16th Judicial District
Last updated on: February 6, 2013
M. Craig Colwart
107 Wilson Street
Franklin, LA 70538
General District Information:
In the 16th Judicial District, there are eight sections of District Court, five City Courts (Franklin, New Iberia, Jeanerette, Breaux Bridge and Morgan City), and two Mayor’s Courts (Patterson and St. Martinville). The District has a DWI court and a drug court program. The U.S. Census Bureau and the Annie E. Casey Foundation reported an estimated total population of 180,900 in this district, 47,517 of whom are children.
The District Defender in this district is M. Craig Colwart, who has served in the position for 18 years and been a public defender for 32 years. The 16th Judicial District Public Defenders’ Office is a mixed staff and contract public defenders’ office. At the end of 2012 the district reported a full-time District Defender and 17 part-time staff and contract attorneys. Attorneys are not permitted to handle private cases within the section of court to which they are assigned. In addition to the District Defender, there are several supervising attorneys. No caseload reduction is provided for supervising attorneys. The office also has 15 non-attorney staff members.
Juvenile cases are heard by District and City Court Judges in the 16th Judicial District. Four attorneys handle all juvenile cases in this district.
Indigency Determination and Availability of Clients:
In the 16th Judicial District, the Public Defenders’ Office makes the determination of indigence upon receiving notice of appointment. Adult clients are held at the St. Mary Law Enforcement Center, Bernick City Jail, Morgan City Jail, Jeanerette City Jail, Patterson City Jail, Iberia Parish Jail, New Iberia City Jail, St. Martin Parish Jail, St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Substation, or Breaux Bridge City Jail. Juvenile clients are held outside the district at the St. James Detention Center.
Fees and Accounting:
The 16th Judicial District Public Defenders’ Office collects the statutory $40 application fee from clients. In 2012, a total of 6,208 applications were received for services. Fees were waived for fewer than 15 applicants and were not reduced for any applicants. A total of $55,280 was collected for application fees. 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 St. Mary, St. Martin, and Iberia Parish Sheriffs’ Offices. Courts in this district also may assess partial indigence payments for services based on clients’ ability to pay. Any resulting payments are collected by the St. Mary, St. Martin, and Iberia Parish Sheriffs’ Offices. All accounting functions for the 16th Judicial District Public Defenders’ Office are handled internally by staff.
The 16th Judicial District Public Defenders’ Office handled 12,165 cases in 2012. Of those, 1,534 involved juvenile matters, including 256 Child in Need of Care representations.
St Martin Information
Land Area (square miles): 737.65
Population Density (per square mile): 70.7
Non-English Spoken at Home: 23.2%
High School Completion: 74.1%
Children in Special Education: 1,063
Bachelors Degree or Higher: 11.6%
Median Household Income: $41,302
Living Below the Poverty Line: 16.9%
Children (persons under 18): 26.4%
Child Population in Poverty: 34%
Youth under the Supervision of OJJ: 133
Link to St. Martin Parish Census
Kids Count Report