New Orleans attorney and former judicial candidate Richard Perque was waiting in the cold yesterday with his family to be the first candidate to qualify for Civil District Court Division A. The seat was formerly held by Tiffany Chase who was recently elected to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal. The Louisiana Supreme Court appointed longtime civil rights activist Henry Julien, husband of CDC Judge Ethel Julien, to sit ad hoc.
Newly elected judge Nicole Sheppard, Civil District Court Division J, has the common touch. In a relatively low budget campaign with few paid consultants, Sheppard coasted to a very comfortable victory over attorney Omar Mason by conducting an old-fashioned grassroots campaign in the churches and the streets.
“We definitely worked hard. The voters believed in me, my sincerity and my independence. They could feel my passion to serve the people,” Sheppard reflected yesterday. The CDC vacancy occurred due to the election of Judge Paula Brown to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal.
A group of mayoral and City Council candidates promised Friday morning to try to find out if the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans still has the $115 million reserve fund intended to pay damages from its major Uptown drainage-canal construction projects, as well as to try to push the entity toward mediation of their claims rather than continuing in a costly legal fight against them.
Tensions have been boiling over between District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro and Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
On June 7, an opinion piece ran in the New Orleans Advocate by Cannizzaro accusing Landrieu of having “repeatedly placed politics above public safety.”
“The only objective of this policy has been to create the illusion of public safety, regardless of what is actually occurring on the streets,” Cannizzaro continued. “In so doing, he has ultimately endangered the citizens of New Orleans.”
Paula Brown won election to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and a close race for Civil District Court between Suzy Montero and Rachael Johnson will require a runoff in an election Saturday that drew barely 10 percent of registered voters in New Orleans.
Victoria Coy, the executive director of the Louisiana Violence Reduction Coalition, went on a bit of a tear this past week over Louisiana’s so-called “Stand Your Ground” (SYG) law. In an opinion piece written for The Lens, Coy made claims that, if true, would indeed be quite disturbing:
- “Stand Your Ground was tacked on to Louisiana’s Justifiable Homicide rules in 2006, upending centuries of common-sense definitions of self-defense.”
- “Under the revamped rules, you no longer have the duty to retreat from a threat before using lethal force. You need only ‘perceive’ a threat in order to justify meeting force with force — even if you could easily escape that threat.”
- “ Stand Your Ground has codified prejudice. . . . If black men are the scary ones, then why should they be afraid? It’s this exact logic that is not only encouraged, but required under the disastrous Stand Your Ground law.”
The cutest Internet video of the week from New Orleans was, inarguably, that of “disco cop.” NOPD Sgt. L.J. Smith was providing security at the Luna Fete light/art festival as electronic dance music brayed from a nearby DJ when he began enthusiastically dancing along with the crowd.
In a city beset by violent crime that has been braced with recurring police scandals, the sight of a cop stepping side-to-side and blowing his whistle in time with the music was a welcome diversion.
Personally, I’ve never been one to armchair quarterback murder investigations or second-guess police when their actions could be described as “restrained.” I’m not a cop and I have no law enforcement training. My relevant expertise as an attorney is limited to simply whether police are operating within the law, and that’s a limited scope.
However, it is difficult not to look a little cock-eyed at the investigation into the killing of Joe McKnight down in Terrytown. Publicly-released information makes one wonder: Why hasn’t the perp been charged yet?
The man charged with shooting a Tulane medical student who tried to stop him from dragging a woman off of Magazine Street pleaded guilty Monday to attempted murder and multiple rapes in what prosecutors are calling “one of the most horrific crime sprees in recent memory in this city.”
Former No Limit Records recording artist McKinley “Mac” Phipps, Jr., who is currently serving a 30-year sentence for 2nd Degree Manslaughter, has filed an application for clemency, according to an article published by Huffington Post. Phipps, an Uptown native, has served 16 years of the 30-year sentence for the crime, for which he maintains his innocence.
It’s almost as though Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Jerry Larpenter were spat out of central casting. The portly, arrogant, hot-headed lawman is the archetype of the corrupt Southern sheriff. “You ain’t from ‘round here, boy,” might as well be tattooed on his forehead.
Playing to form, Larpenter doesn’t appreciate being criticized. His thin skin was certainly on display when a local muckraking blog called “Exposedat” suggested that Larpenter had misused public funds due to a conflict of interest.