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Witness: No funds for expert witness in Landon Broussard's murder trial

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LAFAYETTE, Louisiana — An administrator for the Louisiana Public Defender Board testified there is no money available to fund expert witnesses needed to defend a Lafayette man accused of killing his girlfriend's child. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1hYr8Fp ) the capital case coordinator for the state board, Jean Faria, said there isn't nearly enough money to pay experts for all of Louisiana's poor defendants.

She said Broussard's attorneys applied for funds to cover the cost of a mitigator, who has since quit the case after waiting to be paid.

She said the team would have to file more applications to get back in the funding line if it hopes to receive money that might become available in June.

Faria said she's had to tell attorneys for other indigent defendants across Louisiana there is no money.

"We've had to tell people, 'We can't fund you now,' " Faria said.

Broussard's trial date has not been set.

Broussard's public defenders have cited the lack of state funds available to pay for a mitigator, who coordinates witnesses in capital case, and expert witnesses who would testify in Broussard's defense.

In December, Broussard's defense team of Clay LeJeune, Elliott Brown and Kim Haynes told Judge Durwood Conque they needed state Public Defender Board funds to proceed.

On Monday, LeJeune said Broussard's legal team remained handcuffed because of the funding issue.

Conque laid some of the blame on Broussard's attorneys, telling LeJeune, Hayes and Brown they had not been diligent enough in applying for funds from a defender board that awards those who sit at the front of the application queue.

"I think there are things you can do . to bring the case closer to trial readiness," Conque said.


Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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