Thursday, March 4, 2010

Justice Denied:-Still in Louisiana

The indigent defense system is steadily falling apart & the Louisiana Legislature has still failed to launch, an initial action to revamp the judicial process in the state of Louisiana. In particular Louisiana's 4th Judicial District has indigent defense attorneys, who are typically lax in their representation of impoverished defendants.

Public Defender Office-La. 4th JDC is currently covering a case involving three defendants, one of which has federal charges. Already, two of the defendants are lanquishing in the system, because of maneuvering by the federal defendant.

In New Orleans public defenders are to the point of possibly not taking on any new cases.

Should this not be the final signal, of the impending doom of the collapsing judicial process in Louisiana.

North Carolina
has a commission in force that looks in to criminal convictions for possible mistakes even after all post-conviction remedies are exhausted! The Commission,
considers claims of innocence from convicts or anyone else with pertinent information. It has reviewed hundreds of claims by prisoners and brought only three to a hearing.

If the commission agrees that a claim has merit, it refers cases to a three-judge panel, which has happened only once except for a recent case, [Gregory Taylor] and the argument in the other case was rejected.

BR man charged in corruption case

Published: Mar 17, 2010

Robert L. Stevens is the 10th person charged in the continuing federal investigation of corruption in Baton Rouge city and state district courts.

Each of the prior nine defendants has pleaded guilty to one or more felony counts. To date, none has been scheduled for sentencing.

Stevens, 61, of Baton Rouge, was charged Tuesday with conspiracy in aid of racketeering. That charge was filed in a bill of information by Assistant U.S. Attorneys M. Patricia Jones and Corey R. Amundson after Stevens waived his right to have the case sent to a grand jury.

“We’re not aware of any job that Stevens has right now or what (type of work) he did in the past,” U.S. Attorney David R. Dugas said.

Stevens is accused of soliciting and obtaining “cash and other things of value from individuals with criminal and traffic matters pending” in Baton Rouge City Court, the bill of information states.

In return for those bribes, the bill of information alleges, defendants were promised their charges “would be dismissed, reduced, or otherwise ‘fixed.’ ”

Stevens participated in the conspiracy in 2008 and for at least the first nine months of 2009, prosecutors said in their charge.

In April and May 2009, Stevens is alleged to have had multiple telephone conversations with Flitcher Bell, who was at that time a senior city prosecutor.

Bell pleaded guilty in the case late last year after prosecutors announced the continuing investigation, dubbed Operation Illegal Motion.

Thus far, the investigation also has produced convictions against two former Baton Rouge police officers, the former chief investigator for the local public defender’s office, several people outside the court system, and several former state and city court employees.

The charge against Stevens carries a possible five-year prison term and fine of $250,000.