Monday, April 28, 2008

Justice system in New Orleans: What's wrong with this system?

Anderson Cooper reports on CNN regarding the soaring murder rate in New Orleans:

"Witnesses are either missing or unwilling to cooperate. Last year, nearly half the murder suspects walked free because by law, prosecutors have just 60 days to make their case before a judge. Time is simply running out.

(on camera) What's actively being done at this point to try and repair the justice system so the killing will stop?

NAGIN: Everything. Everything is being done, from more resources, more dollars, more manpower, more police officers. We've got the federal government involved.

KAYE: why then is the number of homicides going up instead of down? Who should be held accountable? Everyone is pointing fingers.

Police blame the district attorney for not prosecuting cases quickly enough. The district attorney blames police for holding onto case files and letting witnesses slip away. And the mayor, he accuses the district attorney of encouraging lawlessness and dropping charges against dangerous criminals.

(voice-over) Like this guy, Michael Anderson, who says he's innocent. District attorney Eddie Jordan just last week dropped five counts of first degree murder against him for the deaths of five teenagers. Jordan's office claimed it couldn't find a key witness. So how did police manage to the next day?

(on camera) Certainly a lot of people are pointing fingers at your office. Who do you think is at fault here?

EDDIE JORDAN, ORLEANS PARISH DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, let me say, first of all, that I am not going to take the blame for all the sins of the criminal justice system. Certainly, we have our shortcomings. But we're working on our shortcomings.

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