Public Defensein Louisiana


Score: 65/100

State Summary

The state of Louisiana has a statewide system of public defense, ensuring the independence of appointed counsel.

However, they are dependent on assessed fees for funding, which can fluctuate. Additionally, the state does not guarantee counsel at critical stages of criminal proceedings.


Group_21 (3)

Independent Counsel

Counsel is appointed by local defender boards, limiting judicial involvement in the appointment process.[1]

40/40 points

Group_21 (4)

Properly Resourced

Despite having a statewide system, Louisiana defenders are primarily funded through local court assessments, resulting in a lack of funding stability.[1] Funding levels can vary widely between districts, depending on the amount of fines collected. Furthermore, an accused offender assigned a court-appointed attorney can be charged $45 for “special costs,” However, the public defender’s office only receives the money if their client is convicted.

5/30 points

Group_21 (5)

Statewide Oversight

Statewide oversight is provided through an appointed supervisory board, which provides independent oversight.[1]

20/20 points

Group_21 (6)

Access at All Stages

The state does not always provide access to defense services at the pre-arraignment stage, a critical time for defendants to access counsel.[1]

0/10 points


1. LA Rev Stat § 15:162.1
2. Louisiana, Sixth Amendment Center,
3. Frequently Asked Questions, Louisiana Public Defender Board,
4. Louisiana, Sixth Amendment Center,