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Case Name Singleton v. Cannizzaro CJ-LA-0010
Docket / Court 2:17-cv-10721 ( E.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Civil Rights Corps
Case Summary
On October, 17, 2017, eight residents of Louisiana who were victims of or witnesses to crimes filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, alleging that they had been jailed or threatened with jail by prosecutors in hopes of ensuring their testimony in court ... read more >
On October, 17, 2017, eight residents of Louisiana who were victims of or witnesses to crimes filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, alleging that they had been jailed or threatened with jail by prosecutors in hopes of ensuring their testimony in court. They sued the District Attorney of Orleans Parish along with several assistant district attorneys under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law. The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU and Civil Rights Corps, sought injunctive and monetary relief as well as attorneys’ fees and costs. The case was assigned to Judge Jane Triche Milazzo.

The plaintiffs claimed that, pursuant to official policies, practices, and customs of the defendant Orleans Parish District Attorney, prosecutors routinely issued their own fabricated subpoenas, without any judicial approval or oversight, in order to coerce victims and witnesses into submitting to interrogations by prosecutors outside of court. According to the plaintiffs, if this unlawful coercion did not succeed, the defendants unlawfully arrested victims and witnesses and ensured that they would languish in jail by obtaining high secured money bonds. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants’ use of extrajudicial and unlawful means to coerce, arrest, and imprison crime victims and witnesses violated the plaintiffs’ First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights along with other violations of state law.

On December 21, 2017, the plaintiffs filed their first amended complaint. As such, the plaintiffs filed a consent motion to treat any previously filed motions to dismiss as moot. The plaintiffs argued that the filing of an amended complaint rendered any prior complaint and any motion to dismiss the prior complaint void. On January 2, 2018, Judge Milazzo granted this motion.

On January 25, 2018, the plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint that added one plaintiff and two defendants to the case.

On March 1, 2018, the defendants together filed a joint motion to dismiss all claims against them, arguing that prosecutors were protected by absolute immunity with respect to actions taken as advocates of the state and by qualified immunity with respect to their official actions. The defendants also argued that the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment claims, as well as the state law claims, were all barred by absolute immunity and the plaintiffs had failed to adequately state a claim. The court heard the parties’ oral arguments on May 31, 2018.

The court had not yet ruled on the latest motion to dismiss as of June 12, 2018. The Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project (DV LEAP), the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, and the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault filed amicus briefs in support of the plaintiff’s opposition to the motion to dismiss. The case is ongoing.

Jake Parker - 07/16/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Failure to discipline
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
False arrest
Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
State law
Defendant(s) Orleans Parish
Plaintiff Description Eight crime victims and witnesses who were threatened, arrested, and imprisoned by prosecutors seeking to coerce them into submitting to interrogations.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Civil Rights Corps
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  SINGLETON ET. AL. V. CANNIZZARO ET. AL
http://www.civilrightscorps.org
Date: March 2018
By: Civil Rights Corps
Citation: http://www.civilrightscorps.org/prosecutor-project/
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:17−cv−10721−JTM−JVM (E.D. La.)
CJ-LA-0010-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/08/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
CJ-LA-0010-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/17/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 52]
CJ-LA-0010-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/25/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Milazzo, Jane Margaret Triche (E.D. La.)
CJ-LA-0010-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Arceneaux, Anna Marie (North Carolina)
CJ-LA-0010-0001 | CJ-LA-0010-0002 | CJ-LA-0010-9000
Chamblee-Ryan, Katherine Ashworth (District of Columbia)
CJ-LA-0010-0001 | CJ-LA-0010-0002 | CJ-LA-0010-9000
Hamilton, Bruce Warfield (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0010-0001 | CJ-LA-0010-0002 | CJ-LA-0010-9000
Karakatsanis, Alec (District of Columbia)
CJ-LA-0010-0001 | CJ-LA-0010-0002 | CJ-LA-0010-9000
Trivedi, Somil Bharat (District of Columbia)
CJ-LA-0010-0002 | CJ-LA-0010-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Alford, W. Raley (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0010-9000
Barbera, Thomas Jeffrey (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0010-9000
Freeman, Robert L. Jr. (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0010-9000
Paul, Matthew J. (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0010-9000
Stanley, Richard C (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0010-9000
Other Lawyers Adcock, John Nelson (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0010-9000
Bloom, Jonathan (New York)
CJ-LA-0010-9000
Giang, Albert (District of Columbia)
CJ-LA-0010-9000
Lasky, Catherine Elena (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0010-9000
Leung, Victor (California)
CJ-LA-0010-9000
Murphy, Kerry Ann (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0010-9000
Perigoe, Kelly L. (California)
CJ-LA-0010-9000
Rich, R. Bruce (New York)
CJ-LA-0010-9000
Stutz, Trevor Porter (California)
CJ-LA-0010-9000

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