May 182017

Ani DeFranco, folk singer and feminist icon, leads the crowd in a protest song on the steps of the Orleans Parish Criminal Courthouse (Claire Byun).

Complete with a folk singer and feminist icon, protestors called for a recall of Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro while urning people to stay active in the fight to reform New Orleans’ criminal justice system.

Ani DiFranco, New Orleans resident and folk star and feminist icon, led several dozen protestors in song Tuesday afternoon on the front steps of the Orleans Criminal District courthouse. Rally-goers focused on Cannizzaro’s use of “fake subpoenas” and material witness warrants, which have lately caused controversy that ran all the way to City Council. Continue reading »

May 202015
The old Lindy Boggs Medical Center on South Jefferson Davis Parkway, photographed in July 2014. (Mid-City Messenger file photo by Della Hasselle).

The old Lindy Boggs Medical Center on South Jefferson Davis Parkway, photographed in July 2014. (Mid-City Messenger file photo by Della Hasselle).

An ongoing lawsuit over the former Lindy Boggs Medical Center continues to stall redevelopment of the long-shuttered building, after a proposal with LSU to convert it into a cardiovascular hospital fell through, the building’s owners say. Continue reading »

Mar 262015

An aerial view of the construction of championship-level golf course being built in New Orleans City Park (Darin Acosta).

The protest against a new, championship-level golf course in City Park has taken a new turn, bringing the issue into federal court.

The City Park for Everyone Coalition is bringing federal suit against New Orleans City Park and FEMA in an attempt to stop the construction of a $13 million golf course slated to occupy land between Wisner Boulevard and Marconi Drive and Harrison and Filmore Avenues.

The course, designed by architect Rees Jones, ranges from 5,100 – 7,250 yards. Filed in the Eastern District of Louisiana, the lawsuit is the latest development following a series of protests and rallies decrying the new development. It also comes days after a man protesting the course’s construction fell out of the tree he had been staying in and was taken away by ambulance, according to reports. Continue reading »

Mar 042015

Crime-scene photographers surround a body on the South Broad overpass near police headquarters Friday, Feb. 27. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A closing chapter of one New Orleans tragedy may have served as the opening of another one last week, as police say a man left the courtroom where his nephew received a life sentence and soon afterward fatally shot another man himself and pushed the victim’s body from his truck onto the South Broad overpass. Continue reading »

Jun 102014

James Johnson (via opcso.org)

Charges that included sexual battery and armed robbery against a man accused of attacking a woman in an alleyway next to her Cleveland Avenue home were supported by the evidence collected at the time, a judge ruled Tuesday, allowing a case against the suspect to proceed.

In a hearing Tuesday, Magistrate judge Harry Cantrell found that detectives had probable cause to charge James Johnson, 21, with aggravated assault, armed robbery, sexual battery and simple kidnapping in connection with the April 1 attack on a woman on Cleveland Avenue near South Dorgenois. Cantrell also upheld a separate set of charges of aggravated rape, armed robbery, aggravated burglary and false imprisonment against Johnson in a April 9 attack on a woman in her home on Hickory Street in the Carrollton area, but the outcome of a third case against him — an April 4 home-invasion on Panola Street — remains pending. Continue reading »

Apr 092014

Court Watch NOLA found that the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court was more efficient in 2013 than in prior years (awanola.org).

New Orleans Criminal District Court was “substantially” more efficient in 2013 than in years prior, according to a report released Wednesday by Court Watch NOLA.

Although the report found that judges are still showing up late to the bench, causing a waste of time and taxpayer money, continuances dropped from 63 percent in 2011 and 2012 to 60 percent in the first half of 2013 and 57 percent in the second half of the year.

It’s important to a speedy and fair justice system that there are as few continuances as possible, according to Court Watch NOLA. Continue reading »

Mar 102014

In the spring of 2012, an argument between an uncle and nephew allegedly sparked a series of violent incidents that ended in the retaliatory deaths of at least three people and caused brutal injuries to an eight-year-old child.

Isaac Jones (Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office)

Some culprits, and victims, are members of a deadly gang known as the Mid-City Killers, and their actions have terrorized neighborhoods across the city, according to media and police reports.

One of the only players in the story left alive, Isaac “Ike” Jones, 24, was charged with assaulting his uncle, and is now waiting to hear if he will stand trial for two second-degree murders and the attempt of two more second-degree murders, according to court documents. Continue reading »

Feb 192014

A woman who police say confessed to killing a Vietnam veteran in a South Jefferson Davis Parkway apartment complex last year won’t be serving any more jail time for his death, according to court documents and the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office.

Sentrelle Conerly (via opcso.org)

Sentrelle Conerly was 37 when she was arrested for second-degree murder in the April 5 death of Harry Anderson Jr. She pleaded guilty this month to a reduced charge of failure to report a crime after describing her actions as self-defense, records show.

According to police, lawyers and a family member of the deceased, the story of Conerly and Anderson centers on a problem of violence perpetuated in New Orleans by inner-city drug use, distrust of police and the lack of mental health services available both for veterans coming back from service in combat zones and in the city as a whole. Continue reading »

Jan 272014

Days before Ray Nagin was scheduled to go on trial for federal bribery charges, New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas blasted the former mayor’s administration on Friday.

During a weekly meeting a police headquarters, Serpas blamed the Nagin administration for budget problems the department suffered starting in 2010.

“We nearly tripled attrition in one year,” Serpas said about the year he took his post. Continue reading »