Louisiana is the only state in the nation that relies on
traffic tickets to pay for public defense
and forensic testing. An editorial over the weekend in Shreveport demanded reform.
Louisiana has long had a history of putting its money into building more prison cells to keep pace with mandatory sentences and other societal factors that make us the nation's per capita incarceration leader.
Meanwhile, we sometimes skimp by on the cost of making sure justice is done.
Money spent on defense of the poor is but a fraction of the dollars at the disposal of parish prosecutors. Overwhelmed public defenders have been duly noted in reports and lawsuits. Yet indigent defense continues to bubble along beneath most law-abiding citizens' radar. The momentum for reform that was building prior to hurricanes Katrina and Rita was another worthy cause slowed by the focus on storm recovery.
Read the full editorial here
. (Shreveport Times, 03/10/07)
Read more about bad lawyering
as a leading cause of wrongful conviction.