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Criminal Justice in New Orleans:
My friend Brian Privor recently returned to his law firm following a six-month stint as a public defender in New Orleans. Brian kept a blog about his experience, and I wanted to point out some interesting posts for those curious about the criminal justice system in New Orleans post-Katrina (or at least one public defender's take on it). I recommend Time's Up, Pencils Down from November '06, Drunk Justice from December '06, and Misdemeanor Murder from April '07.
Anderson (mail) (www):
This is as good a place as any to bleg for a Southwick thread -- what say VC readers about Bush's third pick for the same Fifth Circuit seat? Bein' a law blog &all?

I've been acting contrary to type &defending (the very conservative) Southwick against some of the more egregious attacks. Anyone interested can go here and pick up the comment threads to the blog posts that I link, or search My Humble Blog for "Southwick."

We now return to your regularly scheduled comment thread.
6.6.2007 5:36pm
Jack S. (mail) (www):
The Times up Pencils down post along with the first comment highlights a HUGE problem in the NOLA criminal justice system. Petty crimes are leaving people in jail for inordinate amounts of time before getting anything close to a sufficient and fair hearing.

Second, the comment states a 701 release which is also a huge problem as in certain cases it's putting violent criminals back on to the street because the DA hasn't brought the case within the requisite amount of time (this is not days, it's months). The number of repeat offenders responsible for many of the recent murders is staggering. Many were released due to failings at the DA and police level.

Add on top of that the latest on Dollar Bill Jefferson and NOLA just continues to make 1 step forward, 2 steps back.
6.6.2007 6:08pm
ejo:
so, a corrupt community is unable to function after a natural disaster, much the same as it was unable to function prior to the natural disaster. God save the poor folks down there from the idealists looking to right the wrongs of the criminal justice system.
6.6.2007 6:19pm
Carolina:
My reaction is the same as Ejo's, this doesn't sound too different from what I heard about NO before Katrina. It's a bad, bad place to be a criminal defendant.
6.6.2007 6:47pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
so, a corrupt community is unable to function after a natural disaster, much the same as it was unable to function prior to the natural disaster.

Corruption has very little to do with it. New Orleans problems, while exacerbated by Katrina, are typical throughout the south. They are merely a reflection of that quaint southern attitude that criminal defendants, especially poor ones, simply don't deserve a competent defense. The attitude down here is that if they are in trouble with the law, they must have done something, so they belong in jail.
6.6.2007 7:03pm
Steve:
I've been acting contrary to type &defending (the very conservative) Southwick against some of the more egregious attacks.

Anderson, before I can properly evaluate your contrarian credentials, I need to hear your position on Charles Pickering.
6.6.2007 7:35pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Pickering: good guy, not racist, not necessarily a legal genius -- reputedly the most moderate judge in the S.D. Miss. at the time of his nomination (from a civil-defense perspective anyway). The Dems probably messed up opposing him -- he would've been more moderate than Southwick. Tho if they drag this out until there's a Dem president, then I guess they're smarter than I am. ("But what about that cross-burning case?" See thread here.)

What bugs me is the substitution of personal attacks on Pickering and Southwick for calling Bush on the real issue: what efforts, if any, have been made to find black nominees for the federal courts in Mississippi? If the Dems want to draw a line until someone black is nominated, I can see that, but I wish they'd *say* that &quit with the character assassination.
6.6.2007 7:47pm