Judges Probed for Buying Insurance with Expense Fund; La. AG Unsure If It’s a Crime
Posted Oct 19, 2011 6:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Criminal court judges in New Orleans are under investigation for their use of an account funded with fees paid by criminal defendants.
Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell is investigating whether is was a crime for the judges in Orleans Parish to use the money to buy supplemental health and life insurance, trips and other things, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. The 12 criminal court judges in Orleans Parish make $130,000 a year.
Caldwell says he is waiting for the results of an auditor’s review, the story says. “"I don't want to imply anybody's done anything criminal,” he told the Times-Picayune. “We don't know. Sometimes things that are not legal are not necessarily criminal. We've got to wait until all of that gets sorted out."
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro referred the investigation to the state attorney general because of a potential conflict. Cannizzaro is a former judge, and he says he thinks he took advantage of the supplemental benefits.