Judge Orders New Trial Over Missing Records

Dec 15, 2012

A man convicted of murdering a teenager in New Orleans 27 years ago will get a new trial because the old trial transcript was never filed with a state appeals court.

The Times-Picayune reports that state District Judge Frank Marullo, who presided over Michael Baptiste's original conviction in 1985, ordered a new trial in July.

Baptiste, now 50, was convicted for killing 18-year-old Emile August in a public housing complex while working as a hit man for a drug dealer. Marullo sentenced him to life in prison.

The case's court record is missing, possibly lost or destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. Despite multiple inquiries, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal never received a transcript from the court reporter or administrator. That means Baptiste never got his legal right to appeals.