Professor Bernofsky would like a word with the House Judiciary Committee…..

Late last week the T-P’s Bruce Alpert had a story on 2 local US Court nominees that described a virtual love-in for Stephen Higginson and Jane Triche-Milazzo for open spots on the 5th Circuit and LAED respectively. As fate would have it I met Jane Triche-Milazzo many years ago and was impressed by her and her family. To date I’ve heard very little criticism of Triche-Milazzo but Higginson is a different story as late last week I also disclosed our own Ashton O’Dwyer wrote the Senate Judiciary committee regarding Higginson, specifically his involvement in the travesty of justice/political prosecution of him, a topic we’ve covered since the very beginning of that part of the O’Dwyer Katrina saga. Higginson wrote the Team Letten appeal of Judge Walter’s dismissal of the bogus charges against him.

I do not know the behind the scenes politics involved that would cause Jim Letten to risk his rep abusing the powers of his office on some sort of personal vendetta against a broken, very troubled man but I suspect it contains an element of stupidity derived from being too close to the subject matter in question. Whatever the case others have also noticed and this story crossed over to the Times Picayune yesterday as the T-P featured Professor Carl Bernofsky’s remarks about Higginson and his involvement in the political prosecution of Ashton.  This story clearly hit a sore spot in certain prosecutorial circles as witnessed by the comments, which branded Professor Bernofsky as a nut case. My own thoughts after examining the injustice that was perpetrated on the good Professor by the interest conflicted Ginger Berrigan, a purported liberal jurist that never met an insurance company or murderer she failed to like, is that Carl is an eloquent and lucid advocate for judicial reform. And that fact is why Professor Bernofsky, his blog TulaneLink along with his advocacy on behalf of Team O’Dwyer has graced these pages in the past. Continue reading “Professor Bernofsky would like a word with the House Judiciary Committee…..”

Regarding the inquiries about Ashton's whereabouts….

I’ve received a few inquiries about Ashton O’Dwyer as a few of our regular readers have noticed he has not been commenting of late with us.

Ashton is OK. I spoke with him late last week and his computer evidently has died. He is still dealing with Team Letten at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. I’ll try to update that case soon.

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USA v O’Dwyer – Ashton files Appellee Brief with 5th Circuit

Ashton’s brief in scribd format below speaks for itself and reads like a book.

I have just a few words – and all are directed to US Attorney Jim Letten:

You really should be ashamed of yourself for appealing the dismissal of USA v O’Dwyer!  Man up! Let it go!

[scribd id=47841735 key=key-2f9pldkrvfqzz9tiapya mode=list]

First Amendment Rights of a Political Target: A guest post by Carl Bernofsky

One cannot reason with a prosecutor whose fixation on his quarry has blinded him to all else. That is, unless you are a federal judge who can see past the target, put it in proper perspective, and exercise the authority necessary to deny the hunter his prize.

The dogged pursuit of New Orleans attorney Ashton R. O’Dwyer Jr. by U.S. Attorney Jim Letten over a now-famous e-mail currently rests with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which will decide whether to confirm the lower court’s decision to dismiss the case or accede to the government’s demand to try the case in front of a jury.

This case centers around an e-mail sent by O’Dwyer on Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 to Sean McGinn, Case Manager for Judge Jerry Brown of the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. O’Dwyer had filed for bankruptcy and was under court order to request permission to spend money from his Social Security check. Of the five e-mails he exchanged with McGinn that day, one asked McGinn to remind Judge Brown that he had been out of his antidepressant medication for some time and was unable to pay for a refill. That email read in part:

“I could not sleep last night, which I attribute to the effects of abruptly stopping my medication on Sunday, the 24th (my pills ‘ran out’, and I have no money to purchase more). Maybe my creditors would benefit from my suicide, but suppose I become “homicidal”? Given the recent security breach at 500 Poydras Street, a number of scoundrels might be at risk if I DO become homicidal. Please ask His Honor to consider allowing me to refill my prescription at Walgreen’s, and allowing me to pay them, which is a condition for my obtaining a refill.”

When McGinn received that e-mail, he contacted U.S. Marshals, who showed up nearly 9-1/2 hours later that same evening at O’Dwyer’s door, Continue reading “First Amendment Rights of a Political Target: A guest post by Carl Bernofsky”

Hey, Ashton, “The truth will set you free”

My all time favorite example of a backhanded compliment –  “she’s got freckles on her but she’s pretty just the same”  – was one-upped today by James Gill’s  “Disbarred attorney not as crazy as he seems”:

A federal appeals court ruling last week leads inescapably to the conclusion that New Orleans’ most famous disbarred attorney, Ashton O’Dwyer, may not be entirely crazy after all.

He still comes close, but the court handed him a small measure of vindication in throwing out a Katrina class-action settlement that he has always denounced as a lawyers’ scam to stiff the plaintiffs…[and]…he certainly was wronged by the cops who arrested him a few weeks after the storm, when he was attracting nationwide media attention for what he termed his “Robinson Crusoe” existence on St. Charles Avenue and his furious attacks on inept government.

He spent 16 hours at a makeshift jail at the Union Passenger Terminal, where he was locked in a portable metal cage, repeatedly pepper-sprayed and shot several times with beanbag pellets. He was never prosecuted, but nobody has been held to account for the maltreatment, for which he has produced ample photographic evidence.

Understandably, someone subjected to such might get a little crazy when no one is held accountable; but, let’s not go there today.

Today we celebrate – Merry Christmas, Ashton!

Slabbed remembers Katrina plus 5: The day Ashton O’Dwyer was arrested after the storm.

Professor Carl Bernofsky over at Tulane Link has an excellent piece on Ashton’s arrest without warrant, detention and beating which gets the hat tip for this post. Following is an embed of a 12 minute companion video Carl and his people put together. It is well worth the watch.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5DgKZioXLM]

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The Times Picayune editorializes on the post Katrina Religious Street beatings: The consequences of having a police force staffed by Feral Lawmen. “I was begging them to shoot me and get it over with.”

Folks, turns out that while the nation watched in horror as reports of rampant lawlessness in New Orleans after Katrina filled the media it was the NOPD that was at the heart of the problems.  We’ve covered the coverage on this topic and in certain instances supplemented it.  Slabbed’s own Ashton O’Dwyer unfortunately lived it in what for him would become a life changing event. Like Robert Davis, Ashton will probably never receive justice.

With that background in place it was natural that I would mention the impending indictments coming in on what is being called the Religious Street beatings.  In the days after Katrina on Religious Street the NOPD would kick the teeth down one guy’s throat while beating another to the point where he lost control of his bowels. Unfortunately such stories are far too common in the aftermath of Katrina.

The Times Picayune editorial board weighed in today on the Religious Street beatings. Their reporting on the post Katrina NOPD has been excellent as is today’s Op Ed.  Here is an excerpt: Continue reading “The Times Picayune editorializes on the post Katrina Religious Street beatings: The consequences of having a police force staffed by Feral Lawmen. “I was begging them to shoot me and get it over with.””

BREAKING: Team AROD is reporting Judge Walter has dismissed his indictment. Slabbed has the story straight from St Charles Avenue.

Slabbed file photo. Ashton O'Dwyer and his weapon of mass destruction

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.   

While the old children’s saying is not completely true, it takes a wise person to understand why people lash out, especially in circumstances such as those in the case of our own Ashton O’Dwyer, whom I finally had the pleasure of meeting in person last week.   

Ashton, in many so ways, is a tragic figure woven into the fabric of our post Katrina world. Like Robert Davis, Ashton will probably never see justice done in his post Katrina abduction at the hands of the NOPD where he was incarcerated and  repeatedly shot point-blank with beanbag rounds from a 12 gauge shotgun.   

We take all comers here at Slabbed regardless of race, color or creed as our justice system is supposedly similarly blind to such things. And in taking on Ashton we were able to discuss on Slabbed the why behind the outbursts as he and others, such as own brother Editilla, have freely spoken of their post Katrina struggles with depression caused by having their world’s turned upside down. In Ashton’s case both we at Slabbed and evidently the FBI both agree he suffers from a special kind of depression, bipolar disorder, which Ashton steadfastly refused to blame for his predicament despite acknowledging his struggles with it. Depression is a subject for which I and most everyone impacted by the storm received a crash course PHD in from the University of Katrina. Continue reading “BREAKING: Team AROD is reporting Judge Walter has dismissed his indictment. Slabbed has the story straight from St Charles Avenue.”

BREAKING: AROD remains a free man. Magistrate Hays imposes more conditions on his pre trial release. UPDATED

I just got in from Jackson and received the news.  Either Nowdy or I will be back to update this post with more specifics. Magistrate Hays exhibited a quality of mercy that was not anticipated here at Slabbed and in doing so well served the cause of justice IMHO.

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UPDATE

The docket entry is a form with a handwritten note modifying the conditions of Ashton’s pre-trial release: Continue reading “BREAKING: AROD remains a free man. Magistrate Hays imposes more conditions on his pre trial release. UPDATED”