University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Walker v. State PD-LA-0002
Docket / Court 481701 ( State Court )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Indigent Defense
Case Summary
In 2004, Henry C. Walker, a Shreveport attorney and former member of the local Indigent Defender Board (IDB), filed a lawsuit against the State of Louisiana, through its legislature and judges of its First Judicial District, in the First Judicial District Court for the District of Caddo, LA. The ... read more >
In 2004, Henry C. Walker, a Shreveport attorney and former member of the local Indigent Defender Board (IDB), filed a lawsuit against the State of Louisiana, through its legislature and judges of its First Judicial District, in the First Judicial District Court for the District of Caddo, LA. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, sought declaratory and injunctive relief from what he claimed was an unconstitutional appointing process used to staff IDB boards across the state. Specifically, Walker asserted that by not appointing him to the IDB and by imposing one year, non-staggering terms of service, the judges had exerted undue influence and control over the indigent defender system and violated the separation of powers clause in Article II, Section 2 of the Louisiana Constitution.

At the trial court, the defendants argued that since Walker had no contract to serve on the IDB and had no right to be appointed, he had no interest in the appointment process, and therefore no standing to bring the lawsuit. Walker countered that, as a former IDB member and a Bar Association nominee who had been denied appointment two years in a row, he must have standing to question the constitutionality of the process. The Trial Court (Judge John R. Harrison) agreed, and denied the defendants' motion.

The defendants appealed to the Louisiana Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit. On December 21, 2005, Chief Justice Brown (joined by judges Sterwart and Moore) affirmed the trial court's judgment that state statues set a minimal threshold for standing for declaratory relief, and that Walker met this threshold. Walker v. State, 917 So.2d 1229 (La.App. 2 Cir. 2005).

The defendants appealed once again, and the Supreme Court of Louisiana denied certiorari on April 28, 2006. Walker v. State, 927 So.2d 296 (La. 2006).

Notably, the Plaintiff's language, as quoted in the Second Circuit opinion, states that this case and another case in the Clearinghouse, Anderson v. State (PD-LA-0001), were brought to address the two biggest problems with the Louisiana state indigent defense system. While Anderson dealt with the issue of underfunding, Walker dealt with the risk of undue political influence on the state's indigent defender boards. Walker v. State, 917 So.2d 1229 (La.App. 2 Cir. 2005).

Because we do not have a docket or further court documents for this case, we cannot say whether the plaintiffs were ultimately successful or if this case is ongoing.

Nick Niles - 07/11/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) State of Louisiana
Plaintiff Description Henry Walker is a Shreveport attorney who has served on the Indigent Defender Board in Caddo Parish who was not reappointed to the board, although he was recommended by the Shreveport Bar Association.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Unknown
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-0001 : Anderson 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
Appellate Decision [Louisiana State Court of Appeal - Second Circuit] 12/21/2005 (917 So.2d 1229)
PD-LA-0002-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
[Opinion Denying Certiorari] 04/28/2006 (927 So.2d 296)
PD-LA-0002-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Judges Brown, Henry N. Jr. (State Appellate Court)
PD-LA-0002-0001
Moore, D. Milton (State Appellate Court)
PD-LA-0002-0001
Stewart, James Edward Sr. (State Appellate Court)
PD-LA-0002-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Jones, Pamela R. (Louisiana)
PD-LA-0002-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Creighton, Michael Robert (Louisiana)
PD-LA-0002-0001
Foti, Charles C. Jr. (Louisiana)
PD-LA-0002-0001
Guidry, Burton (Louisiana)
PD-LA-0002-0001
Hessick, Terry F. (Louisiana)
PD-LA-0002-0001
Hunley, Mark (Louisiana)
PD-LA-0002-0001
Salley, Charles W. (Louisiana)
PD-LA-0002-0001
Sanders, David Glen (Louisiana)
PD-LA-0002-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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