LPDB Files Lawsuit Against New Orleans Traffic Court

July 31, 2012

On Tuesday, July 31, 2012, the Louisiana Public Defender Board (“LPDB”) sued the judges of New Orleans Traffic Court for persistent non-payment of fees to the Orleans Parish Indigent Defender Fund, in violation of state law. This is the second lawsuit that LPDB has filed against members of the New Orleans judiciary; the first was a successful mandamus petition that affirmed the judges’ statutory obligation to assess, collect and remit special court costs for public defense.

The Orleans Public Defenders (“OPD”) has, since January 2012, been forced to restrict services due to insufficient financial resources. Clients who are affected by the service restriction are assigned to a waitlist. A significant portion of OPD’s budget depends on fines and fees collected by the Judiciary, the majority of it from Traffic Court, which handles the highest volume of infractions.

The Board is being represented pro bono by renowned civil litigation attorney, Phillip Wittmann. Wittmann, who has been practicing law with the New Orleans-based Stone Pigman law firm for the past 49 years, is a past president of the New Orleans Bar Association and is regularly included in publications naming the top lawyers in the country.

You can read the full LPDB press statement on the lawsuit HERE