LPDB Releases Report Evaluation Of OPD

August 8, 2012

The Report on the Evaluation of the Office of the Orleans Public Defenders was requested after OPD was forced to restrict its public defense services due to insufficient funds. In January, OPD suspended representation of conflict clients and clients requiring assigned capital counsel, and remains in service restriction for some conflict clients. These clients are placed on a waitlist or are represented by pro bono lawyers when possible.

LPDB requested this evaluation to assess OPD’s operations and seek recommendations to improve analysis, communication, and supervision for OPD and other public defender offices that are facing financial crisis. While the report specifically evaluates the system in Orleans, it has application in offices across the state. Due to an insufficient state budget and only a modest increase in the special court costs that comprise the majority of public defense funding, LPDB expects at least 10 district public defender offices to implement service restrictions this fiscal year.

Specifically, the report authors reviewed the 2006 U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance Report, “An Assessment of the Immediate and Longer-Term Needs of the New Orleans Public Defender System,” which included major recommendations for the office. The report released today affirms that many of the recommendations from 2006 are in place at OPD, improving service delivery, training, and professional standards. However, today’s report also notes a number of issues that require immediate attention.

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

You can read the evaluation report HERE