Archive for the ‘Courts’ Category

Louisiana Cracking Down on DWIs through Labor Day Weekend

August 15th, 2014 | Posted in Courts, DUI/DWI, Local Issues by Seth Bloom | No Comments »

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Law enforcement agencies across Louisiana will be cracking down on DWIs as part of its “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, which provides increased money and patrols to combat DWIs. Alcohol is a factor in about 40% of Louisiana crash fatalities, and Labor Day wekend, in particular, seems to be a deadly one.

The Louisiana legislature has enacted several new laws, effective August 1st, aimed to strengthen penalties for drunk drivers as listed on www.nola.com. Below are several changes to the current laws:

1. Drunk drivers will lose their driving priviledges upon arrest and conviction and will not get them back until the terms of the conviction have been dealt with. Previously, drivers could get a temporary license while serving probation.

2. Refusals for chemical texts will be treated as a 2nd offense for driving suspension purposes if done within 10 years of a previous offense.

3. Vehicular homicide is treated as a violent crime if the BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) is above a .20 percentage.

If you or someone you know is arrested for a DWI in the Greater New Orleans area, give Bloom Legal a call at 504-599-9997 or email us at info@bloomlegal.com for a free consultation.

Judge Jackson Lambasts New Domestic Violence Law

August 15th, 2014 | Posted in Courts, Criminal Defense, Local Issues by Seth Bloom | No Comments »

Photo courtesy of www.joeylehrman.net

Photo courtesy of www.joeylehrman.net

Judge Bonnie Jackson of the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge stated in court that a new domestic violence law, referred to as “Gwen’s Law”, needs to be challenged. The new law differs from the old in that it institutes a “cooling-off period”, meaning the defendant will spend at least 5 days before a bail hearing can be set. At this hearing the judge reviews the case and can provide stricter bail requirements or deny bail entirely if the defendant’s holds an immediate threat to the alleged victim.

In most cases, bail is set based on criminal history and the current criminal charges faced by a defendant. “Gwen’s Law” for domestic violence cases, which went into effect August 1st, required a full hearing complete with witnesses and arguments by the defense, in addition to having the initial report turned over to the prosecutor by the arresting agency.

In many cases, this is where the problem lies, as many public defenders’ offices do not have the personnel to provide attorneys for such extensive hearings in such a short period of time. Often the completed initial report by the arresting agency is not available for the bail hearing, and many foresee this will be a problem with the new law, meaning the bail hearings will have to be reset for later dates, resulting in longer time spent in jail following an arrest.

Mike Mitchell, the chief public defender for East Baton Rouge Parish, expressed concerns that his already short-staffed office would have issues with providing lawyers for these defendants. Mitchell said, “I think the (new) statue is fraught with due process and equal protection problems.”

The law is nicknamed “Gwen’s Law” after Gwen Salley of DeSoto Parish, who was murdered by her husband while out on bail for a domestic abuse charge. Louisiana ranks second in the nation for homicides linked to domestic abuse violence.

If you or someone you know is arrested for domestic violence in the Greater New Orleans area, please give Bloom Legal a call at 504-599-9997 or email us at info@bloomlegal.com for a free consultation.

Orleans Traffic, Municipal Court Could Move to Bywater Neighborhood

June 13th, 2014 | Posted in Courts, Criminal Defense, Local Issues, Traffic by Seth Bloom | No Comments »

Orleans Traffic and Municipal Court House

Orleans Traffic and Municipal Court House

The New Orleans Traffic and Municipal Court located in Mid-City on Broad Ave could potentially move to the abandoned Naval base located at Chartres and Poland Ave, some judges and NOPD officers say. The move would be temporary during renovations in the current Traffic and Municipal Court building. Many residents are concerned that the increased flow to and from the primarily residential neighborhood and lack of public transportation could make the move difficult for people with cases in either of those courts. There has been no formal decision yet as to the move.

If you have a case in traffic or municipal court in New Orleans, please give Bloom Legal a call at 504-599-9997 or email us at info@bloomlegal.com.

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

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