Lawyers don't have enough money to defend accused cop-killer in death-penalty case
NEW ORLEANS- The man accused of killing New Orleans Police Officer Marcus McNeil was in court Tuesday, but instead of being arraigned, the court is now scrambling to find attorneys to represent him.
WWL-TV reports that facing the possibility of the death penalty for first-degree murder of a police officer, Darren Bridges had been represented by the Capital Defense Project of Southeast Louisiana.
Kerry Cuccia, lead capital defense attorney, said his office can’t represent Bridges due to a full caseload and recent state budget cuts.
“Because of funding, we could not proceed on with the case. And so we had to put the court on notice that we could not proceed, so the arraignment couldn't go on,” Cuccia said.
Cuccia said budget cuts that took effect last year have reduced his office to four attorneys, and their current caseload is at the maximum allowed under American Bar Association standards adopted by the office, according to WWL.
Judge Franz Ziblich set a new court hearing for next Wednesday to determine defense counsel.
Cuccia said he provided Ziblich a list of attorneys certified by the Louisiana Public Defender’s Board to represent Bridges.
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