The chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus wants the House and Senate judicial committees to study potential race disparities that may exist in sentencing guidelines. New Orleans Democratic Rep. Juan LaFonta wants to know if there’s a difference in the length and harshness of sentences imposed by judges for similar crimes committed by Caucasians and African-Americans.
LaFonta argues that the Louisiana Supreme Court has not effectively addressed, nor made any effective progress, to “change the unequal justice manifested upon the poor and economically disadvantaged, particularly minorities.” His resolution also questions the fairness of local prosecutions. It states, “The prosecution of crimes in district court is totally at the discretion of a district attorney who may have more bias against some accused defendants than other accused defendants, and it is totally within his prerogative whom he prosecutes and for what crime he accuses the person of committing, except when there is an indictment by the grand jury.”
If LaFonta’s House Concurrent Study Resolution 1 gains favor with lawmakers, the joint judicial committee would have to report its findings to the Legislature prior to Feb. 28, 2009 — just in time for next year’s regular session.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.