WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Monday, August 27, 2012

WHEN THE PD SYSTEM BREAKS DOWN

The Nation looks at New Orleans, a city in which the Public Defender system has broken down. 

On April 18, 2011, New Orleans police arrested Clarence Jones, a 41-year-old black man. Clarence contends that he was walking with his cousin Keitha Hyde, running some errands around 11:30 am, when he ducked into an alley to relieve himself. “It was just an empty house, so I went in the backyard out of sight,” he says, talking to me via phone from jail—and when cops turned the corner, he looked guilty. But police contend that Clarence was climbing out a window with pliers in his left hand, apparently scrapping for metal or copper wiring in the gutted building. The cops arrested him and his cousin and took them to the Orleans Parish Prison. On May 13, nearly a month later, Clarence finally appeared before a magistrate in Orleans Parish Criminal Court, who arraigned him on the charge—simple burglary—and set his bail at $10,000 (before raising it four days later to $20,000).

More than sixteen months later, Clarence Jones is still in jail waiting for an attorney to be assigned to represent him. “It’s been hell back here,” he says, explaining that he is living, along with approximately 400 other prisoners, in oversized tents that fill the prison grounds. In the aftermath of Katrina, which flooded huge swaths of the massive Orleans Parish Prison seven years ago, circus-style tents were erected to “temporarily” house the inmates. Today, the tents are still housing prisoners on a patch of barren ground in the middle of the city.


Even worse, the Orleans Parish Prison—already notoriously violent—veered out of control as Jones languished there. Things got so bad that the US Marshals Service pulled its prisoners from the facility in March 2012. Then the Justice Department sent a letter to the New Orleans sheriff in April citing “alarming conditions” in the “violent and dangerous” prison. The detailed list of constitutional violations runs twenty-one pages. Clarence Jones puts it simply: “It’s like we animals. They’re just packing more and more people in. They got us packed to capacity. Lots of us have no attorney. Can’t do nothing but sit back here. We’re just stuck.”...
Clarence is one of 230 people sitting in limbo in the Orleans Parish Prison this summer after a $2 million budget shortfall forced the Orleans Parish public defender’s office to lay off twenty-seven employees, twenty-one of them lawyers. 

Rumpole says: Shocking. Bring on the Limited Registry. 

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Somebody should call the Q

Anonymous said...

Somebody should send BHB with a fat consulting contract to straighten things out before Isaac hits tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

BHB has a noncompete.

Anonymous said...

Clarence is lucky he wasn't shot. NO police shoot first then ask questions later.

"I have a dream" said...

Fitting that today marks the 49th anniversary of Martin Luther King's speech at the Lincoln Memorial.

Anonymous said...

covering for the pd cabal...interesting

shitbags on 5th floor