Augusta judge rules in indigent case

ATHENS, Ga.  — A Superior Court judge has approved a consent order requiring the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council to appoint lawyers within 24 hours for poor people accused of crimes in the state's Northern Judicial Circuit when the public defender's office can't represent them because of a conflict.

The circuit includes Madison, Oglethorpe, Elbert, Franklin and Hart counties.

The consent order was approved Thursday by Augusta Circuit Superior Court Judge David Roper. It stems from a class-action lawsuit filed by indigent defendants more than a year ago after private lawyers refused to represent hundreds of clients because the state stopped paying them.

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