Daily Archives: August 8, 2006

SPINNING THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

 Tue, 08 Aug 2006 20:23:35

Yesterday a bunch of guys in suits who hate one another held a press conference about the criminal justice system (hereinafter CJS.) C Ray was of course in full tilt hipster doofus mode spouting cliches and promising way too much man. This could be the real reason to call him Ray Reagan: his preposterous OTT optimism man. What happened yesterday was more shadow boxing: a plan to have a plan to have a plan man. I’m probably being a bit harsh: a few useful steps were announced yesterday BUT nothing that warranted C Ray’s preening and posturing. Judge Ed Lombard’s attempt to inject a note of realism into the procedings was ignored by the Picayune but was featured on WWL’s 5 O’Clock news last night.

The most promising things announced were the new system to subpeona cops to testify and Jefferson DA Paul Connick’s loaning case screeners to our hapless DA. I’m also glad that the courthouse will be fully functional soon but none of this really constitutes a plan except  in Nagin World where spinning equals planning. The problem is that Nagin’s spin cycle has crapped out on him and he in turn has crapped out on the people of New Orleans.

There was one announcement made that concerns me: 

“To help represent the city’s poorest defendants Greenbaum’s office is recruiting volunteer attorneys from throughout the state to take up the slack. Greenbaum said about 50 lawyers attended an all-day training seminar on criminal law Friday and he expects most of the participants will be willing to defend clients. “

I hope that these “volunteer” lawyers won’t be handling the most serious felony cases. Volunteerism and good intentions won’t cut it with the tougher cases. Some of these volunteers are apt to run for the exits when they meet their clients. Also the CJS is already a quaqmire with constitutional pitfalls at every turn which is why I want the worst defendants to have competent counsel. What ‘s really needed is for lawyers with criminal law experience to try cases and they’ll want to be paid. It always comes down to money y’all. Of course given the current level of incompetence at the DA’s office it may not matter. Schroeder has an excellent bit about Jordan’s office in today’s epic posting.

Back to the suits who hate one another. I’d love to see extended video of the whole spin session. Gusman hates Nagin Riley and Foti. Jordan hates Gusman Nagin and Riley. Nagin hates Gusman and Jordan. And on and on and on. Former State Attorney General Richard Ieyoub should have worn a blue UN peacekeeper’s helmet. It’s appropriate that Ieyoub is Lebanese-American: our politics and those of his father’s native country are depessingly familiar as well as familial.