Sunday, September 3, 2006
From Times-Picaune.com: Gregory Lewis of New Orleans spent nine months in jail without ever appearing in court, awaiting the day when someone would figure out he hadn't a way out of the post-Hurricane Katrina debacle critics say the city's criminal justice system has become.
The case was misdemeanor possession of both marijuana and a glass pipe crusted with crack cocaine. The maximum penalty is six months in jail.
But Lewis, 45, never had a chance to enter a plea, let alone fight his case the way the Constitution allows. Sprung from the St. Charles Parish Prison in early July, prosecutors in
New Orleans refused to drop the case, saying his right to a speedy trial had not been violated.
Lewis is an example of the kind of cases Judge Arthur Hunter has vowed to start reviewing for possible release as of Aug. 29, the one-year anniversary of the hurricane
Pre-Katrina, the poor typically had to get arrested in order to receive drug rehabilitation, said Pamela Metzger, director of the Tulane Law Clinic, which recently welcomed nearly 100 student attorneys to continue the clinic's work on digging out cases others in the system have either ignored or missed. Rest of Article. . .