News Roundup

Weekly Briefs: Judge charged with tax fraud; man who got pig heart had criminal past

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Judge Ernestine Anderson-Trahan headshot

New Orleans Second City Court Judge Ernestine “Teena” Anderson-Trahan. Photo from the Orleans Civil District Court website.

Judge allegedly failed to report marriage-fee income

New Orleans Second City Court Judge Ernestine “Teena” Anderson-Trahan has been charged with filing false tax returns. The indictment has alleged that Anderson-Trahan failed to report the entire income that she earned for presiding over wedding ceremonies. She was typically paid between $80 and $100 in cash for officiating at the courthouse, prosecutors have said. Marriages performed outside normal business hours, outside the courthouse and on Valentine’s Day cost more. The indictment also has accused Anderson-Trahan of failing to report income from legal work before she became a judge. Her lawyer said she is not guilty of the charges. (Department of Justice press release,,

Man who received pig heart had stabbing conviction

David Bennett Sr., a man who received of first-of-its-kind heart transplant from a genetically modified pig, had been convicted in a 1988 stabbing. The victim was paralyzed as a result of the attack. No laws prevent people with criminal backgrounds from receiving transplants or medical procedures. “The key principle in medicine is to treat anyone who is sick, regardless of who they are,” said Arthur Caplan, a bioethics professor at New York University, in an interview with the Washington Post. “We are not in the business of sorting sinners from saints.” (The Washington Post, the New York Times)

Federal inmates win release with First Step Act credits

The federal Bureau of Prisons has begun transferring thousands of inmates out of prison because of good-time credits earned under the First Step Act, a criminal justice reform measure signed into law by former President Donald Trump. The inmates earned the credits for participating in programs designed to reduce recidivism. The inmates will go to supervised release programs, home confinement or halfway houses. (The Associated Press, Department of Justice press release)

Governor cuts trucker’s lengthy sentence in fatal crash

The judge who sentenced a trucker to 110 years in prison for a 2019 crash under a mandatory sentencing law canceled a Jan. 13 hearing for reconsideration after action by the governor. Judge A. Bruce Jones of the 2nd Judicial District Court canceled the hearing after Colorado Gov. Jared Polis commuted the sentence to 10 years in prison. The trucker, Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, was convicted for killing four people in the crash after his brakes failed. Jones was not allowed to reconsider the sentence until receiving a report from the Department of Corrections. (Fox News)

Legal services industry loses 300 jobs

The legal services industry lost 300 jobs in December following a gain of 3,000 jobs in November, according to seasonally adjusted and revised numbers by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The industry had 1,156,300 jobs in December, 1,156,600 jobs in November and 1,153,600 jobs in October. The December number is up 34,400 jobs from a year ago. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics press release)

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