NEW ORLEANS - Council President Jason Williams has rescheduled today's press conference to discuss the Council's approval of a historic 2021 City Budget amendment relative to parity for the Public Defender's Office and District Attorney (DA) for tomorrow, Nov. 20, at 10:30 AM.
In August, the Council passed Ordinance 33,093, which provided that the Public Defender's Office should be allocated 85% of what the DA's office is allotted. However, the Mayor's proposed budget allocated only a fraction of what the Council felt was needed. The approved budget amendment will bring the parity amount much closer to that 85% goal. This measure is not intended to rescind or replace Ordinance 33,093, but rather, it reflects the need to do right by the Public Defender's Office while also recognizing the dire fiscal situation the City currently faces.
The budget amendment approved during today's regular meeting is an important step forward in reducing this longstanding disparity between the Public Defender's Office budget and that of the DA.
"The immense funding crisis and lack of support for our New Orleans Public Defender's Office is truly unacceptable, especially considering they handle about 85% of all cases in criminal court. We cannot allow this cycle of injustice to go on. And while this amendment is still nowhere near what they deserve, it's a significant step in the right direction toward a more equitable and inclusive criminal justice system," said Council President and Criminal Justice Committee Chair Jason Williams.
WHO: Councilmember Jason Williams and Orleans Parish Public Defender's Office
WHAT: Press conference to discuss 2021 budget amendment to increase funding parity for Public Defender's Office
WHEN: Friday, Nov. 20, at 10:30 AM
WHERE: Front steps of Criminal District Court, 2700 Tulane (Tulane & Broad)
Keith D. Lampkin
Office of Jason R. Williams, Council-At-Large