A spokesperson for the Orleans Parish office said defenders there had already turned away 39 cases, leaving 28 people in custody.

As Common Dreams previously reported, the ACLU of Louisiana and the ACLU national office in January filed a lawsuit against Orleans Parish and the public defender board for placing new clients on a wait list for representation.

Click Here: Cheap Chiefs Rugby Jersey 2019

“So long as you’re on the public defender waiting list in New Orleans, you’re helpless,” Buskey said at the time. “Your legal defense erodes along with your constitutional rights.”

He noted in a blog post that those who end up on the list are “most at risk in our justice system: usually poor, often a person of color, and facing severe sentences.”

“[T]his is not a problem of the public defender’s making. It is the result of the state of Louisiana’s stubborn refusal to fund its public defender system adequately,” he wrote.

Minors could be hit the hardest by the shortfall as public defenders are increasingly forced to prioritize the most serious charges. Dixon told the Guardian that most offices will stop taking on cases involving defendants under 18 on July 1.

“We will no longer be able adequately to represent the kids in this state,” Dixon said, citing research which found that spending any time in custody exponentially increases the chance of minors returning to the system.

“If a child is charged with burglary or theft, they are going to go unrepresented, and that scares me,” he said.

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.