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scarface

Criminal Records In New Orleans Get Lost Due To Katrina

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I was surfing the net when i came across this and i had to post this? Could some of these convicted Murderers be lurking around here in Houston. This article kind of scares me!

By Jennifer Latson, Knight Ridder Newspapers

Mon Oct 17, 5:27 PM ET

NEW ORLEANS - Nearly two months after Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana's largest criminal justice system is still in ruins.

Murderers will probably go free in New Orleans, admits District Attorney Eddie Jordan, the head of a criminal justice system that's in such chaos that court is held in the Amtrak station and inmates are penned up in an outdoor bus bay.

Trial dates come and go while defendants sit in crowded prisons as far away as Florida. Criminal trials are on indefinite hold.

Jordan faces two formidable obstacles: Witnesses who've scattered with the winds and evidence vaults scoured by flooding.

Before Katrina, 3,000 accused criminals were awaiting trial, including some 200 facing murder charges.

Evidence in many of those cases - authorities are still assessing the scope - has congealed into a sodden mess in the boggy basement of the Orleans Parish Courthouse.

"The rooms are in chaos," Jordan said. "It looked like a hurricane had been inside the evidence room. The stench was overwhelming."

Guns, drugs and paperwork stewed for days in putrid water.

"There's certainly the potential for a case as serious as a murder case to depend on physical evidence we're not able to produce," said the district attorney. "If that happens we won't be able to prosecute it."

Craig Famularo, the prosecutor in charge of handling the city's 300 or so annual homicide cases, fears forensic evidence he depends on has been corrupted or purged.

"If we had blood, we lost that," he said. "There's videotaped confessions - hopefully those can be reproduced."

Lawyers said some defendants will benefit from the upheaval but others will suffer.

"I have some drug offenders who will probably get lucky and go free," said prominent defense attorney Frank Desalvo.

LINK TO FULL ARTICLE:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/krwashbureau/20051...torms_justice_1

Edited by scarface

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Scarface, while it is no doubt true that many defendants will walk due to lack of dry evidence to convict, there is no need to get worked up that they are all coming here. For one, Houston has 260 murders a YEAR, and that number is down from more than 500 in years past. The factors that caused our murder rate to drop 70% in the past will still be in place. Further, if they are released, they likely will not stray far from the neighborhoods they were in before they were arrested, meaning they will stay in New Orleans, or possibly Baton Rouge.

Also, roughly two thirds of murders are committed by someone the victim knows, spouses, boyfriends, friends, neighbors, etc. Unless you are hanging out with these people, you probably are in no more danger than you were before.

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