Cannizzaro fires back after City Council condemnation

May 04, 2017 - 8:09 pm
Categories: Reporting

The New Orleans City Council passed a non-binding resolution Thursday, condemning the DA's office for jailing victims of rape and domestic violence for refusing to testify against their attackers, using material witness warrants.

The council voted 6-1 to continue the pressure on District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro to end the practice.

Cannizzaro fired back, saying that he had only one such case in 2016 and that he doesn’t do such things on a whim.

“Decisions to seek material witness warrants are not made carelessly,” he said in a statement issued Thursday afternoon after the vote. “I must balance the concerns of the victim with the safety of a community that is being torn apart by violent crime.”

Cannizzaro also said the council needs to do its homework.

“The six council members who voted in favor of this resolution either are ignorant of the fact or – perhaps even more frighteningly – simply do not care that in each of the six cases identified in Court Watch NOLA’s report, my office was forced to choose between seeking a material witness warrant or releasing a dangerous predator back on the streets.”

Cannizzaro cited as an example a recent domestic violence case in which the victim refused to testify and the defendant was found not guilty.

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