He’s waited in jail for 10 years for his day in court. It’s finally coming
Police arrested Maurice Jimmerson for murder in 2013. Since then, he’s sat most of that time inside a southwest Georgia jail.
ALBANY, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - A judge has set a trial date for a Georgia man who has been waiting 10 years behind bars for his day in court.
Police arrested Maurice Jimmerson for murder in 2013. Since then, he’s sat most of that time inside the Dougherty County Jail.
During the hearing, Jimmerson took the stand himself, saying he asked his former attorney to request a speedy trial years ago, but it never happened.
Jail records show his last attorney visited him just four times in nearly seven years. His attorney argued the district attorney’s office had multiple chances to take this case to trial, but did not.
District Attorney Gregory Edwards argued delays in the case are not his fault, citing the pandemic, a flood in the courtroom and difficulty finding all of the defendants in the case court-appointed attorneys.
In fact, Jimmerson did not have an attorney for eight months until Atlanta News First Investigates profiled his case in April.
The judge did not make a ruling on the motion to dismiss today and it’s unclear if or when she will. For now, his court date is scheduled to start July 10.
This story is part of a series about the constitutionally-guaranteed access to legal representation in court, and the challenges that arise when the supply of defenders is limited. Part one in the series looks at defendants’ desperate need for representation. Part two covers judges forced to take actions that may erode the public’s trust in the judicial system. In part three, former public defenders explain why they left the job. Part four looks at the search for solutions. Part five shows the agency’s director admits to lawmakers the Defender Council doesn’t have enough attorneys. Part six explains why the Defender Council does not want to pay for investigative resources for an indigent defendant. Part seven explains why a man has been behind bars for 10 years waiting for his day in court. Part eight reveals how the state agency has spent thousands on improving its image after ANF investigations. Part nine brings viewers up to date in the case of Maurice Jimmerson, the inmate profiled in part seven. Part 10 details a lawsuit by The Southern Center for Human Rights accusing the Georgia Public Defender Council (GPDC) of deliberately withholding public records. Part 11 follows a man forced to spend years under house arrest without being charged with a crime.
If there’s something you would like Atlanta News First Investigative Reporter Andy Pierrotti to look into, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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