Wednesday, July 21, 2010

LJI Injustice Index: The State of Criminal Justice in New Orleans:

July 2010: Oppression and Repression for All
“We are dedicated to maintaining the highest moral and ethical standards, through the principles of pride, honesty, trust and courage.”
-NOPD Mission Statement

Maintaining the Highest Moral and Ethical Standards:
• New Orleans is ranked 2nd in the nation for police misconduct.
• NOPD receives an average of 555 citizen complaints of misconduct per year.
• On average, 162 NOPD officers are disciplined per year for misconduct
• In 2010 alone, 16 New Orleans Police Department Officers have been either convicted or federally indicted for violent crimes against New Orleans residents.

A Waste of Resources:
• While the total number of arrests has been reduced by 7%, traffic arrests increased by 45% from 6,874 to 9,985 over a one-year period.
• Only 13% or 7,945 of the 59,974 Orleans Parish arrests were felony arrests, and 6% of arrests resulted in a violent felony conviction.

Criminalizing Non-Criminals – A Booming Business:
• 86% of all arrests were for misdemeanors, municipal, traffic violations, and other arrests
• Over 3,400 (or 77%) of traffic arrests were for license violations such as driving with a suspended or invalid license.
• NOPD Averages about 6,000 traffic stops per week.
• New Orleans Police Officers make an average of two stops per each of the 118,464 resident commuters each year.
• The odds of those traffic stops resulting in a citation: 1:3
• The odds of those traffic stops resulting in arrest: 1:31

Is Everybody Really Breaking the Law?
• According to an audit of the Orleans Parish Traffic Court’s processing system, 30% of all cases processed by court personnel had the potential for processing errors. Of the 90,000+ traffic citations processed by the court annually, 27,000 were possibly erroneously processed, resulting in the issuance of illegal arrest warrants, license suspensions, and illegally impounded vehicles.
• With the average traffic citation of $110.00, the City of New Orleans can make up to $3,000,000 per year in fraudulent fines and fees.

Photo from April, 2010 Community United for Change demonstration, New Orleans, LA.

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