Just 46 percent of voters said they approve of Cannizzaro's performance — a decline from the 55 percent approval he had when voters were asked to weigh in on the matter early last year.Cannizzaro was a little more combative than that during a recent budget hearing where he defended the fake subpoenas as well as his office's use of material witness warrants to badger witnesses (including victims) into testifying in court and his abuse of so called "habitual offender" statutes.
The new poll, conducted by the Clarus Research Group, was based on interviews last week with 500 likely voters in New Orleans. It has a margin of error of 4.3 percentage points.
Ed Chervenak, a political science professor at the University of New Orleans, said Cannizzaro's popularity likely has been hurt by a confluence of factors, including a scandal in which prosecutors in his office acknowledged using "fake subpoenas" to pressure witnesses into cooperating in criminal cases.
Cannizzaro ended the practice after it was exposed by The Lens, the investigative news website. He told WWL-TV that the practice was "improper."
Cannizzaro's office has an unusually high number of juvenile criminal cases that are converted to adult cases, Guidry said, and she said Cannizzaro's office has a "staggering" reliance on a habitual offender law. Many of those charged under the habitual offender law, Guidry said, originate as simple drug possession charges.But these are exactly the tough-on-crime measures nearly half of Orleans Parish voters continue to approve of. Our mayoral candidates have been criticized for pandering a bit to the right on crime this year. Looking at this, though, is it any surprise that they would?
"He's paid for the crime once, but he's going to pay again," Guidry said, describing Cannizzaro's use of the habitual offender law. "If the habitual offender statute can be used, it will be."