NEW ORLEANS – On Friday afternoon, former Staff Attorney Ashley Crawford was formally charged.
Ms. Crawford’s employment with Orleans Public Defenders Office was terminated in June after it was discovered she had been practicing law without a license.
Ms. Crawford worked on more than 100 cases in Criminal District Court, despite the fact that she is not licensed to practice law in Louisiana.
OPD has confirmed that Ms. Crawford does have a law degree, and although she took and passed the Louisiana bar exam, questions regarding her MPRE score kept her from being certified eligible to practice law in Louisiana.
Ms. Crawford is being charged with public payroll fraud, practicing law without a licence, filing/maintaining false public record, and injuring public records.
When asked about the charges, the New Orleans’ District Attorney’s office said, “We recused ourselves from the case months ago because we might need to seek a civil judgment for any expenses incurred if we must retry any of the cases she touched. Officially, we have no comment on the arrest or the charges brought by the Attorney General’s office after its investigation.”
The charges against Ms. Crawford were filed by Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office.
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.
It remains unclear what will happen to the cases that Crawford worked on while employed at OPD.