Newell Normand: Can you really prosecute too many cases?

Newell Normand
September 21, 2017 - 8:13 pm

Things got heated at a New Orleans City Council meeting between councilmembers and the District Attorney. Is Leon Cannizzaro prosecuting too many cases? Say what?!?

Newell Normand's HOT TAKES –

It seems to me we’re striving for mediocrity in the criminal justice system as it relates to national averages and things like that, particularly the acceptance rate of cases being brought to the district attorney and his willingness to prosecute them. Is mediocrity really something we should be striving for?

Can you really prosecute too many cases? The City Council seems to think so. Councilmember Susan Guidry called out the D.A.. To me, it seems like she is attacking the credibility of police. I find that absolutely incredulous, especially since she offered no data to support her argument. If I were the police chief, I would be freaking angry.

I'm a little mystified as to the interests Ms. Guidry is representing. Everything I see and everyone I talk to says crime is the #1 issue. How do you combat crime? You need a well-funded police department, a well-funded D.A., well-funded judges and courts, and well-funded jails.

What I'm hearing from residents of New Orleans and the surrounding areas is that they want shock and awe. We need to get our hands around the crime problem, it needs to happen now, and the future of the city depends on it. Our city is wedded to tourism, and we get bad national press from the crime.

Sheriff Harry Lee and myself stuck to the mantra that our arrests are only as good as the D.A.'s prosecution. The City Council wants the district attorney to not prosecute as many cases. We talk about how we're below national averages here in so many categories; and now some want us to strive to be below average and mediocre. That's odd.

Councilmember Jason Williams criticized DA Leon Cannizzaro for supposedly setting an arbitrary number of cases. He got that language from a grant that never meant to deviate from the standard DA Cannizzarro has to live up to when accepting cases. Mr. Williams should know, as a lawyer, that his statement is purely politically posturing, misleading, and very weak, to say the least.

Listen to Newell Normand's whole conversation with WWL News Director Dave Cohen and listeners around New Orleans.


Mediocrity- is that something to strive for in the criminal justice system?

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