State V. Wigley
624 So.2d 425 (La. 1993)
Pennie Wigley and Robert Higginbotham were each charged with capital murder in two unrelated cases. Both of them were indigent. The trial judge appointed four lawyers to represent them, two to each case. Three of the four attorneys were civil practitioners with little criminal law experience. The attorneys asked the court to compensate them and reimburse their out-of-pocket expenses in connection with their representation of Mr. Wigley and Mr. Higginbotham. The judge denied their motions.
In this case, the Court was asked to determine whether attorneys may be required to represent indigent defendants with no compensation or reimbursement of expenses. The Court recognized the professional obligation of attorneys to provide pro bono public service work, but also noted:
". . . requiring the appointed uncompensated attorneys Ïto bear the stenographic, secretarial, and out-of-pocket expense requiredÓ in connection with an assigned representation  are, by now, outmoded, and no longer comport with the requirement that the burden placed on attorneys be ÏreasonableÓ and Ïnot oppressive.Ó
The Court then found that requiring attorneys to represent indigents with no compensation or reimbursement of expenses, Ïwhen the attorneys must maintain their own practices and continue to meet their other professional and financial obligations . . . is so onerous that it constitutes an abusive extension of their professional obligations.
In its holding, the Court found that assigned counsel must be reimbursed for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses and overhead costs. The Court further found that attorneyÌs fees need not necessarily be paid, Ïas long as the time the attorney must devote to cases for which he does not receive a fee does not reach unreasonable levels.Ó Finally, the Court acknowledged that the source of funds from which appointed counsel may be reimbursed were limited and directed the trial judges to make the initial determination, before counsel is appointed, that sufficient funds Ïto cover the anticipated expenses and overhead are likely to be available to reimburse counsel.Ó
Upcoming TrainingFor more information, contact:
LPDB Training Division at
June 25 - 26, 2015
East Baton Rouge Parish Public Library
7711 Goodwood Boulevard
Baton Rouge, LA
A two day training to prepare you to successfully litigate sentencing and resentencing for juveniles convicted of homicide pursuant to the
United States Supreme Court’s decision in Miller v. Alabama. The training will include small breakout groups where you can brainstorm your
cases and issues.
The Miller v. Alabama Training will be co-sponsored by LPDB and the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana (JJPL), A Project of the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights (LCCR).
CALL FOR APPLICATIONS
The National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) and Georgetown Law are excited to announce a Call for Applications to the 2015 Juvenile Training Immersion Program (JTIP) Summer Academy. The JTIP Summer Academy is an annual one-week intensive and interactive juvenile defender training program intended for both new and experienced front-line defenders. A fillable PDF application with more details is attached.
Participants must cover their own airfare, accommodations, travel expenses, and a $200 tuition (which covers breakfast, lunch, and snacks each day; CLE application fees; and materials).
APPLICATION AND DEADLINE
• Applications are to be submitted via email using the attached fillable PDF sent to Lauren Dollar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The deadline for application submission is January 14th, 2015, 11:59 PM EST. Late applications will not be considered.
• Years and scope of experience in defense practice
• Years and scope of experience in juvenile defense practice
• Current juvenile caseload
• Geographic location
• Public defenders and private practitioners
CALENDAR OF ACTIONS
Application Deadline → January 14th, 2015, 11:59 PM EST
Application Selections Announced → February 18, 2015
Deadline for Registration of selected participants → April 1, 2015
Arrival of Attendees → June 14, 2015, Georgetown Law, Washington, DC
Must be a front-line defender to apply.