4th Judicial District

Last updated on: February 6, 2013

Parish: Ouachita

District Defender/Supervisor:
Michael Courteau
714 St. John Street
Monroe, LA 71201
(318) 322-6643

General District Information:
In the 4th Judicial District, there are six sections of District Court (four in Ouachita Parish and two in Morehouse Parish). There are three City Courts (Monroe, West Monroe and Bastrop). Attorneys in this district also handle cases in the 5th Judicial District Court, three 5th Judicial District City Courts (Rayville, Winnsboro, and Oak Grove), and the 37th Judicial District Court. There is a drug court program in the 4th Judicial District. The U.S. Census Bureau and the Annie E. Casey Foundation reported an estimated total population of 181,699 in this district, 47,291 of whom are children.

District Staff:
The District Defender in this district is Michael A. Courteau, who has served in the position for 20 years and has been a public defender in Louisiana for 23 years. The 4th Judicial District Public Defenders’ Office is a contract public defenders’ office. At the end of 2012 the district reported a full-time District Defender and 29 part-time contract attorneys. There are no restrictions on private practice outside of the Public Defenders’ Office, provided that there is no conflict with indigent appointed cases. The District Defender supervises all attorneys and has a limited caseload due to these supervisory responsibilities. The district also has 17 non-attorney staff members.

Juvenile Defense:
Juvenile cases are heard by one District Judge in the 4th Judicial District. Juvenile cases are handled by contract attorneys, including a supervising juvenile attorney. These attorneys also handle juvenile defense for the 5th and 37th Judicial Districts; those cases are heard by District Judges.

Indigency Determination and Availability of Clients:
In the 4th Judicial District, qualifications investigators in the Public Defenders’ Office make the determination of indigence. Adult clients are held at the Ouachita Parish Correctional Center, the Morehouse Correctional Center and Bastrop City Jail or, when held outside of the district, at the Collingston Correctional Center, Richwood Detention Center or the Richland Parish Detention Center. Juvenile clients are held in Green Oaks Detention Center or, if held outside of the district, at Christian Acres Detention Center (Tallulah).

Fees and Accounting:
The 4th Judicial District Public Defenders’ Office collects the statutory $40 application fee from clients. In 2012, 7,763 applications were received for services. Fees were waived for 6,113 applicants. A total of $69,784 was collected in application fees. Courts in this district assess the statutory special cost fee in every case resulting in a conviction to support local public defender services. In 2012, the district received $1,420,856 in special fees, which are collected by the Morehouse and Ouachita Parish Sheriffs’ Offices. The Public Defenders’ Office is currently attempting to recover partially collected fees from the Monroe City Court. Courts in this district may also assess partial indigence payments for services based on clients’ ability to pay. Any resulting payments are collected by the Public Defenders’ Office, local sheriffs, or clerks of court. Accounting functions for the 4th Judicial District Public Defenders’ Office are divided between office staff and a contracted accountant.

Caseload:
The 4th District Public Defenders’ Office reported handling 13,129 cases in 2012. Of those, 2,216 involved juvenile matters, including 1,137 Child in Need of Care representations.

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Ouachita Information

Demographics:
Land Area (square miles): 610.41
Population Density (per square mile): 251.8
Population: 153,720
Black: 36.6%
Hispanic: 1.8%
White: 60.4%
Other: 1.1%
Non-English Spoken at Home: 2.9%
High School Completion: 83.1%
Children in Special Education: 3,423
Bachelors Degree or Higher: 24.2%
Median Household Income: $37,928
Living Below the Poverty Line: 20.8%
Children (persons under 18): 26.3%
Child Population in Poverty: 28%
Youth under the Supervision of OJJ: 173

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Link to Ouachita Parish Census

Kids Count Report

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