Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Get Out Of Jail Free After 60 Days

The criminals are on to Eddie Jordan, to noone's surprise:

On recent FBI wiretaps, agents can hear criminal suspects muttering about "misdemeanor murders," code for doing hardly any time at all for the worst crime on the books.

On street corners and in the grungy holding tanks at parish prison, they have another name for it: "701," shorthand for Article 701 of the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure. It states that no one can be held longer than 60 days on a felony arrest without an indictment.

Sometimes a 701 release merely eliminates a bond posted by a suspect in order to remain at liberty pending a trial. But in other cases, the 701 springs a murder suspect from jail because prosecutors have failed to meet the 60-day deadline, and that's been happening with astonishing frequency -- a tenfold increase -- in the widely criticized New Orleans criminal justice system since Hurricane Katrina.

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