D.A. Jumps the Gun, Makes Case for Ousting Judges!!

Talk about talking out of turn, that’s just what our esteemed District Attorney Cannizzaro did very recently when he accused the judges, his judges, of gross misconduct. He also acknowledged that he “may have participated at some time in the conduct” when he sat on the criminal court bench from 1996 to 2002.

So the exact behavior he’s accusing the judges of, he himself admits he did the same thing when he was a judge? Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?

Now the statute of limitations for the crimes he has alleged appears to run four years from when the conduct ends, meaning Cannizzaro would be in the clear.

Cannizzaro in front of his building

Cannizzaro in front of his building

That the D.A. can be so vitriolic about this alleged salary padding when he did the same thing when he had the chance really surprises me.

I keep expecting him to see the bigger picture, and I’m disappointed when he doesn’t.

The D.A. states that no audit has been done of Judicial Expense Fund, although Raphael Goyeneche said a 2010 audit of the court’s books contained a fund audit. Goyeneche also says he’s asked the court for clarification of these issues, and he’s received no answers to date.

When an individual is declared or pleads guilty, the judge can levy a fee that can be as much as $2,000 for a felony and $250 for a misdemeanor, which goes into the Judicial Expense Fund.

Apparently, the judges have been purchasing extra insurance above what other civil servants are allowed, and that’s salary padding.

Cannizzaro has jumped the gun in condemning the judges wholesale. He has to work with these folks pretty closely as his Assistant District Attorneys try their cases before these judges. It doesn’t seem to me that lambasting them in the media every chance he gets isn’t going to get him anywhere.

Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell is investigating whether it was a crime for the judges in Orleans Parish to use the money to buy supplemental health and life insurance, trips and other things, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. The 12 criminal court judges in Orleans Parish make $130,000 a year.

Attorney General Buddy Caldwell

AG Buddy Caldwell

Caldwell says he is waiting for the results of an auditor’s review, the story says. “”I don’t want to imply anybody’s done anything criminal,” he told the Times-Picayune. “We don’t know. Sometimes things that are not legal are not necessarily criminal. We’ve got to wait until all of that gets sorted out.”

District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro referred the investigation to the state attorney general because of a potential conflict.  Speaking out in such a partisan way should be illegal, it can prejudice the public against our judges, never a good thing.

Caldwell is being moderate in his response, and he’s not condemning anyone, especially all the criminal court judges at this time. Easy to like the way the AG conducts his business.

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~ by neworleansmusicman on October 30, 2011.

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