St. Charles Herald-Guide

Itís time to face the reality of the N.O. criminal justice system

C.B. Forgotston - April 4, 2007

This week as I watched the news on the New Orleans television stations, I couldn't help but note the contrast between rhetoric and reality.


The lead stories were, of course, about the 8 murders in 3 days in New Orleans. There were 4 murders on Saturday and Sunday although one shooting victim did not die until Monday. Then there were 4 more murders on Monday alone. Three of the murders were in separate parts of town within 6 hours of each other.


While all the of the Monday mayhem was going on in New Orleans, a lege committee was conducting a hearing in Baton Rouge on the New Orleans criminal justice system. The system has been a revolving door for criminals many of which are responsible for the almost daily murders in New Orleans not to mention other crimes.

Former LA Attorney General Richard Ieyoub who was brought in by Mayor Ray Nagin to fix the broken New Orleans criminal justice system was testifying before the lege committee. He was assuring the committee that great progress had been in New Orleans.

According to a story in today's Daily Monopoly:

Ieyoub said he feels the court system is in better shape now than it was before the hurricane.

I heard similar comments by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about the levees in New Orleans.

Both the criminal justice system and the levees failed when they were most needed.

"Better than before" is like playing a round of golf and shooting 120 and the next week shooting 119. Better, but a long way from par.

Perhaps the assessments by Ieyoub and the Corps were just examples of damning with faint praise.