Local Civil Rights Groups Demand Judge Zibilich Step Down
Several local civil rights groups joined the New Orleans branch of the NAACP demanding an investigation into Judge Franz Zibilich and the initial bond granted to Marigny homeowner Merritt Landry.
“There is boiling under the surface,” says Rev. Dwight Webster with Christian Unity Baptist Church when speaking about the youth in our community, “They are beginning to wonder whether there is one code of justice that is equally applied to everyone.”
According to the District Attorney, Judge Ziblich allowed Landry to post an illegal $100,000 bond. Landry hadn’t filed the proper paperwork after being charged with Attempted Second Degree Murder for allegedly shooting 14-year-old Marshall Coulter. It’s a perk local civil rights organizations fear was done because of a previous relationship established between the Landry family and Judge Zibilich.
Civil rights attorney Tracie Washington with the Louisiana Justice Institute says, “I recognize the guy had a wife at home who was pregnant. Lots of people have extenuating circumstances. That jail is filled with people with extenuating circumstances.”
The civil rights groups acknowledged a relationship dating back to 2007 between Zibilich and Landry’s brother, Maxwell, saying Zibilich (then an attorney) represented Maxwell Landry in a federal drug trafficking case making this current case a conflict of interest and a violation of the code of ethics.
New Orleans NAACP chapter President Danatus King says, “There’s a tension in this city and if it’s not addressed properly who knows what’s going to happen.”
Danatus King recognizes tension has been escalating since the Zimmerman verdict.
Mashall Coulter’s brother even created a Facebook page called “Justice for Marshall Coulter.” His first post was an article titled: “The next Trayvon? 14-year-old Marshall Coulter Shot by White Man.”
“If tensions are escalated now, if there’s a perception in the community that justice is not going to be done in this case, then I expect the tensions to heighten,” says King.
The local civil rights organizations are backing attorney Tracie Washington’s position, calling calling on Judge Franz Zibilich to step down immediately pending an investigation.