Indigent Arrestees to be Defended by Politicians and Media Figures!!!!!
Go figure. Criminal Court Judge Arthur Hunter has drafted some big names in Crescent City media, politics and legal circles. Hunter has thrown out a brilliant PR strategy but an outrageous legal move for improving indigent defender service. I’m fairly sure that any trials that utilize this plan may have serious grounds for appeal.
I like this plan because it’s down right zany in many respects, and conforms with other New Orleans institutions such as Mardi Gras.
Who’s been called by Hunter? Some of the biggest legal names are state Representatives Edwin Murray and Karen Carter Peterson; media legal pundits Joseph Raspanti, Robert Jenkins, Chick Foret, and Dane Ciolino; media publisher Ashton Phelps Jr. and Gambit co-owner Clancy Dubos; Metropolitan Crime Commission President Rafael Goyeneche; state Representatives Wesley Bishop and Neil Abramson.
Many have absolutely no criminal court backgrounds. Hunter said he will partner them with someone who does. This makes less and less sense. The experienced attorney will spend a lot of time bringing the celebrity novice up to speed, meaning less time will be spent working on the defendant’s case.
This brilliant PR move is light on the real legal work. I’m very surprised that judge Hunter chose this tactic. It draws attention to a deepening big problem, but it’s weak on actual solutions.
The real solution lies with our corrupt Traffic Court (TC) which owes big bucks to the Public Defender office. I’ve written endlessly about the thievery occurring at TC. Of all the terrible methods used by those less than honest civil servants, the worst involves the Chief Judge.
Chief Administrative Judge Robert Hunter paid his campaign manager and TC accountant Vandale Thomas more than $2.5 million over three years, including $1.3 million last year. These two are going to jail eventually, when remarkable Jim Letten has time from his extremely busy schedule to nail them. I’m waiting patiently for that day.