Posts Tagged ‘Louisiana Legislature’
Criminal Defense Attorney New Orleans
NOLA lawmaker wants harsher punishment for heroin possession, distribution
By Paul Purpura, The Times-Picayune
A New Orleans lawmaker proposes stiffening the penalities for possessing and distributing heroin. Democractic Sen. J.P. Morrell’s Senate Bill 66 and Senate Bill 67 would increase the mandatory minimum sentences and the sentencing ranges in laws relating to the narcotic.
Morrell, who also hopes to change the second-degree murder statute to include narcotics-related deaths, did not respond to an e-mail request for comment this week. The bills are among several narcotics-relatedproposals he has sponsored in the 2012 legislative session.
His SB 66 would increase the punishment for possession with intent to distribute heroin to 10 years minimum to a cap of 50 years.
The present law sets the range at five to 50 years in prison. His proposal would also double the maximum fine, up to $100,000 upon conviction.
Morrell also filed SB 67, which if becomes law would increase the penalties for possessing heroin:
- Possessing 28 grams to 200 grams would carry a punishment of eight to 45 years in prison. The present law is five to 30 years.
- Possessing 200 grams to 400 grams would carry a punishment of 15 years to 45 years. The present law sets the range at 10 to 30 years.
- Possessing 400 or more grams would carry a sentence of 24 years to 45 years of imprisonment. The present range is 15 years to 30 years.
Morrell also proposes widening the felony-murder doctrine under the state’s second-degree murder law. The punishment for second-degree murder would remain unchanged: Mandatory life in prison with no probation, parole or suspended sentence.
“The prospect of life in prison is a scary prospect,” Morrell told The Times-Picayune in January.
Second-degree murder in Louisiana is defined as the “specific intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm.”
The law also defines second-degree murder as a death occurring during the commission of any of 15 underlying felonies. For instance, if someone dies during an armed robbery, even if the perpetrator has no intent to kill, then that person is guilty of second-degree murder.
Morrell proposes adding another underlying felony to the list: “the unlawful sale, distribution, or dispensation of heroin, methamphetamine or ‘crack’ cocaine.”
The existing underlying felonies, including attempted perpetration, are aggravated rape, forcible rape, aggravated arson, aggravated burglary, aggravated kidnapping, seond-degree kidnapping, aggravated escape, assault by drive-by shooting, armed robbery, first-degree robbery, second-degree robbery, simple robbery, cruelty to juveniles, second-degree cruelty to juveniles and terrorism.
The three bills are in judiciary committee, according to the Legislature’s web site.
Criminal Defense Attorney New Orleans
Bill would require barroom bouncers to take training
By: Ed Anderson — Times Picayune
Baton Rouge – A Senate committee unanimously approved a bill Tuesday that would require training of bouncers and “security personnel” at bars and lounges. The Senate Judiciary B Committee sent to the Senate floor Senate Bill 234 by Sen. Gary Smith, D-Norco, that would require the bouncers to be trained under the state’s Responsible Vendor Program, which has been in place for more than a decade and requires the training of servers, bartenders and other bar personnel.
Smith said the bill applies to liquor outlets “where alcoholic beverages are the principal commodity sold for consumption on the premises.” Smith said he filed the bill after a handful of headline-grabbing cases in the New Orleans area in which security personnel at bars were involved in violent confrontations with customers.
The bill does not spell out how many hours the security workers have to take or what the subject matter of the courses would be.
Those decisions would be made by the commissioner of the Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, but the course work must include “handling disruptive customers and customer altercations,” Smith said.
The bill defines security personnel as employees who “monitor the entrance and other areas of an establishment for the purposes of identifying underage and intoxicated persons, enforcing establishment rules and regulations” and providing overall security for the outlet and its customers.
“There is nothing in law to train security personnel” at bars now, Smith said. “We are seeing more and more of an increase in security personnel using excessive force” at lounges.
The bouncer or security personnel will not only have to take the regular server training course and be able to recognize when a patron is too drunk to be served, but will also be trained to handle tense situations.
“He will try to diplomatically remove someone,” said Chris Young, a lobbyist for alcoholic beverage outlets. He said the courses should include “how to prevent altercations instead of putting someone in a chokehold and dragging them out of the establishment.”
The cost of the training course cannot exceed $50, according to the bill.