Airs Sunday, April 3, at 6 p.m. If you’re currently accused of a crime in Louisiana but can’t afford to hire an attorney, you may literally be “Defense-less.” Public Defenders Offices in twelve Louisiana districts say they don’t have the resources to keep up with the demand for court-appointed attorneys. Six districts have put suspects on waiting lists for counsel. The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana recently filed a class-action lawsuit against Orleans Parish and the Louisiana Public Defender Board claiming their clients’ lack of legal representation violates their Sixth Amendment rights. So, how serious of a problem is the shortage of public defenders in Louisiana? How is the public defender system currently funded and does it need to be revamped? And what constitutional challenges does the state face due to the current backlog? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers on “Justice on Hold: Louisiana’s Public Defender Shortage."
- E. Pete Adams, Louisiana District Attorneys Association
- Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge; Chair, Senate Judiciary Committee
- Jay Dixon, State Public Defender, Louisiana Public Defender Board
- Marjorie Eisman, ACLU of Louisiana
- LPB CEO, Beth Courtney and television journalist, Michael Marsh moderate the discussion.