US judge dismisses Louisiana indigent defendants' suit

February 02, 2017 - 2:36 pm

A federal judge says there is a crisis in Louisiana's system of funding lawyers for indigent defendants, but he declined to order the state to develop a remedy.

U.S. District Judge James Brady this week dismissed a lawsuit filed just over a year ago by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of three low-income defendants who were put on a waiting list by the Orleans Public Defenders Office.

Brady acknowledged a "serious systemic problem'' in Louisiana's indigent defense system. He said defendants convicted under that system can address the issues in their federal appeals.

But, he said, if the court were to order the state to fix the system, it would risk becoming the "overseer'' of New Orleans' court system.

Comments ()