Jun 152015
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

One of the chief headaches one gets from monitoring the news cycle relates to the fact that it isn’t self-correcting.  A tiny seed of disinformation grows to become a sturdy tree of conventional wisdom.

This is what happened with the so-called “Stand Your Ground” (SYG) laws following the shooting of Treyvon Martin in Florida by George Zimmerman.  Most recently, it was criticized in a recent column by Jarvis DeBerry after being invoked by Algiers Pastor W.L.T. Littleton, who is accused of shooting a fleeing copper thief in the back of the head. Continue reading »

Jun 102015
 
A crack is visible in a foundation that attorney Michael Whitaker says is only 9 years old in the 2500 block of Napoleon Avenue. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A crack is visible in a foundation that attorney Michael Whitaker says is only 9 years old in the 2500 block of Napoleon Avenue. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Attorney Michael Whitaker (left) listens as the Rev. Tom Watson describes damage to Watson Memorial Teaching Ministries on Napoleon Avenue during a news conference Wednesday morning. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Attorney Michael Whitaker (left) listens as the Rev. Tom Watson describes damage to Watson Memorial Teaching Ministries on Napoleon Avenue during a news conference Wednesday morning. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A total of 74 plaintiffs have now joined the lawsuit alleging that their homes have been damaged by construction of new drainage canals under major thoroughfares through Uptown New Orleans, but their attorney says the costs of repairing these houses is already built into the project and won’t increase the costs for the Sewerage & Water Board. Continue reading »

Jun 012015
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Plea bargaining is one of the hallmarks of an efficient criminal justice system. The prosecutor saves time and effort. The city collects a fine and court costs. The defendant receives a break on the offense charged. In theory, everybody is happy.

Alas, Mayor Landrieu is apparently not happy. His administration has decided to end the process in traffic court. Continue reading »

May 142015
 
Tall tarps line both sides of Prytania Street, seen from Nashville Avenue. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Construction closes Prytania Street at Nashville Avenue, photographed in February. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

A group of Uptown property owners — three families to start, but expected to number in the hundreds as the case grows — filed suit this week against the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans, seeking compensation for damage to their homes from proximity to the installation of major new drainage canals along some of Uptown’s largest thoroughfares, their attorney said. Continue reading »

Apr 302015
 
Police vehicles surround Dat Dog on Freret Street and neighbors and employees talk outside after a robbery attempt and shooting inside the business on Dec. 17, 2012. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Police vehicles surround Dat Dog on Freret Street and neighbors and employees talk outside after a robbery attempt and shooting inside the business on Dec. 17, 2012. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Nathaniel Jones (via opcso.org)

Nathaniel Jones (via opcso.org)

A 22-year-old man accepted a 25-year prison sentence Wednesday after pleading guilty to shooting a Dat Dog employee during robbery attempt at the popular Freret Street restaurant in late 2012, court documents show. Continue reading »

Apr 012015
 

Milton Bangham (via opcso.org)

Milton Bangham (via opcso.org)

A 34-year-old man will spend more than three decades in jail after pleading guilty Tuesday to manslaughter in a 2013 shooting that killed a 14-year-old boy for “no apparent reason” just steps away from a late-afternoon party in Central City, authorities said. Continue reading »

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Mar 082015
 

Bernard Noble, a 49-year-old father of seven children, is serving a 13-year sentence after an arrest for about two joints’ worth of marijuana, and Broadmoor residents rallied with New Orleans City Councilwoman Susan Guidry on Saturday on behalf of his release, according to a report by our partners at WWL-TV. Noble’s lengthy sentence is the result of habitual-offender enhancements on drug charges dating back to the 1990s, even though Orleans judges had urged a lower sentence, rally organizers say.

Mar 052015
 

A NOPD officer stretches crime-scene tape across the South Broad overpass during a homicide investigation on Friday, Feb. 27. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

Last Friday’s fatal shooting on South Broad Street that closed the overpass and wounded a man in front of the Orleans Parish courthouse was preceded by the sentencing of the suspect’s nephew to life in prison in a separate murder case, according to our report at Mid-City Messenger. Continue reading »

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Feb 062015
 
New Orleans police take a trash can into evidence (after the body of a woman found in it was removed) from an alleyway off Danneel Street on Nov. 26. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

New Orleans police take a trash can into evidence (after the body of a woman found in it was removed) from an alleyway off Danneel Street on Nov. 26. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

Evangelisto Ramos (via opcso.org)

Evangelisto Ramos (via opcso.org)

Offshore worker Evangelisto Ramos told police back in December that he had been with Trinece Fedison the night before her body was discovered in an out-of-place trash can in Central City, so they knew to expect his DNA on her body.

But when laboratory testing confirmed that the 42-year-old man’s DNA was also on the outside of the trash can, police secured a warrant on a murder charge and arrested him from Port Fourchon on Wednesday night. Continue reading »

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Jan 102015
 
Same-sex marriage supporters began lining up outside the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals before dawn on Friday to secure a seat in the courtroom. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Same-sex marriage supporters began lining up outside the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals before dawn on Friday to secure a seat in the courtroom. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

As expected, the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals made no decision on same-sex marriage in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi after hearing arguments Friday morning from attorneys on both sides of the issue in each state. Likewise, the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to reveal whether it will take issue up in its spring session, which would supercede any decision by the appeals court.

But the three 5th Circuit judges — Judge Jerry E. Smith and Patrick Higginbotham, two appointees of President Ronald Reagan, and Judge James Graves, appointed by President Barack Obama — did each seem to focus on different issues in their questions during Friday’s hearings, shedding some light on which issues they felt needed more elucidation. Continue reading »

Dec 042014
 

Austin L. Diven (via opcso.org)

Austin L. Diven (via opcso.org)

A man whose wild attempt to break into a Coliseum Square home drew a warning blast from the homeowner’s shotgun in October is now wanted on a charge of attempted home invasion, after prosecutors upgraded his charges and he failed to show up to court this week, court documents show. Continue reading »

Oct 232014
 

Judge J. Skelly Wright

Loyola University New Orleans is holding a memorial Friday in honor of 1934 graduate, Judge J. Skelly Wright, a New Orleans native who issued the order to desegregate the New Orleans public schools in the 1950’s and was appointed to the D.C. federal circuit court of appeals by President Kennedy. In addition to the memorial event, Loyola is installing a memorial to Judge Wright in front their law school and establishing a scholarship in his name. Continue reading »

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Oct 222014
 
Graham Bosworth (from left), Judge Frank Marullo, Marie Williams, Paul Sens and Byron C. Williams listen to moderator Lee Zurik during Wednesday's voters' forum at Touro Synagogue. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Graham Bosworth (from left), Judge Frank Marullo, Marie Williams, Paul Sens and Byron C. Williams listen to moderator Lee Zurik during Wednesday’s voters’ forum at Touro Synagogue. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Despite the drama that has surrounded the race for incumbent Judge Frank Marullo’s seat, the election itself may serve as a referendum on the operations of the Orleans Parish Courthouse, which Marullo defended as both efficient and transparent against criticisms from challengers Graham Bosworth and Marie Williams in a voters’ forum Wednesday night. Continue reading »

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Oct 212014
 

court watch top

Ten candidates for three open judicial seats in the Nov. 4 election have confirmed their attendance at Wednesday night’s forum at Touro Synagogue hosted by an array of community groups including the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation, CrimeStoppers, the Urban League, the Young Leadership Council, Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans, the League Of Women Voters and more. Continue reading »

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Sep 302014
 

Rendell Brown (via opcso.org)

Rendell Brown (via opcso.org)

Shane Hughes (via opcso.org)

Shane Hughes (via opcso.org)

Shane Hughes and Rendell Brown, both 16, have been charged with first-degree murder in the Sept. 22 slaying of Domino’s Pizza driver Richard Yeager in Mid-City and face charges in the carjacking of a woman on Newcomb Boulevard, and will be tried as adults in state court after their cases were transferred out of juvenile court Monday, according to reports. Continue reading »

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Sep 292014
 
Judicial candidates Marie Williams, Graham Bosworth and Byron C. Williams participate in a candidates' forum sponsored by the Home Defense Foundation of New Orleans. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Judicial candidates Marie Williams, Graham Bosworth and Byron C. Williams participate in a candidates’ forum sponsored by the Home Defense Foundation of New Orleans. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Prosecutors are using Louisiana’s repeat-offender laws to create potential sentences so high for criminal defendants that they have no choice but to plead guilty, potentially depriving them of the right to a fair trial, three candidates for Criminal District Court agreed Monday night. Continue reading »