RS 15:146     

§146. Louisiana Public Defender Board

            A.(1) There is hereby created and established as a state agency within the office of the governor the Louisiana Public Defender Board to provide for the supervision, administration, and delivery of a statewide public defender system, which shall deliver uniform public defender services in all courts in this state. The board shall be a body corporate with the power to sue and be sued.

            (2) The board and its agents and employees shall be subject to the Code of Governmental Ethics, the law relative to public records and open meetings, the law relative to public bid and procurement, and all other provisions of law applicable to state agencies.

            (3) The two members of the Louisiana Public Defender Board appointed by the president of the Louisiana State Bar Association, the member appointed by the chairman of the Louisiana State Law Institute's Children's Code Committee, the member appointed by the President of the Louisiana Chapter of the Louis A. Martinet Society, the member appointed by the Louisiana Interchurch Conference, the two members appointed by the governor and the four members appointed by the governor and nominated by the four law schools, as formerly provided in this Section, shall terminate their service on August 1, 2016.

            (4) To the extent practicable, the board shall be comprised of members who reflect the racial and gender makeup of the general population of the state, and who are geographically representative of all portions of the state.

            (5) When a vacancy occurs, whether by expiration of a term, resignation, or other event, the board staff shall submit to the appointing entity a list identifying the residency of the current board members by congressional district, and request that, to the extent possible, the entity make the appointment from the residents of under-represented districts.

            B.(1) The board shall consist of eleven members.

            (2) Persons appointed to the board shall have significant experience in the defense of criminal proceedings or shall have demonstrated a strong commitment to quality representation in indigent defense matters. No person shall be appointed to the board who has received compensation to be an elected judge, elected official, judicial officer, prosecutor, law enforcement official, indigent defense provider, or employees of all such persons, within a two-year period prior to appointment. No active part-time, full-time, contract or court-appointed indigent defense provider, or active employees of such persons, may be appointed to serve on the board as a voting member. No person having an official responsibility to the board, administratively or financially, or their employee shall be appointed to the board during their term of office. The majority of board members shall be current members of the Louisiana State Bar Association. Representatives of the client community shall not be prohibited from serving as voting members of the board.

            (3) The members shall be selected as follows:

            (a) The governor shall appoint five members, one from each appellate court district, and shall designate the chairman.

            (b) The five members shall be appointed from a list of three nominees submitted to the governor by a majority of the district public defenders providing public defender services in each appellate district.

            (c) The chief justice of the Supreme Court of Louisiana shall appoint four members, one member shall be a juvenile justice advocate; one member shall be a retired judge with criminal law experience; and two members shall be at large.

            (d) The president of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives shall each appoint one member.

            (e) All appointments to the board shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate.

            (4) A vacancy on the board shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

            (5) Members of the board shall serve staggered terms of four years.

            C.(1) A member may be removed for excessive absences from meetings. For the purposes of this Subsection, "excessive absences" means missing four duly noticed meetings within a period of eighteen months or three duly noticed meetings within a period of ten months.

            (2) Upon review of board member attendance, if a board member has been excessively absent from board meetings, the chairman shall inform the board of the absences and shall send written notice on behalf of the board to the member requesting that the member resign his position on the board. If the member refuses to resign, the board shall remove the member for excessive absences in accordance with the provisions of this Subsection.

            (3) If a member is removed as provided by this Subsection, the board shall send written notice to the member informing him of his removal and notify the appropriate appointing authority of the vacancy on the board.

            D. The board shall notify the appropriate appointing authority of any board vacancy which occurs for any reason.

            Added by Acts 1976, No. 653, §1; Amended by Acts 1977, No. 362, §1; Acts 1980, No. 458, §1; Acts 1980, No. 530, §1; Acts 1981, No. 141, §1; Acts 1981, No. 177, §1; Acts 1981, No. 281, §1; Acts 1983, No. 649, §1, eff. July 20, 1983; Acts 1984, No. 379, §1; Acts 1985, No. 764, §1; Acts 1988, No. 315, §1; Acts 1990, No. 1044, §1; Acts 1991, No. 549, §1; Acts 1995, No. 1286, §1; Acts 1999, No. 914, §1; Acts 1999, No. 1187, §2; Acts 2001, No. 283, §1; Acts 2005, No. 112, §1; Acts 2005, No. 343, §1; Acts 2007, No. 307, §1; Acts 2014, No. 113, §1; Acts 2016, No. 571, §1.