In an opinion that once again raises concerns about the state’s shortage of funds for indigent capital defense, a divided Georgia Supreme Court has sent a death penalty case back to the trial court to determine if a systemic breakdown in the state’s public defender system deprived the defendant of counsel.

If the lower court finds that there was a systemic breakdown affecting this particular defendant, an indigent Vietnamese immigrant who allegedly killed another Vietnamese man and his 2-year-old son and severely injured the man’s wife in execution-style, back-of-the-head shootings, Justice Harold D. Melton wrote for the majority in the 4-3 decision, then that determination must be factored into an analysis of whether the defendant’s speedy trial rights were violated.