At least four lawyers and investigators for the public defender’s office in Orleans Parish, Louisiana, say they were charged with crimes for legal conduct that was part of their jobs, and two others have been threatened with charges.
The charges include kidnapping against an investigator who spoke to two juveniles outside their house, and charges of impersonating an officer against an investigator who identified herself but was misidentified as a prosecutor by a third party.
Professor Bennett Gershman of Pace University Law School in White Plains, New York, studies misconduct by prosecutors, said that New Orleans prosecutors could be looking to intimidate or create disadvantages for public defenders.
“I can’t think of any way to justify what the prosecutor’s office has done,” he said. “It’s an abuse of power.”