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N A K E D Louisiana O W N E R S H I P 
All Things Legal in Louisiana


May 30, 2003

Monroe makes Internet Drug Bust

The Monroe Metro Narcotics Task Force announced the arrest of two people that used the Internet to buy drugs that they received through the mail, reports The News-Star. "This is our first Internet arrest because of all the privacy laws," Metro Director, Lt. Hank Smith said. "We can't use wire taps in this case." He said agents "expect to have several more Internet arrests in the future. We finally caught someone who will lead us to others; we just hope these people come to us and give up the information first."

Posted by AJR at 07:28 AM

Lethal Injection Challenge Moving Forward

The Times reports that a hearing to determine whether lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment (and a violation of the Eighth Amendment) is now entering its fourth month.

The hearing before Caddo District Judge Ramona Emanuel was ordered by the state Supreme Court, and began in February in response to appeals filed to spare Code's life. Code is being represented by the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana.

Code, who is a convicted quadruple murderer will be the beneficiary of an extensive hearing that might result in testimony from nearly 60 witnesses.

Posted by AJR at 07:23 AM

Hate Crimes Technicality?

The Times-Picayune reports that the Gretna man who was the first to be convicted under Louisiana's hate crime has had his conviction thrown out and avoided retrial. The hate crime statute requires that the commission of a hate crime must be linked to another crime, such as murder, battery, rape or arson. Frank Palermo, who is white, was found guilty of placing combustibles and a hate crime. The placing of combustibles conviction was thrown out as unconstitutional, however, because it requires the judge--not the jury--to determine if the arson would have been simple or aggravated. Accordingly, Palermo can only be retried for attempted aggravated (or simple) arson, so the prerequisite is not met for the hate crime statute. The story reports that the Legislature "will be asked to fix the flaw in the hate crime law by including attempted crimes in the list of offenses linked to hate crimes."

Posted by AJR at 07:16 AM

May 29, 2003

Woman Thinks Cops Can't Arrest Her at Home

The Town Talk provides some required reading. Renetta Fells of Alexandria led police on high-speed chase through the city, finally stopping in her driveway and getting out of the car as if nothing had happened. Apparently, she believed that police could not arrest her once she made it home because of a television show.

Posted by AJR at 07:45 AM

Serial Killer Punditry Begins

The Advertiser provides the first bit of legal punditry related to the defense of Derrick Todd Lee. The Advertiser interviewed several Lafayette defense attorneys who speculate the Lee's defense will be to attack the DNA and perhaps plea bargain information regarding unsolved crimes in an effort to avoid the death penalty.

Posted by AJR at 07:40 AM

Monroe Clerk of Court Suspended

The News-Star reports that Monroe Clerk of Court Carol Powell-Lexing has been suspended by Monroe Chief Judge Tammy Lee. City officials are tight-lipped about the reasons for the suspension.

Posted by AJR at 07:36 AM

NOLA Bootleg Violator Sentenced

The Times-Picayune reports that Guy Mouledoux was sentenced to eight months of confinement after pleading guilty to one count of "violating the 'bootlegging' law." Mouledoux earned over $205,000 by selling copied classic rock rarities.

Posted by AJR at 07:31 AM

Southern's Chancellor Cites Diversity's Benefits

The Advocate updates a recent story that reported criticisms of increasing white population at Southern University Law Center.

Southern Law Center Chancellor Freddie Pitcher Jr. said the school's diversity -- 65 percent black, 33 percent white and 2 percent other races -- deserves credit, not criticism.

Southern does not use race as a factor when sorting through the 1,300 to 1,400 applications it receives each year to fill 150 freshman slots.

Posted by AJR at 07:23 AM

May 28, 2003

Lee Caught!

Again, news around the state focuses on the capture of Derrick Todd Lee. Findlaw has posted a copy of his arrest warrant.

Posted by AJR at 07:20 AM

Bodenheimer Forbidden to Use Part of Marina

NOLA Civil District Judge C. Hunter King has ordered former Judge Ronald Bodenheimer not to use a large portion of his Venetian Isles marina, reports The Times-Picayune.

Civil District Judge C. Hunter King is set to conduct a hearing today to decide whether to extend the order -- issued Friday and set to expire Monday -- which bans Bodenheimer from using additions to the marina that the city of New Orleans says were completed without permits.

The dispute, which has been ongoing for 2 years, centers on Bodenheimer's desire to use the marina as a commercial seafood dock. Neighbors and the city oppose his plans.

Posted by AJR at 07:15 AM

May 27, 2003

Serial Killer Identified

The news this morning is obviously focussed on yesterday's break in the south Louisiana serial killer case. Here is the FBI's Most Wanted page for Derrick Todd Lee.

Posted by AJR at 06:46 AM

'Roe' to Visit Central Louisiana

The Town Talk reports that Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade, is scheduled to appear at the Best Western Conference Center in Alexandria on June 7.

McCorvey, who was victorious in the Jan. 22, 1973 decision that led to the legalization of abortion, has since changed her stance on the issue. Her decision came after years of working at abortion clinics, she said.

Tickets are on sale for $15 through May 30 and no tickets will be sold at the door.

Posted by AJR at 06:43 AM

Lake Charles Port to Remove Counsel?

The American Press reports that the Laked Charles Dock Board "is making a move today to remove port attorney Mike Dees." Interestingly, today's meeting will likely be the last time the present board meets because Governor Foster is expected to sign a law that dissolves the board this week.

Posted by AJR at 06:39 AM

May 23, 2003

Langley Trial Juror Responds

The American Press provides insight into the Ricky Langley jury deliberations via an email sent in by a juror. Her response is compelling and confirms repeated observations made by attorneys and jury consultants at the ABA Litigation Annual Meeting in Houston - jurors take their jobs seriously.

Posted by AJR at 07:29 AM

Plaqemines Parish Courthouse Moving to Port Sulphur

The Times-Picayune reports that the Plaquemines Parish Council ignored the guidance of the Plaquemines Parish Courthouse Commission by calling an October 4 election to move the parish seat to Port Sulphur. "The Courthouse Commission has asked you to honor our wishes -- whether you agree with it or not -- to call a referendum to put the courthouse in Cedar Grove," State District Judge william Roe said. "The only reason that request has been snubbed is because a proponent of an alternate site wishes it to be in his district. Parochial, limited self-interest is what the Courthouse Commission was created to avoid."

Posted by AJR at 07:21 AM

May 22, 2003

Pardoned Sex Offender Still Must Register

The American Press reports on a decision of the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal that requires a pardoned first-felony offender to comply with the state's sex offender registration laws. The decision overturns a judgment made by now retired District Judge Fred Godwin.

The 3rd Circuit also said only a governor's pardon, and not an automatic first-offender pardon, would prohibit a sex offender from complying with the registration laws.

Posted by AJR at 07:31 AM

Copeland Attorney's Plea for Leniency Unsuccessful

The Times-Picayune reports that Bryan White's plea to be placed in a halfway house or sentenced to home incarceration was unsuccessful. White was sentenced to a year and one day in federal prison as a result of his guilty plea to a charge of misprision of a felony. "A lawyer too weak to resist a corrupt judge is as bad and as poisonous to the system of justice as is the corrupt judge," Eastern District Judge Feldman told White.

Corrupt judges and lawyers "offend the very soul of our Constitution, in my opinion," he said. "This is not an easy day for the court."

Posted by AJR at 07:26 AM

NOLA Federal Judge Rejects Plea-Deal Agreement

Eastern District Judge Lance Africk, a former prosecutor, rejected a plea-bargain agreement for a former insurance company owner as too lenient, reports The Times-Picayune. Accordingly, Bobby Shamburger will be going to trial for his role in an insurance scheme that scammed investors out of $200 million. "I didn't expect this to happen, but I'm not surprised," the attorney, George Chaney Jr., said. "It's the judge's discretion. It didn't pan out, so we're on for a trial."

Posted by AJR at 07:21 AM

More Judicial Misconduct from NOLA Area

The Times-Picayune reports that CDC Judge Hunter King faces suspension and possible criminal charges as a result of his conduct during the 2002 campaign. A report issued by the Louisiana Judiciary Commission indicates that King forced his staff into selling tickets to a campaign fund raiser and also lied under oath.

"If I can't (sic) cooperation from my five primary people that benefits in the courthouse, then I guess I might have to replace them and see just how enthusiastic these other people are," King told his staff on Sept. 24, 2001.

Posted by AJR at 07:16 AM

Study: Lawsuits Lead to Higher Insurance Premiums

The Advocate reports on the results of a state Insurance Department that indicates Louisiana drivers "pay higher premiums than drivers in Mississippi or Alabama, possibly due to being a little lawsuit-happy."

In order of highest to lowest, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Shreveport lead a grouping of cities from Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas in average premiums, he said.

Apparently, Louisiana drivers make injury claims at double the national average.

Posted by AJR at 07:11 AM

May 21, 2003

Lafayette Attorney Will Turn Himself In

The Advertiser reports that William Aubrey, the Lafayette attorney accused of stealing $130,000 of client money, has agreed to turn himself in. “Bill (Aubrey) is not hiding from anybody,” Aubrey's attorney David Balfour said. “This news of the charges was a surprise to him.”

Posted by AJR at 07:56 AM | Comments (0)

Copeland Lawyer Trying to Avoid Prison

Bryan White, Al Copeland's corporate attorney that pleaded guilty in the Bodenheimer corruption case, is asking the Federal court to place him in a halfway house or give him home incarceration, reports The Times-Picayune.

Prosecutors immediately opposed White's request to avoid prison, indicating that a plea agreement both sides signed in February binds White to serve his recommended sentence of one year and a day in a federal penitentiary.

Posted by AJR at 07:42 AM

May 20, 2003

Calcasieu DA Disappointed in Verdict

The American Press reports on Calcasieu District Attorney Ricky Bryant's reaction to the second-degree murder conviction of Ricky Langley last week. The retrial, which was held in New Orleans, resulted in a sentence of life imprisonment. "There can't be a more appropriate case for the death penalty than this one and that's my problem," Bryant said at a news conference.

He added that if Langley doesn't deserve to die "then we don't need the death penalty because absolutely he is one of the most evil people that has ever stalked anyone in this community or any other community."

Bryant said it's very difficult for prosecutors when the trial judge "says he is opposed to capital punishment" along with the defense attorney and the mother of the murder victim.

Posted by AJR at 07:36 AM

Copeland's Ex-Wife Granted Retrial

The Times-Picayune reports that the Louisiana 5th Circuit Court of Appeal decided that Al Copeland's ex-wife is entitled to a new trial as a result of former Judge Ronald Bodenheimer's "egregious" action in fixing the child custody and support case. There is some dispute as to whether the decision pertains only to the issue before the Court of Appeal or the entire case. District Judge Hans Liljeberg, Bodenheimer's successor, will be responsible for making that determination.

Posted by AJR at 07:26 AM

US Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Swaggart Case

The Advocate reports that the United States Supreme Court refused to consider, without comment, an appeal regarding over $2.1 million paid to Jimmy Swaggart Ministries in a failed Baton Rouge real estate development. The case dates back tot he early 1990s when developer Sam Recile proposed a Baton Rouge mall known as Place Vendome. Recile was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison and Jimmy Swaggart Ministries was sued by the bankruptcy receiver for Recile's companies.

Posted by AJR at 07:21 AM

"Hypertechnical" Mistake Costly to Contractor

State District Judge Morvant ruled that the state properly refused to award a contract to Ratcliff Construction Co. even though it submitted the apparent low bid but failed to have one of its officials initial changes in the bid package reports The Advocate. Ratcliff's attorney says the decision to deny the bid is arbitrary because similar mistakes have been accepted in the past. Judge Morvant, however, said he was not going to base his decision on past actions of state officials. "Whether they have done it wrong 1,000 times doesn't make this one correct," Morvant said.

Posted by AJR at 07:16 AM

Remaining Edwards Charges Dismissed

The Advocate reports that United States Attorney Jim Letten requested District Judge Polozola to dismiss eight untried counts in the indictments against Edwin Edwards and his cohorts. "I can't say I had given a lot of thought to these charges until the clerk's office reminded us that they were out there, and we needed to clean up the record," Letten said Monday. "In the most technical way, the book was closed very firmly the day the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear their appeals."

Posted by AJR at 07:08 AM

Maurice Hicks Appointed to Western District

The Advocate reports that the United States Senate confirmed S. Maurice Hicks, Jr. as a judge on the Western District Court.

Hicks, 50, is a New Orleans native. He has been a private litigator for 25 years and is leaving the firm of Hicks, Hubley and Marcotte. From 1975 to 1977, he was a law clerk and then staff attorney for the Louisiana Legislative Council. He was an instructor at the LSU Law Center in 1993.

Posted by AJR at 07:03 AM

May 19, 2003

Minaldi Confirmed as Western District Judge

The Advocate reported on Saturday that State District Judge Patricia Minaldi was confirmed by the United States Senate to a federal district judge's post in the Western District. Judge Minaldi will replace Judge James Trimble, Jr. who has taken senior status. Judge Minaldi will take the federal bench on June 16.

Posted by AJR at 07:35 AM

Rapides Parish School Board Faces Suits

The Town Talk reports on the array of lawsuits faced by the Rapides Parish School Board. The article notes that most lawsuits arise from injuries that occur on school grounds, then personnel disputes, and finally student-discipline appeals.

While no one knows the exact number of open lawsuits against the school system, district officials are touting more aggressive defense strategies that will cut down on lawsuits and settlements.

The Town Talk also reports on three federal suits involving the Rapides Parish School Board.

Posted by AJR at 07:32 AM

Profile on New Western District Judge Drell

The Town Talk profiles Dee Drell, the western district judge set to take the bench on May 30. The article outlines Drell's educational and work background and provides some insight into his personal ideals.

Posted by AJR at 07:27 AM

May 16, 2003

Supreme Court Places NOLA Lawyer on Probation

THe Louisiana Supreme Court placed Harry Cantrell, Jr., who also works part time as an Orleans Criminal District Court magistrate, on probation for 18 months as a result of misconduct in his private practice (neglecting cases and failing to communicate with clients), reports The Times-Picayune. The court imposed a deferred suspension.

Posted by AJR at 07:35 AM

NOLA Lawyer Pleads in Referral Payments Case

The Times-Picayune reports that New Orleans attorney Curtis Coney, Jr. compounded problems that arose from his practice of paying "runners" to solicit accident victims when he pressured his secretary to cover-up those payments before a federal grand jury. The secretary was wearing a wire when Coney pressured her, resulting in a plea agreement revealed Wednesday. Coney, 58, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of "structuring" referral payments to hide them from the government and one count of obstruction of justice. The plea is part of a four-year federal investigation of personal injury attorneys.

Posted by AJR at 07:31 AM

Experience Needed

The Times-Picayune reports on Louisiana House Bill 662, a proposed constitutional amendment requiring lawyers to have at least eight years experience to qualify for judicial office. The bill passed 88-11 and now moves to the Senate for debate. The state Constitution currently requires a lawyer to have five years' experience practicing law. The article also notes that the House fell short of two additional proposed changes that would extend the mandatory retirement age beyond 70.

Posted by AJR at 07:24 AM

Plaquemine to Ask for New Ruling

Plaquemine Mayor Gullotta will ask 18th JDC Judge James Best to reconsider his April ruling ordering the city to pay nearly all of the City Court's budget requests, reports The Advocate. The $60,000 judgment was the result of a suit filed by City Court Judge William Dupont. The decision to return to Judge Best was made at an executive session on Tuesday, where the selectmen attempted to resolve their budget problems.

Posted by AJR at 07:17 AM

May 15, 2003

Abbeville Prosecutor Resigns after DWI

The Advertiser reports that Abbeville's City Court prosecutor resigned Wednesday after he was arrested Saturday for driving while intoxicated. James Sandoz, Jr., who has served as prosecutor for the last 13 years, submitted his resignation letter through City Attorney Chad Edwards.

Posted by AJR at 07:35 AM

LCA Outlines Legislative Initiatives

The American Press reports that the president of the Louisiana Chemical Association, Dan Borne, outlined several of the group's legislative initiatives at a meeting of the Lake Charles Air and Waste Management Association. Initiatives include limiting liability when products are spilled by other parties (typically in transit), seeking a prohibition on posting some chemical industry documents on the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality web site, audit frequencies, and giving more enforcement authority to regional offices.

Posted by AJR at 07:29 AM

Jefferson Remap Might be Delayed

The Times-Picayune reports that plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against Jefferson Parish Council's five-district remap plan have asked District Judge Carl Barbier to postpone the trial until 2004. Most Jefferson Parish officials acknowledge that there is little or no chance of addressing the legal cloud before elections this fall.

The issue before Barbier is the overall idea of a five-district council with two at-large seats, replacing the 6-1 setup in place since 1991, and whether it dilutes the political clout of racial minorities in violation of the Voting Rights Act. In addition, the U.S. Justice Department has jurisdiction over the specific boundaries of the five-district map the council created after voters approved the concept last year.

Posted by AJR at 07:20 AM

Big Easy Corruption Focus of Federal Effort

The Times-Picayune reports on Acting U.S. Attorney Jim Letten's "stunning recent announcement that his office is pursuing 14 other government corruption probes suggests that the feds have declared war on the Big Easy's famously lax political system with a ferocity unmatched in the city's modern history." The article notes that Letten's remarks, in combination with arrests and subpoenas, indicated that focus is on New Orleans City Hall, Louis Armstrong International Airport and Jefferson Parish.

Although past corruption investigations have often centered on one or two dishonest individuals, the common thread among many of the probes now under way is that they appear to zero in on "the Louisiana way" -- alleged sweetheart deals, kickbacks and other contracting scams that waste taxpayer dollars and make it harder for law-abiding firms to land government work.

Posted by AJR at 07:13 AM

Gun Laws Not Enforced

The Advocate reports on a national gun safety study that finds most federal laws are not enforced in Louisiana. The study found that just two statutes, which each target street criminals in possession of weapons, account for the vast majority of federal gun prosecutions.

"We don't fault federal authorities for taking up the felony possession and drug trafficking cases," said Matt Bennett, director of public affairs for the Americans for Gun Safety Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based private organization that advocates for gun ownership rights and stronger enforcement of firearms laws.
"But we don't want them to give up on the other 20 statutes designed to prevent criminals from getting those guns in the first place."

Not surprisingly, most firearms cases are handled in state court, so the numbers arguably fail to provide an adequate representation of the gun enforcement picture. The Times-Picayune reports that U.S. Attorney Jim Letten in New Orleans has adopted a "zero tolerance" policy for people who lie on criminal background checks to buy firearms in response to the study.

Posted by AJR at 07:04 AM

May 14, 2003

Judge Bans Alligator Hide Program

The Advertiser reports that a federal judge recently banned Louisiana from using license fees and export tax money to promote Louisiana's alligator hide industry at trade shows and boutiques. The ruling indicated that the forced participation required by the program was unconstitutional because it amounted to forced commercial speech.

In the Louisiana case, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries spokesman Philip Bowman said no decision has been made on whether the department will appeal the ban, which is set to take effect July 1. The fees and export tax will still be collected to fund research and alligator management programs. He said it was premature to say if the fees and tax would be lowered.

Posted by AJR at 07:37 AM

Judge Rules for Sheriff in Caddo Jail Funding Dispute

The Times reports that 1st JDC Judge Roy Brun issued a ruling ordering the Caddo Parish Commission to pay the Sheriff for all jail expenses resulting in the arrest, confinement and prosecution of prisoners, and any costs associated with deputies testifying. The ruling is expected to cost the Parish almost $775,000 more than it currently pays the Caddo Correctional Center. An appeal is likely.

Posted by AJR at 07:33 AM

St. Bernard Code Now Online

The St. Bernard Parish Clerk of Court was getting so many telephone calls requesting that parish ordinance information be made available online that she asked the Parish Council in December to finance the effort, reports The Times-Picayune. As a result, the code is now available online and accessible through the St. Bernard Parish Naked Ownership page.

Posted by AJR at 07:24 AM

EPA Detectives to Discuss Duties in NOLA

The Times-Picayune reports that staff members from the EPA's criminal investigation division will explain their duties at a public meeting tonight sponsored by the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.

At the meeting, at 7 p.m. in Room A of the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 West Napoleon Ave. in Metairie, the EPA investigators will explain how the public can get involved in environmental crime investigations.

Eight EPA special agents are moving from Baton Rouge to the New Orleans area.

Posted by AJR at 07:18 AM

New U.S. Attorney's Office Liaison in Baton Rouge

The United States Attorney's office has appointed Steven Woodring, a retired Baton Rouge police lieutenant, to act as its liaison with state and local law-enforcement agencies reports The Advocate.

In addition to acting as a liaison among law-enforcement agencies in matters of federal concern, Dugas said, Woodring also will assist in coordinating the Anti-terrorism Task Force, the Project Safe Neighborhoods Task Force and other cooperative efforts.

Posted by AJR at 07:15 AM

State Budget Cuts Might Result in Federal Suit

The Advocate reports that budget cuts in services for the developmentally disabled might result in a United States Department of Justice lawsuit, according to state DHH Assistant Secretary Raymond Jetson. Louisiana is already in trouble with the Justice Department regarding its handling of facilities in Pinecrest and Hammond, and pressure by the department has increased as of late. Governor Foster's budget proposes to cut $16 million from the Louisiana departmental disabilities funding.

Posted by AJR at 07:12 AM

Brady to Hear Juvenile Case on Friday

State attorneys will be in Judge Brady's United States District Court on Friday seeking to prevent juvenile court judges in 12 jurisdictions throughout the state from deciding if they should pull their juvenile offenders from the troubled Bridge City and Tallulah prisons, reports The Advocate.

The proceedings are pending in juvenile courts in East Baton Rouge, Orleans, Caddo, Lafayette, Evangeline, Calcasieu, Jefferson, Concordia and Lafourche parishes and city courts in Plaquemine, Rayne and Hammond.

The issue is a result of the May 1 death of Emmanuel Narcisse, 17, who died during a scuffle with a corrections officer at the Bridge City prison. The article reports on the flurry of motions that have arisen since.

Posted by AJR at 07:07 AM

Tangipahoa Remap Approval Uncertain

The Advocate reports that the Tangipahoa Parish Council learned that the United States Department of Justice has not yet approved four precinct consolidations that were proposed in the council's redistricting plan. The article notes that October council elections could be delayed if the plan does not win federal approval prior to the election.

Posted by AJR at 06:59 AM

May 13, 2003

Judge to Rule in Caddo Jail Funding Dispute

The Times reports on the trial between the Caddo Parish Council and the Sheriff. After more than a year of legal controversy related to the jail's funding, both parties presented their closing arguments to 1st JDC Judge Roy Brun yesterday. Judge Brun has indicated that he will rule by noon today.

Posted by AJR at 07:29 AM

Plaqumenines Parish Council May Ignore Recommendation

The Times-Picayune reports that the Plaquemines Parish Council may call an October 4 election to move the parish seat to Port Sulphur, which is contrary to a recommendation made by the courthouse committee. The committee, created by the Legislature and comprised of elected officials from throughout the parish, recommended building the new courthouse in Cedar Grove. The committee is not impressed by the council's consideration of Port Sulphur:

"I think it is a total disregard for the wishes of the courthouse committee," state District Judge William Roe said. "This is a lazy, cheap, underhanded substitution for real economic development . . . and it's a poor way to represent their constituents. The utilization of the Freeport administrative building for parish offices has done nothing to revitalize Port Sulphur, and the only excuse for putting the courthouse in Port Sulphur is economic development for a dying community."

Posted by AJR at 07:23 AM

May 12, 2003

Server Crash

No posting this morning because of a server failure. Tech support:

The server suffered a hardware failure late Sunday night. Our techs worked to restore the server until 5 AM. In the end the data was deemed too corrupt to use and a backup was restored from approx 7AM Sunday morning.

Luckily, nothing appears to have been lost on this end. New clerkship begins today, so expect regular postings to resume tomorrow morning.

Posted by AJR at 02:18 PM

May 06, 2003

Tulane Student Can't Take Bar Exam

Emily Maw, the Tulane law student discussed here, will not be able to stay in Louisiana to continue her death penalty work because Louisiana prohibits visiting foreign lawyers from taking the State bar exam, as reported here. The story has been reported by the Associated Press. The article notes:

The rule was issued without explanation by the Louisiana Committee on Bar Admissions in 2000 and upheld without comment by the state Supreme Court last year, triggering speculation that the justices were simply tired of foreign defense attorneys using clever arguments to get death sentences overturned.

The article also notes that Louisiana is the only state with such a ban. Even if the prohibition can be justified in some manner, shouldn't there be an exemption for students that attend Louisiana law schools. [Link via Weird of the News via Ernie the Attorney]

Update: Also see 306Taint.us for some colorful commentary (see the quote below) on this story. [Also via Ernie the Attorney]

Some foreigners, unfortunately, have the misfortune to go to Louisiana. Louisiana is renowned for: 1) bare breasts; 2) voodoo; 3) unemployed people; 4) being a state which just loves to execute people Cajun style. Woooweee! Yeeehaaa! Laissez bon temps roulez!

Posted by AJR at 01:01 PM

ABA to Hold Meeting in NOLA

The Americana Bar Association's Young Lawyer and Law Student Divisions will be holding their annual conference in NOLA from May 15-18, 2003. One of the speakers will be Mr. Larry Feldman, the President of the Louisiana State Bar Association:

We are extremely pleased to present Michael E. Tigar--one of the nation's foremost legal educators--in both the Friday opening plenary session and "hands-on" workshop environments. We owe a particular debt of gratitude to the Section of Litigation for making Mr. Tigar's appearance possible. Mr. Tigar will be preceded by Louisiana State Bar Association President, Larry Feldman, Jr.--an accomplished leader and exceptional speaker.

More information is available here. Conference attendance is free for law students and is rumored to be an excellent event for anyone interested in international law.

Posted by AJR at 12:40 PM

April Ethics Opinions Now Available

The Louisiana Board of Ethics has posted opinions from its April 10, 2003 meeting. Additionally, the agenda for the May 8-9, 2003 meeting is also online.

Posted by AJR at 12:30 PM

May 05, 2003

Exams in Progress

Posting will be a little spotty this week because of final exams. State and Local Government and Persons are done, and Administration of Criminal Justice and Western Legal Tradition are on deck.

Posted by AJR at 09:32 PM

May 04, 2003

The Oyster Lottery

The Times-Picayune provides in-depth coverage regarding the state's oyster leases. There are multiple stories, so each is linked with its introductory sentence:

Shell Games
Before he died in 1972, Eugenia Poirrier's husband took out a pair of state oyster leases in the salty waters of Breton Sound off the Plaquemines Parish coastline. It may have been the best insurance policy he ever purchased.

Affixing Value to Beds a Slippery Affair
If there's one oyster lease in Louisiana worth more than $20,000 per acre, industry leaders say it's Nick Skansi's property near Port Sulphur, a lease so productive it has earned the nickname "Skansi's Gold Mine."

Bills Aim to Hold Oyster Suits in Check
In an attempt to prevent lawsuits over oyster leases from derailing coastal restoration efforts, the Louisiana Senate is preparing to debate a package of measures this week to limit damage claims from those affected by attempts to slow erosion, rebuild shorelines or protect towns from hurricanes.

Oil Industry Pumps up Oyster Farms
For some people who lease oyster beds from the state, their property can be worth more dead than alive.

Oyster Farmers Initially Backed Project
Breton Sound was a bad place for oyster farmers in the late 1980s. Oysters were dying throughout the basin, consumed by rapacious schools of saltwater predators such as black drum and conch, and decimated by diseases that left their meat black in the shell.

Posted by AJR at 10:45 PM

May 02, 2003

Tulane Student Earns 2002 Pro Bono Publico Award

Emily Maw, a third-year student at Tulane University School of Law, was awarded the 2002 Pro Bono Publico Award by PSLawNet (a network of 120 law schools and nearly 10,000 legal public service organizations), reports Student Lawyer Magazine.

As a law student, Maw says she has spent "every other moment" of her life helping anti-death penalty organizations investigate cases, write briefs, counsel death row inmates and their families, advocate for legislative change, and help teach others how to defend capital cases.

"Emily is a singularly astounding human being," says Janet Hoeffel, one of Maw's professors at Tulane. "She has risked almost everything to engage in anti-death penalty work here in the United States. She has torn herself away from her family and loved ones, lives below the poverty line, and immerses herself in the swamps and backwaters of the South in search of clues that may save a man from dying at the hands of the state."

Maw, a native of the United Kingdom, plans to work in the United States after graduation, but eventually plans to return home. Congratulations!

Posted by AJR at 03:47 PM

Scholarship Available

The Martinet Legal Foundation will present a scholarship to one law student from each of Louisiana's law schools. First year, second year, and third year students seeking an L.L.M. should submit the application, essay, and transcript by May 15, 2003.

The application can be obtained on Martinet's website under the "Foundation" link.

Posted by AJR at 12:01 PM

Site of the Day

Louisiana LawHelp is the site of the day.

Posted by AJR at 11:53 AM

Dee Drell Speaks at Law Day Luncheon

The Town Talk reports that Dee Drell, who becomes a federal district judge in the Western District this month, spoke at the annual Law Day luncheon in Alexandria. Drell spoke about America's waning confidence in the justice system. "In order to restore respect for the system, Drell said, the only criterion 'that we must insist on from our judges is, no kidding, absolute impartiality.'"

"Drell later said he will take his oath of office on May 9 at his law office and will participate in a public investiture on May 30, at the federal courthouse in Alexandria. "

Posted by AJR at 11:41 AM

Monroe Students Go to Court

Members of the Tri-District Boys and Girls of Monroe spent the day in the 4th District Court in observance of law day, reports the News-Star. The students participated in a mock trial of Curly Pig, who was on trial for charges of attempted wolf-boiling. Danny Ellender, the incoming president of the local Bar Association, "said the aim of the play was to teach the elementary school children about the judicial system and the law. The best way to teach, he said, is to put things into a format children can understand and let them jump right in."

Posted by AJR at 11:34 AM

Judge Upholds $10.5 Million Jury Award

The Times-Picayune reports that NOLA CDC Ad hoc Judge Joseph Tiemann upheld a jury's verdict awarding $10.5 million to a man whose property was expropriated for the expansion of the Morial Convention Center. The Convention Center board plans to appeal.

Posted by AJR at 11:24 AM

Fifth Graders "Convict" Classmate

The Advocate reports on the conclusion of the 12-week Project for Legal Enrichment and Decision making (LEAD), which resulted in 10-year-old Andrew Ancar being handcuffed and escorted from a Louisiana Supreme Court courtroom.

The Plaquemines Parish District Attorney's Office sponsored the Project L.E.A.D. program. Assistant District Attorney and Project L.E.A.D. coordinator Joy Cossich Lobrano said the project originated in the Brooklyn, N.Y., District Attorney's Office. Terrebonne Parish is the only other Louisiana parish using the program, she said.

Justice Johnson, who presided over the mock trial, said the students learned "that the rule of law protects our freedoms in a democracy and that legal cases are decided by applying the law to the facts, not by the passions of the moment or by public opinion."

Posted by AJR at 11:08 AM

Baton Rouge Police Ticket 19th JDC for Hit and Run

The Advocate reports that 19th JDC Judge Don Johnson was cited for misdemeanor counts of hit-and-run, failure to maintain control of a motor vehicle and driving without proof of insurance after he smashed head-on into a utility pole Wednesday night and left the scene of the accident. "According to a witness, Johnson smelled strongly of beer, Kelly said, but added that whether alcohol played a role in the crash is impossible to know."

Posted by AJR at 11:02 AM
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