Slabbed checks another politician into the drunk tank: District Court Judge Jacques Sanborn welcome to Slabbed

Before we ran Jim Brown’s column on Louisiana’s dysfunctional DWI laws I had no clue the topic of drunk driving would prove to be such a target rich environment but now it appears that we are well on our way to accumulating an extensive body of work on this subject which also helps explain why Louisiana’s auto insurance rates are the highest in the nation. Along those lines I offer the Slabbed Nation District Court Judge Jacques Sanborn from St Bernard Parish. Let’s begin with the Times Picayune’s Bob Warren and recount how the Judge almost killed two motorist driving drunk perhaps receiving favorable treatment in the process:

St. Bernard Parish Judge Jacques Sanborn was cited for DWI early Thursday after crashing his Dodge Charger into another vehicle in Arabi, authorities said.

State Police Trooper Melissa Matey said Sanborn, 60, of Chalmette, was brought to an area hospital with unspecified injuries after the 3:32 a.m. crash. He refused to submit to a blood test, but the trooper who responded to the crash conducted a field sobriety test and smelled alcohol, Matey, a Troop B spokeswoman, said. Continue reading “Slabbed checks another politician into the drunk tank: District Court Judge Jacques Sanborn welcome to Slabbed”

There is a Broussard in the woodpile part deux: The Times Picayune carries water for DA Connick and misses a chance for Jazz. Slabbed passes out the Razz.

Over the two plus years Nowdy and I have done this blog I’ve had occasion to take employees of news organizations out to the woodshed from time to time for sloppy reporting. Notice I did not use the term journalist or journalism as such implies a level of professionalism which is invariably missing when I bring the wood. With few exceptions my poison missives are directed at the national financial media, which in reality is a collection of well read parrots and whores such as AP reporter Ieva Augstums or Reuter’s Kevin Drawbaugh (The brothel over at CNBC is another post). After reading my poison posts invariably I’ll get an email from a real journalist with the question along the lines did you email them for clarification before you ripped them? While I don’t normally waste valuable finger time with financial reporters that should know better I will go out of my way for the  local press and that brings us to today’s topic of Craig Codina, a serial drunk driver that I introduced to the Slabbed nation early this month where I profiled the politics of drunk driving in Jefferson Parish and identified the unqualified political hack responsible in former Parish President Aaron Broussard’s daughter in law Norma. And it is with Craig Codina’s recent plea to his 4th drunk driving offense, the one that finally killed an innocent motorists that we’ll visit with next. Times Picayune employee Michelle Hunter filed the story:

Craig Codina, a multiple DWI offender from Destrehan, pleaded guilty Monday to vehicular homicide and third-offense DWI in connection with two separate Metairie car crashes.

Codina, 26, also pleaded guilty to first-degree negligent injuring before Judge Conn Regan in Gretna’s 24th Judicial District Court, according to Trooper Melissa Matey, spokeswoman for the State Police.

The homicide and negligent injuring charges stem from an Aug. 1 wreck on Airline Drive in Metairie that killed Sandra Stevens, 30, of New Orleans, and severely injured Santos Garcia, 28.

Codina pleaded guilty to third-offense DWI as well as careless operation of a motor vehicle in connection with an October 2008 accident on Causeway Boulevard in which he crashed into the back of a vehicle driven by a teenager. She was not injured.

Despite the fact that the August fatal wreck was Codina’s fourth arrested for driving while intoxicated, he was booked only with second-offense DWI for both that crash and the Causeway Boulevard wreck.

That’s because the Jefferson Parish district attorney’s office was erroneously informed that Codina’s first conviction in St. Charles Parish in 2001 was for underage DWI, which can’t be used to enhance penalties for subsequent offenses.

The mistake came to light after a Times-Picayune article in August about Codina’s record. Codina actually pleaded guilty to first-offense DWI in 2001. Prosecutors upgraded the charge in the October 2008 crash to felony third-offense DWI, after learning about his past record.

Regan sentenced Codina on Monday to 30 days in parish prison for the careless operation charge. Neither Codina, nor his attorney, David Motter, could be reached for comment Thursday.

Codina and his attorney David Motter were not the only folks unavailable for comment as I sent Ms Hunter an e-mail seeking clarification of the paragraphs I highlighted above: Continue reading “There is a Broussard in the woodpile part deux: The Times Picayune carries water for DA Connick and misses a chance for Jazz. Slabbed passes out the Razz.”

There is a Broussard in the woodpile: The politics of drunk driving and the Jefferson Parish criminal justice system

It was in the fall of 2006 that I attended my second funeral for a person killed in an accident involving a drunk driver but this time it was extra tough as the victim was a 5 year old girl that was killed on US Highway 98 in Marion County when a drunk driver rammed into the back of the SUV driven by her daddy. The force of the impact caused the SUV to flip several times after it went into the median. Momma was also in the vehicle and her legs were crushed. At the time the surgeons did not know if one of her legs could be saved. She couldn’t come to her baby’s funeral due to those injuries. As I approached the family and the casket I was worried as I didn’t know what words of comfort I would offer to the family. All I could do was shake my head when I got to the front of the line as I was uncharacteristically at a loss for words. “The funeral home did a wonderful job for my baby” her dad remarked to me as we gazed at her in the casket. Indeed they had as half her face had been crushed in the accident. To this day I don’t think he has recovered from that loss.

Jim Brown rekindled those memories for me with his recently published column that took Louisiana’s courts and DAs to task for not enforcing the existing DUI laws. In response to that column we were pleased to have the Avoyelles Parish DA stop in with us begging to differ with the premise of Jim’s column but we also noted that Jim stuck to his guns in his reply. Curious as to the real cause of the problem I sent out some email inquiries to several of the Louisiana based lawyers that we count as regular Slabbed readers and that input, along with my remembrance of a fairly recent story involving a repeat DUI offender in Jefferson Parish resulted in this post where we’ll explore the politics of the DUI as it exists in Jefferson Parish.

Let’s begin by backing up to August of last year and the case of Craig Codina, a serial drunk driver who finally killed someone in his fourth alcohol fueled accident as Paula Devlin reported for the Times Picayune:

When State Police handcuffed Craig Codina last weekend for plowing his truck into the back of a car on Airline Drive, sending the other driver to the hospital and fatally injuring a passenger, it marked his fourth drunken-driving arrest in just eight years.

In fact, the 25-year-old Destrehan man is scheduled to appear in court this week for trial in the third case, a frighteningly similar crash in which he is accused of smashing into the back of a teenager’s car on Causeway Boulevard in October. Continue reading “There is a Broussard in the woodpile: The politics of drunk driving and the Jefferson Parish criminal justice system”