February 5, 2022
In our 15 years in operation, we have compiled and reviewed thousands of pages of data on our city’s crime rates, arrest rates, and rates of incarceration. Objective analysis is the backbone of our organization. For our community to create the criminal legal system we need, it is imperative that we examine the courts from all sides — and that includes pretrial detentions and releases.
Many of you may have seen reporting that 701 releases have increased by nearly 600% since DA Williams took office. Court Watch NOLA has been investigating this issue, and will update the community as soon as we have completed our analysis.
Until that is complete, we want to provide context to our community. 701 releases are an administrative function that involve multiple stakeholders: not just the DA’s office, but the criminal courts and NOPD. These releases are triggered when an accused individual is detained, but not formally charged within a set period of time. All crimes, violent or non-violent, are subject to these 701 releases. In accordance with a defendant’s right to a speedy trial, 701 releases exist to guarantee that citizens do not languish in our jails without being charged. While we do not comment on ongoing cases, we recognize that until conviction all citizens are innocent in the eyes of the law.
As we continue to investigate the source of this issue, we welcome questions from the community.
Court Watch NOLA