Good Judges in Orleans Parish Criminal and Traffic Courts
Two judges have impressed this blog- Paul Bonin and Ben Willard. With Bonin, who has since moved out of Traffic into the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, he was my DWI judge 12 years ago. He met our group of DUI folks in his Chambers, where his chair was not up high but the same height as ours. This is very egalitarian, and he stated he did this to make all the DUI folks at ease. I went through the program as the judge asked. No problems with DWI stops since.
Ben Willard has been my guy’s judge for well over a year, and he basically has been a fair and impartial judge. When a defendant’s attorney is out of town, the judge makes that defendant sit for several hours waiting his turn.
I’ve watched several other defendants plead guilty to a simple burglary charge. These unfortunate souls rely on the public defender’s office for their representation, and it isn’t very good much of the time. I watch in horror when they receive their sentence. Every single one of them get the exact same charge- the three-three combo- three years incarceration, then three years active probation. That’s a long time for a relatively minor non-violent crime.
Now my guy is charged with that exact charge crime, and I’m told by all legal experts, attorneys, and others who know my case from within the system, that he won’t be convicted. If he is, he won’t serve any time. Why? He can afford his own attorney, who has a good relationship with the judge.
Money talks and the judicial system revolves around money. No money for attorney, and expect jail time. That’s the truth and it’s chilling.