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Courts Falling Apart!

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  • jail4judges
    J.A.I.L. News Journal ______________________________________________________ Los Angeles, California September 10, 2003
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 10, 2003
       J.A.I.L. News Journal
      Los Angeles, California                                         September 10, 2003

      Courts Falling Apart!
      Where's The Speedy Jury Trial?
      "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury..."
                                                                   Article VI, U.S. Constitution
      One of our recently added JAILers is a criminal defense attorney in the State of Louisiana. Below, he writes Mr. Collins, the Louisiana Judicial Administrator, and asks the question,  "Where's the speedy trial by a jury?"
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2003 4:47 AM
      Subject: CRIMINAL JUSTICE STATISTICS/Calcasieu Parish, LA

      Dear Dr. Collins,
        Yesterday in 14th J.D.C. there were 91 felony defendants fixed for petit jury trial before one judge. No jury was even called. It will not be called until Wednesday. Among the ninety-one there were two Murders, two Aggravated Rapes, two Armed Robberies, some Child Molestations, and a rash of other felony offenses. 
      Of the thirty-three cases listed on the District Attorney's Priority List, twenty-three were being handled by the one Indigent Defender lawyer present. There is no way one lawyer can be prepared for twenty-three felony cases on one day and for one week.  It is a mass plead-'em-guilty operation.  One defendant who ended up pleading guilty had filed his own Motion to Quash, for he had been in jail two and a half years awaiting trial.  When the Motion to Quash was denied, he entered a plea of guilty. 
      Some of the cases were years old, and were not even listed on the D.A.'s Priority List.  The jury is to report Wednesday morning.  While these ninety-one defendants were fixed for jury trial in one courtroom, and the halls and the isles of the courtroom and second floor of the Calclasieu Judicial Center were filled shoulder to shoulder, five courtrooms sat empty.  This is not a complaint, just an invitation to come to Lake Charles and see for youself what is going on. 
      There are close to a thousand men awaiting trial in prison.  At the present rate that cases are being tried in Calcasieu Parish, as I say, at the the present rate, it would take the next five years to try just the Murders, Rapes, Kidnappings, Armed Robberies and Fourth Offense DWIs presently pending in Calcasieu Parish, not to mention the thousands of other felonies presetly pending against defendants in Calcasieu Parish, and not to mention the new Murders, Rapes, Kidnappings and Armed robberies that will be filed against defendants in the future.  ....
      I understand you are a statistician.  Well, I am a Criminal Justice statistician, and statistically, I can almost promise any felony defendant client of mine not charged with Murder, Rape, Kidnapping or Armed Robbery that if he insists on a jury trial to which he is entitled, his case will never be called for trial, that it will die a natural death on the vine for want of prosecution. ...
           Hardy Parkerson
           127 Greenway St.
           Lake Charles, LA 70605
      P.S.: .... Frankly, it is working in my favor, for I am a criminal lawyer, among other things, and as things presently exist, I can get almost anybody off anything other than Murder, Rape, Kidnapping or Armed Robbery, just by insisting on a jury trial, to which my client is entitled to according to law. ...

      Our eyes are constantly beholding a tremendous expansion in the number of laws, budget short-falls, the filling of prisons, and at the same time, we are witnessing crowding and case overloads in courts. Can it be doubted that we are right on the brink of internal collapse? From every angle one cares to look, we are in a national epidemic of the immediate need for the passage of J.A.I.L. throughout this country.   -Ron Branson

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