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FOX 8 Investigates: D.A. disciplines ADA for not communicating with carjacking victim prior to plea negotiations

Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 6:25 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -Orleans D.A. Jason Williams disciplines one of his Assistant District Attorney following our questions regarding a horrific carjacking case.

The D.A. admits no one reached out to the victim in a plea negotiation that sent her juvenile attacker to boot camp.

“It’s awful. It’s changed my whole outlook on the way the judicial system is here,” says Diana Rogers.

Rogers nearly lost her life in November of last year, when 17-year-old Kyren Washington carjacked her, beat her, and ran her over.

Juvenile Judge Clinton Smith sentenced Washington to 5 months in a boot camp and probation.

“It was attempted murder was what I was told he was up for. It’s gone from attempted murder to five months in boot camp, back out on the street. Would he do it again? Who knows?” says Rogers.

Rogers spent weeks in the hospital with multiple broken bones and scars all over her body. She never thought she’d walk again.

“He reversed back so fast. I fell over and as he came back, he went over me and ran me over,” says Rogers.

Washington was arrested and booked with attempted murder.

The D.A.’s office amended the charge against him to second-degree robbery. Rogers says she wanted her day in court to face the 17-year-old who almost killed her, but that day never came.

Instead, she says days before the June 16th trial date, she received a call from the D.A.’s Office.

“She called me on the 10th of June and said Diane, I’m going to tell you what happened. Court is cancelled again and the Judge and the D.A’s Office made an agreement to put him into boot camp for 5 months,” says Rogers.

Rogers isn’t happy with the sentence and is especially upset because she wanted to be a part of the process.

“I mean, I’m waiting for my court date and everybody else is waiting and willing to be with me and go through this with me. I think it would have been really helpful for me,” says Rogers.

Judge Smith told FOX 8 before he made the decision to send Washington to the program that he was advised by both the DA’s office and the Defense team that everyone including the victim agreed to the sentence.

Rogers, though, says that wasn’t the case.

She says the DA’s office only contacted her about the sentence after the Judge’s ruling.

In a statement, the D.A.’s office admits, “No one reached out to Rogers prior to plea negotiations with the defendant. This is completely outside of the police and protocol of the D.A.’s Office and the Assistant District Attorney involved in the case will be disciplined accordingly.”

“After my carjacking, I can’t help but keep thinking about Portia. I can’t help it, and the system let her down. The system let her down,” says Rogers.

She now lives in fear.

“It’s troubling because I can’t go nowhere without thinking it’s going to happen again. I can’t. I mean New Orleans is like the wild wild west. It’s out of control,” says Rogers.

Williams says he has been clear with his staff that all resolutions of cases need to go to the victims first.

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