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New Orleans man jailed nearly 8 years awaiting trial on drug charge — and judge blames delay on him

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A Louisiana man spent nearly 3,000 days in jail awaiting trial on a drug charge — and the judge blamed his defense attorney’s requests for a speedy trial.

Kevin Smith was arrested in New Orleans on Feb. 11, 2010, when state police and federal drug agents found baggies of crack cocaine inside a safe at his New Orleans home, reported The Advocate.

The parolee faced a possible 20-year to life term in prison as a habitual offender, one of his lawyers said, due to a previous drug charge.

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That parole issue also prevented Smith from being released on $50,000 bail as he awaited trial.

His trial on one charge of felony possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine was originally scheduled for Aug. 9, 2011, but the state stopped after seven jurors were picked because prosecutors claimed to have discovered new evidence that should have been given to Smith’s attorneys.

Prosecutors dismissed the original charge and brought a new one the following day — which restarted the two-year deadline to try the case.

Hurricane Isaac hit Louisiana the day before his next trial was set to begin, Aug. 29, 2012, and the courthouse was closed for several days.

Prosecutors argued their two-year deadline was again reset under a law passed after Hurricane Katrina, and then Smith’s case was transferred to another section of court — and a new judge, who inexplicably never got his case until May 2013.

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Smith rejected a 10-year plea deal, which could have gotten him released in January 2015, but he insisted he was not guilty and wanted the case to be tried.

He filed a motion on his own behalf for a trial after defense attorneys asked for a mental competency exam, and Smith was found to be competent, but his attorneys told the court they were not ready to try the case.

Both prosecutors and Smith’s attorneys requested delays, and the jailed man again filed a motion on his own behalf, in December 2016, asking to quash the charges because his right to a speedy trial had been denied.

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Smith’s attorneys agreed, and they asked Criminal District Court Judge Tracey Flemings-Davillier to dismiss the case.

But the judge ruled against Smith, finding that the hurricane and Smith’s mental competency hearing had justifiably pushed back his trial deadline by four years.

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Smith’s lawyers appealed Flemings-Davillier’s ruling, and the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal ruled in his favor and ordered him freed.

Prosecutors then appealed that decision, but the Louisiana Supreme Court declined to hear the case last week.

Smith had to wait a bit longer for his release, however.

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Flemings-Davillier said Thursday that she would allow prosecutors to argue again that Smith should remain jailed, but they finally dropped their opposition to quashing the case after a hearing Monday.

The judge ordered Smith released Monday, 2,832 days after he was first jailed, and he’s expected to go free within a few days.

The judge blamed Smith and his attorneys for filing so many motions seeking a speedy trial, and prosecutors agree.

“How do I feel about it? Why didn’t the case go to trial? Well, because the defendant did a masterful job of continuing the case over and over again,” said District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.

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Flemings-Davillier admitted she could not assure that another defendant might face such a lengthy delay.

“I’m not going to say it can’t happen again, but this one had so many factors,” the judge said.


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Protesters in Lafayette Park hit with gas for second night in a row: report

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On Tuesday, with just minutes before the D.C. curfew was scheduled to take effect, protesters gathered in Lafayette Park, piling up against the White House fence.

According to reporters, tear gas was released for the second night in a row — hitting some of the demonstrators.

It’s 25 minutes to curfew, and protestors are bracing for it. There’s an 8-foot fence around Lafayette Park. Most of the police are inside. Some DHS FPS are on Vermont Ave. Some DC Police are up on K. pic.twitter.com/CgOobT334H

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Protesters march on Gracie Mansion as criticism grows against NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has been highly criticized for his response to the protests against police violence.

The mayor has been criticized by protesters and the press for violence inflicted by the New York Police Department.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly blasted the city's response.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1267835873405665282

Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) also criticized the mayor, for not doing his job.

https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1267893962918035456

Here are some of the scenes of protesters marching on Gracie Mansion, while the NYPD tried to protect the historic building:

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Fox host rips Trump for ‘weakness’ after gas and rubber bullets were fired at protesters to clear way for photo-op

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After police backed by the National Guard unleashed tear gas, rubber bullets and flash-bang shells on peaceful protesters to clear the way for President Donald Trump to have his photo taken holding a Bible in front of historic St. John's Episcopal Church, Fox News host Tucker Carlson criticized the commander in chief for being too lenient in stopping the "animals."
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