Press Releases

The Orleans Public Defenders Office, Orleans Parish Louisiana


Orleans Public Defenders

Press Release – January 21, 2014


OPD’S KENNY GREEN NAMED 2014 CITYBUSINESS LEADER IN LAW

New Orleans, LA – The Orleans Public Defenders (OPD) are proud to announce our own Chief of Trials Kenny Green is the recipient of the 2014 CityBusiness Leader in Law. Green, the sole court-appointed honoree, is among 50 of New Orleans’ top legal professionals recognized for moving the legal community forward with energy, innovative ideas, achievements and a commitment to excellence.

In November, Green marked his 30th year as a criminal defense attorney in New Orleans, the vast majority of that time spent in public defense, first as a part of the original Orleans Indigent Defense Program and now as an integral piece of the restructured OPD. “Kenny is courage incarnate, fighting for our clients and lawyers. Kenny has dedicated himself to make the practice of public defense in New Orleans one of the best in the country,” said Chief Defender Derwyn Bunton. “His leadership and dedication is unparalleled and his advocacy for public defense is tireless both in the court and out.”

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Press Release – October 9, 2013


OPD’S NZINGA HILL RECEIVES NATIONAL NLADA AWARD RECOGNITION

New Orleans, LA – The Orleans Public Defenders (OPD) are pleased to announce our own Nzinga Hill is the recipient of the 2013 National Legal Aid and Defender Association’s (NLADA) Reginald Heber Smith Award. Given since the early 1960s, Hill is one of just two honorees nationwide to receive the “Reggie” award recognizing the dedication and outstanding achievements of civil or indigent defense attorneys. Hill and the other 2013 NLADA national awards winners will be recognized at the Annual Conference November 8, 2013 in Los Angeles.

Hill is the supervising attorney of OPD’s Child in Need of Care (CINC) unit, advocating tirelessly in Orleans Parish Juvenile Court to reunite families. Her representation is unparalleled and her dedication to improve representation for parents in CINC cases is determined.

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Press Release – October 15, 2013


PUBLIC DEFENSE STILL ESSENTIAL IN MAYOR LANDRIEU’S 2014 BUDGET

New Orleans, LA – Mayor Landrieu once again proved his commitment to a fair and balanced criminal justice system today with the continued funding of the Orleans Public Defenders (OPD) in his 2014 budget. While the general appropriation is a near $150,000 decrease, the additional $232,000 appropriation for defense in racketeering cases will hopefully help stave off further private bar pro bono representation needs for the mayor’s Group Violence Reduction Strategy (GVRS). OPD’s $940,000 appropriation remains significantly less than the NOPD, the Sheriff and the District Attorney.

“The mayor’s continued support for OPD and public defense in New Orleans is another step toward a fair and just criminal justice system, and the additional GVRS appropriation is certainly a big part of that,” said Chief Public Defender Derwyn Bunton. “However, the persistent resource disparity within the criminal justice system threatens an efficient, reliable court system and hinders our ability to keep up with the growing and complex demands our criminal justice system. Until OPD secures stable, reliable and adequate funding, we remain vulnerable to service restrictions.”

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Press Release – June 13, 2013


DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S NEW TWENTY DEFENDANT INDICTMENT STRAINS OPD RESOURCES AND THREATENS JUSTICE

New Orleans – Yesterday, the district attorney handed down another sweeping indictment, this time 20 co-defendants. This comes on the heels of the previous 15 co-defendant indictment a month ago. Court proceedings in that case are at a standstill as many of those defendants have yet to receive representation.

The Orleans Public Defenders Office simply doesn’t have the adequate resources after sustaining millions of dollars in cuts over the past two years. As OPD previously warned, should all 20 of the new defendants qualify for (and request) a public defender, many may not have attorneys when proceedings begin unless they have money for private counsel. The New Orleans criminal justice system will be hard-pressed to move these cases toward resolution – if they move at all.

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Press Release – May 9, 2013


DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S FIFTEEN DEFENDANT INDICTMENT EXPOSES OPD’S LACK OF ADEQUATE RESOURCES, JEOPARDIZING THE CASE

New Orleans – Yesterday, the district attorney handed down a 15 co-defendant indictment. The unprecedented number of group prosecutions is consistent with the Mayor’s new Group Violence Reduction Strategy (GVRS). While the initiative is a commendable effort to address the city’s violence, it stresses an already strained public defense office and criminal justice system.

Prosecuting so many people at once creates ethical conflicts in their defense. After sustaining millions of dollars in cuts over the past two years, the Orleans Public Defenders Office (OPD) simply does not have adequate resources to handle all charged. Many of the defendants may not have attorneys when proceedings begin unless they have money for private counsel.

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85% of people going through the criminal justice system will need a public defender.

While presumed innocent, nearly 2/3 remain jailed because they can’t afford their bond. OPD protects innocence, holds power accountable, and fights for equity in our justice system. We work for healthier, stronger communities. Help us continue to make a difference.

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Orleans Public Defenders

2601 Tulane Avenue

Suite 700

New Orleans, LA 70119

Tel: (504) 821-8101

Fax: (504) 821-5285

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