BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – Leaked emails from a local judge highlight possible dysfunction in the Public Defender’s Office.

This is not the first time Chief Public Defender Lisa Parker has made headlines for alleged mismanagement during the last 11 months in her position.

State Representative C. Denise Marcelle is concerned Parker is not the right fit for the position after a 19th JDC judge’s emails were sent to her.

“I was CC’d in an email from the judge in April,” Marcelle said. “Judges have never spoken out like this before about anyone, and so that says something in itself.”

The emails from Judge Tiffany Foxworth-Roberts paint a frightening picture saying several people in her courtroom were left without representation.

“Due to the high turnover rate and constant influx of new attorneys, resolving cases assigned to the OPD [Office of Public Defender] have become increasingly problematic,” Foxworth-Roberts said in the email. “The attorneys frequently have never had contact with their clients nor reviewed files until the matter is before the court. The unfamiliarity with the cases puts defendants at a significant disadvantage and delays timely adjudication.”

Foxworth-Roberts said cases are being delayed in her courtroom and noted Parker has not responded to her concerns.

“In addition, the manner in which OPD conflict cases are being assigned are creating ongoing issues. The
contracted attorneys do not regularly practice in this jurisdiction and when they fail to appear in person, their cases have to be reset. This is becoming a frequent practice, necessitating my office staff to make attempts to secure their presence in court and/or further delay the proceedings,” Foxworth-Roberts said in the email.

In March, a call for an investigation into the Public Defender’s office was answered after a steady flow of attorneys resigned or submitted complaints.

According to a spokesperson for Lisa Parker, a report has been published stemming from the investigation and they are pleased with the findings.

Marcelle is asking the Louisiana Public Defender’s Board to not renew Parker’s contract at the end of this month.

“To stop the bleeding, to maybe place her in another jurisdiction that’s maybe a smaller jurisdiction,” Marcelle said. “The indigent people are the most prone to not have representation, not have family, and maybe losing jobs, just sitting there waiting on their day in court,” Marcelle said.

BRPROUD asked Marcelle what the average length of time people are waiting for their day in court is. She didn’t have an answer but told us an audit is being performed to get us those answers.