26th Judicial District
Last updated on: February 6, 2013
Pamela G. Smart
211 Burt Boulevard
Benton, LA 71006
General District Information:
In the 26th Judicial District, there are 15 sections of District Court (eight in Bossier Parish, seven in Webster Parish and three City Courts with two sections each (Bossier City, Springhill and Minden). There is a specialty drug court program in this district. The U.S. Census Bureau and the Annie E. Casey Foundation reported a total population of 158,186 in this district, 39,744 of whom are children.
The District Defender in this district is Pamela G. Smart, who has served in the position for more than two years and has been a public defender in Louisiana for 21 years. The 26th Judicial District Public Defenders' Office is a mixed staff and contract public defenders' office. At the end of 2012 the district reported seven full-time staff attorneys, in addition to the District Defender, and seven part-time contract or conflict attorneys. There are no restrictions on private practice outside of the Public Defenders' Office. In addition to the District Defender, there are three supervising attorneys and one Deputy District Defender. A caseload reduction is provided for supervising attorneys. The office also has ten non-attorney staff members.
Juvenile cases are heard by District and City Court judges in the 26th Judicial District. Several staff attorneys and contract attorneys handle juvenile cases in this district.
Indigency Determination and Availability of Clients:
In the 26th Judicial District, a judge makes the initial determination of indigence, with further determinations of eligibility for services performed by the Public Defenders' Office. Adult clients are usually held at the Bossier Parish Jail, Bossier City Jail, Webster Parish Jail, or Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center. If held outside of the district, clients are held at the Caddo Correctional Center, Claiborne Parish Jail, or Shreveport City Jail. Juvenile clients are held at the Johnny Gray Jones Youth Shelter or Ware Youth Center (Bossier City or Coushatta).
Fees and Accounting:
The 26th Judicial District Public Defenders' Office collects the statutory $40 application fee from clients. In 2012, approximately 9,300 applications were received for services. No fees were waived or reduced for applicants. A total of $54,257 in application fees was collected. Courts in this district assess the statutory special cost fee, although the fee is reduced to $30 for non-moving traffic violations. An estimated total of $615,177 in special cost fees was collected in 2012. Courts in this district may also assess partial indigence payments for services based on a client's ability to pay. Any resulting payments are usually collected by the Public Defenders' Office but may be collected by the probation and parole office. In 2012, the district received $5,994 in Partial indigence payments. All accounting functions for the 26th Judicial District Public Defenders' Office are handled internally by staff.
The 26th Judicial District Public Defender's Office reported handling 15,7506 cases in 2012. Of those, 2,820 involved juvenile matters, including 495 Child in Need of Care representations.
Land Area (square miles): 840.06
Population Density (per square mile): 139.3
Non-English Spoken at Home: 6%
High School Completion: 87%
Children in Special Education: 2,818 (*Non-public: Not Recorded)
Bachelors Degree or Higher: 21.2%
Median Household Income: $49,053
Living Below the Poverty Line: 14.3%
Children (persons under 18): 25.7%
Child Population in Poverty: 22%
Youth under the Supervision of OJJ: 192
Link to Bossier Parish Census
Kids Count Report