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Think Tank 1110am, Candy Thief

Apr 6, 2016|

Was the media acting irresponsibly by reporting on the story of a candy thief getting 20 years-to-life without checking all the facts? New Orleans district attorney says a widely repeated news report about a candy thief getting 20 years to life was just plain wrong.  Is the law that complicated or is the media that bad? This hours guest: Leon Cannizzaro - New Orleans District Attorney Bob Mann - journalist and political historian, Robert Mann holds the Manship Chair in Journalism at the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Welcome back to your blog and try and do do our. V. One of our local newspapers. Robes story about too shrewd to turn alien can Euro. Charging. John Edwards rats from shop Internet in QB's stealing candy bars. And the bugs one ability milieu breast feed you had and the news report well news. That. He. I was gonna lose since it anywhere from twenty years old life. And I will. They have dubbed the weakened following that report. I was with prints at a meet about once a month on in the lord shall we sure Brooke what can we talk. And Dave Broder and feature could reduce your. And I'd said yeah I've read that number surprise. I'm not only Leo and cameras are open on for a number of yours for a go through the median on her own personal basis and certainly we've had a disagreement. But it's and I find that real surprising that hardly. And Charlotte Doral emperor I achieve it a hero letter. Wrongly on to the newspapers saying basically. It will shameful. Or the and New Orleans out the good to have problems the story. Regarding. Troop Kobe you want him next door of the story is deliberately drafted. To give the illusion. That the deal is often threatened put shop lifter Ngo for twenty years actually it's good twenty years to life. And Jordan it's a district attorney Leon can reserve earlier and appreciate it's done. I Garland thank you and I appreciate this opportunity also. When things are said. Wrong corrected blood do it if god did he get so I do watching her. Well you know you're absolutely correct I I I just heard what you said look I believe the advocate. Through that reporter Johnston amendments fabricated facts deliberately. To cause the public to believe. That you Colby Bryant crimes was being threatened with a sentence of twenty years to life imprisonment. Because of the petty offense. The fact all our first of all know multiple offender George with ever filed in the present case against this man. Secondly. No one in my office ever threaten this man that we were going to file a multiple offender George. Forcing the judge to impose that as of twenty years to life. A and certainly. Jacoby of crimes within the system in 2000 intend for the very same thing he can't the very same criminal background. When he was convicted in 2010. We did not sent him at two a set of twenty years to life. But rather he was sentenced to a term of imprisonment for four years. For which he only served eight portion of that particular sentence. Additionally. You know we asked the advocate we set point to locate. We're a multiple offenders the has received the sentence of twenty years to life by my office in the seven plus years we've been in office point 21 case. They eighteen. Because that doesn't exist. Look this is a very very that the circumstances. And I appreciate that opportunity. Because since 1996. This man has been in the criminal justice system. Pete has been arrested 24 times. Ten of those rest resulted in convictions. Seven of them four felony charges. The man is an admitted heroin addict he hasn't ninth grade education. And unfortunately. No one is going to care about mr. crimes or his kitty. Until he goes out and does something violent and hurt so bored. War unless he receives state court's sentence because of the extensive. Criminal history. You know when when you look back at this man's asked and you look at the convictions. A number of these convictions resulted in his receiving suspended sentences and being placed on probation. Yet during those periods when he was on probation. He never received any education but I mean just a Monica a ged. He never obtained any job skill that was never any substance abuse counseling that was of any benefit to you know. You know it does I'll sort of leaves us. Two of very very sad state of affairs in criminal justice. Every single year since tucked in the district attorney. We go into the city and requested funding. To place people like this in a diversion program. Program like that I diversion program the one that we operate in this office. Would allow a man like to Colby of crimes to get out of jail. Receipt mental health treatment. Opt teen substance abuse counseling and afford the consequences of a conviction. You know mark request had been denied. So basically we have two choices. We need to put a medium like this back out on the streets. Without any rehabilitation. More Eagles PG. The city has got to be willing to fund rehabilitative. Programs. That are going to help people like him. And the courts must be willing to strictly mandate. Deprivation or participate in such programs. Limited breaker on the review with DA and Leann Kim Cheryl woodcock little rug back and they have questions you have comments. When you have that did say the news media fabricated. Deliberately. They're bin no mold too bold charge. And they're bin old for a nor required to the judge. To give this man twenty years to life. What do you think. Do you think we taxpayers. Ought to be paying more money so these diversion programs. That all the polled say we have war dead pundit. All part digit trucks the league even little laughs come right back. Radio talk troops. Here's a 018. Itself. Or welcome back. Thinking about a report to in or those who view rabbit. In the advocate I think it was week. If you're like me you wouldn't well. Can you believe the DA did that. It was rumors and observes I just want to do sword shop lifted some team and he got caught. Has done little shop lifting before. And being threatened with twenty years till I. We'll probably were talking about it and then and so a letter from the day you can answer Julio Jones Euro. Six into the yet look at this from different shape and storied deliberately drafted to give the illusion. There were threatening the shop out of her in jail for twenty years. And that was absolutely. Not the case. And we heavily on cancer world will this end of things I would wonder about. The judge in this story at least what was reported. Seeing taken aback by the rule for this war. Eight cents. Was that didn't so. Why would seem surprised or taken aback by the report. Well you know I really can't I he would speak for the judge in this particular case the judge in the matter. Is judge for on the public but. I was gratified. I read in the paper this morning and I heard from my attorneys in court yesterday. And I was gratified. That judge sim which has finally come to the realization. That this situation is a serious one. You know this offense may certainly be considered petty but it has some serious consequences. That could well come in the plight. For instance yesterday when mr. crimes reported back to court. The judge asked him to participate to take a drug test and when the results came back. The judge learned that mr. Grimes was high on cocaine. Oxy code own. It's as well marijuana. And even the judge himself to add that mr. Grimes may well be stealing the items that he stole. In order to exchange them four narcotics. It's also important to know that one of his felony convictions it is for the sale of falsely represented drug. That type of crime sort of heighten the potential for violence. And that's really the point of why I talk about it's important. For a diversion program to try to get to these people. Look it's not so what that the amount stolen in this case is important. What is important is that this man is addicted to narcotics. And has been in the criminal justice system for over twenty years. As I said he's received suspended sentences as well as jail sentences. And nothing has seemed to work for him. And experience. Tells me. That a problem like this. Could very well lead to a more serious crock. And so you know that's why our approach is book went if we can get someone early one in this process. And if they have the substance abuse problem even if they want to repeat offenders we try to help them and prevent them from becoming addicted. Try to prevent that from standing in the system and prevent them from becoming more serious offenders. No unfortunately Garland if we don't make that commitment as a community. And if the quartz or really. Willing to strictly get involved with the probation programs. And get involved with. The probation yours. Then we as a community will continue. To be victimized by this cycle of recidivism. That we unfortunately. Presently experience. Do Liz weaker and during a public defender wounds on. Talking about the years sixers seven. People who series charges. Over the warriors were telling the judge you got a little luck on a world where Oregon born to the pin these kinds. Public defenders only having money anymore. Now you're telling me you've got to do virgin programs that could potentially. And help somebody like that is shortly and sit towards from where we just don't have the money to wrong and our system. Well first since it yeah that's a very good that's a good example he used for instance if we work to get the funding for the diversion program. It's not necessary for the four of them to hire a lawyer because they are involved in. Our offices basically. State aid program where they're not required to go to court in most instances. Did say it they pretrial program. They work with the district attorney's counselors we have counselors in this off the and that is really what we are looking. But to obtain the funding for. To increase the number of council so that it worked well this so is not so much out of proportion. To the number of people. That they have to work with and and an assist. Erupted diversion program so certainly did in it that's another. Benefit of the diversion program it's cost effective it's a whole lot cheaper than forcing someone to go through the criminal justice system. To be placed on probation or to be incarcerated. The urgency to money. Our office I'm very proud of what we kept on. Because. I look at the recidivism rate of people who have participated in the program. It's about 5%. 5% recidivism. And we have increased the numbers of people that we have placed an odd diversion program. By well over two and a half. Any of what my predecessors had in the diversion program when they were in the program so it's something we're very proud it's something that works look it's not perfect. Not everyone's going to be a success story but the overwhelming majority of the men and women who do participate who make the effort to get involved. And and who are seeking help and legitimately want to help. A point to appoint to be benefited by this program and and and that is that the certainly the numbers have proven that to loss. Did you two oldest two dia reported from me at the good when he called you. We did not we did not talked beat him specifically you know many times when a reporter policy never really know what the angle. Just glory years. The reporter asked for a comment I want to Jacoby of crimes case. It is an open case the policy about office has always been. Not to comment on open cases we don't we don't know the debt but again it was certainly a public record. That no palpable bill had been filed against it made him. The man had just been in court for in a rain it just warriors walk the end. With him he entered a plea of not guilty and the judge asked. But I guess the judge was attempting to dispose of the case see if the defendant with interest in pleading guilty and disposing of the case. And the judge trying to find out what was his background. Asked the assistant DA who was assigned to the courtroom what is his back what is suspect ran and she told them. This man has an extensive background. Is he would qualify as a multiple offender in fact a squad bill. To which the judge I don't know what the judge automatically assumed. That. Multiple offend ability information would have been filed. But one was not file and there was never any threat by anyone in my office to file the charge against that particular person. If the abuse of wind when you told reporters open cage William policy we don't comment on open cadences. If you put it said are you charging him for centrally would twenty years alive we drew ventured that and. I certainly would have answered that I we we get like I said you know. Look at the history looked at the track record of this office with regard to cases like this. I'm not saying we don't use the multiple offender Phillip information we absolutely do we use it when we think it is necessary and appropriate. We primarily used sitting cases involving people who work who had been convicted of crimes of violence. Or who hit a violent history or if the record is so expensive. And they have refused help in the past certainly we use it. But again on like it's it's on a case by case basis and make that. Do we didn't continued to be dead. There bingo. Twenty years to life multiple vendors. Coming out of bureau throws it I'm sorry that I take bad notes there. Aren't I thought you'd told me that they're bureau open. Has had no. Twenty years to life multiple vendor. I'll bet that it when I get what I said we have not filed a multiple offender bill information. But gates someone who has been short with a misdemeanor. Theft short a penny out. That's what I that the case like this a case like Jacoby crimes who is what we call a repeat itself. Violation. Which makes his short a felony and the amount is. Under 500 dollars. No one has ever been short with that which they under the multiple bill whereby he was looking at a sentence of twenty to life. Leon things fuel load for the Tomlin or your business good talking. Call and thank you very much for this opportunity I appreciate. Term art Cabrera back we're gonna talk to area and I commit additions. Journalists. Robert Mann. He's zero I have dubbed the mentioned schooling them communications. And tell you should do. And more what I think it was altered Sid 01 XSW when you listen to this. Do you bubble of Padilla saying your book I have what the media reported the if the media. Woods is wrong is that the eggs it's. Should there been a pro and played ring fractures and Gibbs call. Tuesday June rule 187. Our book Borough of thinking about it and send out our. Swing. In May have to and and I should have suiting him prone from the inside don't. Bug. The big he's suited for this story ones there's a guy that animal doubled shop there. Stole bunch candy bars the Leon camps earlier in New Orleans. Comes and get a given warning your socialite Brooke threatened with twenty years shall I. And that the reason I remembered it specifically. With the group of people. On the north sure have and bright prints and it was the topic of conversation. Then and all of it's important for there's system. In order to leave and said. Think the stories are Bergen played in 19120000. Dollars a year for the discuss why for twenty years. So I I think it attracted a lot of attention than the Pentagon and about and and it's well. A letter from bill that if you'd turn to who we don't got through talking. India Britain into the market and certain candies net for restoring shooting poll. Inserted shameful and took published this report story regarding the subject. Instead the story is deliberately drafted. To give the illusion the DA's office use threatened to put sharp of her in jail for twenty years. And we Joseph Adam on things that was fabricated. Deliberately. There was no threat. There was no written charge you multiple of and that. No threat to the the George V. Perpetrators. Turns on one. We have a mayor with a student in advanced control and has primarily been used in journalism teacher. You have the cherry in journalism internships Google Maps communications. At Louisiana state university. And I've read his opinion pieces in the recouped. A regular basis of welcomed of the show. And bill an optional war brought up about what you think about this country it's do you think that he's got in the points. Well I think that. In the letter if you if I trusted that what he wrote in the letter is accurate that there that there is something. There are a lot more to this story than that meet the guy in the it was a a simple matter of but sending someone. Two up prison for twenty years to life for. Stealing 31 dollar relative candy bars. The problem I see here is that he is suggesting it is latter. Is that the advocate. I wrote the story without. The tip that they advocate didn't have all the facts and that that it that it had it in the implication is that they're just ask him. Or dug a little deeper that they would have known that this was not the whole story the problem is is that the original story that the epic road. Says and I'm quoting here Christopher Bowman the spokesman for Canas Sarah's office declined to comment on the specifics of Grimes is case fighting off this policy than that this guy Bowman says it's a felony a cents. The state of Louisiana has defined it as a felony. And then when the story comes out mr. cannon their rights is very long. A fairly long letter to the applicant in which he discusses. All all of this stuff that he that is spokesperson declined this year with. The reporter so you you know I wonder. Why. None of this could have been shared with third with a journalist when the wind would boo when the phone call with initial phone call was made after the letter. After the story ran he writes so long letter explaining all the stuff but he that he that he could've. Shared. Presumably with a reporter before the story was written. So I'm not sure who's to blame the reporter for getting my getting all the facts or mr. candor about sharing all the facts when he had a chance to. Interest. He he did Saturday. In the unit bureau a couple of minutes ago he said look we we told the reporter. We will policy when an eight cases opened wouldn't comment on ignorance or both of them in part of the story that people were. Talking about it. Good grades you can put those guys in prison for twenty years so they were stealing candy if you would have asked you do. Or you gonna attempt to put two guys and drew from twenty years alive. Would you responding said yeah parts of courts and in a more anger. He's even been. You're rubble have been reporters even words we don't mess and if that's the main focus of the story. Should that have at least been. Would you Abbott in security. You know I don't the title of the spokesperson or whoever or who who else might have been contacted the DA's office. It you know it doesn't it strikes me that probably wouldn't take. A rocket scientist to figure out where this story probably going. And it might have been wise for the DA's office to be able to have been a little more proactive in trying to head off this story I mean it it really. Predict it seems like it probably would jump jump right out at Q where were this report might be coming from by calling about this story. And again I go back to the that the letter added that the DA wrote to the advocate explaining all of this panel hold on to information that apparently they were willing this year with a reporter. Where in the initial story was written. I'm not sure why it was improper dish to share that information. With the initial phone call was made but certainly it was proper this year. Have a letter to the editor after the story has been written. Utterly uninteresting. Pull it lend an it tech great when we come back to a pew overall. Joseph it's about the media. Maybe you read different polls and there. Virtually every poll I've read including radio talk shows. Among the public does just sudden for its. Good things three of the conservative forward liberal or week. Spew good troops there were. Doing art show Jordan and newspapers for profit. Above everything else let's talk about album we come back doubled up. Weren't very good about today a little local media dust up over its soaring. Controlling multiple Bender of the DA's office. Return of the wounded deer you know we're talking to Bob May and June. Head of journalism. Mass communications. Alone shooting. Bubba and you can into the do you view as gently. Army when I went that's our this'll show the incident was. We'll do what they intended to will be conservative won't be liberal and so do whenever we get anything content were through like that it's. Or political. Would would try to get both sides and I can tell under Bob at least once week. I'll do some actual story worldwide story Mobil gold story called the people involved. And I get added and yet at least once we know that's not what we set no outs and on our side. Give your prime example we just got through doing this story at 10 o'clock. Mr. Big governors son's law allowing businesses. To root huge serves to gay people. We did it wouldn't Georgia went through there a little leg Shia as couple weeks ago we did that stuff I'm. When we hear the religious and no that's not what we said and then they'd tell league things that I have not read. In the media. As early as if preparing for the show and losers who do in bringing about. Immediate today. And I hit one web site impartiality. In journalism. And there were something year old all the time balanced reporting. So really that's why does not bells. Nor is the journalism and that reports on life. 2000 years ago when I used to bureau reporter. I'd come back with a historic day said she says. And I given to this Simon. Interrupted didn't have both sides he'd say where's fields on. If if I do each green you would go to reviews suppose you'd producers wears you decide if I discrete group of the news Director General manager. And he is it true that balanced reporting just his kind of immediate. Well. I think that the my observation about the immediate business is that. And this is from experience why it started out as a journalist thirty years thirty plus years ago. I was working at a new term that that had dozens of reporters and I had the luxury of may be decoding interrogators sometimes. Two days to deriding. Filing wants story or maybe two stories and I can be in the ability. To track down all the sources it needed to be consulted in to get those both sides and most cases there's there more than two sides to story that you would buy it starts to this story if you're really struck. Pulling yet. But you know that that the newspaper that I want to work for and and all the others that they were. Populated by dozens of reporters are around and around the state of Louisiana have been deep populated opinion other I was I was visiting with the a couple of journalists who write in Alexandria. Daily account talk which used to have a pretty robust. Court reporters covering news central Louisiana they are now reduced to six reporter and so. People are horror overworked they're writing five and six filing private six story today and they're under tremendous pressure by other editors many predicate to having it happen a real beauty named a bunch of editors most most organizations don't have that later. But the editing anymore they have any editing at all. And I think if you if you combine that with with young young reporters who. May not be as well traders experience as some of the older. More experienced people who register recipe for. In many cases disaster or at least incomplete reporting. Bob and fortunately we're Rihanna time blood. Liberally privileged and may be importing 45 minutes would you talk in about it is. Kazaa I totally agree and the question becomes. What were we going with this or old or we're gonna have ball Kyra. Multiple web sites so of Oman and loved call you later date and talk more about where journalism is going. Put. It thanks a million appreciated and come and right back. Or incumbent Bob Edwards talked. The results. In woods constant stay bogus. Now.