N.O. Defender’s Office Warns of Layoffs; Traffic Court Won’t Release Funds!!

Here goes the very evil New Orleans Traffic Court impacting our long suffering Indigent Defender’s Office right where it counts, in their very empty pocket book!

Frank Neuner, Chairman of the Louisiana Public Defender Board, says the lack of revenue from Traffic Court and Municipal Courts is accelerating the funding problem.

Neuner said the board is preparing to sue New Orleans Traffic Court over an alleged failure to turn over $340,000 in indigent defender fees in 2010 alone. In addition, Traffic Court is holding onto the December funds it owes to the public defender office.

Frank X. Neuner, Chairman of the LA Public Defender Board

Frank X. Neuner, Chairman of the LA Public Defender Board

This incredible, sad story jibes with the recent scathing report by Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux’s office that found numerous irregularities at Traffic Court and determined that it failed to pay out more than $1.3 million in revenue owed to other agencies.

This is the same Traffic Court that paid out $1.3 million in annual pay to an accountant who entered traffic fine funds into a computer. Who signed all these  paychecks? Chief Administrative Judge Robert Jones, whose campaign manager is none other than the obscenely overpaid accountant. I suspect Jim Letten is looking into this fine relationship.

Man on the hot seat- Traffic Court Head Administrative Judge Robert Jones

Man on the hot seat- Traffic Court Head Administrative Judge Robert Jones

You have to love the Traffic Court’s modus operandi-  Create your own revenue sources, keep the money instead of paying key bills, and screw other city departments who are dying on the vine from lack of funds.

As for the draconian layoffs planned by the penniless public defender’s office, around 26 employees will lose their jobs if no revenue is located. That’s 14 full time and 12 part time members of the conflict panel.  Derwyn Bunton of the public defender’s office has a meeting with Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office today to discuss the issue.

Leader under Pressure- Chief Public Defender Derwyn Bunton

Leader under Pressure- Chief Public Defender Derwyn Bunton

What a crappy world the public defender’s office lives in!  They suffer from the dreaded 150 Rule, when each attorney has 150 clients. This problem occurs in Probation and Parole and Divergence also.

As sure as the sky is blue, these traffic court crooks are going end up facing charges of maleficence in office and more.  Every time I write an update on the nutty goings on there, I cannot believe that the new story is even worse than the past terrible stories. The end will only come when they come to arrest them, I suspect.  This is good old Louisiana corruption at its worst.

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~ by neworleansmusicman on January 19, 2012.

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