Orleans Parish District Attorney (DA) Leon Cannizzaro and ten members of his office are in hot water after word of the office creating falsified subpoenas reached newsgroups. Now, several people have brought lawsuits against the DA, including some who were jailed after refusing to acknowledge the fake subpoenas. Some claim to have been left in jail without ever being given the chance to talk to or retain an attorney.
A subpoena is a court order that summons someone to the courtroom, usually to testify or provide some sort of evidence for a case. The lawsuit alleges that the DA and his office conducted a scheme for an unknown amount of time in order to create subpoenas in the office that looked legitimate to anyone not well-versed in subpoenas and legalese. Indeed, the subpoenas said they were approved by the DA but not a judge, which is required for a subpoena to be enforceable. It is likely that the six people who have brought forth lawsuits are not the only ones who were coerced by a falsified subpoena.
Currently, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been the primary manager of the lawsuit. The objectives of the plaintiffs include monetary restitution for damages and legal action to ensure the DA never falsifies subpoenas again.
DA Cannizzaro has not propped up a solid defense in his name so far. He has reportedly acknowledged the falsified subpoenas and promised to stop using them, which appears to be an admission of guilt. He has also seemingly backed the notion that an unlawful arrest is justified so long as the witness eventually provides usable, advantageous evidence for the prosecution.
For more information about this ongoing story of alleged prosecutorial abuse, you can click here to read a full article posted by The Advocate. If you believe you may have been coerced by the Orleans Parish DA office, you can call (504) 267-1157 to connect with The G. Carter Law Firm, LLC and our New Orleans criminal defense attorney. With our assistance, you may be able to determine if your rights were violated and what to do next to set things right. You can also fill out an online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation with our law office.