Nov 19, 2013|
Angela hosts a roundtable discussion about New Orleans pre-trial services featuring Retired Orleans Parish Judge Calvin Johnson, Jon Wool of the Vera Institute of Justice, Luceia LeDoux of Baptist Community Ministries, and local developer Pres Kabacoff.
We're discussing the hot topics of the day with co-host of First Take, Todd Menesses.
Angela discusses the shooting in Lafayette and says farewell to WWL as she hands her timeslot off to Scoot.
What's trending in sports, news, and entertainment?
Angela talks with WWL-TV investigative reporter Katie Moore and Tulane law professor Tania Tetlow about the city's backlog of uninvestigated rape cases.
Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
Well happy day everyone and it is a happy to its. Little -- but that's all right because it's cool and it's November and should be -- that makes -- -- We we have three wonderful shows today and starting with one that I feel very strongly about something that we need to address clearly in our society. If you are arrested. Your innocent until proven guilty. And if you can show you are not a flight risk or -- to be rearrested. -- you shouldn't have to wait in jail till the trial. But in Orleans parish but often dictate whether you stay in jail to go to court is money. Do you have the money to bond out. History shows that poor people who don't have the funds sit in jail waiting for a dismissal or plea guilty often to a minor charge. It cost taxpayers a lot to keep them in jail when they could be home or working while waiting for the wheels of justice to roll along. The effort to change this has been in the works for almost two years. It's called pretrial services. It is working. It's saving taxpayers. And it is the right thing to do. Nolan who is not a risk should be languishing in jail just because they don't have the money to get out and that's what we're gonna talk about today. Joining us to talk about this and about why some are not supported market. Is judge Calvin Johnson executive director of the metropolitan human services district and a retired criminal court judge. John bull director of the beer institute of justice in New Orleans. Jenny Lee director of pretrial services. -- -- -- down vice president of public safety in government oversight grants for Baptist community ministries. And on the phone we have -- have a cough a local developer and a vocal supporter of new balance pretrial services and I want to thank each and every one of you for being here. I think it'll actually we we understand that one really is innocent until proven guilty but. We live in a climate in an inning culture. Of crime and people are often afraid -- they think if -- arrested someone maybe they should just staying in jail until they're proven innocent. Any kind of take me. From that final. But one thing and I would say this is John will. Directly in response to year point is we we do have an inordinate amount of crime in in in part. One of the culprits may be the overuse of detention and another read you something recently released from the Arnold foundation. Out of Houston. That addresses that it says that it. Our health foundation research on low wrist defendants shows that when they are detained pretrial. They are more likely to commit new crimes. In both the near and long term more likely to miss their day in court more likely to be sentenced to jail and prison. And more likely to receive longer sentences. Says to the extent we are over detaining people detaining people who do not pose a risk. We're investing scarcity dollars. In creating more crime and that's absolutely the wrong approach. Could. Let's talk about what happened post-Katrina. And the bringing in of the beer institute to address. The neat. The City Council. Aston -- to come -- at that time. The chair of the criminal justice committee. Missed Carson James -- I asked them to common to do an overview of the system. They identified 45. Initiatives that would contribute to bringing the system back in making it better than it was pre Katrina. One of those was the installation of pretrial services so Baptist community ministries was willing to support technical assistance on the part of -- To meet with various working groups one of which was pretrial to talk about these possible initiatives in two and moved -- forward. And it was out of that working group. That the actual pilot project was designed and John can tell us more about who was in networking group and that was managed. In the course later because the working group can produce such a good. Program outline was really say around grounded in best practices. That are recognized by the bureau of justice assistance they were then able to obtain demonstration grant from BJ. That allowed them to launch the early days so. But before you do that I think for people listening. -- trying to get their hands around somebody is arrested for -- we're not talking about mass murder were talking about a number of crimes. And the case normally judge would be they would sit in jail until they bonded out if you don't have the money to be bonded out. Then in fact you would sit there for how long. Tendencies. Who was back historically is to keep those individuals and you. -- -- did a period of time amnesty would vary but anywhere from a month depending upon how quick the system operates in his -- -- Nine days probably be in Norman that's for those who ended up and of not being charged. With an offense. But the DEA's has handled the matter and decided not to for being a former joint center for ten to nine days and that's the only charge for an injured or not -- or not choice in in the if you if you go back with and you look you see the number of people just just looking at stats not George but fit the criteria. It's -- you have people who jailed and who Cilic would have been minor offenses. Who now have been in jail full of -- -- three months will cost of one of roses is somewhere around 800 dollars to 900 dollars for one month that. As we do that -- -- over the course of time a number. You see with the kind of Austin is that this it is had to bear. For that kind of practice and soda in two to eliminate the practice is as good. Government on opponents -- -- city resource is good government but it's also good for those people in terms of treating them better. In terms of who deal -- on when they'll. Is just good practice. The whole concept of pretrial services -- is to examine each person who is in jail. To determine if they are safe for release. -- I say yesterday John reviews because. -- Bennett and had been absolutely that's the case I would just dead that -- it works on both ends of the spectrum indeed it is an assessment of risk. And those who are low risk should not and need not be detained and should be released but on the other hand those who pose significant risk to the community. We need to do a better job with two. Because -- under the under the commercial mail system. We simply put a dollar amount. And their opportunity to release themselves. In many of them do release themselves through commercial bond. With tragic consequences though we also tried to identify those who pose significant risk and urged that they be detained. Okay. Let's take a quick break we're gonna come back -- talk to Jenny and to all of you. About how do you evaluate that risk how do we know with that person. Could be a flight risk or a risk of maybe doing -- of the crime right after this I'm Angela hill on WA. The subject is pretrial services and essentially what that means is making sure that if somebody who has been arrested. Does not have the money to bond out and can prove herself. -- not a risk that they should be able to get out of jail waiting for a trial or even. Formal charges. Jenny Lee you're the director pretrial services sort of -- what your office does on a daily basis. Senator primarily -- its staff that jail. -- -- And seventeen hours a day starting at 5:30 -- at 10 o'clock at night in -- young defendants that are arrested for allegedly committing. State level felony and misdemeanor offense. So we interviewed defending collect information directly from. Hammer her. And then. The conduct they were and very thorough criminal background check. More thorough than what the district attorney's office has historically been. At the time to do. And we compile that information and conduct -- risk assessment and risk assessment measures missed a flight likelihood to refund by your cases pending. The factors that New Orleans has included. And it's risk assessment -- factors that have been validated predictor risk. And other communities. -- it's and the national institute corrections just came -- and under review. And our program and is and other risk assessment is and keeping in with national standards and is strongly predicting and appropriate. Risk models but do you have any records on thus far in -- -- only been functional equivalent to two years if in fact those people do show up and and do they not. Cause another crime yet and we we have collected data that shows that 95%. Defendants -- -- low risk to -- released. And either on their own recognizance or with a signature bond or with a lot of financial pond we're running in 95% rate failures success. In making her court appearances that means only 5% it's failing to appear. And then. But as far as readers is concerned are showing that 97%. Are able to successfully remain -- other cases pending without being rearrested -- you're interviewing the defendant but are you also interviewing. Ancillary people to back up what you're saying we -- and is part of our policy to verify information defendants have given us. -- and basically we asked the defendant for contact information for a third party don't call that their party. And just ask pertinent questions about employment residency. The we can make sure that that information matches for the defense. And it and it and unfortunately document or working better pretty tight timetable. In -- magistrate court street today and we need to get as many risk assessment conducted as possible before. Those defendants kind of courts have. So the process that the little tighter then. One might imagine. We have. Judge -- on -- -- -- hand on to judge on Hannity. From Louisville, Kentucky Kentucky who you worked with who also Nancy pretrial service system. Judge are you on the line. -- -- That they were telling me that you have a very successful pretrial program and in fact there is no. For profit on service in your community is that correct. Yes it is the legislature of the state legislature. In nineteen not believe it was 76. Certainly it was implemented in 79. -- -- at -- time. We don't. I went to a -- college system. And eliminated. Bail Bondsman for profit bail Bondsman. That would be it I think pretty tricky in our area. -- history no matter what you war. The concept is is that I think is John -- who -- There are people who should never be left out even if they've got them. Because of the heinous as the there situation. But they are people who because of lack of money shouldn't be stuck there. Well and -- you have to understand the purpose so well but they'll. -- fundamentally it's to ensure that the defendant will return to court. And that and its style rule here in Kentucky. And then the second phase is you know the judges -- to be mindful of protecting the community from certain under. And I'm sure the New Orleans has the same issues we have we have limited jails page. And it's been sent to us it was so important is we needed to make sure that we have and not on. For the most people we -- ego who are going to be violent. And and harming people in the community. So -- you expect to chill out with bravado both people who are less likely that we stand and will return the court. Then you don't have long for the people that you absolutely -- jail. I appreciate your comments I certainly appreciate you calling answer. It just go back to people here in the studio. What is the argument against estimate frankly it just makes a lot of sense that it saves taxpayer money. It is a lot of work. It is frankly the fair thing to do and I guess I just don't understand why someone would object. Think there a couple of things right now there are surfacing his objections of one revenues that it is a flying in the face of a commercial industry. It's done well here. There's been a real reliance unpaid bonds and for people who make their living as such that's an issue for them. Secondly in -- scarcity. With city funding. The other reality seems to be that people think that any money that goes someplace else might go to them and in fact that's been raised in budgeting drinks. By the judges do how much is the city putting. The city has the mayor's proposed in this motorcycle to put put up on Saturday 4000 dollars which is 39000 dollars short of full operating budget. That's proposition okay so a little over 5000 dollars and what does it save the taxpayer. I'm not having to house these. People. Well partly depends on what fig leaves for what actual jail costs are. But the inspector general has -- the actual cost of -- jail they have 54 dollars. After the consent decree estimates -- that the cost of the deal they would be about 79 dollars. So I think projected immense savings varies and arranging John would you give us that information. Well let me start with let Eric granderson stated in the City Council. -- to have the mayor's office and that was that he. This is invested meant to 484000. Dollars saved the city. Almost two million dollars. And that's to remind you that did it very early very early stages of the development of a program in effect including periods of time in which we were not up to full speed. That this. At that grade if if the use of the program continued at that first year rate the city would say something in the order of six million dollars a year on. Jail beds and that of course. Be in a much better position of being able to meet the conditions of the impending consent decree that the department of justice and a Southern Poverty Law Center have. Agreed to with the sheriff's office and -- city. -- can have a cough. You you have concerns about the money that we're spending on prisoners. I thought if I. In Iraq that our -- are. -- -- -- -- Let me check. That book for -- you're like yeah. -- that we are or apple or. World. Great. Editor anger there. But the great the guy I I was born up. Or are sitting there incorporate what people like -- -- -- -- The Bible that. I thought it was an -- people. Betrayed the rural equitable. That the group. -- -- -- the remember what the court. So destructive. -- -- the pick those. On court. What -- We didn't -- With the I. Remember. When that. You didn't. -- Great. Program -- run and that. -- Think is that what it would end. The round to go to Tibet that. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- that it that it is this particular is -- double. What are possible itself. Well online. Unlike Kentucky's though it wouldn't necessarily be the elimination of the bond business it would just be an adjustment to it if if some didn't have to pay a bond. Correct. Correct that people who are don't have the money to make the bond aren't going to bond companies. So not making money off of them anyway. That's. What could or couldn't do the filing oracle -- the one that you bet but yeah it's that. It's a Big -- -- or not. Think that I don't -- but it -- put. It. -- Google. We're not going to. Well I appreciate your comments everybody stay with us we'll be back we're now going to go to the newsroom wind up Chris Miller. Our subject today is pretrial services. Which is really just trying to evaluate. Once someone has been arrested should that they kept in jail if they can no longer -- they cannot afford to get out by being bonded out. We have -- Wonderful group of people here discussing it John. Bowl with the director of the beer institute who originally came down after the storm sort of help get this going. Jenny Lee the director of the pretrial services. That Shia lived who's vice president of public safety governmental oversight grants for the Baptist community ministries which does and actually phenomenal job in the city. I'm really looking at what the needs are. And we also have judge Calvin Johnson and so it goes to you judge Johnson. To kind of look at it from all perspectives having been a sitting judge for what seventeen years and from reports -- About that you agree that this would be a wise thing to do it. Absolutely wise thing to do -- -- things you have to recognize four with judges and I was one is -- we judges overlooked in this community to release people from -- Because he beat you reluctant terms of possible consequence. And so regardless of the and the nature of the personal. The risk. That it could be assessed on an individual cause of crime Cilic. We would prefer judges generally prefer the individual to be released in some of the way. Other -- the judge personally doing it because and a judge can't be blamed for that fact is there. But then you have to reality now because of funding attempt went to court. Judges -- lost lots of money because of funding issues. And so now judges to a Colorado and you see a problem like pre trial and is being funded by the city and judges' table that's our money. And we ought to come to us and we can do that. But then didn't look backwards and terms of what judges historically done -- you look at data and we look at individuals who have very very -- risk. And we see -- they're in jail. So they have judges can and -- do -- and judges would be doing news and the fact of the matter is they are not doing it. And not doing it for some reasons -- genocide. But did not doing it and so if we want to do and get at the issue of the wrong people being -- And utilizing the space in a fashion and makes no sense. And we have to have an objective entity going to a process that we have to have buy in from the court. The court must buy into this. And that's another issue I suppose entirely but when John Lewis and off air affected only about 15%. Or so of the individuals low risk. Who could be released without bond while being released on bond that's a terrible stat. Because it if they're vets this statistic in terms of what the reality is this date. Then we have to get at this as a community. Because this community is paid the cost of that action. We are all in New Orleans paying for it is we don't have -- entities outside the city that supplies as would money. The pay for this so we need to really get it does so if only 15% of so of individuals low risk who could be released safely. Would out of my obligation and not being really safe to fiscal community. Should be up in on that. Because again as a cost involved and as as the -- say it to cost could be as much as 67 bucks a day. Which is just an incredible number of again if you do about cross people that's incredible to get the judges decline. That's a good question. But did the community itself must be applauded getting the judge to buy in must be applauded equation because again judges have legitimately. That the community will will look at them as you someone gets released to go out and a community do a bad thing and the judges blame. And so of the community itself -- get behind this there's this notion of -- and therefore support the judges and taken a stand in terms of who should be who should be. Also with the judge's comments -- you know something pretrial services. Is also accountable because look at all the vetting they did. And so I had good -- good information have food. Absolutely that's not going to be good enough. And debt debt debt debt debt debt I think that is good enough but you see you have to get it -- the mindset of judges yes that's good enough. But but due to fear is this still there and the issue of funding his day which is a separate issue entirely. But we have to as a community -- at the issue. Of how to court itself is funded study with this this is this conversation continues. Right after this. Will we welcome you back we're talking about not really hot topic which is the pretrial services. That we have a bunch of callers and I truly appreciate Miriam Walter. Who has been waiting on line for thirty minutes a retired criminal court judge. How wonderful to hear from you and your thoughts. Like I I'm so glad to have this program because I think the public needs to know. A lot of the things that I've heard I was gonna ask about that now I have questioned its intention addresses to judge Johnson. And -- jungle. Just a week ago ice you advocate on their front page. And articles that what that interview with the judge and -- district court. Who say that from now on well he was Q. Eight issue commercial bounds. And I was just flabbergasted. At these statements. Because. I don't think he has at a party. And I want to know what did -- any. Legal authority on his part to do that to just capped off -- And the commercial. Bond and but it. Yeah I have done nothing to say about that -- people sit in jail. Presumed innocent. And they sit there or ninety days or make that he didn't restrict its second double did not work. Ferret lately from the friendly and it creates tremendous losses in the community to get about the money. So exactly and somebody decides it even for the Marlins offense. He or she is not the issue even our bonds lower property bond -- -- listens to like there has to say he is people. I just don't understand -- the cruelty. That's visited upon the poor and I just wanted to know. The judge had the authority to do. That's objection is is -- had -- at the -- question does he have the authority and we talked and villages to the -- That whether a judge Parker has the authority to do that is a good question. And one weird Italy is in that system need to raise in terms of representing people who need to definitely raised an issue. And I'm just disappointed that my two universities he knew -- -- are blocked clinics haven't jumped on that and and and back in the day if you nobody -- the jump on and and you do -- -- -- and raised it in raised an issue. But -- get O'Neill's side two and his community should be up in all with the judge who says I am going to keep people in jail. Unless and then they can show that they have the financial world with all the -- the -- that is such an incredible statement regardless of constitutionality of it. Regardless of anything else of it but that's such an incredible statement. For a judicial offices to -- That this community should be up in all about that statement being made in about the consequences to people as a result -- Both of our beautiful judges right here I hate to move -- I have got to get some other -- thank you very Malta for so much calling him. By permanent new laurel and you've been on the line. -- -- From there -- home -- you Morocco and support for trial there. -- -- care and treatment state and city money. Also -- and public safety and their release of burden on our ball. Without trial there because it all or and the belt. Commercial industry and it increases in revenue. And we noted that black issues when oil and there are. Well that -- -- incorporated oh my. And it goes about. Deputy it was that is that it could be an honor top they call rate. Where. -- That that it could be. For there. -- -- and it state. Well you know. What it is that would be much. -- does not -- that is the call as it is. Today. That the call. In the job. -- I really appreciate your call and your comments we're gonna move on now to John. -- John there are on the lawyer and on. Actually mark on the -- -- on -- -- on the war in my experience. When bonds -- and the judges are actually. This Sudbury high on earth. A lot of -- on violence and torture people little or no criminal record. And the result that many people remain in jail shouldn't and I seen how and where. He and people lose their jobs content stay in general failed I regret that it was an aggregate and their children. Actually in the except that her purse were actually. Complicating. Social problems are keeping these people in jail and it -- -- the pretrial Serbs are Whitner and the lawyer. The decision that bonds are actually more reasonable and more into the crime. Which is alleged intelligently. People should be released its release that should be in jail should stay in jail on. So I think I've been really really good -- and I think it works. We're not in juvenile court work commitment bailed on system in juvenile court and -- -- I don't see you re election. -- an adult system and we should keep an outfit and keep your share of important. On the issue and drawn and. Thank you very very much John very very quickly -- on the cell -- real quick. Yet they are still -- -- I think there are -- the key people in jail expert natural occurs. You have admiral -- criminals they're they're forced entry situation may. Oh lead that you've become more and -- or lead to war like the -- and maybe even by foreign -- they're back interpreter. I think she's very much for calling as well will be like that talking more pretrial services. Pretrial services it's something we all need to know more about the judge said it best it's a community issue. Two. Those systems issued you know it's it's are always a disservice to focus on one aspect of the system. And how well it works or doesn't work you know that their criminal justice system is like a car got a lot of moving parts and even the smallest park can bring this thing down. In our case here in new morons we have to federal consent decrees going at the moment. There's always room for Nolan and the fact of the matter is if we don't do their job at the pre trial level. And take a look at her own incarceration -- here in statewide. We haven't seen the last of the Department of Justice coming in to ask this to please hold ourselves accountable for doing better. We can do better there's a lot of research lot of information out there but we have to decide is a community. To get over the status quo. And to do things differently if we don't I think we'll pay a terrible price and wrap that up press -- -- -- just what you it's obvious that the committee did not understand this program. In Europe reported today is is is this is a great help. They've stated a couple of million bucks -- but analysts say the pretrial program. And say about the six to seven billion dollars -- year we desperately need the money odds of being disrupted. Institute each that your program and other news media and report. -- -- Thank you I hate it we're out of time and I hate to cut you off but thank you for calling in from New York. Now let's go to the newsroom.