U.S. District Court Judge Susie Morgan on Friday, Aug. 31, ruled against all four entities seeking full party status in litigation leading to the final approval of the proposed consent decree between the U.S. Department of Justice and the New Orleans Police Department. The four parties requesting to intervene in the consent decree were the Office of the Independent Police Monitor (IPM), officers' associations the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and the Police Association of New Orleans (PANO), and the citizens' group Community United for Change.
PANO and FOP had argued that changes to recruitment, promotion and evaluation policies called for in the proposed consent decree impaired employment rights officers were guaranteed by city civil service rules. But Morgan found those changes are as yet unspecified, and the associations could not identify how they may affect their rights.
Although she denied PANO's and FOP's requests to intervene, Morgan said the associations may have a right to intervene later, should the city attempt to use the consent decree to change civil service rules.
IPM's request was denied on the basis that the office is a component unit of the Office of Inspector General and cannot sue on its own behalf. Morgan found that Community United for Change failed to demonstrate that its members rights would be affected if the group were not allowed full status in litigation regarding the consent decree.
In the conclusion to her order, however, Morgan wrote that she would not "rubber stamp" any agreement that did not address their concerns.
An evidentiary hearing on the full consent decree is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 5, in U.S. District Court. — Charles Maldonado