Local Public Defenders Office May Close
The budget crisis in Louisiana is taking a toll on the state's public defender's system. The lack of funding has forced 33 out of 42 offices to operate under what is called restrictive service. According to Caddo Parish District Public Defender, Pamela Smart, the Caddo Office is operating on a wing and a prayer and she says with the way things are headed they may have to lock the door by the end of the year.
Smart has had to lay off three attorneys and a secretary in the past month and the office as a whole has been cut by a third. In Louisiana, most of the funding for the public defenders office comes from traffic tickets and court costs, both of which are down state wide. Many are calling for a complete overhaul of the system to fix all the problems.