23rd Judicial District
Last updated on: February 6, 2013
Alan J. Robert
12320 LA Highway 44, Building 4, Suite B
Gonzales, LA 70737
General District Information:
In the 23rd Judicial District, there are five sections of District Court and two Parish Courts (Gonzales and Donaldsonville). There are no City Courts. There is a specialty drug court and non-support court programs. The U.S. Census Bureau and the Annie E. Casey Foundation reported an estimated total population of 154,922 in this district, 42,171 of whom are children.
The District Defender in the 23rd Judicial District is Alan J. Robert, who has served in the position for four years and has been a public defender in Louisiana for eight years. The 23rd Judicial District Public Defenders’ Office is a contract public defenders’ office. At the end of 2012 the district reported one full-time District Defender and 20 contract attorneys. There are no restrictions on private practice outside of the Public Defenders’ Office. The District Defender supervises all staff, and no caseload reduction is provided for him. The office also has two administrative staff members.
Juvenile cases are heard by District Judges and one Parish Court Judge in the 23rd Judicial District. One attorney handles all juvenile cases.
Indigency Determination and Availability of Clients:
In the 23rd Judicial District, the Court makes the initial determination of indigence, with further determinations of eligibility for services done by the District Defender or his designee. Adult clients are held in Ascension Parish Jail or, if female adult clients are held outside of the district, at the Avoyelles Correctional Center. Juvenile clients are held at the St. James Detention Center or the Florida Parishes Detention Center.
Fees and Accounting:
The 23rd Judicial District Public Defenders’ Office collects the statutory $40 application fee from clients. In 2012, 562 applications were received for services. Two applicants received fee waivers but no fees were reduced for applicants. A total of $16,677 in application fees was collected. Courts in this district assess the statutory special cost fee in every case resulting in a conviction to support local public defender services. These special cost fees are collected by the Ascension, Assumption and St. James Parish Sheriffs’ Offices and Clerks of Court in the Parish Courts. Special cost fees in the amount of $663,009 were received by the districts in 2012. Courts in this district may also assess partial indigence payments for services based on a client’s ability to pay. A total of $9,235 was collected in partial indigence fees, collected by the Public Defenders’ Office or the Sheriff if part of a plea agreement. Accounting functions for the 23rd Judicial District Public Defenders’ Office are divided between staff and a contracted certified public accountant.
The 23rd Judicial District Public Defenders’ Office reported handling 7,262 cases in 2012. Of those, 1,279 involved juvenile matters, including 552 Child in Need of Care representations.
Land Area (square miles): 338.66
Population Density (per square mile): 69.2
Non-English Spoken at Home: 15.1%
High School Completion: 68.7%
Children in Special Education: 558 (*Non-public: Not Recorded)
Bachelors Degree or Higher: 8.3%
Median Household Income: $42,494
Living Below the Poverty Line: 17.8%
Children (persons under 18): 24.6%
Child Population in Poverty: 23%
Youth under the Supervision of OJJ: 20
Link to Assumption Parish Census
Kids Count Report