I’ve spent the last couple of days legal observing. At one protest the police made a series of arrests. Since then I’ve been in a state of horrified awe at the inefficiency and incompetence of the local criminal justice system.
The low level administrators in the sheriffs office, who run the jail and security for the courts, seems to thrive on abusing what little bit of power they have. They make arbitrary decisions and then change their mind. They make amazing decisions that hinder their purposes and seem to have a limited idea of what the correct procedure actually is..
I watched them randomly chew some poor girl out for wearing a shirt that was too low cut even though it was as no lower cut than several other shirts that came through. They instituted several rules that make it much harder for poor people to go to court. You can’t have a cell phone in a court building. They say you’ll be arrested if they find you with a cell phone. So if you were unfortunate enough to have been dropped off at the court house and had planned on calling for your ride when you’re done at the court you have to leave your cell phone outside somewhere. Hopefully somewhere where no one will find it and steal it.
You also can’t have your kids at the court. As long as you can afford childcare this isn’t a problem. A helpful fuck you to everyone else, straight from the New Orleans Municipal Court.
Also, you can’t wear a sleeveless shirt. Forget the fact that it’s hotter than hell outside, if you’ve got a court date and you didn’t know about this rule you need to beg someone for an extra t-shirt. Sure sleeveless shirts can be tasteful and are a common part of women’s clothing but if you drove and don’t have child care issues they had to have something special for you.
The whole system is set up to hinder poor people, people without cars, and people with childcare issues.
Then the D.A.’s don’t bother to show up for arraignments. What happens if the Public Defender moves for a dismissal of charges? Who objects?
I actually got thrown out of the court today b/c I told someone that they didn’t have to talk to the D.A. without their attorney. The D.A. must have “forgot” that he had a duty to tell this person that he was the D.A. and that they should have their counsel present.
If anyone but Gonzales was the Attorney General I would say the court system down here needs immediate federal intervention. The local D.A., Eddie Jordan, just embarrassed
the city more in this interview