University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Anderson v. State PD-LA-0001
Docket / Court 2004-5405 ( State Court )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Indigent Defense
Case Summary
On September 23, 2004, nine clients of the Calcasieu Parish Public Defender's Office (PDO) filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against both the governor of Louisiana and the State Legislature, in the Fourteenth Judicial District Court in Calcasieu Parish, LA. The plaintiffs, ... read more >
On September 23, 2004, nine clients of the Calcasieu Parish Public Defender's Office (PDO) filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against both the governor of Louisiana and the State Legislature, in the Fourteenth Judicial District Court in Calcasieu Parish, LA. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought injunctive and declaratory relief from violations of their rights as secured by the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments, and by the Louisiana State Constitution. Plaintiffs specifically alleged that Defendants had failed to ensure that the PDO had sufficient resources to meaningfully meet with its clients, conduct substantive investigations, and adequately prepare for trial. Plaintiffs also alleged that Defendants had failed to properly monitor or oversee the indigent defense system.

There was some question as to whether the cause of action arose in the Fourteenth Judicial District, where the PDO was based, or in the Nineteenth Judicial District, where the state capitol is located. After a hearing, the trial court held venue was proper in the Fourteenth Judicial District. The state defendants then appealed to the Court of Appeal of Louisiana for the Third Circuit. On November 2, 2005, the Appeal Court for the Third Circuit (Judges John D. Saunders, Jimmie C. Peters, and Billy E. Ezell) held that, because the case had statewide implications, proper venue was with the court serving East Baton Rouge Parish, where the state capitol is located. The Appeal Court thus reversed the decision of the trial court and transferred the case to the Nineteenth Judicial District. Anderson v. State, 916 So.2d 341 (La.App. 3 Cir. 2005). Plaintiffs appealed the Appeal Court's venue decision to the Supreme Court of Louisiana, which denied certiorari on June 2, 2006. Anderson v. State, 929 So.2d 1243 (La. 2006).

After the venue transfer, the Nineteenth Judicial District Court (Judge R. Michael Caldwell) held a hearing on Plaintiffs' motion to certify the case as a class action. The court subsequently granted the motion for class certification.

Defendants then filed a motion to dismiss the case as moot in light of the state's enactment of the Louisiana Public Defender Act of 2007. Plaintiffs opposed the motion on ground that it was too soon to determine the effect of the reform law. The court agreed with Plaintiffs and ordered a six-month stay. The stay has expired and, as of March 3, 2008, the parties are engaged in continuing discussions concerning how to proceed.

We have no further information on this case.

Nick Niles - 07/11/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
General
Funding
Quality of representation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) State of Louisiana
Plaintiff Description Those who are or will in the future be adversely affected by Defendant’s conduct in failing to ensure that the Calcasieu Parish Public Defender system provides constitutionally adequate assistance of counsel
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Unknown
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
Case Listing PD-LA-0002 : Walker v. State (State Court)
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Indigent Defense Reform: The Role of Systemic Litigation in Operationalizing the Gideon Right to Counsel
Written: May. 07, 2007
By: Vidhya K. Reddy (Washington University in St. Louis)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

  Justice Denied: America's Continuing Neglect of Our Constitutional Right to Counsel.
Written: Apr. 14, 2009
By: National Right to Counsel Committee (The Constitution Project)
Citation: National Right to Counsel Committee, Justice Denied: America's Continuing Neglect of Our Constitutional Right to Counsel (2009)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Securing Reasonable Caseloads: Ethics and Law in Public Defense
By: Norman Lefstein (Indiana University--Indianapolis)
Citation: (ABA 2011)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  The Third Generation of Indigent Defense Litigation
New York University Review of Law and Social Change
By: Cara Drinan (Columbus School of Law, Catholic University)
Citation: 33 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 427 (2009)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Class Action Complaint 09/23/2004
PD-LA-0001-0001 PDF | Detail
Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification 01/01/2005
PD-LA-0001-0002 PDF | Detail
Memorandum in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification 01/01/2005
PD-LA-0001-0003 PDF | Detail
Appellate Decision [Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Third Circuit] 11/02/2005 (916 So.2d 431)
PD-LA-0001-0004 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
[Denial of Writ of Certiorari and/or Review from Louisiana Supreme Court] 06/02/2006 (929 So.2d 1243)
PD-LA-0001-0005 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Carter, Wilford (State Trial Court)
PD-LA-0001-0001
Ezell, Billy H. (State Appellate Court)
PD-LA-0001-0004
Peters, Jimmie C. (State Appellate Court)
PD-LA-0001-0004
Saunders, John D. (State Appellate Court)
PD-LA-0001-0004
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fox, Hamilton P. III (District of Columbia)
PD-LA-0001-0001 | PD-LA-0001-0002 | PD-LA-0001-0003
Hoskins, David L. (Louisiana)
PD-LA-0001-0001 | PD-LA-0001-0002 | PD-LA-0001-0003 | PD-LA-0001-0004
James, Rawn M. Jr. (District of Columbia)
PD-LA-0001-0001 | PD-LA-0001-0003
Jeffress, William H. (District of Columbia)
PD-LA-0001-0001 | PD-LA-0001-0002 | PD-LA-0001-0003
Rambo, Frank (District of Columbia)
PD-LA-0001-0001 | PD-LA-0001-0002 | PD-LA-0001-0003
Defendant's Lawyers Sanders, David Glen (Louisiana)
PD-LA-0001-0004
Other Lawyers None on record

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