courts

Consent Decree
4:56 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Court meeting held on New Orleans police reforms

Attorneys for the city of New Orleans and the federal government met behind closed doors with a federal judge to discuss a new agreement to overhaul the New Orleans Police Department.

Participants in Thursday's status conference with U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan declined to go into details. U.S. Attorney Jim Letten described the meeting as productive but added that he was not at liberty to say more. It was unclear when Morgan might grant final court approval to the agreement, which was the result of long negotiations between the city and federal officials.

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School Vouchers
4:51 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Appeals court allows school voucher program to begin

A state appeals court has upheld a decision that allows Gov. Bobby Jindal's statewide voucher program to begin in August.

Teacher unions and local school boards sought to block the start of the program as they challenge its constitutionality.

But in a 2-1 decision, a three-judge appellate court panel agreed with a lower court judge that an injunction couldn't be issued, citing a law that bars injunctions if a state agency chief says it would cause a deficit.

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Environment
1:46 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Cargo ship operator to pay $1.2M in pollution case

A federal judge in New Orleans has ordered the operator of a cargo ship to pay a $1.2 million criminal penalty for violating pollution laws and obstruction of justice.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. also on Wednesday sentenced Athens, Greece-based Odysea Carriers to three years of probation.

Federal prosecutors say engine room crew members on the company's ship, Polyneos, used a hose to pump oil waste directly overboard in 2011. The ship's chief engineer allegedly tried to conceal the illegal discharges from the Coast Guard by falsifying the vessel's records.

Kurt Mix Trial
6:11 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Ex-BP engineer loses bid to get details on charges

A federal magistrate has ruled that prosecutors aren't required to provide defense attorneys with more details regarding the charges against a former BP engineer accused of deleting text messages about the company's response to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. Magistrate Sally Shushan's order Tuesday says Kurt Mix's indictment provides his lawyers with sufficient information to prepare his defense and to "avoid surprise" at trial.

Louisiana Supreme Court
8:56 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Deadline moved in state chief justice debate

The Louisiana Supreme Court is giving its justices an extra month to weigh in on a debate over naming the court's next chief justice.

Chief Justice Catherine "Kitty" Kimball had set a July 31 deadline for the justices to file briefs on which colleague is the "oldest in point of service" under terms of the state constitution.

Kimball amended her order on Friday to move the deadline to Aug. 31.

Latest News
4:05 am
Fri July 20, 2012

New Orleans man gets prison for attempted bank robbery

A New Orleans man has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for trying to rob a bank.

U.S. District Judge Jane Triche-Milazzo also on Thursday sentenced 50-year-old Calvin Johnson to three years of supervised release after his 52-month prison term.

Johnson pleaded guilty in April to attempted robbery of a Capital One bank branch on Canal Street in New Orleans on Oct. 18, 2011.

Prosecutors say Johnson tried to hand a note demanding money to a teller who refused to accept it. He fled the bank without receiving any money.

Latest News
6:06 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Judge: Websites are misleading oil spill claimants

A federal judge presiding over a proposed class-action settlement of BP oil spill claims says two websites can mislead visitors into believing they are filing official claims.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier on Thursday ordered the operator of the sites — bpclaims.org and deepwaterhorizonsettlementclaims.com — to post disclaimers at the top of every page on the sites that they aren't the court-authorized site.

The site where residents can submit claims is deepwaterhorizonsettlements.com.

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Latest News
6:01 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

'Exterminator' pleads not guilty to drug charges

William "Billy" Bretherton, star of the A&E reality TV show "Billy the Exterminator," has pleaded not guilty to drug charges in his home state of Louisiana.

Bretherton and his wife, Mary, were arrested in June on drug possession charges in Bossier Parish when they surrendered to police on a warrant charging them with one count each of possession of synthetic marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Louisiana Supreme Court
4:44 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Status conference set for La. justice's suit

A federal judge has scheduled a status conference to discuss a Louisiana Supreme Court justice's bid to block her colleagues from debating and voting on whether she is entitled to become the court's next chief justice.

U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan scheduled Thursday afternoon's conference at the request of attorneys for Justice Bernette Johnson. The meeting is closed to the public.

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Latest News
4:20 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Rapper 'BG' gets prison in firearms case

A New Orleans rapper who pleaded guilty to illegally possessing a firearm and conspiring to obstruct justice has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Christopher Dorsey, known as "BG," also was sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Helen Berrigan to three years of supervised release following his prison term.

The 28-year-old pleaded guilty in December to being a felon in possession of a firearm in 2009. Prosecutors say Dorsey had three felony drug convictions between 1998 and 2003.

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