Demanding Defenders

In a ruling issued Friday, the Louisiana Supreme Court said the Legislature is responsible for 'providing a working system for securing the representation of indigent defendants.' And the high court ruled that judges may block the prosecution of poor defendants until money to hire lawyers is available."

It's about time. This important editorial from the Times-Picayune praises that decision, points out that funding indigent defense is not the same as being soft on crime and basically says: Pony up the cash


Anonymous said...

It's unbelievable that certain states still have no funding for public defenders. Louisiana, Virginia jump to mind. What's even worse is the reluctance that each of their legislatures exhibits at providing said funding. It will take courts to step in and rectify the situation. How can they not see the equal protection violation? That's what happened here in CT years ago and it has worked.

Indefensible said...

True enough, though for whatever it's worth, Virginia is making some really impressive progress in indigent defense and in eyewitness ID stuff. The head of the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission is a great guy and really moving things along brilliantly.