Scandal in Louisiana's Criminal Courts

There's a major scandal brewing in Louisiana's criminal justice system. 

Since 1994, Chief Judge Edward Dufresne has been handling the appeals of indigent Louisiana convicts who had to file their own briefs.  Last year, the aid Dufresne had assigned to handle those appeals committed suicide.  According to his suicide note, Jarrold Peterson killed himself in part because of the guilt he faced over what he had been asked to do as part of his job. 

Peterson sent a posthumous letter to Louisiana's Judiciary Commission with a damning allegation.  He said Dufresne had instructed him to deny every appeal not prepared by an attorney.  Peterson said he was instructed to write up and file the denials without every showing the appeals to the judges.  Peteson handled about 2,400 such cases in the 13 years he was in charge of them.

The Louisiana Supreme Court will now decide if the investigation of the allegations and the review of those cases will be handled by another circuit, and outside panel, or the same 5th Circuit court where all of this may have happened.

A few facts about Louisiana's criminal justice system that might be helpful in putting the seriousness of this scandal into perspective: 

• About 90 percent of criminal defendants in Louisiana are indigent. 

• Louisiana only provides post-conviction legal aid in death penalty cases.  Everyone else must either hire a lawyer, find a lawyer to handle their case pro bono, or handle the appeal themselves.  Obviously, most have no choice but to opt for the latter. 

One criminal defense lawyer in Louisiana told me that if you're convicted of murder in Louisiana and you're innocent, you're actually better off getting the death penalty.  At least then you'll get a team of lawyers, investigators, and experts to help with your appeal.

• Because convicts aren't considered citizens in Louisiana, they have no standing to make requests for public records—and that would include copies of their own case files.  Some prosecutors' offices will grant such requests anyway, but they're under no obligation to do so.  When such requests are granted, or are made by the family or friends of the defendant, defense attorneys tell me that DA's offices charge $1-2 per page, for files that can easily run thousands of pages.

• So what?  Most of these people are probably guilty anyway, right?  Maybe not.  Earlier this month, the Louisiana Innocence Project released a study of 36 death penalty convictions won by the office of former New Orleans District Attorney Harry Connick (yes, he's the father of the famous crooner).  The report found that prosecutors had withheld important exculpatory evidence in nine cases, or 25 percent. In four cases—one in nine death sentences—the condemned defendant was later declared innocent.

Given that these were death penalty cases, the defendants had good representation from the state's capital post-conviction office. 

Not only are 90 percent of defendants in non-capital cases left to find such abuses in their own cases by themselves, DAs are under no obligation to give them copies of their own case files, can charge exhorbitant fees when they do, and for 13 years, it looks as if at least one of Louisiana's appeals courts couldn't even bother to read the appeals, anyway.

One more thing to consider:  Many Louisiana DAs have been sending regular work to former Mississippi medical examiner Dr. Steven Hayne and his disgraced "forensic odontologist" sidekick Dr. Michael West since the early 1990s.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • anon||

    I thought the Dufresnes were locked in a car trunk, hungry.

    Glad they're alright.

  • The Democratic Republican||

    All the more reason never to live in, visit, or think about Louisiana. As if more reason were needed.

  • Abdul||

    As someone who's handled pro se litigants before, I realize they're pretty annoying. But automatic denial is going a bit too far. Half the fun of pro se litigants is reading through the crazy gibberish to find a real claim.

    And also, doesn't Louisiana have some way of reporting judicial misconduct other than suicide note? I thought their state was based upon Napoleonic code, not the code of Bushido.

  • No Name Guy||

    Amazing.

    Yet another reason (like I needed any more) I will NEVER live in the south.

  • ||

    Seriously, what is it with the South? I blame Lincoln for all of this.

  • ||

    "automatic denial is going a bit too far."

    is it not any worse than that in your mind? I'm not being snarky, I just don't have any sense for how often an appeal like this might have weight...

  • ||

    First Mississippi, now Louisiana. Keep up the heat Radley. Next I suppose will be Alabama. But watch out for Texas, they play rough.

  • ||

    I thought the Dufresnes were locked in a car trunk, hungry.

    Glad they're alright.


    I applaud your Mitch Hedberg reference.

  • ||

    Damn. Are Mississippi and Louisiana competing for "Cesspool of the Nation" status, or going for a joint title?

  • Abdul||

    is it not any worse than that in your mind? I'm not being snarky, I just don't have any sense for how often an appeal like this might have weight...

    Habeas corpus petitions are usually filed pro se, and they are kind of like the post-conviction appeal discussed here. Only about 2% of habeas petitions result in any relief for the defendant.

    So I wouldn't be suprised if only 2% of the Lousiana appeals had any merit. Obviously, the real issue is the lack of due process, and not quibbling over the number of meritorious appeals which might have been denied.

  • ||

    Seriously, what is it with the South? I blame Lincoln for all of this.

    Yeah. Louisiana and Mississippi were civil rights paradises prior to that asshole getting elected.

    If that was snark, never mind.

  • ||

    Joint title, clearly. Note that they're using the same forensic convictionologists.

  • Invisible Finger||

    The conclusion:

    Harry Connick Jr. should commit suicide.

  • ||

    BTW, Thanks for making my day, Radley.

  • ||

    Re: Anon

    Long may the memory of Mitch live on!

    Also, how about that historically French basis of government? How's that poo-pooing of common law treating you now, convicts of the State of Louisiana? I know correlation is not causation, but come on! It's practically obvious.

    (end stand up)

  • ||

    A friend pointed this out to me:

    The Supreme Court in Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967), apparently mandated the appointment of counsel for indigents in post-conviction appeals. What's going on here?

  • ||

    Having lived most of my life in the South, hearing about these gross and criminal abuses of the civil liberties and the general public trust still shocks me.

  • ||

    • About 90 percent of criminal defendants in Louisiana are indigent.

    I'd be indigent too if they threw my appeal in the garbage.

  • ||

    Because convicts aren't considered citizens in Louisiana

    Whoa. What?

  • ||

    J sub D,

    Lincoln was the asshole who thought 200,000 dead soldiers was a fair price to pay to keep the Union together. I'd have rather let the Confederacy split off and not deal with their crap.

  • Federal Dog||

    Why hasn't denying indigents post-conviction counsel been contested? If people who can pay counsel have a right to appeal, the state cannot deny indigent defendants representation necessary to pursue that same right.

  • ||

    I used to think these kinds of things stopped in the 60s, after all the civil rights advances. I had no idea until the last couple years how fucked up the south still is. (Not that the North doesn't have any problems, but they're not this systemic.)

  • ||

    Lincoln was the asshole who thought 200,000 dead soldiers was a fair price to pay to keep the Union together. I'd have rather let the Confederacy split off and not deal with their crap.

    On that we disagree. I'll save it for an appropriate thread.

  • ||

    I applaud your Mitch Hedberg reference.

    Damn, and I was going to go with a reference to Andy Dufresne and Mexico.

  • wengdongqin||

    Welcome to wow gold our wow Gold and wow power leveling store. We wow gold are specilized, wow power leveling professional and reliable wow power leveling website for wow power leveling selling and wow gold service. By the World of Warcraft gold same token,we offer Wow power levelingthe best WoW service wow power leveling for our long-term and wow powerleveling loyal customers. wow powerleveling You will find Wow power levelingthe benefits and value powerleveling we created powerleveling different from other sites. As to most people, power leveling they are unwilling to power leveling spend most of wow power leveling the time WOW Gold grinding money Rolex for mounts or rolex replica repair when replica rolex they can purchase Watches Rolex what they Rolex Watches are badly need. The Watch Rolex only way is to look Rolex Watch for the best place rs gold to buy WOW Gold . Yes! You find it here! Our WoW Gold supplying service has already accumulated a high reputation and credibility. We have plenty of Gold suppliers, which will guarantee our delivery instant. Actually, we have been getting Runescape Gold tons of postive feedbacks from our loyal RuneScape Money customers who really appreciate our service.

  • ||

    While I hate to get in the way of South bashing by people who live on the Coast, I think much of the strictness of Louisiana's legal system is due to its French heritage - where you generally were considered guilty until proven innocent.

  • ||

    Look, if true, this is very bad, but enough with the South bashing. You think stuff like this doesn't go on in Illinois, Michigan or New Jersey? The LAPD is not exactly squeaky clean either.

  • ||

    The fact that you are getting WoW spam is hilarious. It is about as real as justice for indigents in Louisiana, and I say that as a person who still considers NO home, even if I got out of there as soon as I could.

    Before I left, though, a lot of my friends were constables and cops. From that side, I never actually witnessed or even heard as hearsay corruption at this level. The guys I knew generally couldn't recognize how Napoleanic code differed from Common law, and I am certain it wouldn't have had an effect on their day to day working life.

  • ||

    "the aid Dufresne"

    Don't you mean aide?

  • Hucbald||

    I think employees in prosecutor's offices committing suicide is something we should encourage.

    /snark

    I will add that after going to college in Boston, living in NYC and then D.C. I'll take any southern state any day as a place of residence. Lawyers suck everywhere, but residents of large eastern cities suck generally, while residents of rural areas of the south rock.

    I once heard a clueless leftard kid in NYC say, "NYC is better than, say, Arizona, where there's nothing but dead land." My reply was, "No, the land under these skyscrapers is dead, while deserts team with life." He didn't understand why I then doubled over laughing.

    There is no more clueless human being than one who has spent an entire life in a large city.

  • ||

    Under the Napoleonic Code three typos in the first two paragraphs calls for a punishment of one week without a keyboard and a severe reduction in your croissant consumption.

  • ||

    The Napoleonic Code was never in effect in Louisiana. It was not issued until 1804 and the Louisiana Purchase was in 1803.

    I work for the LSU Law Library and we are the depository of court records for the state. A good deal of the records we handle in a year are requests from prisoners for their court records. We do charge a minimal processing fee, which is usually $5 to $15.

  • ||

    Before we get all huffy let's remember a few things: these are post-conviction proceedings. That means that these indigent defendants had lawyers assigned to them for the trial courts, the court of appeals, and usually the Supreme Court of Louisiana. So, before they file for post-conviction relief, they have had the benefit of a free attorney for three levels of scrutiny. They then file a post-conviction proceeding in the trial court. Before the court of appeals gets it a trial court must look at it and deny it (there may be hearings at the discretion of the trial court).

    Post-conviction proceedings are very narrow in scope. They involve violations of core constitutional rights that have not been addressed at other stages in the case (due to late discovery or a new witness coming forward, sometimes a new US Supreme Court ruling). By the time the case gets to the court of appeal, they have already ruled on its merits when the defendant had the benefit of counsel. Most post-conviction briefs written by inmates are rubbish. They mistate facts and law and are copied from the briefs of unrelated cases.

    Louisiana's criminal law is not based on French law. It was taken from English law (there are no common law crimes - like many Western states). Contra to Mr. Balko's post, inmates are entitled to a copy of their public records and District Attorney's file. The Indigent Transcript Fund provides money to pay court reporters for transcripts. District Attorneys do charge for copies. No public money is given to those offices to cover the costs of making those copies. You have no idea how many requests flood into the offices in New Orleans or Baton Rouge, it is enormous.

    Further, Louisiana courts don't use the disgraced Mississippi doctors (notice how slippery Mr. Balko's generalization is). Louisiana has plenty of hack experts of its own.

    Don't get me wrong, this is a scandal. Finding a meritorious pro se post-conviction brief is like finding a needle in a haystack, but they do exist and if it is your job to weigh and consider each case, then do it.

  • Jim OSullivan||

    Aide. Ever showing. Peterson or Peteson? Letters can't be posthumous, nor can they be sent posthumously. At least not by the author.

    Don't mind me. I'm in a bad mood this morning. I make more typos than most folks.

  • ||

    At least Louisiana held kangaroo court. Unlike all you open minded bigots writing here.

  • Legal Eagle||

    Take it from me, Louisiana prosecutors are all career criminals.

  • Sheila||

    You are behind on this one. The LA Supreme Court had the disaster before it for over a year when they received a "request" from the 5th Circuit, the same guys who screwed these defendants in the first place, to "return" the 2400 cases to them for disposition. THEY DID ! All of the cases were sent back to the 5th to be "worked" by the judges and their personal staffs, minus two of the worst offenders. (No central staff involvement, who are the only folks who have experience working pro se writs.)Guess you can probably figure out how THAT will go for these defendants. The have to work their regular cases PLUS 2400 more because they specifically stated that they needed NO HELP to get it done. (They only handled about 300 writ per year, with a full panel of judges. Now they're two short.) They MIGHT get finished before the next century. Real VICTORY for these defendants.

    Also "overlooked" was the submission of "false" reports to the State, showing that judges had worked on cases they had not, and the receipt of $300 per case by the 5th for work they did not do.

    Why isn't there a CRIMINAL investigation of this entire matter ? Oh, yeah, the LA Supreme Court is the body which determines whether the law was violated !

  • ||

    For those of you bashing the south with the line "another reason why I'd never live there..."

    STFO.

    We are better off without you gracing our presence. If we wanted to live with a bunch of egocentric arses, we'd move north of the mason dixon line.

    Stay where you are and enjoy the misery that is your life. Yankee bastages.

  • Jason Coleman||

    For someone who supposedly works in the LSU law library, you seem to be willfully ignorant or intellectually dishonest.

    Louisiana law is based on Napoleonic code, while it's technically correct to say that Louisiana isn't "under Napoleonic code", it is not truthful. The Louisiana "civil code" differs from the "common law" found in the other 49 states. While there is some contribution from Spanish custom and law in the La. civil code, for simplicity's sake and to make it clear that Louisiana has a different structure and origin than the rest of the US, it is generally said that Louisiana "follows" the Napoleonic code.

    Here's a link to the Louisiana civil code:
    http://www.findlaw.com/11stategov/la/civilcode.html

  • Jason Coleman||

    In case you need more, from the State of Louisiana itself:

    "The original French colonists were soon joined by the Spanish and Acadians, and later by French aristocrats fleeing slave revolts in the West Indies or the horrors of the French Revolution. As part of Louisiana's French legacy counties are called "parishes" and the Napoleonic Code (rather than Common Law) holds sway in the state's courtrooms."

    http://louisiana.gov/Explore/About_Louisiana/

  • ||

    Man you guys are harsh and a little ignorant too. I could throw a dart at a map and find a state with equally fouled-up systems - many a lot worse. Broken and corrupted systems are not just a southern thing. This is a bad situation but let's not indict the entire state or region.

    Resist the temptation to oversimplify, generalize, and stereotype. After all, that's a lot like what the judge was doing, right?

    Jeez.

  • Ted||

    This is obviously horrifying, if true. One small point. Being declared not guilty is not nearly the same thing as being "declared innocent," as the post has it.

  • Charlie||

    This article is a bunch of crap! The part about how inmates can't get copies of their files under Louisiana law is a flat-out lie. Every person who is convicted and wants an appeal can get an appelate attorney for free. So they may not get a team of investigators to go along with that attorney. If you want to donate to the Indigent Defender Board to pay for that team of people to go dig up information to help free the so-called innocent then I'm sure they will be glad to take your money.

  • Charlie||

    Also, all you legal scholars might want to actually look at the Louisiana Criminal Code. There is not one bit of difference between the criminal code in Louisiana and any other state. There are some differences in how they handle civil matters in Louisiana but the criminal code is in line with every other state in America.

  • Jason Coleman||

    Ok Charlie, find this in some other criminal code:

    RS 14:3
    Interpretation

    The articles of this Code cannot be extended by analogy so as to create crimes not provided for herein; however, in order to promote justice and to effect the objects of the law, all of its provisions shall be given a genuine construction, according to the fair import of their words, taken in their usual sense, in connection with the context, and with reference to the purpose of the provision.

    Notice what's missing from the rest of the US? Precedent.

  • ||

    I grew up in Houston in the '60's and early '70's. The wild kids knew not to go to Louisiana to be stupid. First, the jails were ghastly, second, nothing I read here about the court system is a surprise, and third, the prisons were *really* ghastly.

    My heart goes out to Peterson and his family. Corruption in our legal system destroys so many lives.

  • ||

    John-David wrote "Seriously, what is it with the South? I blame Lincoln for all of this."

    Sure, this would never happen in say, Chicago, Philly, or NY city, where defendants are never beaten or railroaded. Only those hicks in the south. Sure.

  • Charlie||

    Louisiana criminal law is not based on French law Jason. Robbery, murder and rape, etc. are defined in Louisiana just like they are anywhere else in America. The rules of evidence are just like they are in any of the other states, too. This judge should not have rejected all of these post-conviction motions without review, but to hear all of you "know-it-alls" try to trash Louisiana's whole criminal law system because of that one judge is just ignorant!

  • ||

    As a Louisiana lawyer I will correct several innacuries with the comments. One criminal law in Louisiana follows common law. Family law and some other types follow the Napolenic code. Secondly Radley is referring to the costs of an inmate obtaining the DA files and police files. Post-Conviction appeals are based on evidence that was not part of the trial record either because the State did not disclose exculpatory evidence or because the defense attorney did not do an investigation. Therefore the only way for an inmate to prove the claims is to get the DA file , police files ect. Under Louisiana law the State does not have to disclose witness statements or police interviews until post-conviction. Non-capital inmates get lawyers for their direct appeals they do not get them after that.

  • Federal Dog||

    "Before we get all huffy let's remember a few things: these are post-conviction proceedings. That means that these indigent defendants had lawyers assigned to them for the trial courts, the court of appeals, and usually the Supreme Court of Louisiana. So, before they file for post-conviction relief, they have had the benefit of a free attorney for three levels of scrutiny."

    If so, that's very different from other jurisdictions. "Post-conviction" designates proceedings after conviction in a trial court. Post-conviction thus refers to any appellate process or collateral attack on a conviction in the trial court or federal court system.

  • Federal Dog||

    "Under Louisiana law the State does not have to disclose witness statements or police interviews until post-conviction."

    Even if they are exculpatory?

  • ||

    After conviction is the direct appeal which is based on record based trial error. That is not a post-conviction appeal. The DA's are suppossed to turn over exculpatory evidence but as Radley's article cites cases were they have not and that they have a bad record of not doing so that even the United States Supreme Court referred to in a case called Kyles v. Whitley

  • ||

    Kathy: Louisiana appeals are based on both error of law and of fact. That is a broader standard than many states. I think we agree on common law. My point was that there are no offenses that are not provided for in the code. Some states have crimes that are not codified. Defense attorneys who do not do their jobs (right to counsel) and DA's who do not do theirs (due process) are still examples of constitutional violations. Often the indigent are represented in writ applications to the Supreme Court. It is a decision usually based upon merit. I practiced before and after Kyles. I think that it changed the prosecution culture, for the better. After Kyles, things were hidden from (by police), not by, the prosecution.

    Jason: Look up stare decisis (its like precedent, only in Latin). Charlie is right.

    Federal Dog: Post conviction relief exhausts your state court remedies so that you may bring a habeas corpus in Federal Court.

  • ||

    heh2k:
    "I had no idea until the last couple years how fucked up the south still is. (Not that the North doesn't have any problems, but they're not this systemic.)"

    Riiight.

    So which southern state do Chicago and Detroit belong to?

  • Jason Coleman||

    For those of you continuing to argue that Louisiana law isn't founded upon Napoleonic Code, I'll point out once again what Louisiana herself has to say on the subject.

    "The original French colonists were soon joined by the Spanish and Acadians, and later by French aristocrats fleeing slave revolts in the West Indies or the horrors of the French Revolution. As part of Louisiana's French legacy counties are called "parishes" and the Napoleonic Code (rather than Common Law) holds sway in the state's courtrooms."

    http://louisiana.gov/Explore/About_Louisiana/

    Perhaps some of you should inform the State of Louisiana that she's wrong.

  • Jason Coleman||

    Ya, know, just cause I'm a dumb coonass doesn't mean I don't know what stare decisis means, and just because you can drop a latin term doesn't mean that it holds sway in Louisiana. Try some French and you'll get further. Like, "Dieu nous garde de l'équité de parlements", an old adage which best describes the power of judges in Louisiana courts.

    In fact, the concept of stare decisis in Louisiana is an old, OLD debate and it's certainly not settled. One can best describe Louisiana as "sui generis" (see I know some Latin too, and this means "of its own kind"), others night call it simply a mixed jurisdiction.

  • Federal Dog||

    Given the special and limited meaning of "post-conviction appeal," in Louisiana, the main post should be updated and clarified.

  • sheila||

    Typical of such blogs, most writers go off on some absurd, irrelevant tangent (French law, procedural rules, Civil War, etc.) and fail to comment on, or even grasp, the depth of corruption by these judges, the in-your-face cover-up by the Louisiana Supreme Court, the complete failure of the state Attorney General, Governor, bar associations or Federal prosecutor to help these 2400 indigent defendants and the utter silence on this monumental crime by the Louisiana news media.

    The entire system of law enforcement, judicial review and checks on these by the press has BROKEN DOWN in Louisiana. It's like living in China down here, without the business savvy.

  • ||

    I think most people here are missing one important aspect in that the judge has a blantant bias against non-lawyers. A person representing himself may have a fool for a client, but he should not be turned away jsut because he is not an asshole-I mean a lawyer.

  • Betsy Ross||

    This is true of almost every state in the nation, since our civil courts have been taken over by the Bar, and those judges are elected by their fellow Bar members actually who donate huge sums to their campaigns (not at all for influence).

    Although the "right to counsel" was actually provided for criminal proceedings in this country, and since Louisiana is a state in the union still, the U.S. Constitution actually takes precedence even there. So "counsel" in those days meant anyone could be chosen to speak on behalf of a defendant merely with a "power of attorney" and if you look up the word attorney and its roots it simply means "legal representative" or "counselor."

    And speaking in your own defense is a right that is not at all one for fools anymore since there now is so much politics in our criminal and civil justice systems throughout the nation it is pathetic.

    A former paralegal

  • ||

    So much whining over convicted hip-hop thugocrats--I worked on revisions to the La Civil Code--it is in fact based on the Napoleanic Code, and replicates many of its legal tenets, for example, the falcidian portion and the trebellianic portion, which are succession law issues--and La law is also partially based on the Spanish civil codes, the Siete Partidas. It is(La Civil Code) in fact a remarkable and well thought out civil code. Most La citizens aren't too `concerned
    about the "rights" of carjackers, drug dealers and the assorted thugs from NOLA, nor should they be--it would save us all a few tax dollars
    if the thugs would slowly kill each other off.

  • ||

    Q. What is black and tan and looks good on a Louisiana lawyer?

    A. A doberman.

  • ||

    Mr. Balko believes that it is unfair that I comment anonymously. My name is Greg Voigt and until recently, I practiced criminal law in Louisiana, including the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal from whence this story originates. Sheila's first comment is correct in that this has been percolating for some time and the state supreme court seems ill prepared to properly handle it. I applaud Mr. Balko and people like James Gill who won't let it go.

    (The Louisiana Criminal Code was not based on the Napoleonic Code, Louisiana's Civil Code was, in part. For some of you a little internet is a dangerous thing.)

  • Jason Coleman||

    I know you think you're all that and a bag of chips Mr. Voigt, but you admit your own error.

    The Fifth Circuit is a FEDERAL Court, not a Louisiana court. Before you start telling those of us what we know and what we don't, perhaps you should check yourself.

    Myself and others have NOT been talking about FEDERAL courts which happen to operate in Louisiana, we're talking about Louisiana courts. In the Louisiana courts, Napoleonic code is what you'd better be versed in.

    Now if you want to tell me that you've worked in Louisiana state courts, then maybe we'll have a discussion. So far all you've done is be insulting, ignorant and as you admit yourself, plain wrong.

    The Federal Courts are Federal Courts, the State Courts are State Courts, and in Louisiana State Courts, Parish Courts and Municipal Courts, Napoleonic Code holds sway. Just as the State of Louisiana says it does.

  • ||

    Jason: check the internet for Louisiana Courts of Appeal. You will find that there are five. Guess their names. The Louisiana Court of Appeal Fifth Circuit is in Gretna, Louisiana. The Federal Fifth Circuit is in New Orleans. The court is Gretna is the subject of this article.

    It must be hard to be you.

  • Jason Coleman||

    Very well then Mr. Viogt, riddle me this.

    Why does the State of Louisiana say that Louisiana law is based upon Napoleonic code?

  • Jason Coleman||

    Further, why would the Louisiana State Supreme Court also state that Louisiana law was also based upon Napoleonic Code as recently as 2004:

    "When Louisiana lawyers drafted the first civil code for Louisiana in 1808, they, too, borrowed heavily from the Code Napoleon and were influenced by it. Today, significant parts of Louisiana's current civil code are still closely modeled on, and in some case still almost identical to, the Code Napoleon."

  • Jason Coleman||

    Also what I find curious is how, today, in 2008 you've been missing Loyola, LSU, Tulane and other schools of law in the state celebrating the 200th anniversary of 'A Digest of the Civil Laws now in Force in the Territory of Orleans', otherwise referred to as the Louisiana Civil Code of 1808.

    I also wonder why we coonasses are taught that the Code of 1808 was modeled heavily upon Code civil des Français of 1804.

    Are the State, State Supreme Court and our state law and history professors all wrong?

  • ||

    Jason for those of us that acutually practice law and passed the bar exam here unlike you The there are 9 different areas of law 5 of them are covered by the civil code such as family property ect. 4 areas of the law here that follow common law including criminal and constitutional law. Civil courtrooms that handle non criminal matters follow the civil code. That is what ios refered to so if you get a divorce contest a will ect. in civil court that is what tehy are referring to. Also as mentionede above has occurred in the state appellate court not federal court.

  • Jason Coleman||

    The ad hominems were fun to respond to at first, but this has become tiresome. To try to use passing the bar as some sort of qualification, especially in the State of Louisiana is absurd. Thousands have and will continue to pass the La. bar without one formal day of legal training.

    The historical record is clear as crystal; that the law of the State of Louisiana was and is based largely upon and in many cases identical to, that of the code Napoleon. Attacking my person will not change this historical and legal fact.

    As to stare decisis, Article 5 of the code Napoleon proscribes precedent and sides in favor of the codified law, that is a legal tradition carried forward today in Louisiana courts. If you disagree, then make your case against the historical record, the statements of the state and the supreme court and the opinions of major law schools of said state.

    Judge Dufrense embodies the proverb "Dieu nous garde de l'équité de parlements", and belies the major problems with Louisana's legal system.

    As to the 5th circuit, assemble 100 lawyers and query them as to what the "Fifth Circuit" is and 90 will reference the Federal Court, to suggest otherwise is to deny the common vernacular. Further to someone who claims they practice in that particular court would do well to familiarize themselves with the collection of Judge John Minor Wisdom. The works he collected and left to Tulane address in detail the relevance and historical foundation of the Napoleonic code in past and present Louisiana law.

    As to me, whether I am a devotee of the law or of the State's history is immaterial to the matter discussed and no manner of snark directed at my person will strengthen your argument to the objective observer.

    Louisiana is sui generis, that is, of mixed jurisdiction; and the presence of elements of common law in this mix does not negate the more than heavy influence of Napoleonic code upon Louisiana law.

    'A Digest of the Civil Laws now in Force in the Territory of Orleans' was in majority a recitation of the code Napoleon and the legal tradition today evolved from that document.

    Those who claim otherwise are simply ignorant of the state's history or intellectually dishonest. I'll leave it to the players here to decide where on that continuum they lie.

  • federal criminal defense attor||

    i don't seem to recall if there is one bit of difference between the criminal code in louisiana and any other state. there are some differences in how they handle civil matters in louisiana but the criminal code is in line with every other state in united states.
    _____________
    federal criminal defense attorney

  • wizard of oz books||

    With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz book series either as collectible or investment at RareOzBooks.com.

  • jason||

    Chief judge Edward Dufresne has been handling the Louisiana court from a long time and these types of cases occurred some times but court order the police to react on it with hard.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement