Criminal Justice

Courtroom Gavel

Court ruling striking split-jury verdicts should mean the release of inmates convicted that way, their attorneys say

BY: - July 23, 2020

Using the term “Jim Crow juries” to describe the divided panels that sent an untold number of Louisianians to life imprisonment, the Promise of Justice Initiative announced Wednesday that it’s pushing for the retroactive application of an April U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared split juries in felony trials unconstitutional. Between 1898 and 2019, Louisiana allowed […]

Amidst COVID-19 pandemic, parents and advocates push for a release of juvenile inmates

BY: - July 22, 2020

Like so many other Louisiana mothers with a child in juvenile detention, Latoyia Porter wants her 19-year-old son home with her during the pandemic. He’s already been jailed for five years for stealing a car, she said, and with the pandemic, she worries about his health. “Treyjon’s had symptoms of COVID, has asked to be […]

How many burial sites are on the land where Formosa Plastics plans to build?

BY: - July 20, 2020

Rise St. James and Formosa Plastics don’t agree about what’s going to happen in the future.  The environmental justice group says air, water and soil quality are already awful in St. James Parish, and, if Formosa Plastics is allowed to build a $9.4B manufacturing complex on the west bank, the environment will become even more […]

Angola

Forty-two percent of Louisiana inmates tested have been positive for COVID-19

BY: - July 12, 2020

Since the beginning of April, Louisiana has tested about 10 percent of the state inmates that reside in the state prison system for COVID-19, and over 40 percent of the prisoners tested have been positive for the virus, according to data provided by the state Department of Corrections Thursday. Since the beginning of the pandemic, […]

COMMENTARY

COVID-19 infections in the prison system concern us all

BY: - July 12, 2020

By Andrea Armstrong At  a July 8 press conference, Dr. Alex Billioux, assistant secretary of health for the Office of Public Health, attempted to explain why the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) does not provide independent data on COVID-19 in Louisiana prisons and jails.  First, Billioux said prisons and jails are not public health risks […]

Two Louisiana law school clinics join ACLU of Louisiana’s effort to curb racist policing

BY: - July 9, 2020

In Episode 2 of the Louisiana Illuminator podcast, Kenneth Polite, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, talks to host Julie O’Donoghue about the decision made by Morgan Lewis law firm, where Polite is a partner, to join with 17 other firms and the ACLU of Louisiana to help people file lawsuits related […]

Press conference on NOPD consent decree

NOPD not a few bad apples but a ‘bad orchard,’ community group says

BY: - July 8, 2020

NEW ORLEANS — Leaders from the Community United for Change called on U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan on Wednesday to keep the  New Orleans Police Department bound to a federal consent decree and not give into the city’s pleas to end it now. The Police Department has been subject to the mandates in the consent […]

House petition case: Governor asks court to stop GOP from interfering

Judges forcing in-court appearances are violating the law, disability-rights activists say

BY: - July 7, 2020

Concerned about evictions that are already taking place and fearing an overwhelming wave of evictions on the horizon, a collection of civil rights attorneys, fair housing advocates and disability-rights advocates has asked Louisiana Chief Justice Bernette Johnson to order lower courts to make reasonable accommodations for people who are more vulnerable to COVID-19. In a […]

Caddo Parish grand jury accuses 8 Shreveport police officers of using excessive force

BY: - June 30, 2020

A week after the Louisiana Legislature agreed to study police abuse in Louisiana, a grand jury in Caddo Parish handed up indictments against eight Shreveport police officers who booked two men on drug and weapons charges and running from the police Jan. 24. Caddo Parish District Attorney James E. Stewart said in a Tuesday press […]

House Democrats and 3 Republicans pass George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

BY: and - June 27, 2020

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House passed a sweeping police reform package Thursday night in response to massive civil unrest over police brutality. The package cleared the chamber largely along partisan lines, with 236 lawmakers (mostly Democrats) voting for it and 181 lawmakers (180 Republicans and one Independent) voting against it. Three Republicans sided with Democrats […]

Louisiana Capitol Building

Local public defenders budget reduced in Louisiana Senate proposal

BY: - June 26, 2020

Update: The Louisiana Senate reversed its initial reduction to local public defender offices when it approved the budget Friday afternoon. It moved back to the original public defender funding breakdown drawn up by the Louisiana House. The Legislature is expect to approve the final version of the total state operating budget by Tuesday. The new […]

Ted James

Louisiana Lawmakers support police study – as long as it doesn’t talk about George Floyd

BY: - June 25, 2020

The Louisiana Legislature overwhelmingly supports the study of policing tactics. Lawmakers appear likely to set up a new task force to examine law enforcement practices over the next year — with the goal of recommending legislation to change state policing laws in 2021. But White Republican lawmakers in the House haven’t wanted to link that […]