Total Cost Of Defense In Rickey Cummings Trial Released

By: Matt Howerton Email
By: Matt Howerton Email
The final bill is in for the defense of a Waco man convicted of capital murder in a shooting that left two dead and two injured.

Rickey Cummings (File)

WACO (November 14, 2012)- He's been sentenced to death and has now appealed, but Ricky Cummings, who’s an indigent defendant, hasn't and will not pay a dime for the efforts to prove his innocence.

So who picks up the check after a capital murder trial? How much did justice cost?

McLennan County Assistant District Attorney Michael Jarrett weighs in, saying, "I think the goal of this office is to ensure justice.”

"We must make sure it's there for our community, and you can't put a price on justice."

Jarrett helped convict Ricky Cummings. He battled Cummings' court appointed defense attorneys on a daily basis. The bill for Cummings' defense lawyers rolled into the 19th District Court Tuesday.

The totals are as follows:

Defense Investigators: $20,780
Defense Attorneys: $168,164
Experts: $117,829
TOTAL: $306,773

One of the biggest defense expenses was for a cell phone expert who examined Cummings' cell phone prior to the trial.

The defense hoped the findings would prove where Cummings' was the night of the murder, but the experts' findings were never used in court and he was never called to take the stand.

"A judge and the court has to give a lot of deference to the opinion of the defense attorneys," Jarrett said.

"They have to tell the court what's important in their preparation and I think Judge Strother really helped them get what they needed."

Yet, District Judge Ralph Strother told News 10 he's never seen a county pay so much to an expert who was never used in a trial.

He said he plans on trying to find ways of how to get a refund for the county.

But in the end, dollars and cents isn't what the McLennan County DA's office really cares about.

"If it had cost $308,000 dollars should we have tried the case? Absolutely. Because in the end, justice was served," Jarrett said.

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