HISTORY ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION OF PUBLIC DEFENDERS IN LOUISIANA
After the adoption of the Louisiana Constitution of 1974, court-appointed attorney services were established under the framework known as the "Indigent Defender Board". Today, the Public Defender Office represents many people who are employed, but are unable to afford a lawyer. In the current Criminal Justice system, most of the people in criminal court are represented by a Public Defender.
In 2007, Louisiana passed Act 307 of 2007, known as the Louisiana Public Defender Act. It is the foundation for and regulates our organization. The Louisiana Public Defender Board (LPDB) has adopted Performance Standards for lawyers handling criminal cases for adults and juveniles and for attorneys handling Child in Need of Care (CINC) cases.
The Public Defenders are an important independent component of the criminal justice system, free from undue political and judicial interference and free from conflicts of interests. Public Defenders make the system work.
State courts are established in each of the 42 judicial districts in Louisiana. The St. John the Baptist Parish Public Defender Office is in 40th Judicial District. The local office has been led by the District Public Defender, Richard B. Stricks, since 1995, when he was hired by the Indigent Defender Board comprised of Jules A. Carville III, Harold M. Keller, and Sylvia Taylor Steib.
LOUISIANA PUBLIC DEFENDER BOARD (LPDB)
On August 15, 2007, the Louisiana Legislature created the Louisiana Public Defender Board (LPDB) to supervise and assist the local district Public Defenders and ensure the state provides equal justice for all, which is guaranteed by the Constitution. The LPDB named a State Public Defender for Louisiana, whose office in Baton Rouge has a staff of assistants working in trial compliance, death penalty defense, juvenile justice, and training. The state agency has created performance standards and regulations to assure that clients of the Public Defenders are properly represented in each district. For more information about the Louisiana Public Defender Board (LPDB), click here.
The LPDB does not represent clients. It was formed to provide a regulatory and supervisory framework for the Public Defenders only. It cannot appoint a particular person or remove a lawyer from a particular case.
LOUISIANA CONSTITUTION, (ARTICLE 1, SECTION 13)
The Louisiana State Constitution guarantees that when any person has been arrested or detained in connection with the investigation or commission of any offense, he shall be advised fully of the reason for his arrest or detention, his right to remain silent, his right against self incrimination, his right to the assistance of counsel and, if indigent, his right to court appointed counsel. At each stage of the proceedings, every person is entitled to assistance of counsel of his choice, or appointed by the court if he is indigent and charged with an offense punishable by imprisonment. It is the responsibility of the legislature to provide for a uniform system for securing and compensating qualified counsel for indigents.
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PUBLIC DEFENDER OFFICE
COURT APPOINTED LAWYERS IN THE 40TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT