It is not uncommon for public defenders in Louisiana to complain that being forced to handle an excessive criminal-defense caseload violates Louisiana Rule of Professional Conduct 1.1. That rule requires them to provide “competent” representation to their clients.1 When a Missouri public defender lodged a similar complaint, the presiding judge entered the following order:
This Court, having heard [the public defender’s] assertion that he is unable to provide competent representation [to his many clients because his] total open cases currently number 68, [the public defender] is ordered to violate Missouri Supreme Court Rule 4, and enter a full and not-limited entry of appearance as attorney of record in the above-numbered cause.
See Missouri v. Redacted Defendant (Sep. 18, 2018). At least the judge was honest about what he was doing.
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- Such lawyers also contend that excessive caseloads threaten their clients’ right to the “effective assistance of counsel” guaranteed by the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments. ↵