of the prospect of going to jail or prison, and so that he is treated fairly by the
prosecution.”25 The United States Supreme Court’s requirement in Faretta v. California that an individual
without a lawyer must be warned of “the dangers and disadvantages of self-representation” before being
allowed to dispense with the guiding hand of counsel is being routinely violated in some courts.26

Languishing in jail without a lawyer
The Georgia Supreme Court adopted guidelines in November 1999, requiring that counsel be
appointed within 72 hours of arrest or detention, and that appointed counsel make contact with the person
promptly after actual notice of appointment. According to the guidelines, the local officials are to advise
detained persons of their right to have counsel and that if they cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed
to represent them; allow or assist a person claiming to be indigent and without counsel to immediately
complete an Application for Appointment of Attorney and Certificate of Financial Resources for a
determination of indigency; and appoint counsel for those who are indigent within 72 hours.27
Notwithstanding these guidelines, many people may languish in jail for months without having a
lawyer appointed or seeing their appointed lawyer. In one county, the accused often wait several months
before the local contract defender sees them. In another county, indigent defendants have gone months
after arrest without appointed counsel because they have no idea how to request an attorney. When they
finally appear in Superior Court, often six to nine months after arrest, they still have never consulted with an
attorney.

Minimal consultation before a guilty plea or trial
The United States Supreme Court made it clear in 1972 that an “almost total preoccupation . . .
with moving cases” and “an obsession for speedy dispositions, regardless of the fairness of the result”
8

resulting in “assembly line justice” is inconsistent with the right to counsel.28 Yet, in courtrooms across
Georgia, poor people meet their court-appointed lawyers just moments before pleading guilty and being
sentenced. Many never have a meaningful consultation with a lawyer, just a whispered conversation in the
courtroom.
In Argersinger v. Hamlin, the United States Supreme Court quoted from the Report by the
President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice (1968) in describing the
“[i]nadequate attention . . . given to the individual defendant”:
[S]peed is often substituted for care, and casually arranged out-of-court compromise too
often is substituted for adjudication. Inadequate attention tends to be given to the individual
defendant, whether in protecting his rights, sifting the facts at trial, deciding the social risk he
presents, or determining how to deal with him after adjudication. The frequent result is
futility and failure.29
Unfortunately, the treatment of defendants condemned by the Supreme Court in 1972 remains an apt
description of what happens in many Georgia courtrooms today: “Defense lawyers appear having had no
more than time for hasty conversations with their clients . . . Suddenly it becomes clear that for most
defendants in the criminal process, there is scant regard for them as individuals. They are numbers on
dockets, faceless ones to be processed and sent on their way. The gap between the theory and the reality
is enormous.”30
The Supreme Court was talking about the processing of misdemeanor cases in Argersinger, but the
gap it identified between theory and reality was apparent during a recent felony criminal trial week in one
county. The contract defender was listed as counsel of record for, or was subsequently appointed to
represent, 63 individuals. Of those, 20 failed to appear or their cases were continued. The contract lawyer
consulted with the remaining 43 in the courtroom and ultimately entered guilty pleas for 42 of them. The 42
were sentenced, many to time in prison. During the proceedings, the contract defender exhibited little
knowledge of the facts of the cases. For example, he did not know one client’s prior record before
accepting a plea offer. He did not know that another client was mentally disabled until the client’s mother
(who had also been represented by the contract defender that same day) provided this information to the
judge. At one point in the proceedings, the judge warned the contract lawyer that he must do a better job
of making contact with his clients before coming to court. However, the judge accepted the guilty pleas and
imposed sentence for all 42 individuals.
In another county, the contract attorney tried only three cases to a jury while entering 313 guilty
pleas over a four-year period. Many of the pleas were entered the same day the attorney met his clients. In
another county, each of the two contract lawyers were assigned 117 cases between January 1999 and May
2000. One lawyer entered guilty pleas for 116 of those clients and took one case to trial and received a
guilty verdict. The other entered pleas for 112 of his clients, one plea of nolo contendere, and tried three
cases, receiving guilty verdicts in all three. One case remains unresolved. In another county, the contract
defender was called upon by the judge during the proceedings to represent four people who faced serious
felony charges and did not have lawyers. Although the lawyer had no involvement with the individuals
before being assigned to defend them, he entered guilty pleas for three of the four.

9

Obviously, clients in these cases are not being interviewed in any depth and no independent
investigation of their cases is occurring. Nor is there any investigation and meaningful advocacy with regard
to sentence. A woman leaving a courtroom for the lunch break after a morning in which people were
meeting a contract lawyer and pleading guilty, remarked to a companion “there’s a railroad going on up
there.” After lunch, the judge – who had not heard the comment – called the proceedings to order with the
words, “Let’s get this train going.” Unfortunately, in this instance, there was no gap between the
appearance and the reality.

Processing a large number of cases
The Georgia Supreme Court has adopted guidelines limiting the number of cases to be handled by
an attorneys in counties receiving state funding. The guidelines, based on those adopted by the American
Bar Association, prohibit a full-time public defender from handling more than150 felonies per year; or 300
misdemeanors per year; or 50 juvenile offender cases per year; or 60 juvenile dependency clients per year;
or 25 appeals to an appellate court hearing a case on the record and briefs per year. The limits are not
intended to be an aggregate.
Despite these guidelines, lawyers who contract or are appointed to defend poor people are often
forced by limited compensation to handle a large volume of cases. These lawyers may not have a large
number of open cases because they often dispose of cases within a few hours or even minutes after meeting
clients. Some lawyers must process a high volume of indigent cases to earn a living. For example, in some
courts which pay $50 or less per case, the only way a lawyer can make any money is to take several cases
and resolve them with guilty pleas the same day. For lawyers who contract with counties to represent the
poor, there is a conflict between the time to be devoted to assigned cases, which will produce the same
income regardless of the amount of time spent on them, and the time devoted to private cases, which
produce additional income.
Some contract lawyers spend as little as 40 to 50 percent of their practice processing over 500
indigent criminal cases a year. This means that some lawyers average as little as an hour and a half on each
case. In one county where a contract lawyer handled more than 500 adult cases per year during the 40
percent of his practice devoted to representation under the contract, detainees in the county jail often waited
six to nine months before seeing the lawyer for the first time. The county spent less than 25 percent of the
statewide average cost per case in the 2000 fiscal year. Another county in which the contract attorney
handles 530 cases per year, also spent less than 25 percent of the statewide average cost per case during
the 2000 fiscal year.
A pair of lawyers who contracted to handle the entire indigent caseload – felonies,
misdemeanors, and juvenile cases, excluding conflict of interest and death penalty cases – for five counties,
handled over 800 cases in a year in what they said was half their practice. Collectively, the five counties’
cost per case average was only 44 percent of the statewide average during the 2000 fiscal year.
Failure to recognize the poverty of those in need of representation

10

The Georgia Supreme Court guidelines express a clear policy in favor of appointment where there is
doubt about a defendant’s ability to hire his or her own lawyer and require that the assessment of one’s
ability to afford a lawyer take into consideration income and expenses. Nevertheless, poor people who gain
release from jail by posting a bond may not receive the services of an attorney. Some judges assume that
they are not indigent because they made bail. Some poor people released on bond are told to “come back
with a lawyer.” However, many cannot afford to do so.
For example, an individual who asked a judge to appoint a lawyer to represent him in his upcoming
felony trial was told that since he was out on bond, he could afford to hire an attorney. Even though the
individual insisted that he could not afford an attorney and informed the judge that he earned only $147 a
week after taxes, the judge told him – without further inquiry into the defendant’s expenses – that $147 a
week was enough money to hire an attorney. The federal poverty guideline in the year 2000 for one person
in the 48 contiguous states is $8,350, or $160.57 per week. Despite the individual’s poverty, the judge
refused to appoint counsel and instructed him to come back 12 days later with his own lawyer for trial.
The same judge also resisted appointing counsel to another individual when she asked for an
appointed lawyer to represent her on two drug possession charges. The judge told her that if she could
afford to be out on bond, she could afford a lawyer. When she told the judge that she was unemployed and
that her mother had paid her bond, the judge criticized her for not having a job and told her to have a lawyer
within two weeks for trial. When she appeared two weeks later without counsel, the judge asked her again
if she had a job. When she replied no, he shook his head and asked if she had a car. When she said no, he
shook his head, turned to one of the two contract defenders sitting in the courtroom and said grudgingly,
“Well, you’ll have to represent this lady.”
In the same county, another person reported to the office of one of the contract lawyers to submit
an application for an attorney after being released on bond on felony charges. He was not notified that there
was any problem with his application and appeared in court believing he would be represented by the
contract lawyer. However, during the proceedings, the contract lawyer told the judge he would not
represent the individual because the lawyer believed the individual had “lied” on the application because he
failed to list his wedding ring, a necklace, and a wristwatch as assets. An employee of the contract lawyer
had noted that the individual was wearing “excessive amounts of gold jewelry.” The defendant, surprised,
had no attorney to advise him with regard to responding to this accusation being made against him by the
lawyer he thought was going to defend him. Upon hearing the information, the judge denied appointment
and told the defendant to return to court with a private lawyer in 24 hours.
Failure to investigate and litigate
The American Bar Association standards for defense counsel state that defense counsel should:
[C]onduct a prompt investigation of the circumstances of the case and explore all avenues
leading to facts relevant to the merits of the case and the penalty in the event of conviction.
The investigation should include efforts to secure information in the possession of the
prosecution and law enforcement authorities. The duty to investigate exists regardless of the
accused’s admissions or statements to defense counsel of facts constituting guilt or the
accused's stated desire to plead guilty. 31
11

The standards also advise:
Many important rights of the accused can be protected and preserved only by prompt
legal action. Defense counsel should inform the accused of his or her rights at the earliest
opportunity and take all necessary action to vindicate such rights. Defense counsel should
consider all procedural steps which in good faith may be taken, including, for example,
motions seeking pretrial release of the accused, obtaining psychiatric examination of the
accused when a need appears, moving for change of venue or continuance, moving to
suppress illegally obtained evidence, moving for severance from jointly charged defendants,
and seeking dismissal of the charges.32
Contrary to these standards, some appointed lawyers fail to conduct interviews in any depth with their
clients, conduct no investigations, file no motions or file the same boilerplate motions in every case, and fail
to bring any professional skills to bear on the case.
It appears that some court-assigned lawyers never use an investigator. One lawyer, who has
handled hundreds of court-appointed cases over the last thirty years, could not recall a case in which he had
an investigator and could recall only one in which he had an expert witness. A lawyer in another part of the
state said that it was his practice not to investigate cases and rely only on police reports. A contract lawyer
assigned to represent a client who was charged with murder of her baby met with the client only a few times
for only a few minutes, including appearances in court. The lawyer never sought to have his client, who was
mentally retarded, examined by an expert, and apparently never looked at the autopsy report which listed
the cause of death as “undetermined.” He counseled his client to plead guilty to manslaughter. She
accepted his advice, entered the plea and she was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Some of the lawyers being assigned to defend the poor do not know the law. One lawyer, who
was appointed to represent indigents throughout his career, when asked to name all the criminal law
decisions with which he was familiar responded, “Miranda and Dred Scott.” Of course, Dred Scott v.
Sandford was not a criminal case. Another lawyer who had tried a capital case admitted that he had never
heard of Furman v. Georgia, Gregg v. Georgia and other important capital decisions. When pressed, he
could not name a single case from any court. There is no excuse for this ignorance of the law.
Lawyers who do not know the law cannot protect their clients’ rights. People, including the first
two individuals executed in Georgia since the Supreme Court allowed the resumption of capital punishment,
were denied relief on meritorious claims because their lawyer did not preserve the issue, while their codefendants were granted new trials because of the very same legal error. The person who by good fortune
was assigned the well-informed lawyer won a new trial, while the person assigned a lawyer ignorant of the
law was executed. If the lawyers had been switched when the appointments were made, the results of the
cases would have been exactly the opposite. This is not equal justice.
Lack of knowledge and experience in criminal law undoubtedly results in the absence of any
motions practice on behalf of the poor in some courts. One contract lawyer filed only three motions while
handling over 300 cases in four years. In another county, a pair of contract defenders filed only 64 motions
in the 234 cases they handled over a 17 month period. The majority of these motions were filed in the five
cases they took to trial.
12

FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO DEFICIENT REPRESENTATION
While there are numerous reasons, varying from one county to the next, which contribute to failures
to comply with the constitutional, ethical and professional requirements regarding representation of the poor,
the primary reasons are no secret. Nor are they isolated factors unique to a particular county. Deficient
representation is the unavoidable result of several interrelated factors: leaving the provision of indigent
defense up to each of 159 counties, insufficient funding, the lack of independence of attorneys assigned to
defend the poor, and the lack of any oversight of local indigent defense programs.

Lack of structure and adequate compensation
Primary responsibility for providing representation to poor people accused of crimes is placed upon
the counties. In most counties, an uncompensated, three-person committee – called a “tripartite
committee” – chooses the method of representation and supposedly oversees the provision of indigent
defense services. Approximately 40 percent of Georgia’s counties provide representation for the poor by
contracting with an attorney or attorneys to represent all indigent defendants in the county over a certain
period of time for a fixed sum.33 The lawyer or lawyers are free to generate other income through private
practice. Indeed, the low compensation compels them to take fee-generating cases in order to earn a living.
Another 40 percent of counties provide representation by appointing individual lawyers to cases and paying
the lawyers by the hour or by the case.34 Twenty-one counties, including some in collaboration with others,
deliver indigent defense services through the use of a public defender office which employs lawyers and
investigators on a full-time basis.35
Although there are some exceptions, for the most part, even counties within the same judicial circuit
do not share responsibility for providing representation to poor people accused of crimes. Thus, in a multicounty circuit, one county may contract with a lawyer to represent all of the poor people for a set amount
on a part-time basis, another county in the same circuit may contract with another attorney to represent the
poor in that county, and another county in the circuit may appoint attorneys to individual cases and pay them
by the hour or by the case. This is an inefficient approach. It requires, for example, that several lawyers be
trained in various aspects of defending criminal cases instead of one or two.
Some counties award contracts to defend the poor to the attorney or attorneys who submit the
lowest bid. Obviously, the lowest bid does not necessarily equate with effective representation. For
example, one county commission awarded the indigent defense contract to a lawyer whose bid of $25,000
was $21,000 lower than the amount the county had paid for indigent defense the previous year and almost
$20,000 lower than bids received from two other attorneys. The contract allowed the lawyer to maintain a
private practice as well as defend the county’s poor. While the county saved money under this
arrangement, the lawyer could not afford to devote much time to any individual case. He met many clients
for the first time in court on the same day that their cases were resolved with a guilty plea. Obviously, no
interviews, investigation, legal research or consultation with experts occurred in these cases.

13

Even in those counties that do not award contracts to the lowest bidder, the amounts paid are often
not enough to adequately compensate a lawyer for the time necessary to represent each client properly.
Some lawyers refuse to contract with counties to defend the poor, saying that the amounts paid under the
contract in their counties are not sufficient to enable them to meet their professional obligations to the clients.
Contract defender arrangements also create a conflict of interest between a lawyer’s professional obligation
to provide zealous and competent representation to his or her indigent clients and the need to earn enough
income from private cases to survive.
The amount paid to lawyers appointed to cases – $45 an hour for out-of-court work and $60 an
hour for in-court representation in counties that comply with the guidelines adopted by the Georgia Supreme
Court – is far below the market rates attorneys receive for far less stressful work than defending people in
criminal cases. In fact, the cost of overhead for some law offices equals or exceeds $45 per hour. In
courts that pay $50 or less per case, an attorney cannot make money unless he or she takes a large number
of cases and disposes of them quickly. While some outstanding members of the legal profession take some
court-appointed cases at these rates, it is not a realistic way to make a living. As a result, many poor
people are represented by inexperienced lawyers building a practice and by lawyers who cannot attract
other business and turn to taking court appointments as a last resort.
Because of low compensation, lawyers assigned to cases under either the contract or courtappointed approaches have little incentive to develop an expertise in the defense of criminal cases or even to
continue representing indigent defendants after building a successful private practice.
One does not need to look far for an example of a structure for the delivery of legal services in
criminal cases. The prosecution of criminal cases is primarily state-funded, and is efficiently structured on a
circuit-wide basis with one district attorney’s office for each of the state’s 48 judicial circuits. The method
of organization is efficient, cost-effective, and effective in ensuring that the State is competently represented
in criminal cases. The district attorneys recruit, train and supervise lawyers who prosecute cases on a fulltime basis. The lawyers hired by these offices specialize in the prosecution of cases, attend continuing legal
education programs on their responsibilities, learn both the law and new approaches to dealing with their
duties – such as, for example, how to prosecute child abuse or domestic violence cases – and stay current
on developments in forensic sciences and other areas of importance to their practice. The offices of district
attorneys share information with one another, avoiding unnecessary and costly duplication of effort.
The public defender offices that already exist in this state – several of which are circuit-wide – show
that this approach can be used to deliver defense services as well. Public defender offices that employ fulltime attorneys who specialize in the defense of criminal cases benefit from economies of scale that are not
available in contract and appointed-counsel programs. Of course, as has been demonstrated in this state
and elsewhere, no office can provide adequate representation without adequate resources so that attorneys
carry reasonable caseloads and have the investigative and expert assistance necessary to provide competent
representation.

Inadequate funding

14

Georgia and its counties are spending $40.5 million this year on indigent defense, far less than other
states with similar populations and caseloads. And, unlike most states, funding for indigent defense in
Georgia comes primarily from the counties, not the state. The state provides only $4.9 million to counties
that apply for it. Despite the need for adequate funding, 23 counties, including two entire judicial circuits, do
not receive state funding.36 Thirteen counties have never applied for state funding since it became available
in 1989.37 One county’s reason for not seeking state funding was that it was too difficult to complete the
application form.
The most recent comparative study of indigent defense expenditures among states like Georgia
which fund indigent defense programs through a combination of state and county funds was completed in
1998.38 The study found:
·

Georgia, despite having the third highest population, spent the least amount in
state dollars for indigent defense during fiscal year 1997. The spending, by state,
was as follows: Florida ($123,870,000), Ohio ($31,152,258), Tennessee
($29,521,673), Kentucky ($12,019,042), Indiana ($12,019,042), Louisiana
($7,500,000), South Carolina ($4,263,593), and Georgia ($3,000,000).

·

Georgia, despite having the third highest population, ranked sixth among the eight
states in per capita indigent expenditures: Florida ($11.99), Tennessee ($6.49),
Indiana ($5.40), Louisiana ($5.35), Ohio ($5.08), Georgia ($4.48), Kentucky
($4.39), South Carolina ($3.90).

·

Georgia, despite having the highest felony to misdemeanor case ratio, ranked fifth
out of the eight states in per case spending: Indiana ($327.41), South Carolina
($314.43), Florida ($291.54), Ohio ($220.15), Georgia ($210.37), Tennessee
($180.70), Louisiana ($165.94), Kentucky ($163.25).

As described in the previous section, the low amount of funding affects each of the methods of
delivering legal representation to indigent defendants and creates disincentives to competent representation
which in many cases are impossible to overcome.
In 1992, Chief Justice Clarke told the Georgia legislature that because of inadequate state funding,
“local governments struggle to fund a program which the constitution and logic say is a state burden. This is
unfair to local government and results in uneven quality of representation around the state causing untold
problems.”39 Unfortunately, little has changed in the last eight years.

Lack independence and oversight
Lawyers are ethically, professionally and constitutionally required to exercise independent
professional judgment on behalf of a client.40 The appointment of counsel by judges creates – at the least –
the appearance that lawyers are being assigned cases to move dockets and that lawyers may be more loyal
to the judge than to the client. A lawyer’s conduct in a case should not be influenced in any way by
considerations of administrative convenience or by the desire to remain in the good graces of the judge who
15

assigned the case. However, because some lawyers are dependent upon judges for continued
appointments – which, in some cases, are the only business the lawyer receives – a lawyer may be reluctant
to provide zealous advocacy for fear of alienating the judge. Some lawyers have remarked that one way to
avoid being assigned indigent cases is to provide a vigorous defense in one.
Accordingly, Standard 5-1.3 of the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Standards,
provides:
(a) The legal representation plan for a jurisdiction should be designed to guarantee
the integrity of the relationship between lawyer and client. The plan and the lawyers
serving under it should be free from political influence and should be subject to judicial
supervision only in the same manner and to the same extent as are lawyers in private
practice. The selection of lawyers for specific cases should not be made by the judiciary
or elected officials, but should be arranged for by the administrators of the defender,
assigned-counsel and contract-for-service programs.
(b) An effective means of securing professional independence for defender
organizations is to place responsibility for governance in a board of trustees. Assignedcounsel and contract-for-service components of defender systems should be governed
by such a board. Provisions for size and manner of selection of boards of trustees
should assure their independence. Boards of trustees should not include prosecutors or
judges. The primary function of boards of trustees is to support and protect the
independence of the defense services program. Boards of trustees should have the
power to establish general policy for the operation of defender, assigned-counsel and
contract-for-service programs consistent with these standards and in keeping with the
standards of professional conduct. Boards of trustees should be precluded from
interfering in the conduct of particular cases. A majority of the trustees on boards
should be members of the bar admitted to practice in the jurisdiction.
Georgia also has no mechanism which holds the lawyers who represent the poor and the county and
judicial officials who administer indigent defense programs accountable for deficient representation.
Members of local tripartite committees are essentially volunteers who may know nothing about the defense
of a criminal case. Many provide no active oversight of indigent defense representation. Local officials may
be more interested in cost and moving the docket than in effective representation for the poor. As
previously described, some counties have contracted with a lawyers who do nothing more than meet poor
people charged with crimes at court and plead them guilty. When the guidelines adopted by the Georgia
Supreme Court are violated, the Georgia Indigent Defense Council can take no action except possibly to
withhold state funding the next time the county applies. This drastic and counterproductive remedy has
never been used.
The poor person denied effective legal representation has little or no redress in the courts. Because
Georgia does not provide counsel for post-conviction proceedings, those who have been denied the right to
counsel have no way to bring habeas corpus actions to vindicate their right to counsel. The only poor
defendants who usually receive lawyers for post-conviction proceedings are those sentenced to death, and
they have prevailed repeatedly on claims of ineffective assistance of counsel as well as other violations of
their constitutional rights. Two-thirds of the death sentences imposed in Georgia’s courts since 1973 have

16

been set aside on post-conviction review. If such errors are occurring in the most serious cases, it is likely
that they are occurring in other cases as well.

CONCLUSION
Although the Supreme Court stated in Gideon v. Wainwright that lawyers are “necessities, not
luxuries,” the reality is that representation by a capable attorney is a luxury, one few of those accused of a
crime can afford. Many counties are not meeting their constitutional, ethical and professional obligation to
provide fair and equal treatment to poor people accused of crimes. The purpose of this preliminary report
is not to assign blame, but to bring to light the deficiencies – such as people proceeding without counsel, a
practice that should have ended in 1963, and the assembly line approach to justice found in some courts
that should have ended in 1972 – and to urge that they be corrected. No purpose is served by pretending
that these deficiencies do not exist. They are apparent to anyone who spends a day watching scores of
people being processed in the courts.
Self-criticism is one of the great strengths of our democracy and our court system. The
representation provided to the poor has been neglected for too long. Those who have been entrusted with
responsibility for the judicial system – members of the bar and the judiciary and elected officials – have a
special responsibility to see that every poor person who comes before the court is treated fairly and
provided competent legal representation. Achieving equal justice for all is not beyond the grasp of this state.
It is only a matter of reaching out and delivering on constitutional promises made long ago.

ENDNOTES

1. Janet Reno, Address to the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section, page 6 (Aug. 2, 1997).
2. Hon. Harold G. Clarke, State of the Judiciary Address to the Georgia General Assembly (Jan. 13, 1994), in FULTON COUNTY
DAILY REPORT , Jan. 14, 1994, at 8.
3. GA. CONST., art. I, § 1, ¶ XIV.
4. U.S. CONST., amend. VI.
5. Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963).
6. Id. at 344.
7. Id. at 345 (quoting Powell v. Alabama, 287 U.S. 45, 68-69 (1932)).
8. Douglas v. California, 372 U.S. 353 (1963).
9. Griffin v. Illinois, 351 U.S. 12, 19 (1956).

10. CANONS OF ETHICS, Canon 1, EC-1-1 (State Bar of Georgia).
11. Argersinger v. Hamlin, 407 U.S. 25, 34 (1972).
17

12. In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1, 36 (1967).
13. Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806, 835 (1975) (quoting Adams v. United States ex rel. McCann, 317 U.S. 269, 279
(1942)).
14. Ake v. Oklahoma, 470 U.S. 68 (1985).
15. CANONS OF ETHICS, Canons 5, 6, 7, EC 2-23 (State Bar of Georgia).
16. See generally ABA CRIMINAL JUSTICE STANDARDS –DEFENSE FUNCTION (3d ed. 1993); ABA CRIMINAL JUSTICE
STANDARDS –PROVIDING DEFENSE SERVICES (3d ed. 192), available at <http://www.ambar. org/crimjust/standards>;see
also PERFORMANCE GUIDELINES FOR CRIMINAL DEFENSE SERVICES (1995) (National Legal Aid & Defender Association),
available at <http://www.nlada.org/standards/standards.htm>.
17. Hon. Harold G. Clarke, State of the Judiciary Address to the Georgia General Assembly (Jan. 13, 1994), in FULTON COUNTY
DAILY REPORT , Jan. 14, 1993, at 5.
18. RICHARD KLEIN & ROBERT SPANGENBERG, THE INDIGENT DEFENSE CRISIS 25 (1993) (prepared for the American Bar
Association Section of Criminal Justice Ad Hoc Committee on the Indigent Defense Crisis).
19. Hal Straus, Indigent Legal Defense Called ‘Terrible,’ ATLANTA JOURNAL & CONSTITUTION, July 7, 1985, at 1A.
20. Tracy Thompson, Rural Ga.’s Poor Often Find Free Legal Aid Lacking, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, Dec. 14, 1987, at 1A; Tracy Thompson, Push to Fund Indigent Defense An Uphill Battle, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, Dec. 16, 1987, at 1-A.
21. Tracy Thompson, Push to Fund Indigent Defense An Uphill Battle, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, Dec. 16, 1987, at 1-A, 8A.
22. Judy Bailey, Does Sheriff Run Putnam’s Indigent Defense? FULTON COUNTY DAILY REPORT , Nov. 10, 1995, at 1.
23. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, BUREAU OF JUSTICE STATISTICS, SELECTED FINDINGS : INDIGENT DEFENSE 4, at Table 8
(Feb.1996).
24. In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1, 36 (1967).
25. Argersinger v. Hamlin, 407 U.S. 25, 34 (1972).
26. Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 803, 835 (1975).
27. GUIDELINES OF THE GEORGIA INDIGENT DEFENSE COUNCIL FOR THE OPERATION OF LOCAL INDIGENT DEFENSE
PROGRAMS, at § 1.3 (Application for Appointment of Counsel And Certificate of Financial Resources) (1999) (Georgia Indigent
Defense Council, approved by the Georgia Supreme Court).
28. Argersinger v. Hamlin, 407 U.S. 25, 34-36 (1972).
29. Id. at 35.
30. Id.
31. ABA STANDARDS FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE STANDARDS –DEFENSE FUNCTION, Standard 4-4.1 (3d ed. 1993).

32. Id. at Standard 4-3.6.
33. This percentage is not precise because it does not include the 23 counties that do not receive state funds. Fifty-six counties
18

that receive state funds contract with an individual or group of attorneys to represent indigent defendants. They are Baker, Banks,
Barrow, Bartow, Ben Hill, Berrien, Bleckely, Calhoun, Camden, Candler, Carroll, Coffee, Cook, Coweta, Crisp, Decatur, Dodge,
Dooly, Dougherty, Emanuel, Floyd, Grady, Greene, Heard, Jefferson, Johnson, Laurens, Liberty, Lincoln, Long, McDuffie, McIntosh,
Meriwether, Mitchell, Montgomery, Murray, Paulding, Pickens, Pulaski, Schley, Spalding, Taliaferro, Tattnall, Telfair, Tift, Toombs,
Treutlen, Twiggs, Upson, Washington, Webster, Wheeler, Whitfield, Wilcox, Wilkes, and Worth.
34. The 60 counties that receive state funds that employ this system are: Bacon, Baldwin, Bibb, Brantley, Brooks, Bryan, Burke,
Butts, Charlton, Chatham, Cherokee, Clay, Clayton, Cobb, Colquitt, Columbia, Crawford, Dawson, Early, Echols, Evans, Fannin,
Fayette, Forsyth, Gilmer, Glascock, Gwinnett, Hall, Haralson, Harris, Henry, Irwin, Jeff Davis, Jones, Lamar, Lee, Lowndes,
Lumpkin, Macon, Miller, Monroe, Morgan, Peach, Pierce, Pike, Polk, Putnam, Quitman, Randolph, Richmond, Seminole, Sumter,
Terrell, Thomas, Towns, Union, Warren, Wayne, White and Wilkinson.
35. The counties which have a public defender office are: Clarke, DeKalb, Douglas, Elbert, Franklin, Fulton, Glynn, Habersham,
Hart, Houston, Jackson, Madison, Muscogee, Newton, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Rabun, Rockdale, Troup, Stephens, and Ware.
36. The counties that do not receive state funds are: Appling, Atkinson, Bulloch, Catoosa, Chatahoochee, Chattooga, Clinch,
Dade, Effingham, Gordon, Hancock, Jackson, Jasper, Jenkins, Lanier, Marion, Screven, Stewart, Talbot, Taylor, Turner, Walker, and
Walton Counties. These counties have a combined population of 432,813 people.
37. The counties that have never sought state funding are: Bulloch, Catoosa, Chattahoochee, Chattooga, Dade, Effingham, Gordon,
Jenkins, Lanier, Marion, Screven, Talbot, and Walker.
38. See SPANGENBERG GROUP /ABA BAR INFORMATION PROGRAM, Comparative Analysis of Indigent Defense
Expenditures and Caseloads in States with Mixed State & County Funding, (1998).
39. Harold G. Clarke, State of the Judiciary Address (1992), in FULTON COUNTY DAILY REPORT , Jan. 22, 1992, at 8
40. CANONS OF ETHICS, Canon 5 (State Bar of Georgia).

19

 

 

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