Judge: Pay For Public Defenders, Or Violent Offenders Will Go Free
April 11, 2016
A Louisiana judge is threatening to let violent offenders walk unless state lawmakers provide more funding for public defenders. Orleans Parish Judge Arthur Hunter Jr. said the men – who have been jailed for months without trial – would be released on the grounds that the state is violating their right to a competent defense, but he stayed his own ruling pending an appeal from the district attorney’s office. The men are accused of murder, rape, armed robbery, or assault with a firearm. “These defendants are currently being deprived attorneys to the extent that raises serious concerns whether they will ultimately receive effective assistance of counsel,” Hunter wrote. “This is especially true for defendants in jail, who are virtually powerless to obtain a lawyer on their own or to begin working on their own defense.” In Louisiana, public defenders’ offices are funded by fines and traffic tickets from their local parishes. The Orleans Parish office handled more than 20,000 cases in 2015 with just a few dozen attorneys.
Read full article at:
Share this post: