A big turkey arrived early for the attorneys and staff of Legal Services of North Louisiana (LSNL) on the day before Thanksgiving,-no federal funding grant for 2017. This did not make for holiday of thanks, since it could mean pink slips for many of those working for LSNL providing legal services for the poor. The grant of $1.5 million was awarded to Acadiana Legal Services Corporation (ALSC), effective New Year’s Day.
Currently, LSNL has 3 office locations; the central office is in Shreveport and the branch offices are in Monroe and Natchitoches. LSNL has a staff of 40, that includes 14 attorneys and 5 paralegals. LSNL was formed in February 2002 by a merger of Northwest Louisiana Legal Services, Inc. of Shreveport and Kisatchie Legal Services Corporation of Natchitoches (KLSC); LSNL now serves 26 parishes in the state. LSNL and its predecessor, Caddo-Bossier Legal Aid Society, have served Shreveport and Bossier since 1967. KLSC began providing legal services to the Natchitoches area in 1978.
ALSC was formed in 1978 to serve the low income residents in 6 Acadian parishes; it has now expanded to 21 parishes. ALSC has offices Read more
Local and federal government officials charged with enforcing anti-corruption laws will answer questions about their work at a Broadmoor Neighborhood Association meeting Tuesday, May 10.Speakers will describe their jurisdictions in the area of government corruption and how they work in tandem with other law-enforcement agencies. Audience questions will be taken and answered by panelists. Citizen confusion exists as far as understanding how the various governmental agenciesaddress reports regarding specific illegal acts alleged to have been committed.
Specific confusion among citizens concerns a belief that a one-stop shop opportunity should exist for citizens to Read more
“If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you.” Based on popular TV and movies, too many people believe this is how the system works. However, in the twilight zone of Louisiana, when the state can’t afford to pay a lawyer either, many citizens charged with crimes will be discovering that the jail will be a crueler place to be. The critical issue the public and taxpayers will be forced to face was discussed Thursday, April 21 at LSUS with statewide participants, and the only consensus seemed to be regarding the existence of the fact that the problem exists and will soon be more severe.
Those in attendance numbered less that a hundred, but a complete recording of the evening may be viewed HERE. Members of the panel were qualified to define aspects of the problem included: Pamela Smart, Caddo Parish Public Defender James T. Dixon Jr., Louisiana State Public Defender Honorable Brady O’Callaghan, District Judge, First Judicial Read more
Taking the mantle of a somewhat serious journalist is to recognize that you will be labeled an “odd person.” Your primary journalistic task is to question the actions and being of people who make decisions that change our world by interrogating their pivotal acts and stating publicly that a generally accepted policy or action of a leading citizen deserves greater public scrutiny. To the end that you are willing to even raise questions, you must be secure enough in your person and your interrogative style that you will often stand against popular platforms and elected officials. You must appear to be a grump or even a foul public entity in the eyes of various community segments. It comes with the territory.
Being inquisitive or demanding answers can be seen as blasphemous because you demand that others should also be extroverts in your discontent with the status quo. In questioning the system you must be open-minded and often incredulous to facts that cause you to demand that revelations will support your inquisitiveness.
There’s reason that our work is animated with sarcasm and sharp graphics that may bring chuckles and sometime joy for readers. Our belief is that there are almost Read more
“The defendants’ constitutional rights are not contingent upon budget demands, waiting lists and the failure of the legislature to adequately fund indigent defense,” Orleans Parish District Judge Arthur Hunter said in his 11-page ruling. “In this country, a person who cannot afford an attorney and who has not been convicted, should not remain in jail without a date certain when proceedings will begin and when funding will be made available by the legislature to exercise his constitutional rights to an attorney and effective assistance of counsel.” [NOLA ARTICLE]
Judge Hunter ordered a halt to prosecutions and an end to pretrial incarceration for seven felony defendants for whom the state has been unable to find funding for lawyers and defense preparations. It was that simple and that complex for citizens who were victim Read more
Former Second Circuit Court of Appeals judge James E. Stewart ran his 2015 campaign for Caddo District Attorney on a platform of change—both for the victims of crimes and those accused of crimes. Since taking office in November of last year, Stewart has made many personnel changes. And just as important, he has set into place significant changes that have begun to dramatically improve the Caddo criminal justice system.
Some of the new policies may sound like a “well why not” to the uninformed observer—but they were needed in an office of over 70 people that had been very loosely supervised by former Caddo DA Charles Scott who unexpectedly died last spring. After his death, the DA’s office was a loose ship with little direction under interim DA Dale Cox during the period until the November election.
For starters, the assistant district attorneys (ADAs) have a dress code—5 days a week. No more dress down Fridays and Read more
The “Unabomber” anarchistic life, allegedly devoid of industrialized modern technology, has practically vanished from human existence in western culture, even in the majority of the rest of the world. And, utilizing any modern appliance or interfacing one’s identity with a daily routine, guarantees a digital trail being created and documented for current and future analysis,
Life today is a self-generating record of all that we are and all that we do, regardless of the efforts to maintain a semblance of privacy. Settings on our devices not withstanding, our interface with the digital universe is documented by the culture we have allowed and fostered to make fulfilling our daily needs easier and less expensive. And no future modifications seem to exist on the horizon that will allow our identity to not become an easily intertwined part of the record we create, fulfilling our daily needs. Actions to satisfy our expectations become votes with our money, and our daily decisions and movements become tallies in our life record.
The Apple versus F.B.I. legal and philosophical maneuvering regarding a dead terrorist’s cellphone is only the thin edge of the wedge the government believes will lure public sentiment into delivering greater individual rights to protect public safety needs. At least that’s the crack being investigated by the government in the Read more
Its rare that 2 sitting judges square off against each other for another judicial seat—but that is the case in the March 5 special election to fill the unexpired term of former Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge James E. Stewart who resigned for his successful run for Caddo District Attorney. Caddo Juvenile Judge Shonda Stone, Shreveport City Court Judge Sheva Sims and Shreveport attorney Trina Chu are vying for this seat that has 9 years remaining in the term.
This judicial district is a minority sub district in Shreveport that encompasses most black neighborhoods with the exception of Stoner Hill. The district also includes a few white voter precincts located in southeast Shreveport around Betty Virginia Park. Stone and Sims are the obvious favorites as sitting judges and as black candidates; Chu is white.
Judicial campaigns are strictly regulated by the Judicial Canons of Ethics which basically only allow candidates to talk about credentials. In other words they can not point out distinctionsRead more
Bossier Webster Judge Jeff Cox has always been a pace setter when he was in private practice and after he donned a black robe, so its no surprise that he has been openly campaigning for a seat on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals since last fall; the election is November 8 of this year. What is somewhat of a surprise is that Cox is not running for an open seat; he is challenging Judge Jay Caraway who was first elected to the Second Circuit in 1996. (Caraway was unopposed for re-election in 2006.)
Actually there is a local precedent that Cox is attempting to duplicate,—that being former Caddo Judge Scott Crichton who launched an aggressive campaign last year for the Louisiana Supreme Court seat held by then Justice Jeff Victory. Ultimately Victory decided to retire and not seek re-election; most observers believe Crichton would have been successful in a contested election. Crichton’s Supreme Court push in 2015, which actually started in 2014, certainly provides a road map for Cox.Read more
The election to fill the seat of now Caddo District Attorney James E. Stewart on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals will be on March 5 of next year; this is also the day of the Louisiana Presidential Primary. This election is from a minority sub district in Caddo Parish and only voters in that sub district may vote. The candidates must be residents of Caddo Parish, but not necessarily in the sub district.
Qualifying ended Friday, December 4; the candidates are Caddo Juvenile Judge Shonda Stone, Shreveport City Judge Sheva Sims and Shreveport attorney Trina Chu. Stone and Sims are African American and Chu is Asian; all three are Democrats. The voter breakdown for the district is 87 per cent black, 10 per cent white and 3 per cent other races. The victor will serve the remainder of Stewart’s term which ends in 2024; court of appeals judges serve 10 year terms.
To the surprise of many, Caddo District Judge Read more