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Private New Orleans Lawyers Defend Prisoners

Posted May 7, 2007 7:48 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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In the latest chapter of an ongoing post-Katrina battle that has pitted a local prosecutor against a local judge, private lawyers are now being drafted to help deal with a backlog of unrepresented prisoners being held in New Orleans jails.

Moments after Judge Arthur Hunter issued another ruling Monday calling for the release of prisoners without lawyers, the prosecutor, Orleans Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan, vowed that prisoners would not be released. Hunter has repeatedly issued orders providing for approximately 100 prisoners to be let out of jail, but appellate courts so far have blocked enforcement of the orders, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Meanwhile, the judge announced on Monday that his courtroom will begin drafting private New Orleans lawyers to represent poor inmates. A number of private lawyers have already volunteered to do so, but there aren't enough on the current list of volunteers to handle all the defense work.

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