March 18, 2020

Orleans DA endangers public by opposing bond reductions for persons charged with misdemeanors and non-violent offenses

NEW ORLEANS – Attorneys at the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center’s Louisiana office condemned the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office for opposing bond reductions for persons awaiting trial on misdemeanor and non-violent charges. Assistant District Attorneys in the office of Leon Cannizzaro, Jr., have filed objections to bond reduction motions filed on behalf of such persons in numerous misdemeanor and non-violent felony cases. The result, according to the MacArthur Justice Center, is an increase of the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the community at large.

Hannah Lommers-Johnson, an attorney at the Justice Center and a former public defender in Orleans Parish, said: “District Attorney Cannizzaro’s use of the pandemic to keep poor people in jail is shocking. Social distancing cannot be accomplished in a jail, and people charged with misdemeanors and non-violent offenses, even if convicted, will be released sooner rather than later. That’s why responsible prosecutors across the country are agreeing to release people held on misdemeanor and non-violent charges before the virus enters or spreads in their local jails. We increase the risk to our community by not doing the same. By preventing the poorer members of our community from obtaining bonds they can afford, Leon Cannizzaro’s actions endanger each and every resident of New Orleans.”