Questions raised about the actions of a Criminal Court judge - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Questions raised about the actions of a Criminal Court judge


New Orleans, La. - Merrit Landry remains free on bond after allegedly shooting a 14-year-old boy in the head in the Marigny last week.

The NAACP now wants to know why Landry was released from jail the same day he was arrested for attempted second-degree murder.

"For many in our community, the reported actions of Judge Zibilich has destroyed the confidence that blind justice will be applied in the case of the shooting by Mr. Landry," says Danatus King of the NAACP.

Landry spent only hours in jail before Judge Franz Zibilich issued him a $100,000 personal surety bond.

A surety bond is essentially a mortgage on a piece of property worth at least the amount of the bond.

While the paperwork for a surety bond can take a couple of days to complete, Landry was released Friday night on a promise to Judge Zibilich that the paperwork would be in order by Tuesday.

"The paperwork could not get reviewed because the office people didn't come in until Monday. That's the reason normal folk have to spend the weekend in the parish prison," says activist Tracey Washington.

The NAACP wants the Justice Department and other governmental agencies to investigate whether Landry's initial bond was legal.

"Judges have a wide range of discretion under the criminal code of procedure and case law as to how bonds are set," says defense attorney Jason Williams.

Williams isn't involved in the Landry case, but he tells FOX 8 that Judge Zibilich did nothing illegal.

"You could feasibly call in a release to have someone released from jail, and that paperwork could be filed in a timely fashion, and that was a customary procedure at Tulane and Broad. That's available for all sorts of crime," says Williams.

Judge Zibilich refused to comment because he told FOX 8 it's an open case.

The DA's office isn't commenting either, but in a motion filed yesterday, prosecutors did call the initial bond illegal.

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