In last weeks cover story, Playing Defense, regarding the Orleans Public Defenders office, Chief Public Defender Derwyn Bunton complained the New Orleans Police Department was arresting too many people on minor violations, particularly drug violations.
NOPD spokesman, Bob Young, responded by saying the city doesnt have a city ordinance regarding small narcotics violations, so every violation must go to state court, and summonses cant be issued for state court.
Or can they?
Buntons reply I know of no state law which forces police to take people into custody for minor violations, whether those violations be state or municipal seems correct. In fact, according to the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Article 211 http://www.legis.state.la.us/lss/lss.asp?doc=112355, police have the right to issue a summons instead making an arrest as long as the following exist:
So why then does NOPD continue to arrest people for misdemeanor drug violations when a summons would be sufficient?