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Group tries to loosen legal logjam: Students to gather case information

December 12, 2006

Times Picayune—Saturday, the Times Picayune reported what seems to be the hot topic right now: hundreds of law students, as well as lawyers, in New Orleans to breathe life back into its crippled defense system.

The Katrina-Gideon Project (as it's dubbed) began training this week, preparing participants with the tools they will need to conduct in-depth interviews with clients of the New Orleans public defenders office. Requiring an "unprecedented" amount of cooperation among the various components of the criminal justice system, these interviews will provide lawyers with the informational foundation needed for potential defenses, such as identifying possible witnesses and evidence. Further, their assistance will hopefully speed the entire process along.

Orleans Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan labels the process, "a fundamental fairness," stating it is the one thing in which everyone involved agrees. With an estimated 2,000 pre-Katrina cases remaining on the dockets at Criminal District Court, and approximately 400 in jail for incidents before the storm, few disagree that New Orleans may remain a hot topic and become the new hot destination for students this Spring break.

Continue reading about the Katrina-Gideon Interview Project.


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