DA Cannizzaro statement regarding COVID-19 inmate release motions
March 25, 2020
For Immediate Release

Contact: Ken Daley, Public Information

District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro on Wednesday (March 25) issued a statement in response to ongoing efforts by local public defenders citing the COVID-19 pandemic as basis to seek inmates’ release from Orleans Justice Center detention:

“I respect and appreciate the Orleans Public Defenders’ efforts representing incarcerated clients. We agree that non-violent pretrial defendants should not be jailed strictly because of financial hardship, and that fewer detainees is a worthwhile goal we must work toward during this public health emergency. But with our city’s jail population today reduced to 919, it is equally important for our judges to understand only a tiny fraction of those still inside have been jailed for non-violent offenses.

“Given the rate of infectious COVID-19 spread in our city, all New Orleans citizens are vulnerable, not just the jail deputies and inmates cited in these motions. We will continue fulfilling our duty to provide criminal history information as needed as courts consider these motions. Our judges know they must not make our city even more dangerous at this perilous time by releasing demonstrably violent criminals without proper cause or supervision.”