New lawyer wins request regarding transcript cost

Friday, August 24, 2012

By Karen Hall

Staff Writer

The state will pay for at least part of the transcript of a convicted murder's trial, as requested by his new attorney.

Rob Dalton filed a motion requesting the transcript of Phillip Burgess' trial be provided at the state's expense.

At the end of a short hearing, Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler found that Burgess was "partially indigent for the purpose of the transcript." The judge ruled the state would just pay for the transcript of the testimony at the trial. Dalton wanted the transcript to include what was said during jury selection and the opening and closing arguments as well, but Crigler said if he wanted those, he would have to pay for them himself.

The transcript should be finished by Oct. 10.

At issue was what had happened to Burgess' social security disability payments, which were credited to his checking account with Heritage South Community Credit Union from September 2011 to July 2012. For the months in 2011, the payment was $947 per month, then it rose to $1,052 per month, making a total of nearly $12,000.

The amounts were confirmed by Burgess' stepmother, Debbie Burgess, who was called to the witness stand by Assistant District Attorney Eddie Barnard.

"I have power of attorney," she explained.

In response to Barnard's question, "What did you do with the money?" she replied, "Exactly what Phillip told me to do with it."

"I spent it on Phillip," Debbie Burgess stated. "I did not spend the total at one time," she added, thus appearing to deny she paid a lump sum to Dalton for his services.

"I haven't committed a crime," she said. "I have receipts" for most of the expenditures, she added.

Barnard wanted Debbie Burgess to bring the receipts to court with her, but she said she never received the subpoena for this.

Further questioning revealed that she had handed the receipts to Dalton the day before.

"They're not here," Dalton exclaimed. "I have no idea what's in them. They're not relevant."

"How much money do you have for him?" asked Crigler, trying to clarify the financial situation.

Debbie Burgess said Phillip Burgess' accounts at Heritage were currently overdrawn by about $2.95 and she intended to repay this out of her own money and close the accounts.

"So is there any money?" the judge asked.

"No," she answered.

"We've got to move this along somehow," Crigler said, and then made his ruling that a transcript of the testimony would be provided at the state's expense.