Who Is Leon Cannizzaro?
- Leon Cannizzaro is the District Attorney for Orleans Parish.
- Leon Cannizzaro’s office jailed six alleged crime victims to force them to face their attackers in court. One of them was a rape survivor who was arrested and jailed for eight days by the very person prosecuting her case.
- Leon Cannizzaro is shockingly over-dependent on incarceration. Since he took office in 2009, the number of state inmates from Orleans parish has increased by 15%. Meanwhile, the overall prison population for Louisiana decreased by 5%.
- Cannizzaro’s office once convicted a man federal prosecutors now say was innocent, even sending him to death row. In the same case, prosecutors who work for Cannizzaro withheld important evidence from defense attorneys in violation of the US Constitution.
- Leon Cannizzaro does not understand modern science. He continues to transfer juveniles to adult court despite what up-to-date studies (and common sense) tell us about children and brain development.
- Leon Cannizzaro does not play by the rules. The Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office has been issuing fake subpoenas — notices that are labeled as a subpoena, but were not properly issued through the court system.
This isn’t the first ethical problem to hit Leon Cannizzaro’s office. For years, the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office has struggled with illegally withholding information from defense counsel, which has lead to reversed convictions and stern rebukes from state and federal courts.
The Washington Post wrote that “Cannizzaro has tried to position himself as a reformer, but those gestures keep bumping up against actions that suggest the [old office] culture is still alive and well.”
The New York Times editorial board recently asked, “How many constitutional violations will it take before the New Orleans district attorney’s office is held to account for the culture of negligence and outright dishonesty that has pervaded it for decades?”
Get the facts
On Bogus Subpoenas
On Victimizing Rape Survivors
- The Independent: Rape Survivors Face Jail if They Won’t Testify in Court
- The Advocate: Court watchers demand New Orleans DA stop arresting accusers in rape cases as material witnesses
- New York Times: Don’t Jail Crime Victims for Not Testifying
- Times-Picayune: Cannizzaro asks religious leaders for help getting witnesses to testify
On “Breaking the Bank”
- Prosecutorial Accountability: In New Orleans, DA Cannizzaro Breaks the Bank and the Public’s Trust
- Times-Picayune: DA’s own choices are draining his office of resources for prosecution
On Prosecutor Problems in New Orleans
- Washington Post: New Orleans’s persistent prosecutor problem
- Editorial Board, New York Times: Justice Gone Wrong In New Orleans
On Conviction Integrity and Accuracy
- New Orleans Advocate: Cannizzaro, Innocence Project call it quits on project to unearth false convictions
What You Can Do
Most Louisianans support safe, sensible reforms. District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro should too.
- CALL City Councilwoman Susan Guidry, Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee. Tell her Leon Cannizzaro’s budget needs a second look.Phone: (504) 658-1010.
- CALL the Louisiana State Bar Association. Ask them about Leon Cannizzaro’s problematic record jailing rape survivors, issuing fake subpoenas, and more.Phone: (800) 421-LSBA(5722)