Unlicensed public defender case turned over to Attorney General

Move clears way for investigation and prosecution of woman accused of practicing law without a license

Thomas Perumean
June 26, 2019 - 10:22 am

Getty Images - felixmiziioznikov

The Orleans Parish District Attorney this morning announced he is turning over the Ashley Crawford case to the Attorney General.  Crawford is public defender alleged to have practiced law without a license in more than 100 cases.  She has since been dismissed.  

“By asking the Attorney General’s office to assume control of this investigation and prosecution, we hope to avoid even the appearance of impropriety or animus toward a public defenders office we oppose each day in court,” District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said. “The alleged violations by Ms. Crawford are extremely serious and deserve a full and complete review and prosecution, absent any potential accusations of conflict of interest."

The Louisiana Supreme Court discovered the alleged wrongdoing and on June 21st forwarded a complaint to the office of the District Attorney.  In a statement from Cannizzaro the complaint contained compelling evidence of criminal wrongdoing, alleging that Crawford has for the past nine months been engaged in the unauthorized practice of law while an employee of the Orleans Public Defenders.  

“Stepping aside from this open case also permits us the freedom to pursue all avenues, as needed, to recover on behalf of the public any costs or expenses we may incur as a result of this illegal conduct.”

Cannizzaro's office forwarded a dispatch to the Director of the Criminal Division of the Attorney General's office in Baton Rouge earlier today.  

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