Friday, January 21, 2005

Falling through the Cracks...

The post of Louisiana inspector general, the public official responsible for uncovering waste, fraud, and abuse in state operations, has been vacant for nearly a year. Meanwhile, there is a committee planning to interview applicants, of which there have been about 20. Louisiana's first and only inspector general, Bill Lynch, died February 15, 2004.

Governor Kathleen Blanco says that she has no intention of abolishing the inspector general's office but wanted to determine whether the scope of the position needed to be changed. She said she didn't want the inspector general to duplicate the role of the legislative auditor, the top investigator hired by the Legislature to review the financial books of state and local government agencies in Louisiana.

In any case, the last thing Louisiana needs is to weaken its oversight of the legitimacy and efficiency of state government

And, on the subject of efficiency, botched paperwork allowed an accused murderer two days of freedom from the Orleans Parish Prison. Wilton Carraby, 21, accused of a murder in May 2004, was re-arrested by police after being released from the prison when the Criminal Sheriff's Office said it didn't have the paperwork necessary to keep him behind bars.

The Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff's Office said it was not notified of the indictment until Wednesday, two days after he was released. William Hunter, chief deputy to Criminal Sheriff Marlin Gusman, said Carraby was arrested May 28 and booked with murder and other offenses. But on July 29, the district attorney's office notified the Sheriff's Office that the murder charge had been refused, Hunter said.

T-P reports that Leatrice Dupre, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Eddie Jordan, said the district attorney's office refused the charge in July because a witness refused to cooperate. But a couple of days later the witness had a change of heart, and Carraby and Ray Arizi, who is still at large, were indicted Aug. 5 on a charge of first-degree murder, she said.

Carraby was held on other charges until Monday and then released. On Wednesday, relatives of murder victim Purnell Brown told police and the district attorney's office they had seen Carraby on the street, leading to Carraby's re-arrest.

Dupre said the district attorney's office will look into the matter and work with the clerk's office to determine where the problem occurred. "We are going to work with other agencies to see where the breakdown was," Hunter said.

It's a good thing Carraby stayed nearby and visible. You can't always expect that of accused murderers.


jbv's Competitive Edge 


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