The Louisiana Public Defender Board (LPDB), which administers the Public Defender fund for Louisiana's 42 judicial circuits, filed a lawsuit against twenty three New Orleans Judges last month. According to a press release from the Orleans Public Defenders office (OPD-also co-complainant), the judges being sued have not been following a law which mandates a $35 fee be paid to OPD. A preliminary hearing has now been set before Judge Todd Hernandez for January 26, 2011 at 9:30am. The suit is asking that the judges begin to follow the law in order to provide adequate funding to the stat public defenders, and is not seeking any back pay. You can read the writ for mandamus here. When the suit was first announced last month, OPD also announced a hiring freeze, and other cost cutting plans.
Public Defender Training on Medical Marijuana in California
As an aspiring public defender, I often (especially at interviews) ask about training opportunities. I think training is important, not just for new attorneys, but also continuing education on new legal issues as well as skill building. One example of new legal issues is the new and changing medical marijuana laws all over the country. So naturally I was happy and amused to hear about this great CLE opportunity in San Diego. The San Diego chapter of American for Safe Access conducted training for the San Diego County Public Defender's office educating them on how to best protect the rights of medical marijuana patients. You can read more about it here, and listen to the News Brief on YouTube.
- This is a really good article from last month that I didn't get a chance to post. It is pretty long but worth it. "Indefensible; Five decades after a landmark supreme court case establishing the right to a public-defense lawyer, the poor still lack adequate legal representation."
- Speaking of Gideon, Floria Public defenders in Broward county are demanding that courts appoint attorneys for poor when they are arrested for violating municipal ordinances. (Miami Herald)
- Judy Clarke continues to get a lot of media attention, including an article in Time Magazine.
- An amusing rant about why Prosecutors have it easier than public defenders over at Not for the Monosyllabic.