Federal rulings mean change in New Orleans bail, fines, fees
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Two recent federal court rulings mean judges in the state criminal court in New Orleans will have to change methods of setting bail, fines and fees.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon said New Orleans criminal court magistrate Harry Cantrell has a conflict of interest when he sets bail amounts. Fallon noted that bail money also helps pay for court operations.
Fallon also said evidence indicates Cantrell regularly sets bail without regard to a defendant’s ability to pay.
His findings follow U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance’s recent similar ruling that the system of fines and fees used by the 13 criminal court judges poses a conflict of interest because the proceeds go to a judicial expense fund.