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 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4. Listen to the Section G Podcast episode 1, episode 2, episode 3 and episode 4. The podcast also is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play and Stitcher.