Miguel began his career in public criminal defense representation in 2003 servicing clients represented by conflict panel attorneys in the Georgia State Public Defender system. There, Miguel conducted pre-trial, fact- based investigations for adult clients facing serious felony charges in multiple jurisdictions including federal and state jurisdictions.
In 2005, Miguel answered the call of his community and returned to New Orleans working with the New Orleans Survivor Council to find survivors of Hurricane Katrina, help residents return to New Orleans, and find the resources to rebuild their communities. To that end, Miguel helped clean/repair over 100 homes in the Lower 9th Ward, rebuild 5 homes for senior members, reopen Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School, save St. Augustine Catholic Church, helped file a federal injunction and physically stopped the indiscriminate bulldozing of resident’s homes in the Lower 9th Ward. Miguel also partnered with and helped organize for migrant worker rights and to find the families of Louisiana’s incarcerated children. Along the way, Miguel helped organize hundreds of residents and college students in holding community meetings to help residents harvest their own genius in recovery. At that time, Miguel began working with local attorneys on civil and criminal cases as he helped organize the return of residents to New Orleans.
Miguel joined LCCR at the beginning of 2008, just a few months after the organization was originally established. Miguel became the first state licensed investigator for LCCR conducting fact-based pre-trial investigations and, in the beginning years of the office, as the youth advocate creating dispositional planning, representing children in educational advocacy, conducting intake, and establishing pre and post-dispositional protocols for LCCR. Miguel served LCCR for years as the senior investigator taking on adult transfer and serious felony cases, supervising interns, and training a host of employees, law clerks and long-term volunteers.
From 2009 to 2014, Miguel represented LCCR within the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative in New Orleans. During this time, Miguel helped institute JDAI best practices in New Orleans and worked with juvenile justice stakeholders to establish the Risk Assessment Instrument (RAI) used to determine eligibility for release and alternates to detention. From 2012 to 2014, Miguel served as the chairperson for the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) workgroup of JDAI New Orleans. In that capacity, Miguel helped reorganize ATD’s, recreate how ATD’s are assessed and assigned, and established guidelines of programming effectiveness for each alternative.
During this time, from 2012 to 2014, Miguel also served as Program Director for Youth Organizing at the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana. Miguel was charged with organizing over 5 distinct, multicultural youth serving organizations including: Young Adults Striving for Success, Vietnamese-American Young Leaders Association, Puentes New Orleans, Rethink New Orleans, and Fyre Youth Squad into the Power of a Million Minds Youth Collaborative, (POMM.) Through POMM, these children and young adults were able to create one of New Orleans first ever youth summits with hundreds of attendees, started conducting community organizing holding weekly meetings, and helped reclaim Keller Park in Central City by installing new basketball goals, planting trees/ landscaping and painting.
In addition to youth organizing, Miguel continued to serve the New Orleans community with legal services and criminal defense investigations in private practice through his state licensed agency. Miguel took on a number of high-profile and post-conviction cases serving as a fact-based investigator and mitigation specialist. Miguel assisted in several federal, state, “Miller/Graham,” and death penalty cases during this time which culminated in the release of over 5 formerly incarcerated Louisiana citizens who had been detained over 20 years each.
Miguel returned to LCCR in 2016 as the senior investigator and helped the team receive favorable outcomes on hundreds of delinquency cases.
In 2021, Miguel became the Director of Client & Investigative Services for LCCR leading social workers, youth advocates and investigators in the service of our clients. Miguel serves within the Client and Investigative Services Unit with the New Orleans Children’s Defense Team and the East Baton Rouge Client Services Unit.
Miguel is a Louisiana state licensed private investigator, is a Louisiana Notary Public with Statewide jurisdiction, and is a certified criminal defense investigator. Miguel attended the University of Texas at El Paso with a major in electrical engineering. Miguel has conducted trainings for the Louisiana Public Defender Board, with the Casey Foundation and the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, and been a guest lecturer at Loyola University and Southern University at New Orleans.