Apr 232014
 

Niguel Veal, the 17-year-old freshman Tulane football recruit arrested in last week’s sexual assault in a dorm room, made a brief court appearance Wednesday on his simple-rape charge, according to a report by our partners at WWL-TV. Veal is free on a $20,000 bond but suspended from the football team, and his attorney says the allegations are a misunderstanding.

Apr 212014
 

Latoya Francois (via opcso.org)

Latoya Francois (via opcso.org)

Earl Russell (via opcso.org)

Earl Russell (via opcso.org)

A husband shot to death on Willow Street in west-Carrollton last summer was the victim of his estranged wife’s plot to have him killed, New Orleans police allege in court documents and recent testimony, but defense attorneys are already questioning whether investigators identified the correct triggerman in the case. Continue reading »

Apr 152014
 
At least two sections of the Newcomb Boulevard fence have been removed as of Tuesday morning. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

At least two sections of the Newcomb Boulevard fence have been removed as of Tuesday morning. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

At least two sections of the controversial Newcomb Boulevard fence were removed Tuesday morning, and city officials say the intersection will re-open to two-way traffic in about a week. Continue reading »

Mar 262014
 
Former Louisiana Govs. Buddy Roemer, Kathleen Blanco and Edwin Edwards share a laugh during one of the lighter moments during Wednesday night's panel discussion at Loyola University. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Former Louisiana Govs. Buddy Roemer, Kathleen Blanco and Edwin Edwards share a laugh during one of the lighter moments during Wednesday night’s panel discussion at Loyola University. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Although former Louisiana governors Buddy Roemer, Kathleen Blanco and Edwin Edwards have a number of political differences, all three agreed Wednesday night that no state officials — neither the legislature nor the current governor — should interfere with the local levee board’s lawsuit against oil companies. Continue reading »

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Mar 262014
 
Pedestrians pass by the Newcomb Boulevard fence in early February. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

Pedestrians pass by the Newcomb Boulevard fence in early February. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

After years of court battles, the proposed sale of Newcomb Boulevard between St. Charles Avenue and Freret Street is headed to the City Planning Commission in less than two weeks, and those who have fought to have the street reopened are hoping to rally public opinion to their side with a quickly organized campaign. Continue reading »

Mar 252014
 

jewel bush

Less than three months passed between the arrest of George Junius Stinney Jr. and his execution. The whole Stinney trial took only one day – including jury selection.

The year was 1944 in Alcolu, a South Carolina town established by a lumber company in the late 19th century. All of the townsfolk worked for the mill; and in fact, were paid in metal coins emblazoned with the letter “A;” legal tender accepted at the company store to pay for everything from groceries to a doctor’s visit.

Stinney was 14 when he sat in the electric chair using the Bible he carried into the death chamber as a booster seat. From the looks of his mug shot, Stinney could have passed for as young as 12 when he was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder of two pre-teen white girls by an all-white jury in a town that was more than half black. Continue reading »

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Mar 202014
 

The sentencing hearing for Former District B City Councilwoman Renee Gill Pratt’s federal racketeering conviction has been delayed until May so that she can seek a new trial on the basis that anonymous online commenting by members of the U.S. Attorney’s office may have unfairly influenced the jurors in her trial in 2011, according to a report by Laura Maggi of The Advocate. The same scandal previously led to the convictions against five NOPD officers in the Danziger Bridge shooting being overturned, Maggi notes.

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Mar 182014
 
Glenn Ford. (photo by jewel bush)

Former death-row prisoner Glenn Ford was released from prison last week, and is transitioning back to society at the Resurrection After Exoneration program in New Orleans. (photo by jewel bush)

jewel bush

What do you say to someone who has spent 10,950 days — 3 decades and his last 30 birthdays — wondering if today would be the day he would be put to death for a crime he did not commit?

“They give you a $20 debit card and say, ‘I’ll be waiting on you,’ ” said John Thompson, who spent 18 years in prison, 14 of them on death row, wrongfully convicted of murder.

On March 11, Thompson welcomed home fellow exoneree Glenn Ford, Louisiana’s longest-serving death row prisoner. Ford was released from death row and exonerated after an informant told police that the real killer — one of the original suspects — confessed to the 1983 murder. Continue reading »

Mar 172014
 

Owen Courreges

Should the powers of New Orleans Municipal Court be expanded?   It’s already happening.  You just probably didn’t realizing it was going on.

It began a couple of years ago, in late January 2012.  Mayor Mitch Landrieu dispatched letters to the judges of Criminal District Court and Municipal Court asking them to impose higher bonds for release in gun cases.  Landrieu specifically pointed to a program initiated by Judge John Garvey in St. Louis, who began automatically requiring a $30,000 cash-only bond for youths arrested for illegally possessing firearms. Continue reading »

Mar 122014
 

Darren K. Holmes (via NOPD)

Darren K. Holmes (via NOPD)

Joshua Hogan

Joshua Hogan

Timothy Hartford

Timothy Hartford

One of the suspects in the gang rape of a home-health nurse in Central City was sentenced to 40 years on a guilty plea; two men convicted of looting during Hurricane Isaac received 20-year sentences, and the jury deadlocked in the manslaughter trial of a man accused of stabbing his lover to death, according to recent reports. Continue reading »

Mar 112014
 
Torence "Lil Boosie" Hatch speaks at a news conference Monday. (via boosiespeaks.com)

Torence “Lil Boosie” Hatch speaks at a news conference Monday. (via boosiespeaks.com)

jewel bush

The fanfare surrounding 31-year-old Torence “Lil Boosie” Hatch’s release from the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola after a four-year sentence on drug charges has been surreal.

A video of his daughter, a wide-eyed girl in ponytails and bows, feverishly expressing her anticipation over her dad coming home went viral. The clip, sweet at heart, was highly problematic though, because of the little girl’s repeated and casual use of the N-word — and it embodies the contradictions in this whole story. Continue reading »

Feb 242014
 

Leonard Robinson (via opcso.org)

Leonard Robinson (via opcso.org)

Demetrius Givens Jr. (via opcso.org)

Demetrius Givens Jr. (via opcso.org)

After pleading guilty on Friday to charges of simple robbery and carjacking in a May 2013 attack on a judge outside his Carrollton home, 19-year-old Demetrius Givens Jr. was sentenced to six years in prison and Leonard Robinson, also 19, was sentenced to three years, according to court records. Continue reading »

Feb 102014
 

Owen Courreges

Mr. Landrieu, tear down this fence.

I am speaking, of course, of the fence that has spanned the end of Newcomb Boulevard at Freret Street for the past several years.   The installation of the fence was approved by the city at the behest of Newcomb’s well-heeled, well-connected residents who were concerned about through traffic clogging their street. Continue reading »

Feb 052014
 

Michael Singreen (via opcso.org)

Michael Singreen (via opcso.org)

The murder trial of a man accused of killing his parents in an Audubon Boulevard home in 2009 has stalled as attorneys try to sort out whether the defendant’s sister — who is in a mental institution — is fit to testify as a witness. Continue reading »

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Feb 052014
 
Pedestrians pass by the Newcomb Boulevard fence early Tuesday afternoon.

Pedestrians pass by the Newcomb Boulevard fence early Tuesday afternoon.

Early last month, New Orleans city officials promised that they would comply with a court order to remove a fence on Newcomb Boulevard “without delay.” More than a month later, the fence still stands, there is discussion about a City Council effort to make the street one-way, and the city still says it is working on the removal — “without delay.” Continue reading »

Jan 202014
 

Owen Courreges

If I ever become a judge, I think I’ll issue an injunction requiring a party not to speak about politics or religion and mandating that he quarter American soldiers in his house.  I’ll also tack on a provision stating that he not go near any polling station (so that he can’t vote in elections) and another requiring him to issue statements that incriminate himself.  If he violates it, I’ll send him to jail.

Apparently judges can do that.  Their power over the parties before them trumps the Constitution itself. Continue reading »

Jan 162014
 

Willis L. Turner (via opcso.org)

Willis L. Turner (via opcso.org)

Willis Turner, 29, showed up in court this week so strongly under the influence of some sort of opiates, his blood test showed, that he could not stand, according to John Simerman of The New Orleans Advocate and Naomi Martin of the Times-Picayune. Orleans Parish Jail officials are now investigating allegations that he got the drugs from a deputy, Simerman reports, amid an election for sheriff that has focused on high-profile security issues at the jail.

Turner was arrested on an attempted-murder charge in February following a shooting in the 2800 block of Audubon Street.

Dec 302013
 

Owen Courreges

With New Year’s Eve a scant day away, it is only fitting that I commit this column to a particularly relevant topic: Driving Under the Influence (DUI).

First, I’d like to preface this piece by observing that nobody actually supports drunk driving.  It’s a contributing cause to innumerable auto accidents and fatalities.  It frustrates law enforcement and makes mothers M.A.D.D.

However, in spite of popular efforts to present a DUI as the moral equivalent of nun beating, activists and local governments are committed participants in a conspiracy to presenting driving drunk as a mere peccadillo – a “petty offense” that does not merit significant concern. Continue reading »