Worry arises that gang prosecutions will clog court system - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Worry arises that gang prosecutions will clog court system


New Orleans, La. - The court was under tight security with more than a dozen law enforcement officers in the room when 18 alleged members of the 3NG gang made an appearance for an arraignment.

With so many defendants, the courtroom was packed. It was so packed that some of the families members of those accused couldn't get in.

It's the first of several logistical problems that some are predicting will happen with the prosecution of alleged gangs.

"Leo Cannizzaro has decided to use conspiracy RICO laws to prosecute. That means he can get all of these guys together and use hear say in court because of other co-conspirator statements," says FOX 8 Legal Analyst Joe Raspanti.

Raspanti says while it's an advantage for the D.A.'s office to prosecute the alleged gang members under the RICO statute, it will be a logistical nightmare for the court moving forward.

During a criminal justice committee meeting at City Hall, Derwyn Bunton explained why public defenders simply cannot represent the defendants of the alleged gangs.

"A lot of the defendants in these cases already have open cases in our office, so we can't attack one client for the sake of another client. That's the conflict," says Bunton.

Judges are now having to communicate with private attorneys to present the defendants.

"I think it's one of those moments where we didn't fully appreciate the system as a system. These prosecutions are going to street the entire system out, not just the public defender's office,' says Bunton.

Some are predicting Judges will even have to hold court on Saturdays in an effort to get all the attorneys and defendants in the courtroom at the same time.

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