Prisoner’s Dilemma back in the news….

Stephanie Grace and James Gill tacked the topic of the 7 year sentence given Rene Gill Pratt for her role in the Jefferson clan scheme to loot out bogus charities funded in part by state/federal earmarks.   We saw the outrage at the sentencing disparity between Betty Jefferson and Rene Gill Pratt on these pages late last week as the topic is framed that Gill Pratt got a stiff sentence because she elected to go to trial and fight the charges while Betty Jefferson essentially received a free pass.  My own opinion is I do not accept that argument to frame this issue.

Way back on these pages I revealed I was a student of low-level game theory and certain related branches of mathematics.  Game Theory 101 includes the concept of prisoner’s dilemma, a topic that has appeared several times on these pages. The bottom line is that the person in legal trouble who cuts the first deal gets the best deal and those that do not roll over end up steamrolled if guilty.  For example, in the continuing criminal investigation involving shit house double-dealing in the Nagin Administration, Greg Meffert wisely chose to cut a deal and will no doubt get a much lesser sentence than the one given Mark St Pierre. St Pierre thought he could con his way out to the bitter end and the results were very bad for him.  Was the sentence a punishment for electing to fight until the bitter end or is it the well deserved fruits of his illegal activity, proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law?  I gravitate to the latter point of view personally.

None of this means that Betty Jefferson isn’t a piece of walking excrement Continue reading “Prisoner’s Dilemma back in the news….”

Change some of the names and you got Jefferson Parish…..

You know folks maybe I was being a bit hard on Mike Fawer for bringing the Renee Gill Pratt portion of the Dollar Bill Jefferson saga to trial.  Make no mistake, Fawer abrasive style will insure Gill Pratt gets the book thrown at her but the testimony this past week gives the public another good peek into the way business is conducted in the NOLA metro area thus the title of this post.

For our many readers that are not in this area who are hooked on our Jefferson Parish coverage we’ll start with a must read in the Times Picayune story Gill Pratt racketeering trial offers glimpse into inner workings of a political machine. The unbridled greed is breathtaking and provides probably the best reason for banning earmarks since it appears most of it is looted out by cronies of corrupt politicians who are incapable of making an honest living.

Next up is T-P columnist Stephanie Grace who wrote a column on the testimony of two DaimlerChrysler execs in Gill Pratt’s trial last week. This is also a must read as Grace describes the impact of these prosecution witnesses on the Judge and jury: Continue reading “Change some of the names and you got Jefferson Parish…..”

Please allow me to warmly welcome Sonja and Ike Spears to Slabbed.

First we heard the rumors and then Fox 8 gave us a teaser. By then, we also knew that Lee Zurich had not been sitting on his rear end during his time between on air gigs doing the news in New Orleans. It is said work is the bane of the blogging class and that was certainly true for me yesterday as the media frenzy on this story began in earnest as readers began emailing me the links. First was a WDSU story. Then came a more in-depth Times Picayune report and then WWL’s coverage. As is the case many times, the best was saved for last and that was Lee Zurich’s report for Fox 8. For some background for our out of area readers, I’ll start with the Laura Maggi’s Times Picayune report as we’ll also save the best for last:

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has subpoenaed documents that track the schedule, payment and even the movements of Sonja M. Spears, who draws a local salary as a 1st City Court judge while living part of the time in Massachusetts, where her children attend school……….

Investigators are simply seeking to determine how often Spears shows up to work. Public records show Spears and her husband, attorney Ike Spears, own a $1.3 million house in the Boston suburb of Needham.

Records obtained by The Times-Picayune also show that Spears applied for, and was granted, medical leave from April 7 to May 6, 2008, as well as Jan. 26 to March 30, 2009. In both cases, Spears told the Louisiana Supreme Court that she needed to undergo surgery, and replacement, or ad hoc, judges were assigned to her court.

I remembered the Spears family name but it wasn’t from her sister-in-law as we continue: Continue reading “Please allow me to warmly welcome Sonja and Ike Spears to Slabbed.”

Why Mose Jefferson will be convicted

Beyond the evidence presented in the case there is no greater reason than his lawyer with whom I am personally familar. He enjoys a reputation on par with his equally puffed up ego. Puffery does not equate to results however.

Nonetheless we are amused Ms. Brooks-Simms evidently secured other services from ol Mose beyond the public corruption variety he is better known for.

sop