By Ka’Cell El-Mansura | WGNO | February 25, 2023

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — On Tuesday (Feb. 21) during Mardi Gras, the NOPD confiscated around 250 guns, but those accused of carrying the illegal firearms will not be facing charges.

According to the New Orleans Metropolitan Crime Commission, during a bond hearing the District Attorney’s office refused to charge the 19 cases as long as the arrested individuals waived their right to collect their firearms.

ADA Emily Maw waived the charges without reviewing police reports and also did so without informing District Attorney Jason Williams of her decision.

“The ADA that made this decision to go into court that day and do what she did, has put the District Attorney’s office in a very precarious situation because he professed he wants to go back and do the right thing, but he may be blocked from doing the right thing,” stated Rafael Goyeneche, Metropolitan Crime Commission President.

Goyeneche believes that this incident could set a precedent for future cases involving gun charges.

He also took to Twitter to address the DA’s office.

In a statement regarding the dropped cases, below is the DA’s response:

“Taking guns off the street through aggressive enforcement and prosecution under existing gun laws is a top priority of our office. Prior to Mardi Gras, the DA met with our law enforcement partners at LSP and NOPD to reaffirm our joint support for this work.

The DA’s Office is committed to a thorough screening process for each charge delivered from law enforcement, the Assistant DA assigned to the initial review of these cases during first appearances deviated from our standard practice. We communicated this to our law enforcement partners and reaffirmed our shared commitment to the importance of prosecuting gun crimes to abate violence in our streets.

The Assistant DA’s strategic decision to refuse these misdemeanors in exchange for forfeiture of the weapons at first appearance was improper and does not represent our office policy or procedure. DA Williams has ordered an extensive internal review of each matter brought before magistrate court on this date, as well as appropriate remedial measures to prevent similar unauthorized activity in the future. This instance will otherwise be handled as an internal personnel matter.

DA Williams remains resolute in his commitment to seek justice for the people of this city and extends his sincere gratitude to all the men and women in law enforcement, locally and from afar, who worked tirelessly this past week, risking their own safety, to ensure a swift response to potential threats this Mardi Gras season.”