Calcasieu Parish PDO Implements Service Restriction
July 27, 2012
On Friday, July 27, 2012, the Calcasieu Public Defenders’ Office (“PDO”), which serves the 14th Judicial District, will be forced to implement a restriction of services due to funding shortfalls. The right to counsel is guaranteed by the U.S. and Louisiana Constitutions.
The LPDB Restriction of Services Protocol (promulgated March 20, 2012) requires that public defenders’ offices restrict services in the manner least harmful to the continuation of public defense services within the district. The Calcasieu PDO, with approval from LPDB, has determined that the least impactful service restriction involves reducing the number of attorneys with whom it contracts to represent conflict clients from six attorneys to two. Beginning today, the office will withdraw from about 400 felony conflict cases to which it is currently appointed and work with the judges to assign new counsel from the private bar. Moving forward, the office will identify new counsel for conflict cases when the remaining two felony conflict attorneys have reached ethical workload limits. The private bar’s contributions are pro bono; there are no funds to compensate attorneys for their direct representation.
You can read the full LPDB press statement on the service restriction HERE