Case: State of Lousiana v. Citizen

04-01841 | Louisiana state trial court

Filed Date: 2004

Closed Date: 2005

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In 2004, two criminal indigent defendants filed suit in the 14th Judicial District Court, Parish of Calcasieu challenging the constitutionality of two Louisiana statutes in determining the source of funds for indigent defendants' counsel. They argued that because of the disclaimers in the statues, stating that nothing in the statute should make the parishes of Louisiana responsible for the expenses associated with the costs of indigent criminal defense, they were deprived of their right to eff…

In 2004, two criminal indigent defendants filed suit in the 14th Judicial District Court, Parish of Calcasieu challenging the constitutionality of two Louisiana statutes in determining the source of funds for indigent defendants' counsel. They argued that because of the disclaimers in the statues, stating that nothing in the statute should make the parishes of Louisiana responsible for the expenses associated with the costs of indigent criminal defense, they were deprived of their right to effective counsel due to a lack of funding. Plaintiffs were represented by public interest lawyers.

The trial court found that the two statues were unconstitutional because they prevented any suprlus money from being spent on indigent defense counsel. The Court ordered the parish police jury to make $200,000 available for attorney's fees. Both the state and the parish policy jury appealed.

On April 1, 2005 the Louisiana Supreme Court (Judge Victory) reversed the lower court ruling. The Court held that neither statute was unconstitutional and that neither violates indigent defendants' due process or equal protection rights, or the right to counsel. According to theLouisiana Supreme Court, the constitution requires only that indigent defendants are entitled to counsel and legislatures must provide a system for securing and compensating adequate counsel. The Louisiana statutes at issue met the constitutional requirements because they provided a process in which indigent defendants' counsel can seek funding. The Court also held that due to the separation of powers principle, a court cannot order the parish police jury to set aside funding for appointed counsel, however, the Court did announce that a court can stay prosecution until there is adequate funding for appointed counsel. The cases was remanded to the District Court.

We have no further information on this case.

Summary Authors

Dayna Frenkel (3/5/2009)

People


Judge(s)

Calogero, Pascal F. (Louisiana)

Dennis, James L. (Louisiana)

Johnson, Bernette Joshua (Louisiana)

Knoll, Jeannette (Louisiana)

Lemmon, Mary Ann Vial (Louisiana)

Victory, Jeffrey P. (Louisiana)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Connick, Harry F. (Louisiana)

Dalia, David A. (Louisiana)

Hymel, L. J. Jr. (Louisiana)

Ieyoub, Richard P. (Louisiana)

Judge(s)

Calogero, Pascal F. (Louisiana)

Dennis, James L. (Louisiana)

Johnson, Bernette Joshua (Louisiana)

Knoll, Jeannette (Louisiana)

Lemmon, Mary Ann Vial (Louisiana)

Victory, Jeffrey P. (Louisiana)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Connick, Harry F. (Louisiana)

Dalia, David A. (Louisiana)

Hymel, L. J. Jr. (Louisiana)

Ieyoub, Richard P. (Louisiana)

Pebbles, Jack (Louisiana)

Rutledge, Barbara B. (Louisiana)

Smith, Allen L. Jr. (Louisiana)

Yelverton, Jack (Louisiana)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Doskey, Dwight M. (Louisiana)

Foti, Charles C. Jr. (Louisiana)

Frey, Frederick Wayne (Louisiana)

Guidry, Burton (Louisiana)

Holdridge, John (Louisiana)

Hyatt, Donald A. (Louisiana)

Mann, Phyllis Elaine (Louisiana)

sigler, Carla Sue (Louisiana)

Teissier, Richard C. (Louisiana)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

04-01841

Opinion

State v. Citizen

Louisiana state supreme court

898 So.2d 325

April 1, 2005

April 1, 2005

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated July 26, 2022, 3 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Louisiana

Case Type(s):

Indigent Defense

Key Dates

Filing Date: 2004

Closing Date: 2005

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Defendants in two separate murder trials challenging the constitutionality of a Louisiana statute determining where funds for public defenders come from.

Plaintiff Type(s):

State Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

State of Louisiana, State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Issues

General:

Access to lawyers or judicial system

Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond