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Judge orders Sheriff Susan Hutson to take inmates to court dates

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — A shortage of deputies prompted a showdown Monday (October 16) between Criminal Court Judge Laurie White and Attorneys for Orleans Township Sheriff Susan Hutson.

The sheriff continues its policy of bringing at least 90 inmates into the courthouse per day, with each of the 12 judges allowed to see inmates in their courtrooms two days per week.

But Judge White issued an order requiring inmates to be brought to their courtroom every time she asked to see them in court.

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Sheriff Hutson did not appear at the courthouse, but her attorneys and sheriff’s chief of staff John Williams appeared on her behalf, arguing against bringing inmates into the courthouse when judges wanted them on trial.

“We want to make sure we’re not bringing in too many defendants (if) we don’t have the staff to make sure every section of the court is secure,” Williams said.

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Williams also told Judge White that Sheriff Hutson met with the 11 other judges at the criminal court last week and they all agreed to the current arrangement.

Sheriff Susan Hutson publishes a report with over 200 recommendations for action at OPSO

While Judge White received all 17 inmates she had asked to appear in her courtroom on Monday, she was not happy with the order.

“You’re understaffed, not underpaid,” Judge White said, adding that she is willing to do her job on the bench and Sheriff Hutson should do her part by bringing defendants to justice when White asks them to to appear.

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