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


August 28, 2003

Bradys Speaks to Rotary About Deseg Case

The Advocate reports the U.S. Middle District Judge James Brady spoke about the settlement of East Baton Rouge Parish's school desegregation case to the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge. Noting that the case should have settled years ago, Judge Brady credited the settlement to a "change in attitude" by all parties.

Posted by AJR at 08:58 AM

August 21, 2003

Justice Scalia to Speak in NOLA

The New Orleans Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies will host a luncheon on Monday, October 13, 2003, at 12:15 p.m. with The Honorable Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, in the Versailles Room of the Plimsoll Club of the World Trade Center in New Orleans. The event cost is $55.00 and law student members of the Society may attend without charge. Please RSVP to Barbara Schmitt at (504) 582-8287 before October 8, 2003, and make your checks payable to the Federalist Society. Seating is limited.

Posted by AJR at 11:58 AM

Schedule Interrupted

Daily postings have been sacrificed to the start of a new semester this week. My schedule is suddenly overflowing with new obligations and things to do, so posting will be sporadic until judicial clerkship applications and employment negotiations are completed. Please e-mail me if you are interested in sharing the daily responsibility of updating the site. In the meantime, thank you for your patience.

Posted by AJR at 11:54 AM

August 19, 2003

Orleans Criminal Court Must Improve Record Keeping

The Times-Picayune reports that an independent auditor uncovered inadequacies in the New Orleans Criminal District Court's accounting records. The inadequacies made it impossible to confirm the accuracy of a reported $364,800 balance of unclaimed bonds, which is money posted by defendants who have never returned to collect it.

Posted by AJR at 10:46 AM

Jailed Woman's Abortion Denial Headed to US Fifth Circuit

The Advocate reports that the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal will consider the claim of a Terrebonne Parish woman who was denied an abortion while in jail. Victoria W.'s case was thrown out by US Eastern District Judge Jay Zainey in April 2003. The plaintiff appealed the dismissal, alleging that she was denied her constitutional right to an abortion because the jail required that she hire an attorney and obtain a court order to authorize the abortion procedure. The case is set for oral argument on September 3.

Posted by AJR at 10:38 AM

Lee Funds Request Reasonable

The Advocate reports that several defense attorneys interviewed agree that the $800,000 requested by Derrick Lee's defense team is reasonable, with one indicating that a proper defense might cost $3 million because of the short lead time to trial. The article also notes that the East Baton Rouge Parish Public Defender's Office has not paid rent for years.

Posted by AJR at 10:28 AM

August 15, 2003

700 New Laws Go into Effect

The Advertiser reports that 700 new Louisiana laws go into effect today. Browse the following links for laws related to legal practice and the judiciary:

House Committee on Civil Law and Procedure
House Criminal Justice
House Judiciary
Senate Judiciary Committee A
Senate Judiciary Committee B
Senate Judiciary Committee C

Posted by AJR at 01:39 PM

Lee Loses Plea for Defense Funds

The Advocate reports that Derrick Lee's request for a defense fund was denied yesterday after an eight-hour hearing in 19th JDC Judge Richard Anderson's courtroom. Judge Anderson suggested that Lee should ask state agencies for the money, rather than mandating the provision of funds.

Posted by AJR at 01:23 PM

EBR Desegregation Case Finally Settled

The Advocate reports that US Middle District Judge James Brady finalized the settlement of the 47-year old school desegregation case in East Baton Rouge Parish yesterday.

Posted by AJR at 01:19 PM

August 14, 2003

Suspended Judge's Suit Suspended

The Times-Picayune reports that a lawsuit filed by suspended Orleans Parish Juvenile Court Judge Yvonne Hughes has been stayed by US Eastern District Judge Ivan Lemelle pending final disciplinary action by the Louisiana Supreme Court. Hughes was suspended for serious misconduct, and subsequently filed a civil rights lawsuit over the seizure of documents from her court by a state Judiciary Commission prosecutor.

Posted by AJR at 08:39 AM

EBR Desegregation Fairness Hearing Today

The Advocate reports that US District Judge James Brady will preside over a fairness hearing today before deciding whether or not to sign the proposed settlement of the 47-year old East Baton Rouge Parish desegregation case.

Posted by AJR at 08:28 AM

Lee to Remain before Judge Anderson

The Advocate reports that the First Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that Derrick Lee's trial for the murder of Charlotte Pace shall stay before 19th JDC Judge Richard Anderson. The Louisiana Supreme Court has already denied Lee's writ, so pre-trial proceedings will continue for the March 1, 2004 trial date. Lee will be in court today asking for $800,000 to mount his defense.

Posted by AJR at 08:25 AM

August 13, 2003

Snoop Dogg Goes Wild

NOLA's Bourbon Street Journal considers the court papers filed against rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg alleging that he used drugs to bribe two girls, one of which was underage at the time, to participate in his film "Girls Gone Wild Doggy Style." The post links to the acutal court papers, compliments of The Smoking Gun.

Posted by AJR at 10:11 AM

Loyola Creates Environmental Law Endowment

The Times-Picayune reports that Loyola Law School will create a $2 million chair in environmental law as the result of significant gifts from Michael X. St. Martin and the family of Wendell Gauthier. No one has been selected to fill the new faculty position yet.

Posted by AJR at 10:03 AM

Unusual Trial Pending in Baton Rouge

The Advocate notes that an interesting trial is shaping up in the Middle District in Baton Rouge where former LSU Professor Mark Johnson is defending charges related to his sale of a deer herd. The paper notes that the trial is not even close to beginning, "but if the preliminary paper sparring between defense attorney John J. Jackson III and assistant U.S. attorneys Corey Amundson and Patricia Jones is any indication, this one is going to be worth the wait."

Johnson was indicted by a federal grand jury in April for passing off his own deer herd as that of LSU so that the potential buyers would believe that they were certified disease-free. The motions have centered on whether or not deer are wildlife, whether Johnson's attorney should be disqualified, and the striking of 10 paragraphs in the indictment.

Posted by AJR at 09:53 AM

Lawyer's Guilty Plea Upheld

The Advocate reports that the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal has upheld Baton Rouge lawyer Nina Broyle's guilty plea and resulting prison term for lying about her role in an adoption scheme. The scheme paid pregnant Russian women to come to the United States and give up their babies. Broyle was sentenced to 33 months in prison, significantly more than she expected as a result of her plea bargain. The court, however, noted that "unfulfilled expectations of a lighter sentence do not constitute a fair and just reason for allowing withdrawal of a guilty plea."

Posted by AJR at 09:44 AM

August 12, 2003

19th JDC Judge Pleads Guilty, Gets Fine

The Advocate reports that 19th JDC Judge Don Johnson pleaded guilty to failure to maintain control of a motor vehicle in Baton Rouge City Court last week. In exchange for his plea, prosectors dropped other charges that were pending against him. The charges were the result of Judge Johnson's accident reported here.

Posted by AJR at 08:30 AM

Ashcroft Mandates Reporting of Lesser Sentences

The Advocate reports on U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft's order to U.S. Attorneys to promptly report any judges imposing sentences lighter than required by mandatory guidelines. The mandate, a provision of the child-protection Protect Act, appears to limit the discretion that local prosecutors will have in deciding whether or not to appeal a sentence.

"If this directive is intended to be intimidating, it's inappropriate, although I don't know of any federal judges who will be intimidated by it," [U.S. Eastern District Judge] Berrigan said. "I'm going to credit Mr. Ashcroft with good faith, and just assume that he may not be as well informed of the facts as he should be. He does have a lot on his plate up there in Washington. But he's making something of an issue that's not really significant."

Posted by AJR at 08:25 AM

August 11, 2003

Constitutionality of Lethal Injection on Trial in Shreveport

The Times-Picayune reports on State District Judge Ramona Emanuel's ongoing hearing to determine the constitutionality of lethal injection. The hearing was ordered by the Louisiana Supreme Court in "one of the state's most horrific (crimes)." The article provides a comprehensive consideration of the issue that will most certainly be heading to the Louisiana Supreme Court, regardless of the hearing's outcome.

Posted by AJR at 09:27 AM

August 08, 2003

Comments Submitted in EBR Desegregation Case

The Advocate reports that four different groups filed comments objecting to the proposed desegregation settlement in East Baton Rouge parish on Thursday--the deadline to file written comments in order to appear at the fairness hearing to be held on August 14, 2003. "Meanwhile, former School Board member and attorney Ronald R. Johnson asked the court to pay him more than $94,000 for more than 500 hours of work at a rate of $175."

Posted by AJR at 08:04 AM

August 07, 2003

Judge Delays Sentencing in Jefferson Corruption Case

The Times-Picayune reports that US District Judge Martin Feldman postponed the sentencing of Phil Demma, a Jefferson Parish Court employee convicted in the ongoing corruption scandal surrounding the parish.

Bruce Ashley, who represents Demma, said he suspected one of the issues involved a motion Ashley filed last week asking the judge to consider a reduced sentence based on his client's diminished psychiatric capacity at the time of his offenses.

Posted by AJR at 08:19 AM

Lee to Appeal Ruling on Changing Judge

The Advocate reports that attorneys for Derrick Lee will appeal 19th JDC Judge Richard Anderson's decision to keep Lee's murder trial in his courtroom. The issue appears to be whether custom and practice regarding the changing over of the duty judge take precedence over written court protocols.

Posted by AJR at 08:13 AM

Ascension Parish Courthouse Renovations Near Completion

The Advocate reports that construction of an addition to the East Ascension Parish Courthouse is set for completion at the end of this week. The 32,100 square foot expansion has taken nearly two years to complete. Furntiure and fixtures for the courtrooms, however, will not arrive for several more months.

Posted by AJR at 08:10 AM

August 06, 2003

NOLA Using Cameras to Monitor Crime

The Times-Picayune reports that New Orleans has been using covert cameras as a crime-fighting tool, but Mayor Nagin nor the city's chief technology office are willing to disclose the locations or numbers of cameras. It was revealed, however, that at least 100 security cameras will be in use throughout the city by October.

New Orleans' approach to implementing camera use is opposite of Shreveport, which notified then fought the public in order to install the cameras--even agreeing to post signs in the areas where cameras are in use.

Posted by AJR at 07:56 AM

Shell Offshore to Pay $50 Million in Settlement

The Advocate reports that Shell Offshore, Inc. has agreed to pay nearly $50 million to the federal government for failing to report the fact that it flared almost 15 billion cubic feet of natural gas on one of its platforms located 150 miles south of Morgan City. Federal authorities say the wasted gas could have heated hundreds of thousands of homes for a month.

Posted by AJR at 07:41 AM

August 05, 2003

LA Has Highest Incarceration Rate per Capita

The Advertiser reports that a federal Bureau of Justice report released last month indicates that Louisiana has the highest per capita rate of incarceration in the nation--794 inmates per 100,000 residents. "By contrast, in the 1970s Louisiana had an average rate of confinement of 110 inmates per 100,000 residents," according to Burke Foster a UL Lafayette criminal justice associate professor.

Posted by AJR at 08:29 AM

Lester Issues Apology

The Times reports that Shreveport Councilman Calvin Lester issued a letter of apology to his consituents after details of his plea bargain that reduced more than $10,000 in state and local traffic fines to only $50 became public. "Many stones have been cast at me over the past weeks, many of them deserved," Lester's letter states. "I want to take this opportunity to reassure you that those issues have been resolved. I have hurt myself and let others down."

Posted by AJR at 08:23 AM

White Lake Lawsuit Thrown Out Again

The Advocate reports that 19th JDC Judge William Morvant ruled Monday that state sentator Joe McPherson does not have standing to bring a lawsuit against the state and BP Amoco regarding the White Lake deal. Judge Morvant allowed Senator McPherson to amend the suit to show that he had a peculiar or keen personal interest, but still ruled that he did not when there was no allegation that the deal would affect him financially. The ruling will be appealed to the Louisana First Circuit according to McPherson's attorney, Steve Irving. "This is an important issue because it means no public interest group would ever have standing on issues. We didn't come this far to lose," said Irving.

Posted by AJR at 08:14 AM

Judge Anderson Keeps Lee Case

The Advocate reports that 19th JDC Judge Richard Anderson denied a defense motion asking him to transfer the case of Derrick Todd Lee to another judge.

Posted by AJR at 08:08 AM

August 04, 2003

"Lester Deal" Making the Rounds in Shreveport

The Times reports that a Shreveport City Councilman who had hundreds of dollars of parking tickets and violations reduced to a single violation and fine of $50 may end up costing the city as citizens try to take advantage of the same "deal."

Posted by AJR at 08:45 AM

Finding Jury for Lee Will be Difficult

The Advertiser reports the obvious: finding an unbiased jury to judge Derrick Lee will be a challenge. 19th JDC District Attorney Doug Moreau does not expect a decision regarding possible relocation of the trial anytime soon: “If it turns out that during jury selection it becomes obvious that it is impossible to seat a jury, the judge will know it."

Posted by AJR at 08:41 AM

August 01, 2003

NOLA DA Jordan Wants Witness Names Witheld

The Times-Picayune reports that Orleans Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan is asking the New Orleans media to adopt policies against identifying crime witnesses. The request is being made because two witnesses have been killed before they were able to testify within the last year.

Posted by AJR at 08:30 AM

Class Action Suit Filed to Get DNA Back

The Advocate reports that a class action suit has been filed against the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Department, the Louisiana State Police and the State Attorney General seeking the return of DNA samples collected during the hunt for the south Louisana serial killer. The named plaintiff, Floyd Wagster, is also seeking punitive damages related to the coercion that accompanied the giving of his DNA. "Assisting in the case is Barry Scheck, a law professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York noted for his landmark litigation on DNA technology."

Posted by AJR at 08:18 AM
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