Former Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson’s fiery dissents on mass incarceration and sentencing in America’s most carceral state garnered international attention. But the rise of the first Black woman on the court was characterized by one battle after another with the Deep South’s white power structure.
Elon Green Mar 02, 2021
More than 20 women accused Harry Morel, a longtime district attorney in Louisiana, of sexual misconduct. But Morel pleaded guilty to just a single obstruction of justice count while Mike Zummer, the FBI agent who investigated him, was fired. Now, Zummer is speaking about what he says is a grave injustice—at the hands of the Justice Department.
Jerry Iannelli Dec 15, 2020
Despite COVID-19 concerns, the state’s prisoners are still doing dangerous menial jobs in work-release programs.
Jerry Iannelli May 28, 2020
The state has recommended the release of 10 women at a coronavirus-ravaged prison—but Governor John Bel Edwards still hasn’t signed the paperwork.
Jerry Iannelli May 20, 2020
The state is sending virus-positive people to Angola prison—but those numbers aren’t reported on the Department of Corrections website.
Jerry Iannelli May 01, 2020
Criminal justice advocates have called Camp J at the Louisiana State Penitentiary ‘a dungeon.’ Now it’s housing prisoners who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Victoria Law Apr 17, 2020
Local budget cuts enacted a decade ago left states and cities dangerously unprepared for COVID-19. We shouldn’t make those same mistakes again.
The families and partners of those incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Complex at Oakdale are sharing information and support as COVID-19 hits the prison.
Joshua Manson Apr 14, 2020
Powerful interests exploited Katrina to enrich themselves and transform the city. As a reporter who covered the fallout explains, our government’s lax oversight means the same could happen now, leaving those who most need help behind.
Gary Rivlin Apr 07, 2020
Jason Brown, who has worked in several parish DA's offices, was accused of using illegal tactics to win at least one case before arriving in Calcasieu Parish, where he was terminated over alleged dishonesty in a continuance motion. Now, The Appeal has learned that he had segregation-era signs in an art studio he owned.
Jon Campbell Mar 26, 2020
A Department of Corrections official knew the extrajudicial practice was going on but little has been done to correct it.
Victoria Law Feb 18, 2020
Jails in New Orleans and Cleveland have had significant population drops, yet conditions of confinement remain poor. Communities harmed by these jails should experiment with new accountability measures to maintain political pressure against jail administrators.
Jonathan Ben-Menachem Feb 05, 2020
A lawsuit alleges Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office created bogus "subpoenas" to secure reluctant witnesses' cooperation—and even used them to jail crime victims.
The poor healthcare that Bobbie Jean Johnson received during her more than 40 years in prison contributed to her death, family members say.
Roxanna Asgarian Nov 25, 2019
During the tenure of Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal, deputies assaulted and harassed men inside the parish jail. Several deputies were convicted in federal court, and now cases brought by the office are under renewed scrutiny.
In 2018, the state’s voters approved a constitutional amendment that requires unanimous jury verdicts in felony cases for crimes committed on or after Jan. 1, 2019. Now, the Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of the nonunanimity rule—with prosecutors arguing that the U.S. Constitution does not require unanimous jury verdicts in criminal cases.
Joshua Vaughn Nov 15, 2019
More than three years after heavy rains and flooding devastated the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women, officials have reached an agreement to build a new facility.
Neither agency had written policies on how to capture or store the location data without violating privacy rights.
Emily Lane Oct 23, 2019
Sheriff Sid Gautreaux faces two Democratic challengers in the Oct. 12 election.
Teresa Mathew Oct 09, 2019
A series of victories for advocates reflects a shift in the ‘popular narrative’ around bail.
Kira Lerner Sep 26, 2019
Derek Harris awaits arguments in the state Supreme Court about the sentencing, which one judge called ‘unconscionable.’
Aaron Morrison Sep 24, 2019
Henri Lyles is challenging his life sentence under a statute that penalizes people for prior convictions. A favorable decision by the state Supreme Court would mean that he and a dozen people sentenced to life could one day be freed.
Aaron Morrison Sep 12, 2019
Jose ‘Lil Joe’ Chapa says one way to make Beauregard Parish ‘great again’ is to stop construction of a new jail and divert resources to services that keep people out of lockup altogether.
Aaron Morrison Sep 05, 2019
Gloria Williams was in her 20s when she was sent to prison for her part in a robbery that turned deadly. After serving nearly five decades, including one decade in solitary confinement, Williams now has a chance at freedom.
Victoria Law Aug 06, 2019
James Stewart, Caddo Parish’s DA, continues to defend controversial death sentences that originated with his predecessors.
Joshua Vaughn Jun 21, 2019
‘The bill forces attorneys to choose between violating our ethical mandates or going to jail for following them.’
Kira Lerner May 10, 2019
The bail bonds industry was caught overcharging 50,000 families $6 million over 14 years, according to SPLC.
Bryce Covert May 08, 2019
The Orleans district attorney has said that violent youth are the city’s biggest crime problem.
Kira Lerner Apr 26, 2019
In 2000, Lamar Burks was convicted of murder and given a 70-year sentence. But the federal indictment of a DEA agent and witnesses who say Burks is innocent have raised new questions about his case.
Mike Hayes Apr 03, 2019
A judge excluded a confession that exonerated defendants in one trial related to a Delaware prison uprising, but a pair of defendants were nonetheless acquitted, promising further problems for prosecutors.
Ella Fassler Mar 05, 2019
In 1996, Michele Benjamin was sentenced to life without parole for killing a man who she said solicited her for sex and menaced her with a weapon in New Orleans. A Supreme Court decision led her to be re-sentenced to life with a chance at parole in 2016. Today, a parole hearing brings the possibility of freedom.
Josie Duffy Rice Feb 11, 2019
Baton Rouge residents say little has changed after Alton Sterling.
Then he ordered another officer to arrest the man.
George Joseph Nov 13, 2018
As in Louisiana, Oregon’s practice is rooted in its own rich history of white supremacy.
George Joseph Nov 06, 2018
With Mercedes Montagnes of the Promise of Justice Initiative.
Adam H. Johnson Nov 01, 2018
After the state cut funds for capital defense, there’s a growing wait list of people in jail without a lawyer.
Emma Whitford Oct 29, 2018
Attorney General Jeff Landry has taken a number of extreme positions on policing and sentencing in response to reform.
Kira Lerner Sep 06, 2018
Off-duty law enforcement officers are using state resources to work side jobs for the pipeline company.
Karen Savage Aug 28, 2018
Ronald Brooks was helping plan a prison strike when he was abruptly transferred to a new prison hours away.
Bryce Covert Aug 20, 2018
A new report details the abysmal conditions, lack of medical care, and staff shortages that led to the unusually high death rate in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.
Teresa Mathew Aug 15, 2018
The criminal court was funneling millions of dollars a year from poor communities.
Bryce Covert Aug 13, 2018
Catina Curley suffered physical abuse at the hands of her husband for more than a decade. When she turned a revolver on him, she was charged with murder and sentenced to life. Now, thanks to a court ruling, she has a chance at freedom.
Josie Duffy Rice Jul 27, 2018
But after a spree of commutations, the governor recently put down his clemency pen amid tough-on-crime fear mongering.
Kira Lerner Jul 09, 2018
Did a Louisiana police chief and a prosecutor cross a line when they issued televised threats to a man who'd just been granted relief by a federal appeals court in a child killing?
Max Rivlin-Nadler Jul 03, 2018
When Caddo voters booted their infamous district attorney, some of his toughest prosecutors found a home in Calcasieu.
Josie Duffy Rice Jun 29, 2018
Years after two landmark Supreme Court rulings, prosecutors in Louisiana are still overwhelmingly seeking life sentences for children.
Victoria Law Jun 13, 2018
People incarcerated at Angola want opportunities for education instead of hard labor in the fields.
Bryce Covert Jun 08, 2018
Case called an “embarrassment to criminal justice system.”
Larry Hannan Nov 22, 2017
A district attorney wants to solve crime by breaking up families.
Carimah Townes Sep 06, 2017