Defense Attorney Struggles with Low Trial Wages, Considers Withdrawing from YSL Case

Atlanta, Georgia – A year-long trial has left attorneys appointed to the case struggling financially and considering withdrawal. The trial involves Rodalius Ryan, who is already serving a life sentence for an unrelated murder case. Defense attorney, D’Williams, expressed frustration, saying, “Nobody wants to hire an attorney who’s been in trial for a year.” The trial is currently on a break until Tuesday.

Last year, the appointed attorneys sought additional pay from the Georgia Public Defender Council (GPDC) due to the low wages they were receiving, which amounted to $15,000 for the duration of the trial. One attorney even remarked that he could make more working in fast food. The GPDC agreed to increase their pay to $5,000 a month, but their overall pay was capped at $55,000 for the entire trial. D’Williams, who joined the case in October 2022, acknowledged the pay raise but is now struggling to make ends meet as their pay has been exhausted.

GPDC’s chief legal officer responded to the attorneys, stating that the agency cannot accommodate another pay increase. Instead, they suggested arranging for another attorney to substitute into the case. D’Williams is scheduled to appear before the court on February 16th for a hearing on her request to withdraw as Ryan’s attorney.

The jurors selected for the trial have either retired, are not currently working, or have jobs that will continue to pay their wages regardless of the trial’s duration. However, one juror expressed concern about their employers being contacted if upcoming off-days are announced. Judge Ural Glanville offered to personally contact the jurors’ bosses if necessary.

The lengthy trial has taken a toll on the attorneys’ financial stability, making it difficult for them to take on new clients. The attorneys are committed to their existing clients and the case, but the prolonged duration has hindered their ability to earn a livable wage. Despite the challenges, the attorneys remain dedicated to their responsibilities but are in need of a fair resolution regarding their compensation.

As we wait for the trial to resume on Tuesday, both the attorneys and the court system are grappling with the implications of extended trials and the financial strain they cause. The outcome of this case could have a lasting impact on how future extended trials are handled in terms of attorney compensation and the overall justice system’s ability to accommodate such circumstances.