15th Judicial District
Last updated on: February 6, 2013
G. Paul Marx
600 Jefferson, Suite 902
Lafayette, LA 70501
General District Information:
In the 15th Judicial District, there are 12 sections of District Court (three in Acadia Parish, seven in Lafayette Parish, and two in Vermilion Parish). There are five City Courts in this district (Abbeville, Crowley, Kaplan, Lafayette, and Rayne). There are drug court programs for adults and juveniles in this district. The U.S. Census Bureau and the Annie E. Casey Foundation reported an estimated total population of 341,350 in this district, 86,603 of whom are children.
The District Defender in this district is G. Paul Marx, who has served in the position for two years and has been a public defender for 32 years. The 15th Judicial District Public Defenders' Office is a mixed staff and contract public defenders' office. At the end of 2012 the district reported 14 full or part-time staff attorneys in addition to the District Defender, and 38 part-time contract attorneys working varied hours per month. Full-time attorneys are prohibited from having a private practice. Contractors must limit outside practice and must treat PD clients exactly as other clients. There are explicit contractual terms plus directives from District Defender. A caseload reduction is provided for supervising attorneys, and the District Defender generally does not enroll in cases (except where necessary to mentor assistant public defenders). The office also has 11 non-attorney staff members which include research and data entry specialists.
Juvenile cases are heard by District Court Judges in the 15th Judicial District. Three staff attorneys, including a supervising juvenile attorney, and eight contract attorneys handle juvenile cases in this district.
Indigency Determination and Availability of Clients:
In the 15th Judicial District, the Court makes the initial determination of indigence, with further determinations of eligibility for services performed by the Public Defenders' Office. Adult clients are held at the Acadia Parish Detention Center, Acadia Parish Jail, Lafayette Parish Correctional Center, or Vermilion Parish Correctional Center. If held outside of the district, clients are held at the Avoyelles Marksville Detention Center, New Iberia Correctional Center, or Richland Detention Center. Juvenile clients are held at the Lafayette Parish Juvenile Detention Center.
Fees and Accounting:
The 15th Judicial District Public Defenders' Office collects the statutory $40 application fee from clients. In 2012, 11,891 applications were received for services. Application fees are waived or reduced for an estimated 20% to 25% of applicants. A total of $80,845 was collected for application fees. These fees are generally collected by the Public Defenders' Office but may be collected by the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office. Courts in this district assess the statutory special cost fee in every case resulting in a conviction to support local public defender services. In 2012, the district received $1,649,389 in special cost fees, which are collected by the City Courts or by the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office (for District Courts). Courts in this district, in cooperation with the District Defender, may assess partial indigence payments for services based on clients' ability to pay. Clients over poverty guidelines will be assessed a fixed fee. Any resulting payments are collected by the Court. All accounting functions for the 15th Judicial District Public Defenders' Office are handled internally by staff with the assistance of a certified public accountant.
The 15th Judicial District Public Defenders' Office handled 19,720 cases in 2012. Of those, 3,351 involved juvenile matters, including 1,585 Child in Need of Care representations.
Land Area (square miles): 655.12
Population Density (per square mile): 94.3
Non-English Spoken at Home: 16.3%
High School Completion: 69.5%
Children in Special Education: 1250
Bachelors Degree or Higher: 10.9%
Median Household Income: $37,261
Living Below the Poverty Line: 20.3%
Children (persons under 18): 27.3%
Child Population in Poverty: 30%
Youth under the Supervision of OJJ: 59
Link to Acadia Parish Census
Kids Count Report
Louisiana Department of Education