Dear Louisiana Public Defender Board,
I am writing to encourage you to preserve the due process rights and humanity of poor people living in Lafayette who are charged with crimes. The lives of these human beings along with the amazing public defenders committed to defending them will be shattered if you vote to obliterate the Lafayette Public Defender’s Office.
As the current Training Director for the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, a former tenured professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, a trainer/mentor of public defenders throughout this country, and a former public defender who practiced in Georgia for over 13 years, I fully understand the challenges facing public defender offices throughout this country. Yet no matter how overwhelming the circumstances may be, you cannot afford to do away with this office, and the public defenders who fight to protect the constitutional rights if the citizens of Lafayette.
It is no secret that we are in an age of mass incarceration with over 2 million people incarcerated in this country. So also as a scholar on The Prison Industrial Complex, I know the tragic effects that will befall upon all the people of this Parish if the Lafayette Pubic Defender’s Office does not exist. Not only will an inhumane and unjust criminal system will be cultivated without this office, but its absence will also generate a negative economic impact on this area; without zealous public defenders to protect the rights of the poor, more people will be needlessly sent to jails and prisons thereby increasing incarceration expenses. Thus more people will be unconstitutionally convicted and disenfranchised, while the rest of the Parish will be forced to endure the financial costs of this increased incarceration.
Therefore, I implore you to do all you can to sustain the Lafayette Public Defender’s Office and protect all the lives and livelihood of the people living in this Parrish. I personally know many of the phenomenal public defenders in this office and can attest to their dedication, fortitude, and compassion to those they serve. It will truly be an injustice to everyone in Lafayette if this office no longer exists.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
Patrice A. Fulcher
Director of Training