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Symposium on indigent criminal defense in Louisiana

March 28, 2008

Legal experts from around the country will gather at Loyola University New Orleans to discuss the challenges of criminal defense in Louisiana for those who are unable to afford it.

A free symposium on criminal indigent defense will be held April 4 from 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. in the College of Law, room 112. The event, sponsored by Loyola’s Public Interest Law Journal is open to the public, and attorneys can earn 6.25 hours of continuing legal education credit free of charge.

The symposium will feature legal experts from Loyola’s College of Law, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, Southern Center for Human Rights, and the Harvard Criminal Justice Institute. It will seek to discuss and explore the changes likely to result from recent reforms enacted by the Louisiana legislature, to some extent modeled after reforms pursued in other states, the challenges that remain and further reform efforts that may improve the state of indigent defense.

The complete failure of criminal indigent defense experienced in the New Orleans area in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina generated major impetus for change. In 2007, the Louisiana legislature acted to eliminate local control of indigent defense systems and instituted a statewide system of criminal indigent defense. Isabel Medina, associate professor of Law at Loyola University and one of the event moderators says, “The issue is critical for Louisiana. According to the Louisiana Justice Coalition, about 90 percent of all criminal defendants in Louisiana are indigent.”

For a schedule and more information, click here, or contact Jessica Howard at jkhoward@loyno.edu or 504-861-5558.

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