Louisiana’s budget crisis and huge gap in provision of legal representation has hit the 16th District of Louisiana hard. Currently, the 16th District (Iberia, St. Martin, and St. Mary) have people languishing in jail without a lawyer. Some of the accused are juveniles facing life without parole.
PJI’s Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus asks for the release of defendants whose constitutional right to due process has been violated- forcing the accused to deteriorate in jail without representation.
The District Attorney’s office receives five times the amount of funding that the overworked and underfunded public defender’s office receives. The 16th District is currently shouldering a caseload of three times the recommended guidelines for representation.
With the current funding levels, the public defender’s office will be forced to close its doors on December 16th.