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  Posted on: Thursday, August 2, 2012
DA: Shifting misdemeanors helped justice if not budgets
Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro today defended a 2011 City Council decision, which he pushed, to shift misdemeanor charges from criminal to municipal court, saying it has allowed his office to focus on more serious cases. That move has created budgetary concerns for Councilwoman Susan Guidry, a co-chairwoman of the City Council's Criminal Justice Committee Criminal District Court Chief Judge Camille Buras, whose colleagues might be expected to benefit from the shift, instead amplified Guidry's concerns today during a joint meeting of the council's Criminal Justice and Budget committees. Guidry asked why money hasn't been moved to Municipal Court, along with the greater caseload. Buras said Criminal District Court could ill afford to send money budgeted from the city to the lower court. That's because Criminal Court already is losing court fees from those lesser charges.
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