Council looks at the jailing of uncooperative crime victims

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — City Council members in New Orleans are set to discuss a resolution calling for an end to the jailing of sexual assault or domestic violence victims who resist testifying against their suspected assailants.

An independent New Orleans watchdog group, Court Watch NOLA, condemned the practice of “material witness” arrests in a report released in 2017. A representative of the organization is expected to testify at Thursday’s council meeting.

District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro office says its review shows few people have been taken into custody in the last five years on material witness warrants, which can result in jail, or the threat of jail. He said the warrants are sought in court when the reluctant witness’s testimony is deemed crucial to keeping dangerous offenders locked up.

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