New Orleans DA drops remaining charge against Cardell Hayes

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The Orleans district attorney has dropped the only remaining charge of aggravated assault against already-convicted Cardell Hayes.

Hayes is serving a 25-year sentence for the manslaughter and attempted manslaughter in the killing of former Saints player Will Smith and the shooting of Smith's wife, Racquel. He was supposed to stand trial for the additional charge of aggravated assault next month, but the charge was dismissed.

Now, Hayes is pushing for a new trial.

During a post-conviction hearing, Hayes' attorney asked Judge Camille Buras to address a new motion in the case.

"It was just ensuring that certain parts, certain transcripts and certain documents were filed into record and, in fact, designated as part of the record that would go up to the Fourth Circuit on appeal," says Attorney Paul Barker.

"The attorney for Hayes wanted to get things on the record because you can't just bring brand new things to the appellate court," says FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti.

One particular document that Barker wanted included in the record was a "fake" subpoena sent to Hayes' girlfriend, Tiffany Lacroix, last year by the district attorney's office. That document was not signed by a judge or clerk of court and carried no legal authority.

Barker says back on Nov. 30, Lacroix hired her own attorney and a hearing was held on the matter.

"So that's how it got brought up, but the hearing that was held prior to trial, was held without Cardell Hayes or John Fuller present, so defense council or Cardell Hayes wasn't there. That's when the state just went in and withdrew their subpoena," says Barker.

The issue of bogus subpoenas came to light back in April, and the DA's office says it stopped using the controversial documents.

In this case, the ADA pointed out to the Judge, Lacroix did not testify in the trial and never came in to the DA's office.

"So, whether or not there was testimony obtained by Ms. Lacroix is of no moment. What we're saying is there were processes that were sidestepped," says Barker.

Raspanti doesn't believe the argument will hold up in an appellate court.

"It has no impact on the trial and that's what the appellate court is looking at, something that had a big enough impact that it could have affected the result of the trial. This does not measure up," says Raspanti.

Barker, though, remains hopeful and says he believes the Cardell Hayes case was rushed to trial and would have had a different outcome if it hadn't been.

"If this case would have had time to develop over time as most murder cases do to prepare for trial more and more evidence would have come out. I think more and more evidence will come out. It's just going to have to be raised in post-conviction as opposed to having to be tried," says Barker.

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