Story Archive

Right v. Wrong

At a hearing in New Orleans, La., Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge Arthur Hunter reviewed the cases of seven men — and found that they had been held for months or even years awaiting trial but did not even have attorneys, despite the Constitutional rights guaranteed to those accused of crimes. “The defendants’ Constitutional rights are not contingent upon budget demands, waiting lists and the failure of the legislature to adequately fund indigent defense,” Hunter ruled. “We are now faced with a fundamental question, not only in New Orleans but across Louisiana. What kind of criminal justice system do we want? One based on fairness or injustice, equality or prejudice, efficiency or chaos, right or wrong?” He did not dismiss the charges against the men, but ordered them all released — in 10 days, to give the prosecution time to appeal. And District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro did vow to appeal, saying that releasing the men was “a very serious threat to public safety.” (RC/New Orleans Times-Picayune) ...In that they might violate someone’s rights.
Original Publication Date: 08 May 2016
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 22.

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