Public defense office cuts back over possible revenue drop


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A New Orleans public defense office is cutting services and halting hiring over a projected $1.1 million revenue shortfall.

The New Orleans Advocate reports Chief District Defender Derwyn Bunton says Orleans Public Defenders is running out of money and needs to slow spending to stay open. He says the cuts and hiring freeze are in response to an expected $400,000 drop in revenue from court fines and fees and a $700,000 cut in state Public Defender Board funding.

Bunton says the revenue drop could lead to layoffs and longer wait times for defendants. The office will stop hiring private attorneys for cases where co-defendants’ interests conflict. Bunton says these are a “significant” portion of the agency’s overall workload. It signed its last contract with private attorneys for these on Friday.

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