CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Saturday, December 2, 2006

CrimProf Pamela Metzger Finds Incarcerated Man Waiting 13 Months for Arraignment

Pmetzger_3From 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]

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That's horrible. Apologizing isn't good enough - the man lost a year of his life to a broken system. Accountability for mistakes is what is needed here.

Posted by: fishbane | Dec 3, 2006 7:40:28 AM

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