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Weis trial prolonged due to state funding

The capital case of Jamie Weis in Pike County could decide if Georgia can afford to pursue the death penalty. Weis has been jailed for nearly four years without standing trial due to a lack of funding for the state’s indigent defense system. That lack of defense funding was the subject of arguments before the Georgia Supreme Court on Tuesday in downtown Atlanta. The state supreme court has up to six months to render a decision in the Weis case. That decision will set a precedent for other death penalty cases across Georgia which have been delayed by insufficient funding for the state’s indigent defense system. Weis’ lawyers want the case against him dismissed because his right to a speedy trial was violated by the lack of defense funding. The Georgia Public Defender Standards Council did not provide money for Weis’ defense team until July of this year. He has been jailed awaiting trial since the February 2006 murder of Catherine King in Williamson. Weis is accused of killing King, his neighbor, during a burglary at her home. Pike prosecutors want Weis to stand trial. They asked the state’s supreme court to do what is done at the federal level and review speedy trial challenges after a defendant goes to trial and is convicted.

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