Lack of Evidence
Earlier this week, my colleague Ellen Perlman wrote about a plea from the CIO of Louisiana's court system asking for private-sector donations of high-tech equipment ...
Earlier this week, my colleague Ellen Perlman wrote about a plea from the CIO of Louisiana's court system asking for private-sector donations of high-tech equipment and services to help it recover from Katrina. An article in USA Today makes clear that some parts of the justice system there face a crisis that could be beyond anyone's ability to address.
Of greatest concern: Evidence from several thousand criminal cases may have been damaged or destroyed by polluted floodwaters. The feds are sending in special teams to help with recovery efforts. But even if evidence is still in usable condition, officials are unsure whether they will be able to locate witnesses who have "scattered to the wind."
Under any circumstances, having to dismiss charges against accused murderers, rapists or other violent criminals is embarrassing--whether in corruption-prone New Orleans or any jurisdiction. It could also prove to be downright dangerous.
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