The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial in the case against New Orleans police officers brought by Eric Holder’s Justice Department in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Hans von Spakovsky has written about the perjury and outlandish misconduct by Department of Justice attorneys in a New Orleans police prosecution here (“The Justice Department’s Hurricane Strength Misconduct“), and I have blogged briefly about it here. We both covered how the mainstream media ignored the misconduct of DOJ lawyers for weeks until the U.S. Attorney in New Orleans resigned over the scandal, even though he had little to do with the lies and perjury of the DOJ line attorneys. The DOJ lawyers conducted a secret public relations campaign, leaking secret information and blogging about the case using phony names.
The New Orleans police officers were accused by Eric Holder’s Justice Department of using excessive force in the wake of widespread civil unrest and looting in New Orleans after the hurricane. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed some of the conviction of Officers David Warren and Greg McRae and ordered a new trial. From the AP:
U.S. District Judge Lance Africk sentenced Warren to more than 25 years in prison for shooting Glover outside a strip mall. Africk sentenced McRae to more than 17 years in prison.
The 5th Circuit also upheld Africk’s decision to order a new trial for a third former officer, Travis McCabe, who was convicted of writing a false report on the shooting. Africk said he believes jurors probably would have acquitted McCabe if they had seen evidence that surfaced after the trial – a different copy of the report that McCabe is accused of doctoring.
Jurors acquitted two other former officers who were charged with participating in a cover-up of Glover’s killing.
More on the DOJ misconduct:
Convictions in another high-profile case also could be in jeopardy.
Five former officers convicted in the shootings of unarmed residents on a New Orleans bridge in Katrina’s aftermath have asked a judge to order a new trial, claiming prosecutors engaged in a “secret public relations campaign” against them. In a filing last month, a judge said their request is “still a longshot in terms of relief” but isn’t frivolous and merits further inquiry.
Warren was a rookie patrol officer when Katrina struck. He was guarding a police substation at the mall less than a week after the storm’s landfall when Glover and a friend pulled up in a truck.
Warren testified that Glover and the friend ran toward a gate that would have given them access to the building and ignored commands to stop. Warren said he thought Glover had a gun and posed a threat when he shot him with an assault rifle from a second-floor balcony. Prosecutors said Glover wasn’t armed.
So far, Eric Holder’s Justice Department has allowed one of the responsible lawyers, Jan Mann, to quietly retire. Mann participated in secret blogging about the criminal trial and knowingly acquiesced while false statements about the activity were made to the court.