The right to legal counsel has long been the gold standard of American justice under the Constitution. But what happens when a state refuses to budget for public defenders? Louisiana is finding out.
$10 per case
The Louisiana Public Defender Board, which oversees every district office, has predicted “systemic failure in the public-defense system” by this summer .
Until recently in New Orleans, public defenders assigned to misdemeanor courts each had upward of 19,000 cases per year, affording them an average of seven minutes for every client.
the 2017 annual budget, approved by the legislature, slashes public-defender funding by an additional 62 percent