In what is probably the final bit of fallout from Leon Cannizzaro's "fake subpoena" scandal, Jason Williams's office has entered into a settlement with plaintiffs in the civil rights lawsuit that came out of the scandal. We don't need to re-hash the details of all of that here too much. The Lens article runs us through the paces of summarizing it anyway. But anybody reading this already knows about Cannizzaro's use of fraudulent subpoenas and abuse of material witness warrants to compel testimony from crime victims. The upshot here is Williams, who was elected DA based in large part on his promise not to do that stuff anymore, has agreed to 42 months of "monitoring" to ensure that he doesn't. The joke is this now means we've hit a golden trifecta of criminal justice consent decree type arrangements in Orleans Parish now.
The New Orleans Police Department and the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office are also under court-appointed monitorships, and have been since federal consent decrees were first approved for the agencies in 2013.
The agreement with the DA’s office is different from those other agreements, however. For instance, the U.S. Department of Justice is a party to both the police and Sheriff’s Office consent decrees, as a plaintiff. Williams’ agreement is only between his office, the individual plaintiffs and their attorneys.
In addition, the monitoring periods for both the police and the Sheriff’s Office are indefinite. Both keep monitors in place until, and for a period after, the agencies reach substantial compliance with their consent decrees.
The DA’s office, however, will only be under a monitor’s supervision for 42 months. And since both sides have agreed on Schwartzmann, there will not be a lengthy, politically fraught search for a monitor in this case.
The Schwartzmann referenced in that quote is civil rights attorney Katie Schwartzmann who has been named to head the "monitoring" effort. This article doesn't go into the details of her position, though. We don't know from this how much she is paid or what the total cost of the monitoring will be. One assumes whatever it is comes out of the DA's budget and that it is in addition to the amounts paid out here according to the terms of the settlement.
In consideration of the remaining plaintiffs, Williams’ office will pay $120,000 to the ACLU Foundation, in two $60,000 installments over the next year. The allocation of that money will be determined by the plaintiffs and their attorneys. And the office must create a new procedure for victims and witnesses to file grievances over their treatment by DA’s office employees.
Anyway maybe they will tell us more about who gets paid and for what. Recent experience tells us that's at least as important as whether or not the monitoring program actually accomplishes its stated purpose.