Group Created with Sketch.

New Orleans prosecutor accused of using fake subpoenas to coerce victims and witnesses.

In October, the Civil Rights Corps, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the ACLU of Louisiana filed a lawsuit against District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro of Orleans Parish, Louisiana, and 10 of his assistant district attorneys accusing them of using fake subpoenas to coerce victims and witnesses in criminal cases into questioning. Many of those who did not appear were put in jail.American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), “Lawsuit Launches Organizations’ Nationwide Efforts to Hold Abusive Prosecutors Accountable,” press release (Washington, DC: ACLU, October 17, 2017)ACLU, “Singleton v. Cannizzaro,” updated January 3, 2018; and Amended Complaint, Singleton v. Cannizzaro, No. 17-10721, E.D. La. (filed January 3, 2018), 3-6.

One of the plaintiffs, Renata Singleton, was jailed for five days on $100,000 bail for, she alleges, failing to respond to one such subpoena in her domestic violence case because she was afraid to take time off from her new job. In contrast, her ex-boyfriend—who ultimately pled guilty—had bail set at $3,500 and was sentenced to probation only.American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), “Lawsuit Launches Organizations’ Nationwide Efforts to Hold Abusive Prosecutors Accountable,” press release (Washington, DC: ACLU, October 17, 2017)ACLU, “Singleton v. Cannizzaro,” updated January 3, 2018; and Amended Complaint, Singleton v. Cannizzaro, No. 17-10721, E.D. La. (filed January 3, 2018), 3-6.