Seven inmates including an alleged rapist and accused murderer are set to be released in New Orleans because the state of Louisiana cannot afford to represent them.
Judge Arthur Hunter ruled that seven suspects should be freed because they cannot afford attorneys and are being denied the right to one by state authorities.
Among the accused are suspected killer Darrian Franklin, 40, and alleged rapist Henry Campbell, 21.
The five other men – Alex Bernard, Malcolm Smith, Donald Gamble, Joshua Vaughn and Benny Walker – are all alleged robbers, with four of them accused of using a firearm.
Some of them have spent months in jail without any legal representation, which the judge ruled was unconstitutional.
Hunter ordered the release of all seven of the inmates, but the men will remain in jail for at least the next 10 days.
The judge stayed his decision so District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro can consider filing an appeal, which his office says he has the full intention of doing.
Hunter ruled that each of the seven men’s Sixth Amendment rights had been violated, The Advocate reported.
‘The defendants’ constitutional rights are not contingent on budget demands, waiting lists and the failure of the Legislature to adequately fund indigent defense,’ he wrote.