Orleans DA Williams responds to MMC report critical of his office

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NEW ORLEANS— The New Orleans District Attorney is responding to the Metropolitan Crime Commission’s scathing report alleging that the office is lots too many violent criminals walk free.

Earlier this week Raphael Goyeneche, President of the Metropolitan Crime Commission(MCC) posed the question, “Why is it that so many cases are being refused and how does that look versus the prior administration, and why is it that so many cases are being dismissed.”

Those are questions at the heart of a report was released earlier this week.

Today, Orleans District Attorney Jason Williams replied, “At no point in time did I ever expect Rafael Goyeneche to be happy with any year with me as DA. We are fundamentally and philosophically at opposite ends of how we think the criminal legal system should work.”

Williams ran on a progressive platform of balancing public safety with a concentration on justice for everyone and he says his office is doing just that.

“Every prosecutor in the state, every prosecutor in this country has an obligation to screen their cases. And when you screen cases, you have to look to make sure that there were no constitutional violations, you have to make sure that there is evidence to go forward and that you will have witnesses to go forward in court,” said Williams.

The MCC also alleged that the DA’s office also not doing a good job of transparency with issues regarding violent offenses

“This is information that I think the public is entitled to know. The district attorney, when he was elected promised to be transparent and accountable and to make this information available,” said Goyeneche.

Williams retorts that unlike his predecessor, his office is providing information, “Rafael Goyeneche and the MCC hold out Leon Cannizaro as the gold standard of DA’s and he didn’t put out any his numbers in 12 years.”

In addition to the introducing the first electronic case management system, Williams’ office is also setting up a public facing dashboard of cases they accept, decline and case status on the offices’ website.

According to Williams, “They will be able to hop on to a website and measure our success for themselves, and Rafael Goyeneche and MCC don’t have to tell the public how to think anymore.”

The DA promises the build out of data on the office’s website will be available by the end of the year.

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