DA: Public defender who worked on 100+ cases not licensed to practice law in Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS – A lawyer with the Orleans Public Defenders Office has worked on more than 100 cases in Criminal District Court, despite the fact that she is not licensed to practice law in Louisiana.

The attorney in question, Ashley Crawford, is currently listed as a staff attorney in the Trial Division on the Orleans Public Defenders website.

Ashley Crawford, courtesy Orleans Parish Public Defenders Office

“Our office has been made aware by the Louisiana Supreme Court that Ms. Ashley Crawford of the Orleans Public Defenders office has been falsely portraying herself for several months as a licensed attorney in Louisiana,” Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said. “Practicing law without a license, as Ms. Crawford appears to have done on more than 100 cases across all 12 sections of Criminal District Court, is both a criminal offense and a grave violation of the public trust in the criminal justice system. We are investigating these allegations as a criminal matter and have requested that the Orleans Public Defenders preserve and deliver all evidence relative to this complaint. As this is an open case, we have no further comment at this time.”

Crawford could be fined as much as $1,000 or sentenced to up to two years in jail if found guilty of practicing law without a license.

So far, Crawford has not been charged with a crime, Cannizzaro said, but an investigation is underway.

It remains unclear what will happen to the cases that Crawford worked on without a license.

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