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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23203
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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My husband was arrested June 24th charged with a felony. He

Customer Question

My husband was arrested June 24th charged with a felony. He has been in jail ever since. he has not been arraigned. A grand jury was held Sept. 6th and the decision was to indict. he has not seen a lawyer at all since june 24th nor been to an arraignment. We have no lawyer and one has not been appointed to him. This is in the state of Louisiana
JA: What state is this in? And can you tell me a little more about the charge?
Customer: Louisiana. He went out and got drunk, took too many of his prescription xanax, got i an altercation outside of a bar room and 2 people were shot, with minor injuries. I think the charges are 3 counts of attempted 2nd degree murder
JA: Have you talked to a laywer yet?
Customer: No, we can't afford one. We've been waiting for the court to appoint him one, but he has never been to court.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: he has never done anything violent before..he is a first time offender with a 10+ year history of being on severe depression and anxiety medicine.
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 month ago.


I'm Zoey and I'll be assisting you. I'm reviewing your question now. Are you online at this time?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 month ago.

Thank you. I'm typing up a reply, so please give me a few moments to compose one for you.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I have spoken with the public defender's office multiple times. They said he did not need representation for the grand jury. They told me due to budget cuts and their lawyers being sick and one having family issues is why he has not seen a lawyer yet. A week or so after his arrest they set his bond at 1 million dollars. I can only guess that was because he had family in Georgia. He is supposed to be arraigned October 4th to be officially charged and that's when they told me he should be appointed a lawyer, but that one would not speak to him before that date.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I have no idea what the laws are regarding arraignment, but my husband said some people in the jail told him he should have been arraigned by now so he just called me to try to find out if he can file any type of motion because he hasn't been arraigned yet.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 month ago.

Thank you.

Your reply changes the picture, because I was in the process of telling you to go talk to the public defender's office and that in an emergency situation they can be prevailed upon to go to bat for an indigent defendant before they are formally appointed by a judge.

It would appear that there has been a bail determination made. It's high because the charges are violent and very serious, but he was entitled to have bail set, and it's been done. Who set bail on him? Did he appear before a magistrate?

Most defendants do not/should not testify before the grand jury, and you've been informed correctly that a defense attorney cannot participate in grand jury proceedings. The grand jury is a secret proceeding controlled by the DA. They do not decide guilt or innocence. They hear only enough evidence from the state to determine whether the crime -- IF it could be proved beyond a reasonable doubt -- would make out a felony conviction. If so, they vote a true bill of indictment.

As for that felony indictment, typically it does take several weeks for a newly indicted case to be calendared for his arraignment on the felony.

It looks like he'll be appointed a lawyer on the 4th, which is when his constitutional right to counsel formally accrues. At that point his lawyer will interview him, discuss his case and try to get his bail lowered.

However, if he's being wrongfully incarcerated, at any time while that's going on a lawyer can file a writ of habeas corpus to get him before the judge and ask why he's still being held this long without an arraignment. You can call the public defender's office and ask them if he's being wrongfully held and if they can do a writ.

If they agree he's being held unconstitutionally and won't file a writ, your remedy -- apart from waiting til October 4 -- would be to find other pro bono assistance, which generally means contacting the ACLU and also calling local law firms that handle criminal matters and asking if they'll take the matter on. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of pro bono criminal lawyers are public defenders, and once you rule them out, finding another free lawyer is very difficult. The ACLU does have branches all over the country, and they should be able to steer to someone local who may be able to offer you assistance.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
ok well he did do the shooting. We are not denying that. So that would knock out being held unconsitutionally, correct? And he just has to wait the 100 days before arraignment?
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I don't know if I have any more questions left, but the night it happened he was beaten unconscious. When he came to he was immediately questioned by a detective and then placed in a police car. He was never checked for drugs, alcohol, or any type of medical professional for a concussion. He was kicked in the head by steel toed boots and they thought he was dead at first.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I went the very next day to bring all of his medicines and they would not allow him to have his depression or anxiety medicine. he was then placed in isolation a week later because the detective recommended it. I told the nurse you aren't supposed to abruptly stop taking his medicine, but they said only a doctor could decide that and he has never seen a doctor since his arrest.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 month ago.

There are basically two arraignments. That is, when an inmate in Louisiana is first arrested he is to come before a judge within 72 hours not counting weekends and holidays so that a bail determination can be made. Bail was set on him, so that apparently got done.

The indictment itself can take a while to come about because, depending on the case and how many other cases are awaiting indictment, it can take a while for the Grand Jury to hear all of the evidence necessary for the indictment. From there, there's an arraignment on the indictment itself, which is what is happening on October 4.

I see there are very real and serious civil rights issues, so calling the ACLU is a very good idea. He has the right to adequate medical care while he is incarcerated. And if he was abruptly taken off of his medication and interrogated, that interrogation may have been unlawful.

The brutality that occurred is yet another civil rights issue and could potentially give him a civil cause of action against the police.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
He has been gainfully employed for over a decade as a computer programmer. We are not a family that has ever been in trouble. he's never even had a speeding ticket. he called the police that night to report a man in the bar that was carrying a gun. the police came and made the man take him gun to his vehicle. Afterwards he was accosted because he was the one who called the police. Yes, he was very wrong for what he did. I think the detective and DA are trying to make an example out of him. It's all just very sad. I have not found a job yet and trying not to lose my home to keep things as normal as I can for my daughter. We';ve never even known anyone who has gone to jail.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
ok, thank you very much for all your help. I will try to get in touch with the ACLU.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 month ago.

You're very welcome.

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