New Orleans Prosecutor Jason Cantrell Resigns After Joint Falls Out of His Pocket In Court

"A Tough Judge for Tough Times." That's how Jason Cantrell described himself when he ran for a judge's seat on New Orleans' Juvenile Court in 2009. On Monday, Cantrell, who has served as a New Orleans prosecutor since losing the judge's race, was arrested when a marijuana cigarette fell out of his pocket in court. 

"Cantrell was talking to an officer when the joint flew," The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. "Sources painted a comical picture of the incident, saying a pair of cops glanced at the joint on the ground, then at each other before making arguably the easiest collar in the annals of policework."

Thanks to legislation passed in 2010, New Orleans no longer tries low-level marijuana offenders in criminal court. Instead, it cites them and summons them to municipal court, where city attorneys like Cantrell--instead of district attorneys--serve as prosecutors:

District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said the point of the new law is to free up local judges to handle more important cases.

"This is ultimately the goal: to bring the city attorney's in as the prosecutors of those cases, so I can bring my assistant D.A.'s who had to handle the municipal court cases -- the misdemeanor cases in municipal court -- back to criminal court," Cannizzaro said.

Cannizarro said the change provides a more efficient criminal justice system; not just for his office, but for police as well.

When Cantrell was running for judge in 2009, he promised to implement mandatory drug court for all first-time juvenile drug offenders. And we all know how wonderful drug courts are. I wonder if Cantrell will volunteer himself for one-to-two years of weekly rehab meetings and piss tests, as he proscribed for first-time juvenile offenders, or if he'll just opt for the $500 fine?

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  • Rich||

    You can't fool *me*, Mike. That's from The Onion.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    Why didn't he just say it was a Drum or Bugler roll-yer-own and shove it back in his pocket?

  • Paul.||

    I was just going to ask this. When I was a kid, we used to roll our own cigarettes because we all wanted to be Clint Eastwood. I actually got pretty good at it.

  • Rich||

    "A *cigarette*. Yeah ..... that's the ticket!"

  • BakedPenguin||

    Twisty ends are a giveaway. I also used to roll my own, b/c I was cheap. People often asked me to roll joints at parties, and I remember one guy laughing because it wound up looking like a cigarette.

  • R C Dean||

    What is this, The Wire: New Orleans?

  • Lyle||

    If Treme was only darker.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Best drug arrest ever.

  • Harlequin||

    "Jason Cantrell, you have been charged with being a motherfucking idiot, under the provisions of the Being Bloody Stupid Act of 1066, section 2a, Hubris. How do you plead?"

  • Rich||

    Bet he's got a doobie stashed behind that bowtie, too.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    It's a good thing he campaigned as a "tough" judge, since it it doesn't seem he could have realistically campaigned as "fair", "rational", or "moral."

  • Killazontherun||

    Every person he ever sent away on a possession charge should get fifteen minutes in a locked cell with the guy to do whatever the fuck they want to to him.

  • ||

    exaactly

  • The Late P Brooks||

    This motherfucker should be burned at the stake at high noon in front of the courthouse.

  • ||

    exactly

  • H. Reardon||

    Whatever happened to professional courtesy?

  • ||

    No professionals involved. Just cops and lawyers.

  • Vapourwear||

    See if I take your case pro bono....

  • Tim||

    A nip bottle won't get you into as much trouble.

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    Enough of your false equivalence! Marijuana destroys millions of lives and families every year, whereas alcohol is a harmless diversion!

    Wait, did I get those two reversed? Which one is illegal, again?

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    It wasn't his. It was evidence from a previous case.

  • Enough About Palin||

    That would be my lie. This guy isn't too bright.

  • sloopyinca||

    Seriously, What...the...fuck?

    This guy must be the dumbest bastard in the history of dumb bastards. You either claim someone planted it on you because you are a prosecutor or you claim it was evidence. You never, ever, ever tell the judge it's yours. You're a prosecutor for Christ's sake. They're gonna believe you when you blame it on some other person even if that person is some nebulous figment of your imagination. You're in the club, goddammit.

    This guy deserves to be disbarred for complete and utter stupidity and inability to creatively make up shit on the fly, two things that are essential to being an effective prosecutor.

  • db||

    The judge and everybody else there probably knew he smokes and he knew he couldn't get away witg it. Plus, pleading not guilty would have opened up an jnvestifation, and I bet he did not like the ramifications of that.

  • ||

    Hypocrite.

  • ||

    lol, among the easiest, but these cases are not that uncommon. and as street cops, we know the cynics will assume a cop is lying when there is this kind of fact pattern. i've had a counterfeiter drop a bunch of counterfeit 20's when i drew my gun on his and had him raise his hands over his head. i had the incident i mentioned here earlier, where the guy simply walked up to me, arms outstretched in front of him and handed me mj he had on him (he got a written warning... no cite).

    there was the guy who called to report a minor theft who walks up to me with a crack pipe, with telltale residue visible on it in his pocket as he walks up to me. and yea, he ended up having a bunch more crack on him.

    My favorite is the case where the lady reports she JUST knows its the kid around the corner who did the burg I was investigating. Culprit(s) took about 5k worth of stuff from her house. and like in many burgs, they used the victim's pillowcase to place some of the swag in and left the scene with it. This pillowcase happened to be a distinctive hand embroidered one. She even had another very similar one left at the scene she showed me to give an idea what it looked like.

  • ||

    And she just KNOWS it's the local punk kid doper scumbag who lives down the street and around the corner who did it.
    I figure i'm placating the victim (yea, we get cynical), because there isn't really anything even close to reasonable suspicion, heck i think calling it a hunch is a stretch... but what the hell... i can knock on somebody's door and ask them questions w/o any RS so why not? I'm thinking even if the kid DID do it, and it's certainly possible, this kid is conwise, and he's not going to admit it or invite me in.

    i knock on the door, guy comes to the door, opens it and immediately behind him on his couch is the pillowcase. she had described it to a "t". Cases like this makes the job that much more fun. yes, it IS a cool story, bro. and yes, it's immensely satisfying to lock up burglars and get victims their property back. Not to mention, we cleared up a bunch of other burgs at the same time.

    i guess the customer is always right, and in law enforcement, just like in political analysis, cynicism is often harmful to the cause.

  • Vapourwear||

    Really? A man with a gun pointed at him was worried about giving you evidence against him, not not getting shot?

    All these stories are starting to sound the same...

  • Ted Levy||

    Why didn't he just say, "I saw that doobie fall out of your pocket, officer, but in the interests of comity I'm willing to remain mute..."?

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