Friday, October 26, 2007

Speaker Richardson, I've got one for you too.........

Before I start, I know this post won't be the most popular one I've ever entered into this blog. It's very true that I am the product of a man that looked at a Beta VCR and saw the future. As a result of those genes, I frequently find myself going against the grain.

Now, let's not kid anyone here. Even a part time glancer at this blog knows that I am against the death penalty. The reasons are many, and it's really not important to get into all of that right now. So you know where I'm coming from. What is important, is to point out the temerity of Georgia Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson.

Everyone remembers Brian Nichols. Not quite three years ago, he went on a courthouse rampage that left several people dead. Much of what took place happened in a very public way. There's no question about Nicholson's guilt or innocence. The only issue that needs resolving is Nichols' ultimate fate.

Understandably, many have clammored for the death penalty. Unfortunately, the Nichols case became a convenient talking point for politicians who favor such a punishment. In fact, last year, politicians from Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to Speaker Richardson made good use of it.
So when a plea deal on Nichols' behalf for life in prison without parole came up, the very idea of such a disposition didn't sit well with folks like the Governor and the Speaker.

Not surprisingly, every Superior Court judge in Fulton County recused themselves from hearing the case. Not out of fear or for some unreasonable excuse, but because they all knew the Superior Court judge and other court personnel that Nichols attacked and killed. Enter retired Senior Superior Court Judge Hilton Fuller from another district to hear the case.

We have estimates of trial costs for Nicholson of upwards of $5,000,000 on both sides. Nicholson is being represented by public counsel. So in order to grant the Governor's and Speaker's death wish, this is the price that we must pay. The problem is that the defense has run out of money to mount a sufficient defense for a man that many want to see die. And before people get the idea that most of that money is going to the defense, it isn't. Prosecutors are mounting a huge case of over 300 witnesses that promises to keep Nancy Grace in business for quite a while to come.

In light of that, Judge Fuller has postponed the Nicholson trial several times. Fuller has also expressed his displeasure with the General Assembly for failing to appropriately fill the indigent defense fund coffers. Consider the General Assembly's cage rattled. Speaker Richardson wants a panel to probe Judge Fuller's actions.

In other words, how dare the judge point his finger at the very people who are responsible for the money shortage?

Apparently, Speaker Richardson feels that Brian Nichols is subhuman and not deserving of an adequate defense. Yes, Mr. Speaker, we all know that Nichols did it. And we all know how horrible the consequences of that terrible day have been for so many people. But Judge Fuller isn't the one to blame here.

Just imagine if Judge Fuller allowed this case to proceed with the defense attorneys not being given what they need to do their jobs. You should be able to smell the words "appeal" and "Supreme Court" and "retry" coming at this point.

Yet, Speaker Richardson's reaction isn't what I would expect it to be. Instead of working with the General Assembly and the Governor to find the necessary monies, he wants to have Judge Fuller impeached - impeached for nothing more than seeing that Brian Nichols is given his constitutionally protected right to an adequate and reasonable defense. You know, one of the bedrock principles that this country was founded on.

So Speaker Richardson, if you're so anxious to play judge, jury, and excutioner, go right ahead. But pay for it. Pay for your blood lust. We had a life in prison without parole deal on the table. But it wasn't good enough. You're getting what you want. So ante up!


ET said...

I agree with you 100%!
This thing has turned political. It is typical - the Republican want to see blood without due process of the Constitution, and then, not willing to pay for it.
Looking into impeaching a judge because he is insisting due process of proper defense must be follow. Good Lord!
It is ironic that Speaker Richardson may have did his cause more harm than good declaring Nichols guilty - sounds like grounds for a mistrial. Is Richardson secretly on Brian's defense team?

Button Gwinnett said...


Thanks for showing me that I missed the most obvious damnation of Richardson in this mess. He's been rather loose with his comments, some of which might could cause a mistrial as you pointed out.

Isn't the man a lawyer? Either way he should know better. But I guess it's too good of a chance to pass up some free pandering points.

ET said...

If I remember correctly Nixon almost caused a mistrial by making comments about the Killer Charles Manson - before his trial. I think they had to search far and wide to find enough to make a jury that wasn't aware of the statement.

Larry said...

This guy sounds like the typical member of the New Republican Party.

Anonymous said...

The case is a politician's dream- every one knows about it- it involves a black man, and that means they dont even have to mention race since it is there. Richardson represents the worst in a politician- he was tailor made for this case. As much as i hate to admit it- cases and issues like this are a reason why I shrug my shoulders at politics so much now.

What can we really do?

Button Gwinnett said...

Larry, get to know the name. Because if the Dems in GA don't get their act together, he'll probably be a future governor or senator.

Steve, I doubt there is much that we can do. Politicians do this because it works. Asking a panel to review the judge's actions in the case is also a neat little way of taking the focus off of the real problem, which is funding public defense. Though I doubt that issue will be what is remembered.