Office of Public Defender relocates in Plaquemine

Staff Report
Officials cut the ribbon to dedicate the new Office of the Public Defender in Plaquemine, located on Meriam Street.

A dedication ceremony Friday marked the opening of a new Plaquemine location for the Office of the Public Defender in the 18th Judicial District.

The location is directly across from the Iberville Parish Courthouse on Meriam Street.

The office had operated from the courthouse until the pandemic.

Renovations on the building cost $250,000.

It marks the first time that office has had a freestanding building in Iberville.

“It’s something that they’ve been able to do when the state is in better shape than it has ever been in,” State Public Defender Re’my Starnes said. “We knew we needed to have a better place in Iberville Parish, and it was through the efforts of public defenders Tom Nelson and Jerry D’Aquila to help us get out own facility.”

D'Aquila serves as the district public defender.

Assistant District Attorney Scott Stassi said he worked with Starnes to acquire state funds for the new office.

“I was at the Capitol when Mr. Starnes came when I was there for DA’s Office, and just like we need funding, they need funding,” he said.  “We might be on opposite ends, but we all realize we’re doing governmental work, so he stood by us, and we agreed stand by him on the funding issue.”  

Others who work out of the Plaquemine office include Mike Mares, Mike Mitchell, Tommy Thompson, Dana Kirkland, Victor Woods and Maynard Battiste.