Archive for the ‘Courts’ Category

Proposed Marijuana Bill Dies in State Senate

June 10th, 2013 | Posted in Courts, Drugs by Seth Bloom | No Comments »

“I’m done. That’s it,” Senator JP Morrell (D-New Orleans) was overheard saying as he walked away from the podium. This frustration came after a bill seeking to reduce penalties for simple marijuana possession, potentially saving Louisiana $2.2 mil. in 2014, died on the State Senate floor Thursday.

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Lawmakers have had trouble making a decision on the bill, holding that it sends “the wrong message that it’s OK to smoke marijuana in Louisiana.” Morrell said he heard lawmakers chuckling and saw them rolling their eyes as he took the podium. “I heard the groaning. I hear the inhaling and exhaling,” Morrell said, but “I think it would be appropriate to at least attempt to have a debate on this bill.”

It would seem appropriate, as Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the world, beating out China, Iran, and all other states in the US. Today, a first offense of simple marijuana possession (even one joint) can result in six months in jail, second possession could mean up to five years and a $2500 fine, and a third offense could mean 20 years and up to a $5000 fine. With each inmate being worth $24.39 a day (according to a May 2012 report published by Nola.com), those 20 years really add up, and prisons are making more money, money that does not go back into the state.

The proposed bill that failed on Thursday only offered a reduced sentence on simple Marijuana possession, and would have had no effect on distribution/synthetic marijuana charges.

For now, if you or someone you know has been charged with possession of marijuana, or any illicit substance, call Bloom Legal at (504) 599-9997 for your free consultation. There’s nothing worse than going through something like this uninformed.

Warantless Blood Tests for DWIs Causing Concern in the Supreme Court

January 11th, 2013 | Posted in Courts, DUI/DWI, Legislation, National Issues by Seth Bloom | No Comments »

Is a non consented blood test considered an unreasonable search and therefore prohibited under the Fourth Amendment?

On Wed, January 9, 2013 the Supreme Court heard arguments about a Missouri man who was given a nonconsensual blood test in order to secure evidence in a DUI case.

In October of 2010, Tyler G. McNeel was pulled over by Missouri State Highway Patrol Officer, Mark Windam, for suspicion of driving under the influence. McNeel had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, a strong odor of alcohol, and admitted to consuming a single beer. After refusing a blood test and breathalyzer, McNeel was arrested and taken to a nearby hospital for a blood test.

The problem is not the blood test itself, but the lack of warrant for the blood test. Officer Windam had plenty of evidence to obtain a warrant, but chose not to try. Windam’s argument was that in the time it would take to get a warrant, the blood alcohol level would decrease and there would be less evidence for the arrest.

If you’ve been arrested for DWI, Bloom Legal can help. Call us at 504-599-9997.

City Agencies Could Pocket Property Tax Windfall

August 15th, 2012 | Posted in Courts, Legislation, Local Issues by Seth Bloom | No Comments »

Photo Courtesy of NOLA.com

As many residents are aware, New Orleans’ new city-wide assessor, Erroll Williams, recently raised the assessments of over 41,000 local properties.

Although this sort of action has typically occurred in quadrennial valuation years; 2012 happens to be an “off-year”–raising questions over why the increase is taking place. Moreover, the law is not exactly clear on what happens if the city finds itself with what could amount to a 10% windfall in increased property tax revenues over last year. Under some circumstances, the city is required to “roll back” the tax rate and refund some of the money to property owners and wait until the following year to tax at the new increased rate.

All of this has many homeowners confused and angry, and residents have been lining up in droves at City Hall to protest their property assessments.

It is important to note that today is that last day the tax rolls will be open and that local property owners only have until MONDAY (8/20) to file appeals with City Hall.

For more on this story as it develops, visit NOLA.com.

NOLA Cab Companies Sue to Block Overhaul

July 30th, 2012 | Posted in Courts, Local Issues by Seth Bloom | No Comments »

Photo Courtesy of NOLA.com

3 individuals and 6 taxi companies have filed suit to block new city rules governing cab companies.

The new rules would require taxi fleets to eliminate all vehicles over 11 years old and to ensure that all cabs have modern features such as the ability to accept credit cards, GPS, and cameras.

The aggrieved cab companies claim that the rules are taking effect too quickly and have not left enough time for the companies to comply.

United Cabs claims that eliminating all vehicles over 11 years of age would wipe out 60% of their fleet. Other companies complain that adding the new features to cabs all at once will be too expensive.

Judge Paulette Irons has scheduled a hearing for today to decide whether or not to issue a temporary order to keep the rules from taking effect on Wednesday.

For more on this story, visit NOLA.com.

U.S Attorney General Eric Holder, others to announce consent decree

July 24th, 2012 | Posted in Courts, Legislation, Local Issues, National Issues, NOPD by Seth Bloom | No Comments »

Photo courtesy of NOLA.com

The federal consent decree over the New Orleans Police Department will be announced today at 3:45pm at Gallier Hall by U.S Attorney General Eric Holder, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and other local and federal officials.

The changes by the decree will depict how officers must conduct traffic stops, searches and arrests, how they examine officer use of force, and how they interrogate citizens. The federal decree will remain for at least four years and under the eyes of a monitor and federal court judge and will serve as guidelines for change for the city’s police department.

If you’d like to know more about this story, visit http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2012/07/us_attorney_general_eric_holde.html

Judge Lynda Van Davis Resigns from Criminal Court

July 19th, 2012 | Posted in Courts, Local Issues by Seth Bloom | No Comments »

Photo Courtesy of NOLA.com.;

Criminal District Court Judge, Lynda Van Davis–who had recently come under scrutiny for frequent absences from the bench and an overflowing docket–announced yeseterday that she will be resigning.

Van Davis was the subject of a number of local investigative news reports after she missed more than the maximum number of days that the Supreme Court would provide her with a substitute judge.

Sources also indicate that Van Davis spent up to a month on an Egyptian vacation and spent more than $36,000 in taxpayer money on trips allegedly intended to enhance her legal education.

After announcing her resignation, Van Davis attributed the decision to her upcoming wedding–not her questionable tenure on the bench.

‘Devastating Louisiana Medicaid cuts anticipated

July 13th, 2012 | Posted in Courts, Legislation, Local Issues, National Issues by Seth Bloom | No Comments »

Photo courtesy of Nola.com

This Friday, July 13, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration plans to move forward with its expected budget cuts of hundreds of millions of dollars. Advocates of the public healthcare advise the governor that this act will harm low-income Louisianans who are dependent upon the care the insurance program provides and will cost the state more in the long-run to enact these cuts.

Jindal’s administration has not yet identified what they plan to do with the absorbed $651 million in reduced federal support through the state-run program. Providers who accept Medicaid are also unaware of what specifics this action will bring about and what effects may come in the long-run but rumors have risen that reducing uncompensated-care payments for hospitals could result in a loss of services at LSU’s network of hospitals and clinics.

The cuts are expected to be in the form of reimbursement rates to providers such as individual physicians and hospitals to ambulance services and nursing homes. Jindal’s spokesperson had this to say, “At the end of the day, Louisiana will have a balanced budget that doesn’t raise taxes on families and businesses. We will continue to make government less expensive and more effective for taxpayers.”

For more information on this story and actions expected to be taken, visit http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/07/devastating_louisiana_medicaid.html#incart_river

Panel on La. Prison Population and Sentencing Tonight at Loyola

June 20th, 2012 | Posted in Courts, Legislation, Local Issues, NOPD by Seth Bloom | No Comments »

Photo Courtesy of NOLA.com

Loyola University will host a panel this evening on the burgeoning Louisiana prison population and the state’s tough sentencing guidelines.

Featured speakers will include Times-Picayune reporter, Cindy Chang, an author of the influential eight-part series detailing how Louisiana became the prison capital of the world as well as prominent law enforcement officials and former prisoners from across the state.

Panelists will include:

James Letten, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana
Marlin Gusman, Orleans Parish sheriff
Rep. Wesley Bishop, Louisiana House of Representatives, District 99
Flozell Daniels, CEO and president, Foundation for Louisiana
Norris Henderson, executive director, Voice of the Ex-Offender
Dana Kaplan, executive director, Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana
Melissa Sawyer, executive director, Youth Empowerment Project
Adrienne Wheeler, director, Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana
Jules D. Edwards III, Judge, 15th Judicial District Court

Louisiana’s prison population has been a controversial topic of late and with economic pressures increasing, it is clear that the state is in dire need of an overhaul of its incarceration system.

This panel will serve as a much-needed opportunity to discuss many of the pressing issues facing our state.

The event will take place tonight, Wednesday, June 20th at 6pm in the Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall at the corner of Calhoun and St. Charles Ave.

More information is available here.

Gov. Jindal Signs Bill Changing the Camera Ticket Appeal Process

May 31st, 2012 | Posted in Courts, Local Issues by Seth Bloom | No Comments »

Photo Courtesy of NOLA.com

Governor, Bobby Jindal signed a bill today that will change the procedure for challenging New Orleans Traffic Camera tickets.

The “Photo Safety Program” as it is known has sparked a considerable amount of controversy since its inception in the city. Previously, drivers could only challenge the tickets before an administrative board composed of representatives of the company in charge of the program. These hearings rarely dismissed the tickets and had many wondering whether or not the system was violating certain fundamental constitutional due process rights.

The decision of the administrative panel will now, apparently, be able to be appealed to First (Eastbank) or Second (Aligers) City Courts. The courts will be responsible for structuring the appeals process and a bill modifying the civil code to allow for this is pending in the legislature.

We will be monitoring the process closely and keep our readers updated about significant developments. This would appear to be a strong first step toward bringing the tickets under the purview of the traditional legal system.

***SOBRIETY CHECKPOINT ALERT: TREME, FRIDAY 5/18***

May 17th, 2012 | Posted in Courts, DUI/DWI, Local Issues, NOPD, Traffic by Seth Bloom | No Comments »

The New Orleans Police Department’s Traffic Division will conduct a sobriety checkpoint, in Treme, beginning at approximately 9:00 P.M. and will conclude at approximately 5:00 A.M. Motorists will experience minimal delays and should have the proper documentation available if requested, i.e., proof of insurance, driver’s license, etc.

Superintendent of Police Ronal Serpas said, “I would like to remind all drivers to always drink responsibly and use a designated driver.”

Please don’t drink and drive – but if you are arrested for a DWI, call Bloom Legal immediately at 504-599-9997 for expert legal consultation.

Available 24/7. Call 1-877-NOLATIX for immediate help.