Saturday, December 2, 2006
From nola.com: Tulane Law Clinic CrimProf Pamela Metzger discovered a Spanish speaking man who spent 13 months in three different Lousiana state prisons without speaking to a single defense attorney, prosecutor, translator or judge before his arraignment.
At his arraignment -- a court proceeding the law requires to take place within, at most, a month after charges are filed -- Pedro Parra-Sanchez could speak only through a translator about his extended stay in a prison system that officials from several agencies admitted simply lost him, failing to secure him the most basic American rights.
"It was very difficult. I didn't speak the language," Parra-Sanchez told the court, through a translator, about his incarceration.
At the hearing, Assistant District Attorney Greg Thompson expressed the prosecution's "formal apology" for Parra-Sanchez's "prolonged incarceration," while Criminal District Court Judge Darryl Derbigny called his time in jail "unacceptable." Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman and a representative of the state Department of Corrections offered no apologies in interviews.
Metzger, who discovered Parra-Sanchez through a tip from another prisoner, said "He has been terribly wronged." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]