NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A public defender in New Orleans is accused of practicing criminal law without a license.
News outlets report Ashley Crawford was pulled from a courtroom Monday while investigators look into whether she is qualified to practice law in Louisiana.
Crawford has been a staff attorney with the Orleans Public Defenders Office since last fall, and may have worked on more than 100 criminal cases.
But no one by Crawford’s name is listed in the state bar directory.
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro says Crawford hasn’t been charged and the investigation is ongoing. Practicing law without a license is punishable by up to two years in prison.
A spokeswoman for the defender’s office says Crawford is currently not authorized to represent herself as a staff lawyer.
The New Orleans Advocate reports that a LinkedIn profile for an Ashley Crawford states that she graduated in 2016 from the law school of Loyola University in New Orleans and, starting that November, was a clerk for Civil District Court Judge Piper Griffin.
The university confirmed that it granted a law degree to an Ashley L. Crawford in May 2016, and a court spokesman confirmed that someone named Ashley Griffin clerked for Griffin. Law clerks don’t need to pass the bar exam, the spokesman said.