Candidate Morris Reed says Magistrate Court not reaching potential
7th October 2013 · 0 Comments
By Christopher Tidmore
“When I was a boy about 12 years old growing up in the Lower Ninth Ward,“ Morris Reed, a candidate in the October 19th election, recollected, “wayward cops in the K-9 section of the N.O.P.D. would come and release their dogs on us without provocation as part of their training exercise. I used that childhood experience as a commitment to be a better public servant of the people as a member of the New Orleans Police Department and Special Agent with the D.E.A.”
The experience led him to an extensive career in criminal justice in later years. “I personally supervised the prosecution of the N.O.P.D. Police Officers in the Algiers Seven Case in 1981. In addition, my office broke and solved the police killing of young Gerard Glover (the stepson of Reverend John Raphael) who was shot in the back as a passenger on a motor scooter in the 1980’s.” Eventually, Morris Reed “was elected judge in 1992.” Now, due to his breath of experience, Reed feels that he is “the best qualified candidate to fill this unexpired term of Gerald Hansen, whom I’ve served and worked with at Criminal District Court“.
“In theory,” Reed explained, the Magistrate Court “is supposed to facilitate the administration of Criminal Justice by compartmentalizing more mundane tasks such as bond-settings, first appearances and search arrest warrant authorizations, freeing District Judges to handle more efficiently, felonies and misdemeanors. But it doesn’t.”
“Presently, the magistrate works approximately One (1) hour to an hour and a half a day. I would work to change that to get more productivity out of the office. I would like to have the legislature change the office to allow for trials of felonies and misdemeanors, as well as a drug court and a week-end preventative.”
As such, Reed wants to “make Judge/Magistrate a full time position with jurisdiction to try misdemeanor and felony cases as well as conduct preliminary examinations reducing court back-log, and also seek to have Magistrate Jurisdiction expanded to jury trials and seek approval to have Magistrate Judge handle all expungement requests.”
The Magistrate Court, he explained, “is underutilized“.
“I would encourage our legislative delegation to make the Magistrate position a full time court with jurisdiction over felonies, misdemeanors, preliminary examinations, arrest/search warrants and all expungements. Also, elected officials can increase public trust by working hard every day to reduce crime and enhance quality of life in our community.”
To make the office reach its potential, Reed said, “I would like to Re-new Pro-Active Prevention Programs such as ‘Junior Judges’ for At-Risk junior and high school teenagers, joining with the Recovery School District as an after school and weekend initiative.” And, he said, “ I would create a Drug Court, which is an alternative to incarceration for first time offenders charged with possession of controlled substances offenses.”
Morris Reed concluded stating, “I would increase the public’s trust in the Criminal Court System by working hard every day to enhance the quality of life in our community and I would try hard to give the public their monies’ worth. If all the system can provide is one hour of work for a position that pays over $135,000.00 annually, then I agree with the Bureau of Governmental Research that the position should be abolished.”
Early voting for the October 19, 2013 election begins office this Saturday, at the Orleans Registrar of Voters at City Hall, the Old Algiers Courthouse on the West Bank, and the Voting Machine Warehouse at 8870 Chef Menteur Highway in New Orleans East.
This article originally published in the October 7, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.