An appellate court has overturned New Orleans Criminal District Judge Arthur L. Hunter’s April 8th decision to halt the prosecutions of seven indigent defendants who spent months in jail without legal representation. According to a three-judge panel from Louisiana 4th Circuit Court of Appeal, Hunter’s ruling erred by granting the defendants habeas corpus relief without first making factual findings regarding the funding needs of each defendant.
New Orleans Criminal Defense Attorney Gregory Carter, who represents one of the defendants, commented on the appellate decision, claiming he was disappointed that the courts essentially ignored the core issue of a lack of public defense funding. “It’s clear that the public defenders’ office is out of money,” Carter said. “When you’re broke, you’re broke. When you're in the red, there is no money to allocate for anyone, so in this case all seven defendants are in the same boat. I think rehashing each individual defendant's case is a waste of everyone's time. And meanwhile, these men are going to remain sitting there in jail. That's not what our system is built for.”Click here to read the full story.