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Justice on Hold: Louisiana's Public Defender Shortage (2016)

Louisiana Public Square



Genre: Panel

Place Covered: Louisiana

Copyright Holder: Louisiana Educational Television Authority

Date Issued: 2016-03-30

Duration: 00:58:05

Subjects: Filmed panel discussions | Criminal justice, Administration of | Public defenders


  • Courtney, Beth Host
  • Marsh, Michael Host
  • Gautreaux, Kevin Producer
  • Spires, Kelly Producer
  • Metzger, Pam Interviewee
  • Graham, Caitlin Interviewee
  • Marx, Paul Interviewee
  • Dixon, James Speaker
  • Moreau, Doug Interviewee
  • Mack, Sherman Interviewee
  • Moore, Hillar Speaker
  • Burkhart, John Speaker
  • Dixon, Stephen Speaker
  • Graham, Caitlin Speaker
  • Burton, David Speaker
  • Carmena, Kelly Speaker
  • Boles, William Speaker
  • Arceneaux, Tom Speaker
  • Red, Rashaud Speaker
  • Harrison, Jack Speaker
  • Collins, Sean Speaker
  • Esman, Marjorie Panelist
  • Adams, Pete Panelist
  • Dixon, James Panelist
  • Claitor, Dan Panelist


This episode of the series “Louisiana Public Square” from March 30, 2016, features Michael Marsh leading a discussion between the audience members and panelists on Louisiana’s public defender shortage. A background report on the topic precedes the discussion. The audience members, including students, district attorneys, and public defenders, discuss the funding system for public defenders, the eligibility for public defender services, and who is responsible for determining indigency. A panel of experts then joins the audience to answer their questions. The panelists are: Marjorie Esman, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Louisiana; Pete Adams, the executive director of the Louisiana District Attorneys Association; James Dixon, the state public defender with the Louisiana Public Defender Board; and State Senator Dan Claitor, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary C Committee. They discuss: whether they believe the lack of funding for public defenders is at a crisis level; the timeline for a speedy trial; the possibility of private lawyers providing pro-bono services for indigent clients; the high cost of capital cases; the feasibility of changing the current funding system; the lack of a uniform method for determining indigency in the jurisdictions around the state; and the funding for juvenile cases. Hosts: Beth Courtney and Michael Marsh