Louisiana Defense Attorneys See Crisis in Capital Cases; Prosecutors Don’t


A shortage of death penalty-certified attorneys and the lack of adequate defense funding in Louisiana add up to a “looming crisis,” defense attorneys tell the Baton Rouge Advocate. erfunded. “It's going to hit the wall,” he said. Prosecutors have another point of view. bar. “Beneath the advocacy there is a strong disdain for the death penalty,” says Pete Adams, executive director of the Louisiana District Attorneys Association. “There is a collaboration to end the death penalty as an option here. That's the M.O.”

Louisiana, which currently has 88 convicts awaiting execution, has put to death only two death-row inmates in the past 10 years. The most recent, Gerald Bordelon, was executed in 2010 after he opted not to appeal his death sentence in a Livingston Parish case for sexually assaulting his 12-year-old stepdaughter in 2002 and strangling her. There were no executions in the state from 1972, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down capital punishment laws, until 1983, when executions were resumed in Louisiana. One advocates says the cost to a public defenders office to handle a couple of capital cases “can break the bank.”

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