view full story- Elected DAs and Pete Adams meeting with Congressman Steve Scalise during the NDAA Capital Conference.
Stand Your Ground Law
Calcasieu Parish District Attorney, John DeRosier, says, "We're not going to prosecute somebody who is using deadly force, because they are genuinely in fear of their lives."
That is where the Stand Your Ground Law comes into place. The law was in the spotlight with cases such as George Zimmerman's. However, it was first passed in Florida in 2006. Where shortly after, 24 other states followed suit by passing the law.
DeRosier explains, "The Stand Your Ground Law basically says that if you are the lawful occupant of your home, your business, or an automobile, and someone is attempting to gain unlawful entry into that home, business, or automobile, you have a right to use deadly force to defend yourself and protect yourself."
Before the law was passed in Louisiana, the "Castle Law" was in place. Which stated that a person could use force to protect oneself, or property.
"Stand Your Ground is a little more specific," DeRosier explains, "And basically adds that a person who is in fact lawfully in their home, or their place of business, or their automobile, does not have to retreat and you are authorized to use deadly force, and do not have to retreat."
But there is a line that can be crossed when it comes to standing your ground.
"We are not, on the other hand, going to allow someone to use Stand Your Ground law to actually be an aggressor," DeRosier says, "For example, if you see someone in your home and you chase them out, you can't run them four blocks down the street, shooting at them the whole time and still consider it self defense."
And to remember one important thing concerning this law.
"That it's basically a reasonable persons standard," DeRosier says, "Remember the general concept of self-defense is that a reasonable person is in apprehension of great bodily harm or death."
The law has been passed in many states because authorities believe the law helps to "prevent death or great bodily harm."
Thomas Daley, a former St. John the Baptist Parish district attorney, died Saturday (Jan. 31) of cancer at Touro Infirmary. He was 61.
His death came less than three months after he withdrew from the Dec. 6 runoff for a second term, blaming a resurgence of the cancer he had been battling. As a result, Bridget Dinvaut was automatically elected.
Before becoming district attorney, Mr. Daley had been a judge on the state 5th Circuit Court of Appeal. He resigned the judgeship to run for office. He also had been a 40th Judicial District Court judge and a prosecutor in the St. John District Attorney's Office.
A native of Neptune, N.J., Mr. Daley came to New Orleans to attend Loyola University College of Law and never left the area, his brother Anthony said.
Mr. Daley earned an undergraduate degree at Rutgers University and a master of laws degree at the University of Virginia School of Law.
He was a member of the Louisiana Bar Association, the Louisiana Bar Foundation and the 40th Judicial Bar Association. Mr. Daley was a former member of the Louisiana Judicial College board, and he was a former chairman of the Louisiana Judicial Council's Court Costs Committee.
He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and a former president of the Belle Terre Civic Association.
Survivors include his wife, Margaret Daley; two daughters, Bernadette Daley of LaPlace and Monique Daley of Baton Rouge; five brothers, Steve Daley of Qatar; Joe Daley of Tuckahoe, N.J., Anthony Daley of South Seaville, N.J., John Daley of Amite and Matt Daley of Woodbine, N.J.; five sisters, Terry Budd of Seaville, N.J.; Mary Anne Azzato of Southport, N.C., Chrissie Ternosky of Sea Isle City, N.J., Rosie Daley of Encinitas, Calif., and Kathleen "Tootsie" Daley of Ramsey, N.J.
Funeral arrangements, which will be handled by Millet-Guidry Funeral Home, are incomplete.
Published 2/1/15 - NOLA.com In defense of grand jury secrecy - Those attacking the system after the Eric Garner decision fail to understand that the process works as intended
BY Daniel R. Alonso
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, December 11, 2014, 5:00 AM
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel famously said that in politics and public policy, you “never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” That adage comes to mind in the aftermath of the grand jury’s decision in the Eric Garner tragedy, when various state leaders have announced plans to introduce legislative reforms to increase what they call “grand jury transparency.”
Commentators on this page and others have also belittled grand juries as no more than tools of the prosecutor, invoking former Judge Sol Wachtler’s quip about grand juries indicting ham sandwiches, as though merely repeating it ends the debate.
As understandable as it is to want to do something in the wake of a decision that many may view as unjust, New Yorkers should take a deep breath and consider why our law for hundreds of years has ensured that grand jury proceedings remain secret, to the point that it is a felony for any grand juror or prosecutor to disclose what happened without authorization.
At first, the question seems reasonable: Why should a government proceeding be secret? After all, we would never tolerate a secret trial.
The answer is that grand juries are different. They don’t convict, and they don’t incarcerate. Instead, they have a dual role: They can investigate to see whether a crime was committed — or even just to make sure one wasn’t — and they must decide whether enough evidence has been presented to charge someone with a serious crime.
These functions require the assurance of secrecy, and for very good reasons: to encourage witnesses to come forward, to protect the integrity of the criminal justice system and to shield people from unfounded accusations.
Consider a case of neighborhood violence. The last thing any witness wants to do is to testify at all, let alone in public. But because New York law requires that the evidence before a grand jury come from witnesses with firsthand knowledge of the events, prosecutors must persuade oftenterrified people to appear and testify.
This is a delicate task, and in many ways is the toughest part of a prosecutor’s job. Often, the key to making sure that testimony is heard at all is assuring the witness that the proceeding is secret and the defendant will not be present. This can’t be overstated: Civilian witnesses are reluctant to testify, and in most cases the law doesn’t allow an indictment to be returned without them. Put another way, if grand jury sessions were either conducted in public, or if the transcripts of their proceedings were routinely unsealed, the result would be many fewer indictments, and more criminals escaping punishment for their actions.
There’s another problem. In long-term investigations of all sorts — whether of organized crime, fraud, public corruption or police brutality — it is crucial that the targets of an investigation not be made aware which of their cohorts has testified and what they have said. In too many cases, witnesses have been intimidated, bribed or persuaded not to testify. Some have wound up dead.
Secrecy allows prosecutors and investigators to minimize these outrageous threats to the judicial system in a way that would be impossible in a public proceeding.
Finally, grand juries often hear disparaging information about people whose names come up in their proceedings but are never charged, including the subjects of investigations that don’t result in indictment. The fundamental unfairness of releasing these accusations is another crucial reason to keep grand juries secret.
What about that ham sandwich comment? It ignores reality. In 2013, New York State prosecutors presented some 50,208 cases to grand juries. Of those, the grand jury refused to charge fully 1,542 defendants, and sent nearly another 3,000 to the misdemeanor court on lesser charges. That’s a lot of lunchmeat walking the streets.
But doesn’t this 91% indictment rate mean that the grand jury is in fact a tool of the district attorney? Only if one ignores a crucial part of the prosecutor’s job, which is to weed out unworthy cases and present only those that have at least some merit to the grand jury.
If the indictment figure were much lower, we’d be justified in saying that prosecutors were not doing their jobs well. Those 50,000 cases that prosecutors put before grand juries constituted only about a third of cases in which the police made a felony arrest in the first place.
That makes the reason that grand juries indict in the vast majority of cases pretty clear: Prosecutors have already taken a large first cut through the universe of potential felony cases and weeded out two-thirds of them.
There’s a saying in the legal profession: “Hard cases make bad law.” The Garner case was hard for everyone involved, and for our society. But it should not become an excuse to cripple our grand jury system.
Alonso, formerly Manhattan chief assistant district attorney, is managing director and general counsel of the consulting firm Exiger LLC.