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Charged with felonies in New Orleans? Watch out for prosecutors

Fans of the New Orleans Saints probably remember that former player Will Smith and his wife were shot on April 9, 2016 in what was described as a traffic dispute. The 29-year-old man charged in that incident was convicted on Dec. 11, 2016 of attempted manslaughter and manslaughter. He was subsequently sentenced to 25 years in prison. Now, Cardell Hayes seeks a new trial on the felonies he allegedly committed.

As part of the former tow-truck driver's appeal, he objects to the prosecution's use of a "DA's Subpoena." The controversial document was sent to the man's girlfriend. It looked official and even threatened imprisonment and fines for failure to comply with it. The only problem is that it was not signed by a judge. In fact, it was not even issued by the court clerk.

That essentially makes the subpoena legally worthless, but the man's girlfriend did not know that. The American Civil Liberties Union is now attempting to ascertain precisely for what New Orleans prosecutors have issued these subpoenas. A judge ordered this information for the year 2017 to be produced by July 31. Information covering the last four years is due within 60 days of that same order.

Anyone charged with felonies may want to determine whether one or more of these "fake" subpoenas was used in his or her case. Their use has not yet been classified openly as prosecutorial misconduct, but depending on rulings that could come out of Hayes' appeal and the inquiries by the ACLU, that could change. At the very least, it could mean a new trial or some other requested relief that may affect the outcome of Hayes' and other individuals' cases.

Source:, "Cardell Hayes' appeal in Will Smith killing seeks probe of fake 'DA's subpoena'", Ken Daley, July 24, 2017

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