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Criminal Justice System Screwed

DRB

unemployed bum
Oct 24, 2002
15,243
0
Watchin' you. Writing it all down.
As evidence floods, criminal cases likely collapse

Basement also housed thousands of appeals

By Michael Perlstein
and Trymaine D. Lee

New Orleans criminal justice officials cringed Wednesday at another disaster evolving in the wake of Hurricane Katrina: the possible long-term collapse of the city’s criminal justice system.

With the flooding of the police department’s evidence and property room in the basement of police headquarters, evidence and records in hundreds of criminal cases appeared to be irretrievably lost, police spokesman Marlon Defillo said.

Evidence in the most serious, pending cases, from murder to rape to robbery, was housed in the basement, Defillo said.
“We lost thousands of documents and untold evidence,” Defillo said. “We lost everything.”

The floodwaters in the basement of criminal court at Tulane Avenue and Broad Street also inundated old evidence in thousands of old cases under appeal. The lost evidence could reopen cases that otherwise had little chance of getting back into trial court.

“We’re in serious trouble,” Defillo said.

Officials averted a separate crisis by transporting about 3,000
inmates out of Orleans Parish Prison. Under heavy armed guard, inmates who lined Interstate 10 above the flooded surface streets were loaded onto buses from the Dixon Correctional Center and other state lockups.

While the inmates were successfully evacuated, the ongoing
shutdown of criminal court could lead to the unavoidable release of dozens of suspects awaiting charges. By law, suspects must be tried within 30 days of a misdemeanor arrest and within 45 days of a felony arrest or they are automatically released from any bond obligation.

Even with the potential long-range problems facing the court
system, officials were more concerned Wednesday with citywide crimes and looting sprouting amid the storm’s chaotic aftermath.

Terry Ebbert, the city’s homeland security director, said police
received numerous reports of armed groups of marauders robbing scores of people throughout the hard-hit parts of the city. Authorities were unable to patrol the most lawless areas of the city, and it appeared police had little chance of investigating much of the unchecked crime.
 

N8 v2.0

Not the sharpest tool in the shed
Oct 18, 2002
11,007
149
The Cleft of Venus
That's ok, most of the accused probably will not make it out of NO alive anyway. Either they were drowned or will be shot by other criminals or the cops.