Posts Tagged ‘Louisiana’

Fifth Circuit: basing judges’ fund on fines and fees violates due process

Orleans Parish, Louisiana (= county, in this case coterminous with the City of New Orleans) funnels the revenue from many criminal fines and fees into a judicial services fund which, while it does not pay judges’ salaries, does cover many related expenses including staff salaries, conferences and office supplies. Judges themselves help determine the volume of inflow to the fund by their rulings in cases. Now a unanimous Fifth Circuit panel has ruled that given the fund’s substantial dependence on such revenue, the parish “failed to provide a neutral forum” and thus violated defendants’ constitutional right to due process [Nick Sibilla/Forbes, ABA Journal; opinion in Cain v. White]

Pharmaceutical roundup

Louisiana: “…an unknown third vehicle waves down an 18-wheeler”

Attorneys for Mississippi-based Whitestone Transportation “allege in court documents that their investigations have uncovered evidence of more than 30” incidents around New Orleans following a distinct pattern of “multiple people in a claimant vehicle, sideswipe allegations with commercial vehicle trailers, minimal damage to claimant vehicle, little to no damage to the insured trailer and a commercial vehicle driver who is either unaware of or denies impact, according to trucking attorneys.” “In Louisiana we estimate our insurance costs are three to five times more than the national average,” said Chance McNeely, executive director of the Louisiana Motor Transport Association, and with the legal system not well suited to defeating claims for staged or pretended accidents, companies are increasingly turning to truck-mounted cameras.

“It’s always the same thing: Four people in a sedan, and there’s always a random witness who gives a loose statement to the cops and has a random appointment and has to get away, “ McNeely said. And all too often they use the same attorneys and the same doctors, he said….

“We have a lot of billboards for attorneys, and many of them demonize our industry,” he said.

[Eric Miller, Transport Topics]

Crime and punishment roundup

  • Bloodstain analysis convinced a jury Julie Rea killed her 10-year-old son. It took four years for her to be acquitted on retrial, and another four to be exonerated. Has anything been learned? [Pamela Colloff, ProPublica] Forensics’ alternative-facts problem [Radley Balko] The chemists and the coverup: inside the Massachusetts drug lab scandal [Shawn Musgrave, Reason, earlier here, here, here, etc.]
  • “I would say, you know, as a parting gift, if you’d like to throw in some iPhones every year, we would be super jazzed about that…. So, you know, a hundred, 200 a year.” A window on the unusual business of prison-phone service [Ben Conarck, Florida Times-Union, state Department of Corrections]
  • Should juries be forbidden to hear any evidence or argument about their power of conscientious acquittal? [Jay Schweikert on Cato amicus in case of U.S. v. Manzano, Second Circuit; related, David Boaz on 1960s-era jury nullification of sodomy charges]
  • This hardly ever happens: prosecutor disbarred for misconduct [Matt Sledge, Baton Rouge Advocate; Louisiana high court revokes license of Sal Perricone following anonymous-commenting scandal]
  • “Cultural impact assessments”: Canadian courts weighing whether race should play role in sentencing minority offenders [Dakshana Bascaramurty, Globe and Mail]
  • “The Threat of Creeping Overcriminalization” [Cato Daily Podcast with Shon Hopwood and Caleb Brown] “Tammie Hedges and the Overcriminalization of America” [James Copland and Rafael Mangual, National Review]

Free speech roundup

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