The Tennessean reports, "Public defender's office says it can't take on new death penalty case," by Brian Haas.
Nashville’s public defenders say they can’t take on any more death penalty cases right now.
Resources and manpower are simply too limited to take on the case of Lorenzo Jenkins, 40, a man accused of murdering three people over drugs in October. That’s according to Assistant Public Defender Mike Engle, who told Criminal Court Judge Randall Wyatt Jr. Monday that the state should instead hire Jenkins a private attorney to handle his defense.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for the deaths of Patrick Sullivan, 56, his wife, Deborah Sullivan, 48, and their daughter, Wendy Sullivan, 28, who were all found stabbed Oct. 22, 2012.
“Because of the state’s filing of a death motion in this case, our office quite frankly lacks the resources to defend a death penalty case,” Engle told Wyatt in court Monday morning.
Engle said the American Bar Association estimates a typical death penalty case requires upward of 2,000 hours of preparation. He explained that the office only has a few attorneys qualified to defend capital cases, two of whom are already on one case, and one of whom is retiring soon. The others, he said, have supervisory duties over other public defenders, making it impossible for them to take on a case of the magnitude of the one against Jenkins.