It was a shocking abuse of power. Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro used fake subpoenas to coerce and intimidate victims – and even throw them in jail when they refused to comply with falsified documents.
The consequences of Cannizzaro's abuses of power were devastating. A rape victim waited for 12 days before she was brought to court from jail. A victim of child sex trafficking was imprisoned for 89 days before she went before a judge.
For nearly three years we’ve been battling to hold Cannizzaro accountable, and today we’re at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
DA Cannizzaro is claiming his misconduct was part of his job – but that’s a lie. Prosecutors can’t pretend to have the power that courts do.
That’s why, in partnership with Civil Rights Corps, we’re continuing the fight to restore justice and hold Cannizzaro accountable.
It’s notable that 36 former prosecutors, attorneys general, and justice officials have joined us to agree that Cannizzaro’s use of fraudulent subpoenas was a gross miscarriage of justice that does not deserve immunity.
In a friend-of-the-court brief filed last year, these current and former officials wrote that Cannizzaro’s conduct is not entitled to absolute immunity and that the use of fraudulent subpoenas “impedes the work of prosecutors and law enforcement officials by undermining confidence in the fairness of the criminal justice system and deterring victims and witnesses from coming forward to provide evidence.”
Cannizzaro's actions eroded trust in the justice system, revictimized people who had already endured a crime, and caused immense pain and suffering – especially in Black communities which were disproportionately targeted with these abusive tactics.
We're not giving him a free pass.