Court to hear appeal in Registe case

The Georgia Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal about whether a local judge was correct in disqualifying attorney Stacey Jackson from representing Michael Jason Registe.

The high court issued its decision Monday, stating that its specific concern is whether Muscogee County Superior Court Judge Doug Pullen erred when he ruled Sept. 25 that Jackson couldn’t represent the man accused of the July 20, 2007, double homicide of Randy Newton Jr., 21, and Bryan Kilgore, 20.

“They’ve agreed ... there’s a legal issue that needs to be looked at,” said Jackson, a former prosecutor with the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office.

Jackson appeared as Registe’s defense counsel on Aug. 4. A special prosecutor said Jackson had a conflict of interest, having served as an assistant district attorney from August 2000 through July 2008, after which he went into private practice with the Columbus firm of Hagler, Henderson, Jackson & Walters.

Pullen ruled that Jackson would be removed from the case, and Registe appealed the ruling in October.

Jackson said he has 20 days from Monday to file a brief with the high court. The state prosecutor will then have 20 days to file a brief in response.Both sides will then wait for the justices to rule on the issue. Jackson said requesting to argue before the court in person could delay the process for months. A decision on whether he’ll seek oral arguments hasn’t yet been made.

Jackson last spoke with Registe within two weeks.

“He’s hopeful and optimistic the Supreme Court reverses Judge Pullen’s ruling, and that I’m allowed to stay on the case,” Jackson said.

Registe is believed by authorities to have fled the country after the July 2007 deaths. He was captured on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten in August 2008 and brought to Columbus in July. He is being held at the Muscogee County Jail.