December 3, 2019

Helena Moreno

City Council Data Shows Over 90% of Domestic Violence Cases Dropped by Prosecutors in Municipal Court; Conviction Rate Merely 6%

City Council Data Shows Over 90% of Domestic Violence Cases Dropped by Prosecutors in Municipal Court; Conviction Rate Merely 6%

NEW ORLEANS - During today's meeting, the City Council Criminal Justice Committee learned that an overwhelming majority of domestic violence cases are being dismissed in Municipal Court. Data provided by the Council's Public Safety Analyst Jeff Asher showed that 90.7% of cases are being dropped by prosecutors, and only 6.6% of cases are resulting in convictions. 

The nearly 3000 domestic abuse misdemeanor cases handled in Municipal Court are state charges that can be handled by either Municipal Court or Criminal District Court. The District Attorney stated during the Nov. 14th Council Budget Hearing that his office chose to move the misdemeanor cases to Municipal Court in 2016 or 2017 to expedite cases. In contrast, the Criminal District Court dropped charges ranged between 20-25%. 

Council President Helena Moreno has issued the following statement in response to the information presented:

"I am absolutely shocked and concerned by this data, particularly since the District Attorney and his staff just sat before the Council in budget hearings and vehemently assured the Council that cases in Municipal Court were receiving positive outcomes. It was during this hearing that I expressed concern about domestic violence cases in Municipal Court directly to the District Attorney after learning from advocates and law enforcement that there could be issues. The District Attorney and his staff praised their work in Municipal Court, claiming a positive impact on victims and speediness of cases. Subsequently, I requested Mr. Asher to do a full analysis of domestic violence cases in both courts. So yes, the data shows that cases are moving much faster in Municipal Court, but that's because cases are simply being dropped. How is this good for victims? Seems like this is only good for the offenders. Lastly, domestic violence cases take a great deal of time for our NOPD officers to investigate. They go through great lengths to fill out onsite risk assessment forms and collect evidence to build strong cases. What a waste of their efforts and overall NOPD manpower if these cases are not prioritized. Domestic violence is an offense with high recidivism. Louisiana remains at the top of the list for domestic violence homicides in the country. We cannot afford this type of dismissiveness. This sends a terrible message to victims seeking help."



Media Contact:

Andrew Tuozzolo

Chief of Staff

Office of Councilmember-at-Large Helena Moreno 

(504) 281-9882

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