I-TEAM: State Representative again calls on removal of EBR Chief Public Defender

Lisa Parker
Lisa Parker(WAFB)
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 3:50 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - State Representative C. Denise Marcelle has once again called on the removal of EBR Chief Public Defender, Lisa Parker. In a letter to the Louisiana Public Defender Board obtained by the WAFB I-TEAM, the state lawmaker echoes a number of issues she first raised last year against Parker and also cites other complaints that followed after Parker was appointed as the interim chief in the 23rd Judicial District Court.

“There judges who had no prior professional dealings with Chief Parker used strong and particular language to describe their internal disgust with the lack of concern and production by Chief Parker,” Marcelle wrote.

RELATED: THE INVESTIGATORS: State representative calls for investigation into EBR public defender’s office

Marcelle alleges that droves of employees have resigned from the EBROPD over issues with office morale and she claims defendants continue to receive inexperienced representation. The lawmaker also claims to have received complaints of ineffective counsel in Juvenile Court because of the “overwhelming work and lack of attorneys to sustain the caseloads.

Last year, Parker spoke with the WAFB I-TEAM, addressing the complaints against, citing funding as one of the obstacles for hiring and retaining staff.

“If we could have funding where we could actually hire enough attorneys to lower the case load for all of the attorneys that would be great,” said Parker.

RELATED: THE INVESTIGATORS: Chief Public Defender addresses complaints against her office

A committee looked into the office last year, interviewing a number of employees there. Ultimately they found the bulk of the issues came from some changes made under Parker.

Parker said at the time that everyone will not be happy with certain changes under new leadership but that she had no plans to step down.

“People are going to have complaints. Everybody is not going to be happy when changes are made,” said Parker. “I understand her passion for the citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish and I too have passion for the citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish and that’s why I continue to strive at making sure the clients are properly represented.”

Marcelle is calling on the board to form a search committee to find someone to replace Parker immediately.

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