The New Orleans Times Picayune recently reported on the elaborate trips enjoyed by a number of New Orleans’ judges at the taxpayers’ expense. The article explains:
“From the white sandy beaches of Florida to a mountain top resort in Montana and even a trip abroad to Panama, most New Orleans criminal district judges spent thousands in public dollars a year jetting off to conferences and events, even as they cut the court’s operating budget and faced a large backlog of cases, records reviewed by The Times-Picayune and WVUE Fox 8 News show. The expenses totaled more than $75,000 for legal education conferences and other out-of-town trips in an 18-month period that ended in June. In that time, the court cut spending for jury services, legal transcripts, building maintenance and other key areas. The trips also took judges away from the bench, some for periods totaling weeks, as the court grappled with hundreds of backlogged cases. Some of the most travel-happy jurists also were among those ranked least efficient in job performance by the non-profit watchdog Metropolitan Crime Commission.”
Read more from the investigation in The Times Picayune here.
You can also read The Times Picayune Editorial, where the Editorial Board writes: “There is no legitimate reason for the public to be charged for the judges’ trips to luxury destinations, and the state Supreme Court ought to put a stop to it.”
The Times Picayune also ran an Op-Ed from James Varney. He criticizes the trips, stating, “What a racket…Louisiana judges pry hundreds of thousands of dollars from the hardworking hands of people before them through court fees and costs. Then they funnel a lot of those dollars into fancy trips for themselves.”