Cuts to DA’s Office to Bring More Cases to Orleans Parish Criminal Court

Posted on Apr 26, 2017 in Uncategorized

Recent changes made by the Louisiana state legislator have shifted the ways that DUIs and other misdemeanors cases will be handled.

Since February 1st, DUI cases have been handled in the Orleans Parish Criminal Court instead of being prosecuted by city attorneys at Traffic Court. District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro convinced the legislature to make a move so that prosecutors can target repeat offenders and drivers with high blood-alcohol levels. The changes comes as the DA’s office has also moved a series of state misdemeanor charges, including prostitution, domestic violence, and misdemeanor gun counts, to the Criminal District Court in response to budget cuts for the office.

According to The Advocate, “A spokesman for Cannizzarro’s office, said it could no longer afford to keep prosecutors assigned to Municipal Court, where the City’s Attorney’s Office handles municipal code violations.”

The moves have been derided by critics who worry that this shift will give the court less time to devote to felony cases, and create longer delays and more jail time for criminals charged with misdemeanors. More than 800 people who are issued summonses each year on state misdemeanor charges face the possibility of being taken into custody.

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