Rethinking Indigent Defense in Louisiana: How Speedy Trial Claims Can Actualize the Constitutional Right to Counsel Funded by the States

Comment by Austin N. Priddy

Louisiana has continually oppressed the constitutional rights of indigent criminal defendants by inadequately funding their defense. Despite the state's efforts to address the funding problem, the reality today is that indigent defendants in Louisiana often do not receive the assistance of effective counsel because counsel is underfunded. While Louisiana courts have acknowledged that the state's failure to provide adequate funding results in inadequate representation and unnecessary pretrial detention, the courts have declined to hold Louisiana accountable for the funding shortfall in a way that might bring about meaningful change within the system. Recently, the United States Supreme Court had an opportunity to consider the problem in the 2013 case of Boyer v. Louisiana. This Comment explores the Supreme Court's decision in Boyer and uses it as a catalyst for discussion of Louisiana’s historical failure to fund the indigent defense system. Although the state continues to provide inadequate funding for indigent defendants, Boyer suggests an appropriate remedy to the funding crisis: judicial enforcement of the speedy trial remedy.


89 Tul. L. Rev. 491 (2014)