Judge grants new trial for ex-New Orleans police convicted in notorious Danziger Bridge slayings after Hurricane Katrina | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune — The implications of this development, and what it might lead to, boggle the mind. If a high-profile case like the Danziger Bridge trial can be overturned because of commenters playing games in comment sections, how many other convictions are susceptible?
Citing the “grotesque” misconduct of federal prosecutors, a federal judge on Tuesday granted a new trial for five former New Orleans Police Department officers convicted of killing two civilians and injuring several others in a shooting on the Danziger Bridge after Hurricane Katrina.
In a 129-page order that strongly criticized prosecutors in former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s office, U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt alluded to “unprecedented events and acts” that have “taken the Court on a legal odyssey unlike any other.”
It’s a safe bet that many more ugly revelations involving past conduct by Letten’s office are still to come.
Lee Zurik Investigation: Hingle to jail, taxpayers pay him $400k | FOX 8 WVUE – Despite pleading guilty to public corruption charges and reporting to prison, former Plaquemines Parish Sheriff Jiff Hingle will receive over $400,000 in public money during the next four years.
Release Herman Wallace of the Angola Three: He is about to die of cancer in prison after 40 years of solitary confinement | Slate Magazine – The title neatly sums up the article, written by former Lens contributor Sara Rahman.
The newest land in Louisiana pours out of a pipe | FOX 8 WVUE – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is refining its river-diversion techniques to build up the coast.
Blood tests show elevated health risks for Gulf spill cleanup workers | Fuel Fix – BP oil spill cleanup workers have “significantly altered blood profiles that put them at increased risk of developing liver cancer, leukemia and other disorders, according to a report published Tuesday.”
BP claims investigation finds attorney took $40K kickback in exchange for referring nearly $8 million claim | Louisiana Record
Lionel Sutton, a former senior attorney within the Court Supervised Settlement Program (CSSP), is accused of taking a $40,000 referral fee from the Andry Lerner Law Firm and attempting to more quickly resolve a claim worth $7,908,460 for that firm.
Lack of Funds Leave School Counselors Struggling to Find Balance | US News and World Report – On average, school counselors nationwide are handling nearly double their recommended case loads.
Errors plague school testing | Atlanta Journal-Constitution – An investigation has found that “quality-control breakdowns have become near commonplace on the state tests taken in public schools across the country.”
The Curious Case of John McDonogh (part 1) | Crazy Crawfish’s Blog – Education blogger Jason France begins a skeptical and scathing series on conditions at John McDonogh High School, which has received significant amounts of national publicity in recent years.
City councilwoman calls for more stringent demolition process | The New Orleans Advocate – Council member Stacy Head says the city’s current demolition process is not transparent and not good government practice, especially in light of New Orleans’ unique inventory of historic buildings. During the City Council meeting members discussed a recent Lens report on a demolition in the Upper Ninth Ward. The owner of that property said she had not been informed that her house had been targeted for demolition.
Ten Downtown Residential Developments in the Works | Curbed NOLA – A map of newly redeveloped condos, apartments and office space in the CBD.
Government & Politics
Stephen Moret is not happy | Something Like the Truth – In his blog, NOLA.com/Times-Picayune opinion writer Bob Mann writes:
Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret is not happy. He doesn’t like the fact that Engineering News has reported that the South African energy and chemicals group, Sasol, “has secured investment incentives collectively valued at around $1-billion from the state of Louisiana … to support its proposed development of an ethane cracker and a gas-to-liquids (GTL) facility in the Lake Charles area.
Analysis: Fiscal maneuvers complicate Louisiana’s budget problems | Associated Press – As Lens writer Tyler Bridges reported a month ago, the need to replenish the state’s “rainy day” fund will create additional challenges for legislators crafting upcoming state budgets.