(Washington Post) It's Monday morning in the Municipal and Traffic Court of New Orleans - misdemeanor rush hour in a city that traffics more heavily than most in public drunkenness and disturbing the peace.
Fifty-two arrestees, outfitted in orange and maroon jumpsuits, await their first appearance before a judge. Most are black. All require a public defender. And more than half of them are here, their hands chained against their stomachs, because they missed a court date for a minor crime, triggering an arrest warrant.
Lauren Anderson, a public defender and attorney supervisor for Municipal Court, is furious as she looks over a list of their names. "It doesn't make any sense," she says. "We're not making the city any safer," she said. "We're only hurting these people, and we just keep doing it over and over. It's infuriating."