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Case Name State v. Citizen PD-LA-0004
Docket / Court 04-KA-1841 ( State Court )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Indigent Defense
Case Summary
In 2004, two criminal indigent defendants filed suit in the 14th Judicial District Court, Parish of Calcasieu challenging the constitutionality of two Louisiana statutes in determining the source of funds for indigent defendants' counsel. They argued that because of the disclaimers in the statues, ... read more >
In 2004, two criminal indigent defendants filed suit in the 14th Judicial District Court, Parish of Calcasieu challenging the constitutionality of two Louisiana statutes in determining the source of funds for indigent defendants' counsel. They argued that because of the disclaimers in the statues, stating that nothing in the statute should make the parishes of Louisiana responsible for the expenses associated with the costs of indigent criminal defense, they were deprived of their right to effective counsel due to a lack of funding. Plaintiffs were represented by public interest lawyers.

The trial court found that the two statues were unconstitutional because they prevented any suprlus money from being spent on indigent defense counsel. The Court ordered the parish police jury to make $200,000 available for attorney's fees. Both the state and the parish policy jury appealed.

On April 1, 2005 the Louisiana Supreme Court (Judge Victory) reversed the lower court ruling. The Court held that neither statute was unconstitutional and that neither violates indigent defendants' due process or equal protection rights, or the right to counsel. According to theLouisiana Supreme Court, the constitution requires only that indigent defendants are entitled to counsel and legislatures must provide a system for securing and compensating adequate counsel. The Louisiana statutes at issue met the constitutional requirements because they provided a process in which indigent defendants' counsel can seek funding. The Court also held that due to the separation of powers principle, a court cannot order the parish police jury to set aside funding for appointed counsel, however, the Court did announce that a court can stay prosecution until there is adequate funding for appointed counsel. The cases was remanded to the District Court.

We have no further information on this case.

Dayna Frenkel - 03/05/2009


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
None on record
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) State of Louisiana
Plaintiff Description Defendants in two separate murder trials challenging the constitutionality of a Louisiana statute determining where funds for public defenders come from.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2005
Case Ongoing No
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
Opinion 04/01/2005 (898 So.2d 325)
PD-LA-0004-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Johnson, Bernette Joshua (State Supreme Court)
PD-LA-0004-0001
Knoll, Jeannette (State Supreme Court)
PD-LA-0004-0001
Victory, Jeffrey P. (State Supreme Court)
PD-LA-0004-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Smith, Allen L. Jr. (Louisiana)
PD-LA-0004-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Foti, Charles C. Jr. (Louisiana)
PD-LA-0004-0001
Frey, Frederick Wayne (Louisiana)
PD-LA-0004-0001
Guidry, Burton (Louisiana)
PD-LA-0004-0001
Mann, Phyllis Elaine (Louisiana)
PD-LA-0004-0001
sigler, Carla Sue (Louisiana)
PD-LA-0004-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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