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Unjust Bond Practice - Orleans Parish

Lawsuit Targets Orleans Magistrate Judge Cantrell’s Unjust Bond Practice

A federal class action lawsuit alleges Orleans Magistrate Judge Harry E. Cantrell has consistently violated the constitutional rights of impoverished pre-trial arrestees by setting high bail amounts without any consideration of the person’s ability to pay or alternative no-cost conditions of release.

Cantrell “regularly sets a $2,500 minimum secured money bond irrespective of the particular facts in the case before him, and without regard to the circumstances surrounding the arrestee appearing before him,” the lawsuit states. “He routinely refuses to entertain arguments for a lower financial condition of release and informs regularly appearing defense lawyers not to even make them.”

The suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, also raises concern with Cantrell’s repeated insistence on using commercial bond companies over cash payments during bond proceedings. A cash payment would be refunded at the conclusion of the defendant’s case. A commercial bail company, however, requires a non-reimbursable fee, a portion of which goes to the court’s General Fund – revenue Cantrell and other judges’ control.

PDF of lawsuit HERE »

PDF of news release HERE »

Updated 06/27/17