Unexpected Connection: Bad Real Estate Market in Georgia Could Lead to Delayed Executions

Monday, January 09, 2012
Execution chamber in Jackson, Georgia
The state of Georgia may be looking at prolonged delays for many of its death-row inmates unless it can come up with more money for legal defense.
Most of the 90 prisoners facing execution are represented by the Georgia Appellate Practice and Educational Resource Center, which is in danger of laying off lawyers because its funding has dried up.
Its primary source for support came from the Georgia Bar Foundation, which has its money locked up in interest-bearing trust accounts used for real estate transactions and other deals. The bad real estate market, though, has crippled the foundation’s income, resulting in it not giving a dime this year to the resource center.
The legislature has tried to make up the difference, but with the state budget experiencing its own revenue shortages, lawmakers are pressed on many fronts to divvy up limited resources.
If the legal center has to downsize its already-limited staff of 12 people, some inmates won’t have representation, and that will force the state to delay executions indefinitely.
“The likely outcome is that the system will grind to a halt for those people who don’t have lawyers,” Atlanta lawyer Rob Remar, chairman of the center’s board, told the Atlanta Constitution-Journal.
-Noel Brinkerhoff

Cuts Threaten Death Row Cases (by Bill Rankin, Atlanta Journal-Constitution) 


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