Study: Louisiana has far fewer public defenders than needed
NEW ORLEANS - A study released by the American Bar Association says Louisiana has far fewer public defenders than it needs to effectively represent poor people caught up in the criminal justice system.
The study was released this month against a backdrop of recurring litigation and public debate over the state's system of providing lawyers for the indigent.
The study by the ABA and the Baton Rouge-based accounting and consulting firm Postlethwaite & Netterville says the state needs 1,769 full time public defenders; it has the equivalent of about 360.
The study was done on behalf of the Louisiana Public Defender Board. It concludes that the state public defense system currently has the capacity to handle 21 percent of the workload required to provide effective counsel.