Jailhouses are rockin‘ in northeast Georgia, as hundreds of defendants awaiting trial are once again guaranteed an attorney if they cannot afford one. The Georgia Public Defender Standards Council this week settled a lawsuit alleging it had abandoned poor defendants in the five-county Northern Judicial Circuit. The judge signing the consent order concluded the state’s indigent-defense system is “fraught with a lack of accountability.”
Gardner earned $821,619 in salary in fiscal year 2008, plus a benefit package worth $457,768, according to tax records for Northeast Georgia Health Systems, which owns the Gainesville medical center. That’s 35 times what the average Hall County resident earned.