KTBS-TV posts, "Defense attorneys call Caddo Parish a death penalty 'hot spot'," by Sara Machi.
Caddo Parish assistant district attorney Dale Cox doesn't apologize for the office's capital conviction rate but says that's the reason for so many of office's current problems.
"The state board is very concerned about the Caddo Parish- number one- because the district attorney's office seeks the death penalty here," Cox said. "Number two: jurors in Caddo Parish award the death penalty."
Once the Caddo Parish District Attorney's Office files a motion to seek the death penalty against a given suspect, the Louisiana Public Defender Board steps in and assigns a defense team. In northwest Louisiana, those services have traditionally been covered by Capital Assistance Project of Louisiana, or CAPOLA. That organization, however, lost its state contract in July after a series of convictions and future of some local cases is now in uncharted territory.
Louisiana jurors sentenced 13 men to death between 2009 and 2014. Caddo Parish accounts for 46% of those cases.
When you look at the more than 80 people on death row in Angola, one in five was tried in a Caddo courtroom, more than any other parish.
Death penalty opponents say the statistics show that capital punishment is not a result of the crime committed, but instead of the geography in which it occurred.
Since reinstatement of the death penalty in the modern era, the south has accounted for 82% of executions. Within that region, there are some jurisdictions that sentences a disproportionately high number of people to die. A look at the 15 counties which have executed to most people since 1976 reveals nine in Texas alone.
"Agency handling area death penalty defense services could close by the end of the year," also by Sara Machi, was posted on September 2 by KTBS.
Tensions ran high Tuesday afternoon as the Caddo District Attorney's Office, local defense attorneys, and a state regulator argued over funds for death penalty cases.
The Louisiana Public Defender Board says it doesn't have the money to pay for expert witnesses ahead of Kenneth Willis' October 13 trial, so defense attorneys want proceedings pushed back until they can find the funds.
To make matters worse, the state board stopped funding Shreveport-based Capital Assistance Project of Louisiana, or CAPOLA. LPDB Capital Case Coordinator Jean Faria says, the decision was the result of two death penalty verdicts back-to-back.
Earlier coverage from Louisiana begins at the link. Related posts are in the indigent defense and geographic disparity category indexes. A recent analysis of death penalty prosecutions shows that only 10 counties in America are responsible for 25% of the executions