DA's Office Facing Multiple Lawsuits Related To Its Use Of Fake Subpoenas To Intimidate Witnesses

from the apparently-ethical-violations-are-just-part-of-the-office's-'traditions& dept

The Louisiana district attorney whose office issued bogus subpoenas to trick witnesses into "volunteering" their testimony is now facing multiple lawsuits. DA Leon Cannizzaro's office was sued on May 12th by the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Foundation for its refusal to turn over copies of every fake subpoena it has issued.

Three days later, it was sued again, this time by the ACLU.

The ACLU lawsuit, filed Monday in Orleans Parish Civil Court, differs from a related lawsuit brought last week against Cannizzaro's office by the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Foundation regarding the so-called Article 66 subpoenas.

The MacArthur suit seeks copies of every subpoena issued by the DA's office since 2013 -- those properly authorized by a judge, as well as the fraudulent "DA's subpoenas" intended to appear as if they carried legal weight.

The ACLU suit seeks the names and Louisiana Bar Association numbers of any attorney in Cannizzaro's office responsible for using one of the fake documents. An attorney who knowingly used a fraudulent document to compel witness testimony could be subject to penalties ranging from ethical misconduct sanctions by the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board to the unlikely extreme of criminal charges brought by the state Attorney General's office related to forgery.

So far, Cannizzaro's office has no comment on the lawsuits (other than to say it hasn't been served with either suit yet). The only comment Cannizzaro's office has made is that the practice predates his tenure, as if that somehow excuses the ethical and (possibly) legal boundaries his office crossed. As a deflection, it's horrible. It's like claiming you still approve general warrants because your British predecessors did.

I'm sure DA Cannizzaro has several reasons for not immediately handing over these documents, all of them related to mitigating the damage done by these revelations. There may be a day of judicial reckoning ahead for Cannizzaro and his underlings, and the longer he can keep these documents out of the public's hands, the longer it will be until he can be confronted with the evidence.

Cannizzaro's office now has multiple opportunities to see what it feels like to be a defendant, and most likely will be the recipient of genuine subpoenas demanding compliance under the pain of actual jailing. Process servers will now have to navigate groups of protesters calling for Cannizzaro's removal just to hand him copies of these lawsuits. And all of this could have been avoided by Cannizzaro, if he had just decided against carrying on the unethical "tradition" of intimidating possible witnesses with fake subpoenas and bogus legal threats.

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Filed Under: intimidation, leon cannizzaro, louisiana, new orleans parish, subpoenas, warrants, witnesses


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  1. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 17 May 2017 @ 8:12pm

    'could be subject to penalties ranging from ethical misconduct sanctions by the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board'

    Could. That is the most disgusting part of this.
    They violated the law, not once, not twice, but many times and are actively trying to keep from disclosing the criminal operation.

    The system is timid about punishing itself in a vain effort to protect the image of the system, despite the fact that allowing these sorts of things to go on for YEARS might undermine the image more.

    They should be fired for misconduct in office, there is no way this office could prosecute anyone because the defense just has to introduce the blatant history of ignoring the law, covering those crimes up, and terrorizing people into coming forward or else.

    The more frightening thought no one wants to consider right now is, how many other violations by this office or officers have they looked the other way about because it made things easier? How many people got screwed because a witness was scared into saying what the DA needed them to say? Some will poo-poo that but they knowingly violated 1 law & their duty to the office... you can't pretend its isolated.

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