District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro sent a letter to Judge Terry Alarcon, the Chief Judge of the Criminal District Court, requesting that the judges consider increasing the size of the jury pool at their next en banc meeting. This request comes a week after the court tried 13 jury trials in a single week, but some judges were precluded from trying cases based on the lack of available jurors.
Last Tuesday, when jury trials were proceeding in eight sections of court, Judges Keva Landrum-Johnson and Robin Pittman both called for juries. After waiting for several hours for jurors, the judges were forced to continue the cases.
Pursuant to Louisiana law, the Court determines the size of the jury pool and the days they must serve.
Last May, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro recognized that a lack of jurors was beginning to slow down proceedings in Criminal District Court. On May 26th, 2010, he sent a letter to Judge Arthur Hunter, the Chief Judge at the time, requesting a meeting to address the issue, but Judge Hunter never responded.
“I am seeing a new energy in the Criminal District Court and want to do everything in my power to ensure that we maintain this momentum,” said Cannizzaro. “If we truly want to solve the problems in our criminal justice system, then we must figure out a way to accomplish our goals and quit thinking of reasons that we can’t do things,” the District Attorney commented.