Another effect of the hurricane I hadn’t really thought about otherthan what they were going to do with the prisoners from New Orleans:
At Rapides Parish Detention Center 3 in Alexandria, which normally holds convicted felons, there are now 200 new inmates who arrived hot, hungry and exhausted on buses this week after being evacuated from flooded jails in New Orleans.
They have no paperwork indicating whether they are charged with having too much to drink or attempted murder. There is no judge to hear their cases, no courthouse designated to hear them in and no lawyer to represent them. If lawyers can be found, there is no mechanism for paying them. The prisoners have had no contact with their families for days and do not know whether they are alive or dead, if their homes do or do not exist.
“It’s like taking a jail and shaking it up in a fruit-basket turnover, so no one has any idea who these people are or why they’re here,” said Phyllis Mann, one of several local lawyers who were at the detention center until 11 p.m. Wednesday, trying to collect basic information on the inmates. “There is no system of any kind for taking care of these people at this point.”
Along with the destruction of homes, neighborhoods and lives, Hurricane Katrina decimated the legal system of the New Orleans region.
More than a third of the state’s lawyers have lost their offices, some for good. Most computer records will be saved. Many other records will be lost forever. Some local courthouses have been flooded, imperiling a vast universe of files, records and documents. Court proceedings from divorces to murder trials, to corporate litigation, to custody cases will be indefinitely halted and when proceedings resume lawyers will face prodigious – if not insurmountable – obstacles in finding witnesses and principals and in recovering evidence.
What a mess.
More here about the arrests of suspected looters:
More than 220 looting suspects and others accused of violence in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina have been taken to a makeshift city jail known as “Camp Greyhound,” the New Orleans bus terminal, to await transfer to out-of-town prisons.
The arrests and transfers are being monitored by the Justice Department and the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office to ensure that proper legal procedures are being followed, law-enforcement authorities said.
Another 1,000 inmates already in jail in Louisiana when Katrina hit are being moved by the U.S. Marshals Service to prisons in other states, including 460 inmates who were transported by airplane yesterday to a federal prison in Florida. Another 460 inmates will make the same trip today.
Many of the jail facilities in New Orleans were flooded after the storm.
U.S. Attorney David Dugas in Baton Rouge yesterday said a majority of those arrested were taken into custody in Jefferson Parish, where law-enforcement authorities have rounded up dozens of looters who raided houses and businesses.
Prisoners at the New Orleans bus terminal are being guarded by corrections officers from the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola — one of the toughest prisons in the country. Sixteen bus stops have become hastily constructed cages of chain-link fencing and razor wire, each filled with men or women arrested on the flood-ravaged streets of New Orleans during a rampage of looting and violence that overtook the city.
While the vast majority of those being processed through the terminal are accused of looting, one of the men brought to the site was Wendell L. Bailey, charged with shooting at a rescue helicopter seeking to aid people trapped at the Superdome. Others were named on charges of attempted murder and attempted rape.
So I guess there were significant arrests made, and they have the guy accused of shooting at the rescue helicopter. This is news to me.
Wouldn’t you rather read about how Bush let Halliburton use the Global Warming Machine to flush away the Big Easy than about some well-meaning guy who took a few paltry shots at a rescue chopper? ppGaz is right, you really are a wingnut fascist wingnut!
Well, the court and legal documents mess comes as no suprise, but I am glad and quite impressed that they got the shooter…that’s remarkable.
Is that supposed to be funny?
I have never called anyone a “fascist wingnut”, least of all John.
Argue with me all you like, declare me full of shit, but do not misrepresent me.
You mean they’re not sending them to Gitmo?
Saw they caught the guys a couple days ago, and Fox (Faux for you guys across the aisle, :) ) actually showed the new bus terminal jail this past weekend. Where have you been, John? Watching the Steelers?! I am OUTRAGED!
But it’s fun!
okay, the failure to make adequate provisions for people being held in jail when a hurricane strikes is clearly an example of poor planning on the part of local officials…
(see, I can place blame where it belongs when it belongs there…)
Wait, was all this fuss over just one guy? The rescue effort was suspended because of one guy? All these National Guard helicopters can’t operate in the same area as one hostile guy with a gun?
Oy, according to this, attempts to evacuate the living had to be suspended after one rescue helicopter came under fire.
Obviously that guy should fry in hell, but that really enough to justify stopping all the helicopters?
Wait till the forced evacuation starts.
I wonder if there is a mis-allocation of prepositions (“at”) here. Another account by Charmaine Neville, who was stuck in the city, claims that the shots fired were out if a sense of frustration at seeing helicopters continue to pass overhead, that folks figured they weren’t being seen and thus shots might alert the pilots to their presence.
Obviously, Ms. Neville is to some degree a biased observer and even more obviously, firing even in the vicinity of military choppers is, ahem, perhaps evidence of lack of wisdom (and perhaps desparation, to boot), but it is an alternate account of what is now a forgone media “truth”.
If her account is to be believed, the shooters did in fact achieve their goal of being noticed, even if the outcome was exactly the opposite of what was desired…