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 Post subject: New Orleans City Hall is 'willfully mocking' - Nola.com
PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:01 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:53 pm
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New Orleans City Hall is 'willfully mocking' the Louisiana Supreme Court, lawyer says.

In New Orleans lawyer Henry Klein's view, the Louisiana Supreme Court simply isn't riled up enough. So he's doing his best to ruffle some feathers -- and make some history. In a recent complaint awash with purple prose, Klein, who has made it his personal crusade to get city officials to remove from delinquent tax bills certain fees that the high court in 2008 ruled unconstitutional, claims that City Hall is "willfully mocking this court and the law."
new-orleans-city-hall.jpg Times-Picayune archiveNew Orleans City Hall

Despite the court's ruling, Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration continues to include on delinquent bills a 10 percent penalty for late payment and a 9.5 percent penalty to cover outside attorney and collection fees. Under state law, the city's only remedies for nonpayment of property taxes are to charge annual interest or to sell the property at a tax sale, judges have ruled.

"It is this court's dignity which is being mocked; it is this court's orders and findings that are being disregarded; it is this court's authority that is being disobeyed with impunity," Klein writes in his May 23 petition.

According to Klein, the city's refusal to follow the law is so blatant that Attorney General Buddy Caldwell should bring an action for contempt against the city.

Klein even wants the state's highest court to preside over a full-blown contempt trial, and he compares the tax-bill issue with a 1906 case that stands as the only criminal trial ever held at the U.S. Supreme Court.

In United States v. Shipp, the court convicted Sheriff John Shipp of Hamilton County, Tenn., and several co-defendants of contempt and sent them to federal prison for a few months for disregarding a lower court's order to protect a man convicted of rape and instead allowing a mob to seize and kill him.

"In Shipp, a likely innocent man was murdered," Klein writes. "In New Orleans, tens of thousands of its citizens have been and are being robbed for no good reason." He adds: "It is the city's primary duty as a governing body to protect -- not bilk -- the people."

Klein also notes that Justice Edward Douglass White, a Louisianian who served on the court that ruled in the 1906 case, is memorialized in a statue that stands in front of the state Supreme Court building on Royal Street.

No word yet on whether the modern-day justices will follow in White's footsteps and hear the City Hall case.

Article Source: http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/ ... willf.html


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