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La. Criminal Defense Bar Draft Not a Hot Ticket for Lawyers

Posted Nov 19, 2007 2:52 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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An attempt by a Louisiana judge to draft criminal defense lawyers to help out, on a pro bono basis, with a backlog of indigent cases was not an overwhelming success.

Only 17 of the 33 lawyers notified last month that they should appear Friday in the courtroom of Orleans Parish Criminal District Judge Arthur Hunter actually showed up, reports the Times-Picayune.

And of the 17 who did comply, three filed motions seeking to withdraw and another said he lacks the necessary support staff to handle a case, the newspaper writes. "Others asked to be reimbursed for fees or expenses for doing indigent defense work."

But the judge's effort did succeed in recruiting a few willing pro bono lawyers. Among them, Joe Peiffer and Lance McCardle of Correro Fishman Haygood Phelps Walmsley & Casteix both said they would work for free. "I think all lawyers have an obligation to do pro bono work," Peiffer said.

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