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Inspector General report tears apart DWI case handling in Orleans Parish

Posted on Jun 24, 2015 in Courts, Criminal Defense, DUI/DWI

Inspector General for New Orleans Ed Quatreveaux has released a scathing 54-page report detailing the mishandling of DWI cases in New Orleans Traffic Court. The report highlights the failure of weak police techniques for spotting impaired drivers to case files that disappear or are pled out prior to discovering previous offenses. Seth Bloom, criminal defense attorney who handles DWI cases, states, "I feel that Orleans Parish is being singled out. Reductions are commonplace across parishes in Louisiana and counties across the country. " Mr. Bloom also believes that DWI reductions both for BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) and 2nd offenses are done in order to expedite the process. If some reductions and plea agreements don't exist, then the entire judicial system could come to a halt allowing serious offenders to slip through the cracks. Many DWI cases, in the city and across the state, have weaknesses in them, but good defense attorneys can probe these weaknesses to secure plea agreements and some reductions. Mr. Quatreavaux's report found that over 8,000 cases appear to remain open dating back 20 years. The report acknowledges the mishandling of case management, but also brings the NOPD under fire for failing to provide video evidence. In a response to the report, Superintendent Michael Harrison, defended the police department stating that they have increased the use of radar and checkpoints. The record system kept by the court does not have any checks in place to assure that each DWI is entered into the system, and the report calls the Traffic Court's record keeping as "informal". Traffic Court responded to the report by explaining the evidence for the mismanagement was "stale" and showing the new implemented case management system that was put in place last year that has helps with some of the cracks. The City Attorney's office will be starting a new protocol on July 1 requiring that all plea deals for DWIs be documented. This report came out shortly after Mayor Landrieu announced that Traffic Court could no longer be accepting reductions, even for minor traffic offenses. Many think this 30-day no plea deal program was instituted in response to the report that would highlight the problems in Traffic Court. If you or anyone you know has been arrested for a DWI in the Greater New Orleans area, please give Bloom Legal a call at 504-599-9997 or email us directly at info@bloomlegal.com.

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