Hanging on the wall above the meeting table is a portrait of Judge Frank Shea. In the painting Shea is wearing glasses, and his hair is gray, and he has a slight smile on his face. He looks almost grandfatherly, gentle and kind. In other words, basically the opposite of how he actually was as a judge.

The portrait is not the only way in which Shea’s memory looms in the courthouse on Tulane and Broad. In the decades since Shea retired from  Section G, the main features of his courtroom— speed and efficiency — continue to be a measure by which individual courtrooms and the criminal justice system as a whole in New Orleans are evaluated. 

In the final episode of the Section G Podcast, we will look at Judge Shea’s legacy in the New Orleans criminal district court, and talk to some people who argue the continued  emphasis on efficiency is evidence that the whole criminal justice system needs to be re-evaluated. 

Read The Section G Project Part 1Part 2Part 3 and Part 4. Listen to the Section G Podcast episode 1episode 2episode 3 and episode 4. The podcast also is available on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Play and Stitcher.

The Section G Project is supported by the Ella West Freeman Foundation and listeners like you. Show your support for The Lens today at thelensnola.org/donate.

Nick Chrastil

Nicholas Chrastil covers criminal justice for The Lens. As a freelancer, his work has appeared in Slate, Undark, Mother Jones, and the Atavist, among other outlets. Chrastil has a master's degree in mass...