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June 25, 2019, 11:12 am CDT
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A public defender in New Orleans is under investigation for allegedly practicing law without a license in more than 100 cases.
The staff lawyer, Ashley Crawford, was pulled from cases, while the Orleans Parish district attorney’s office conducts a criminal investigation, report the New Orleans Advocate, WVUE, WDSU and 4WWL. The district attorney’s statement is here.
The state bar directory does not have a listing for Crawford. In at least two court motions, Crawford used the bar number of another attorney, according to the New Orleans Advocate. Her Facebook page said she began working for the Orleans Public Defenders office in September.
Ashley Crawford. Photo from the Orleans Public Defenders office.
Crawford is a May 2016 graduate of the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, and she clerked for a New Orleans judge beginning that fall, according to her LinkedIn page. Judicial clerks are not required to pass the bar exam.
The problem was discovered after the public defender’s office said it couldn’t find records for Crawford and asked for certificates of good standing for its attorneys, according to a Louisiana Supreme Court statement cited by WVUE.
An assistant public defender in Edwardsville, Illinois, was fired in May after a judge discovered that she also didn’t have a law license.
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