Public defender's office warns it's too poor to represent the poor
BATON ROUGE - The public defender's office in East Baton Rouge started warning judges of its inability to represent poor defendants in the criminal justice system.
The letter, which was obtained by the WBRZ Investigative Unit Wednesday, cites budget issues and warns of layoffs at the office beginning next week. Contract services will be cut, too.
Lawyers contracted to assist with cases in the 19th Judicial District in Baton Rouge, the Baton Rouge City Court and Zachary City Court will be suspended. The bilingual attorney under contract will also be suspended, Public Defender Michael Mitchell wrote to judges in the area.
Contract suspensions start April 15th, the same date as layoffs. Six investigators will be laid off from the staff and employees who keep their jobs could get pay reduced anywhere from 10% to 25%.
There will be an even greater loss of revenue in the next budget year, Mitchell warned, since state funds paid to the office will be cut by $933, 520. The state is dealing with a budget deficit in its current fiscal year and a greater than $1 billion loss in the next budget year, which starts July 1.
Some defendants will be given paperwork on how to handle their cases if a public defender cannot be appointed.
Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz
Desktop NewsClick to open Continuous News in a sidebar that updates in real-time.
Residents gather to help high crime rate community
Body of dentist found after deadly False River boating crash: 2 killed,...
Waffle House shooting leaves teen dead, 2 others hurt in Ascension
Raging car fire caught on video at Siegen Lane intersection
Coast Guard rescues 7 people, dog from burning boat in gulf
Southern baseball wins game one 21-2 over Alcorn
VIDEO: Former Saints and Tiger Devery Henderson talks about the difference between...
New NCAA rules tweak opens door for more SEC dominance
VIDEO: Devery Henderson Talk about Bluegrass Miracle and the Saints "Rebirth game"
VIDEO: Former Tigers and Saints receiver Devery Henderson talks with Corey Rholdon...