Thursday, June 08, 2017

Cannizzaro sure is writing a lot of letters to the editors

What is up with Leon Cannizzaro? It's strange that he'd be picking public fights like this right now. It's especially strange that he would attack the mayor here given that Mitch's own posturing on crime this week is quite scary-fascist enough, thank you very much. Cannizzaro acknowledges this in his letter, actually. But he also criticizes Mitch for not being harsh enough.. or at least not sincere enough in his cruelty.
In a recent news conference, the mayor discussed his plan to address what he describes as a “concerning recent uptick” in the rate of violent crime. He indicated that recently implemented strategies to increase enforcement by the New Orleans Police Department, including recent arrests by the Major Case Narcotics unit, should help to stem the tide of this violence. NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison specifically referenced a 20 percent increase in self-initiated drug stops. Throughout the news conference, the mayor repeatedly expressed a desire for the NOPD to be “more proactive.”

I believe an aggressive enforcement strategy against violent criminals is a full-time job and not simply a talking point to be used in a news conference when a desperate citizenry is begging for assistance. To shift blame away from himself, the mayor went on to infer that the spike in violence and decline in solve rates have been caused by a lack of witness participation in the criminal justice system. He said, “We cannot do our job if people won’t come forward.”
It's not enough for Cannizzaro that the mayor is endorsing his preferred policies. He wants him to actually mean it. He wants to wage war on people.
Ensuring public safety is a full-time job that demands a sustained and consistent approach from leaders. In espousing tough-on-crime policies on one day and then pacifist policies the next, this mayor has repeatedly placed politics above public safety.
Cannizzaro is a scary dude. His tone assumes the citizens he prosecutes are enemy combatants. That language from someone who holds a powerful office like his should frighten the hell out of everybody.

The DA isn't up for reelection until 2020, anyway. Why is he making such a spectacle of himself now? Here he is also writing this week to the T-P to complain about his critics in a different matter. 
The District Attorney's Office recently has been attacked for its use of material witness warrants.  The law allows for the issuance of these warrants to ensure that prosecutors and defense attorneys can compel the appearance of necessary witnesses in criminal proceedings.
Cannizzaro's office bullies witnesses and victims of crime into testifying through compulsory warrants or through false pretenses. They have even gone so far as to bully opposing defense attorneys by prosecuting them directly on trumped up charges. He displays remarkable chutzpah in this letter justifying these actions. 
Court Watch NOLA boldly claimed that my office uses these warrants to haphazardly incarcerate "sexual assault victims."  This narrative was mindlessly parroted by the media and the New Orleans City Council despite the report's finding that it only occurred in a single instance.  
"How dare they mindlessly accuse me of doing that thing that I certainly did and am now arguing that I should be allowed to do all the time."  On the day Cannizzaro hauls you into court, see how far you get with this they-only-found-that-I-did-it-once defense. 

The DA's office is out of control and these letters suggest it is under the direction of a dangerously unhinged person.  The question remains, though, why is he choosing to be this publicly unhinged at this particular time?  There were some off the wall suggestions that Cannizzaro might become a mayoral candidate himself. But those petered out and, frankly, I never put much stock in them. But there's something going on here. Remains to be seen what it actually is, though.

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