Tuesday, November 13, 2007

DA office saga in the Big Easy

I do my best to post when a particularly intriguing business or law story turns up, and I won’t disappoint this afternoon — though the credit goes to our sister publication, New Orleans City Business.

My colleagues from the South shared a juicy-yet-frightening story with me that involves the Orleans Parish district attorney (a parish is to Louisiana what a county is to Maryland).

District Attorney Eddie Jordan (right) resigned earlier this month after a federal court ruled the assets of the DA’s office could be seized to pay a $3M+ civil rights judgment against it. The judgment was the result of a lawsuit filed by workers Jordan fired after he took office.

Now, a hearing is scheduled for Wednesday that requires the interim DA to disclose the agency’s assets. Among them? Payroll.

The latest, from the AP:

An official with the district attorney's office has said it can pay employees on Thursday, as scheduled, from funds that haven't been frozen by the plaintiffs' actions. It remains unclear how the long the office can make its full payroll.

Our sister publication polled its online visitors and found that most thought the assets should be seized to satisfy the judgment, even if it meant shutting down the office.

To complicate matters further, Louisiana has strict speedy trial rights that require a charge be brought within 150 days after a felony arrest.

Are there any words left?

What will New Orleans do without a District Attorney’s office?

Above: New Orleans District Attorney Eddie Jordan, left, announces his resignation as Mayor Ray Nagin listens at City Hall in New Orleans, Tuesday, Oct. 30. AP Photo.

-JACKIE SAUTER, Multimedia Editor

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, Louisiana law does not require that charges be filed shortly after arrest, like most states (including Maryland). The DA has 45 days for misdemeanors and 60 days for felonies to even file the paperwork to begin formal court proceedings.

See - http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/rebuilding_project/