Sunday, June 24, 2018


Gill's column today  is about an ethics complaint the Southern Poverty Law Center has lodged against Louisiana DAs  pretrial diversion programs. The Advocate reported on the complaint earlier this week.

There are several problems here beginning with the establishment of a de-facto tiered system of justice that allows a relatively convenient way to avoid prosecution for those who can afford to pay for it.  It also allows the DAs to vacuum money out of local courts and public defender's offices who (perhaps unwisely) are dependent on fines for operating funds.

But the most egregious element is the DAs' use of off-duty traffic officers to shake down motorists with what are basically the "fake subpoenas" of traffic tickets.  Gill writes,
Some district attorneys make sure the money keeps rolling in by hiring off-duty cops just to pull drivers over. They even have their own tickets printed up with instructions on how to pay. It makes a lot of sense to do so; that keeps insurance companies out of it.

Those special tickets also include a warning that, if you sign up for diversion and fail to pay, your driver's license will be suspended, which is a lie. Prosecutors have no authority to impose penalties, but then they have no authority to issue subpoenas either and that has not always stopped them.
SPLC's complaint doesn't name Orleans Parish. Of course we have a system that allows a private contractor to profit off of traffic enforcement by deploying robots all over town.  Hey, LaToya campaigned on taking those down.  What's going on with that? 

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