Tag: Brian Nichols
Georgia Prosecutor Paul Howard is a man on a mission. Having failed to get the death penalty for Brian Nichols, he's not giving up. He's going to ask the feds to bring a death penalty case against Nichols on the charge of killing a federal officer, a different offense than the one charged in Georgia. One of the victims in the Atlanta case was a customs officer whom Nichols killed in his home.
He's also going to seek a change in state law for future cases -- he'll ask them to remove the requirement of a unanimous verdict in cases where the victim is a law enforcement officer, the killing occurred during the course of a robbery or while the offender was in custody. The Georgia House passed such an amendment earlier this year to a Senate bill providing for life without parole in certain cases, but the Senate refused to adopt it in the final version that became law.
He complains the state doesn't get a level playing field in death cases. That's ridiculous. [More...]
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The Atlanta jury which was deadlocked Thursday on the death penalty for Brian Nichols remained deadlocked today. The final outcome was 9 to 3 for death. As a result, the judge will impose a sentence of life without parole on Nichols today.
Nichols, who turned 37 on Wednesday, sagged in the shoulders as he heard of the continued deadlock that foreshadowed his escape from execution. Wearing a dark pin-striped suit and cobalt blue shirt, the former $80,000-a-year UNIX administrator for United Parcel Service sat expressionless, as he has for most of the 56 days of the trial, his only hint of nervousness an eye that blinked repeatedly.
The prosecution turned down an offer by Nichols to plead to life without parole last year. The cost of this trial was enormous.
The jury heard 144 witnesses and considered more than 1,200 pieces of evidence. The cost to taxpayers for the defense alone is estimated to have cost well over $2 million — perhaps more than $3 million — although a final accounting won’t be known until all vouchers for lawyers, their staff and four expert witnesses are submitted.
Hopefully in the future, more prosecutors will see the wisdom behind such pleas.
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As TChris wrote last night, retired Georgia Judge Hilton Fuller, who once presided over the death penalty trial of accused Atlanta courthouse shooter Brian Nichols, spoke at an American Bar Association conference yesterday and said the prosecution in that case was responsible for driving the costs up.
The Nichols trial should be used to shine a light on how the prosecution's case affects the cost of an adequate defense in death penalty cases, Fuller told an American Bar Association panel on capital cases.
''There's a relationship between what the prosecution spends and what the defense needs,'' Fuller said.
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