LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — Members of the Southwest Louisiana Bar Association are expressing concern over whether criminal defendants will receive adequate representation from civil lawyers under a new arrangement in Calcasieu Parish.

The American Press reports ( ) the group this week discussed news that some cases previously handled by the Calcasieu public defenders office are being reassigned to private lawyers — in some cases in civil practice.

The office announced earlier this month that because of a $240,000 deficit, it was terminating contracts with five lawyers and withdrawing from about 400 cases.

Bar members asked defenders office head Jay Dixon how the cases would be distributed and related matters.

Betty Raglin, president of the local bar, questioned whether she as a civil lawyer could provide an adequate defense for a criminal defendant.


Information from: American Press,