Cardell Hayes, the man accused of shooting and killing former Saints player Will Smith, was back in Orleans Criminal Court on Friday.
Hayes stood silently in an orange jumpsuit for a hearing on who would preside over an April 28 hearing in the case. At issue was whether Magistrate Harry Cantrell would preside or whether it would be handled by a magistrate commissioner.
Hayes' attorneys filed a memorandum supporting having Judge Cantrell oversee the upcoming hearing.
"The judge requested that we prepare a memorandum with respect to whether or not he could retain authority in hearing the preliminary hearing in this matter," said attorney Jay Daniels, one of the lawyers representing Hayes. "He kind of raised the issue himself. I'm not exactly sure the basis for it, because it's common practice for the magistrate to hear anything he agrees to accept to hear."
During such hearings, defense attorneys can get valuable insight into early evidence in cases.
"I think any time you have an opportunity to have a preliminary examination, to have that initial opportunity to examine the evidence against a client, it's important - and that's no different in Mr. Hayes' case," Daniels said.
FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti agrees that preliminary hearings can be revealing.
"The defense attorney wants to go to a preliminary hearing and ask as many questions as he can, get the police or whatever witnesses they can get up there to lock into a statement, oh, and by the way maybe get found no probable cause, but the main thing I think in this case is going to be a fishing expedition which is normally perfectly normal and legal to try to find out as much as you can and lock the police into their story as much as you can," said FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti.
Also in the same magistrate court, attorney Tanya Picou Faia officially signed on to be the attorney for former NOPD officer Billy Ceravolo. Ceravolo dined with Smith before he was shot. Attorneys for Hayes want Ceravolo to testify at next week's hearing.
"His hiring the defense attorney is very telling," said Daniels when asked about Ceravolo seeking counsel.
"This man is going to testify in a criminal proceeding. I would advise everybody that's going to testify in any criminal proceeding to get advice of counsel, and if you're going to make something big about that, I think you ought to go re-read the criminal code," Raspanti said.
Ceravolo's attorney filed a motion for a subpoena to obtain security video from the Windsor Court Hotel on the evening of April 9, but Magistrate Cantrell denied her request. Faia stated she would not appeal the judge's decision. Faia appparently wanted the video to prove Ceravolo was not close to the intersection where the shooting of Smith occurred.
There are no criminal allegations against Ceravolo.