Marjorie R. Esman has been Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana since September 2007, after twenty years in the private practice of law. Her law practice focused on copyright and trademark issues, as well as First Amendment litigation concerning the freedom of speech and religion. She was a member of the ACLU of Louisiana board of directors from 1995 and the ACLU National Board from 1997, until she resigned both positions to become Executive Director.
Since taking the helm of the ACLU, she has increased the full-time staff from four to six, expanded its lobbying presence in Baton Rouge, and added part-time field staff in Shreveport and Baton Rouge.
In addition to her law degree (Tulane 1987), Esman holds an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Tulane University (1981) and has taught at Tulane, LSU, and the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette). She serves on the board of Parkway Partners, a New Orleans organization dedicated to restoring and preserving the green spaces in the city of New Orleans.
Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended?
In 2017, Louisiana’s legislature passed the Justice Reinvestment Act, which sought to reduce the state’s highest-in-the-nation incarceration rate. The bill was championed by Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards and received bipartisan support including from community and business leaders. Now, just over a year later, the legislation has become a political football. State Attorney General Jeff Landry and Senator John Kennedy, both Republicans considering a run against Edwards in 2019, suggest that the reform package is a failure. They cite murders committed by two inmates released since the Act’s implementation.
Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended? Has the legislation put more residents in harm’s way or are plea deals part of the problem?
Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on “Revisiting Reform” Wednesday, September 26 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE.
Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.