Monday, May 01, 2017

The New Orleans DA Office is Out of Control

The other day, I read an article about an (apparently long-standing, but about to be discontinued) practice by the New Orleans District Attorneys office of sending out fake "subpoena" notifications to potential witnesses. The notice says "A FINE AND IMPRISONMENT MAY BE IMPOSED FOR FAILURE TO OBEY THIS NOTICE,” but this is simply a falsehood. And it comes without any judicial or official sanction. Basically, it's a fraud. It's designed to mislead potential witnesses into believing they must talk to the DA's office, when they in fact do not have to.

So that's bad. But then today I read another article about a prosecution team that has been repeatedly charging its counterpart public defenders with trumped-up criminal allegations (none of them have stuck). Everything from contempt to impersonating a prosecutor to kidnapping(!). Some of the names sounded familiar, and, lo and behold, its the same office! The same DA team that's sending out fake subpoenas to witnesses is also leveling bogus criminal charges against public defenders. It's beyond parody.

This DA and his team seem completely out of control. Any one of these behaviors, on their own, would be shocking in its abuse of prosecutorial power. Together, it represents a pattern of thuggish intimidation that stands way outside of what should be acceptable in a system ruled by law.

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