27th Judicial District
Last updated on: February 6, 2013
Edward James Lopez
125 West Landry Street
Opelousas, LA 70570
General District Information:
In the 27th Judicial District, there are four sections of District Court and two City Courts (Opelousas and Eunice). There is a non-support court program and a drug court program. The U.S. Census Bureau and the Annie E. Casey Foundation reported a total population of 83,384 in this district, 22,680 of whom are children.
The District Defender in the 27th Judicial District is Edward James Lopez, who has served in that position for 26 years and has been a public defender for 40 years. The 27th Public Defenders’ Office is a contract public defenders’ office. At the end of 2012 the district reported 19 part-time contract attorneys, in addition to the District Defender. There are no restrictions on private attorney practice outside of the Public Defenders’ Office. The District Defender supervises all staff, and no caseload reduction is provided to him. The office also has one investigator and four administrative staff members.
Juvenile cases are heard by District and City Court Judges in the 27th Judicial District. Several attorneys handle juvenile cases.
Indigency Determination and Availability of Clients:
In the 27th Judicial District, a judge makes the determination of indigence. Adult clients are usually held at the St. Landry Parish Jail, Opelousas City Jail, Eunice City Jail, Porte Barre City Jail, Krotz Springs City Jail, Sunset City Jail, or Washington City Jail. When held outside the district, clients are held at the South Louisiana Detention Center (Basile) or Pine Prairie Correctional Center. Juvenile clients are held in St. Martin Parish Juvenile Training Center.
Fees and Accounting:
The 27th Judicial District the judge collects the statutory $40 application fees from clients. In 2012, 4,049 applications were received for services. No fees were waived or reduced for applicants. A total of $22,600 in application fees was collected. Courts in this district assess the statutory special cost fee. In 2012, the district received $474,317 in special cost fees, which were collected by the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Clerks of Court for the City Courts in Opelousas and Eunice. Courts in this district order partial indigence payments for services in felony cases in the amount of $100. These fees are collected by the probation and parole office. All accounting functions for the 27th Judicial District Public Defenders’ Office are handled by internally by staff.
The 27th Judicial District Public Defenders’ Office reported handling 8,833 open cases in 2012. Of those, 472 involved juvenile matters, including 242 Child in Need of Care representations.
St Landry Information
Land Area (square miles): 923.88
Population Density (per square mile): 90.3
Non-English Spoken at Home: 12.3%
High School Completion: 73%
Children in Special Education: 2,321
Bachelors Degree or Higher: 12.5%
Median Household Income: $31,813
Living Below the Poverty Line: 28.3%
Children (persons under 18): 27.2%
Child Population in Poverty: 36%
Youth under the Supervision of OJJ: 114
Link to St. Landry Parish Census
Kids Count Report