By Eli Brand, WDSU

July 31, 2023

Former Orleans Parish prosecutor and current attorney Blake Arcuri says Orleans Parish District Attorney Jason William’s track record of refusing charges has allowed some suspects to commit other crimes.

Arcuri says an example can be seen from this Wednesday when NOPD arrested Keddrick Butler for allegedly breaking into 27 cars, being in possession of six stolen guns and having a stolen car.

Documents show that last September Butler had obstruction of justice and illegal carrying of a firearm charges refused by Williams.

“In this current case, if you look at it, I think people have to ask themselves, if the DA and the courts had done their job and detained him for these multiple domestic batteries, for resisting arrest, how many people’s lives would be different in this city? How many people walked out to go to work and found a broken car glass? Had to vacuum up glass out of a child’s car seat? Had property missing?” said Arcuri.

Arcuri also pointed out that Butler had multiple charges in June of 2023 including illegal carrying of a weapon, obstruction of justice, resisting an officer and battery on a pregnant woman. Those charges were pressed by the DA but Butler was only given a $26,000 bond. Something Arcuri says is much too low.

“You see people talking about moving away to neighboring parishes. This does not happen in Jefferson Parish. People are not waking up there with car windows smashed. It’s happening here for a reason. If the court system is working, they’re setting extraordinarily low bonds that are inappropriate and the DA is not following through on prosecutions,” said Arcuri.

A month after that bond was set butler was arrested for those car break-ins.

“If the whole thing doesn’t work collectively then were going to see what we keep seeing over and over again. Where the police are arresting the same people over and over again. It seems something that needs to be fixed,” said Bob Simms, a resident of the NOPD 8th district where police say Butler committed his crimes.

Arcuri says Butler isn’t the only case where someone who had charges refused by Williams committed another crime.

Tyrese Harris, who just pled guilty to killing a 12-year-old earlier this month was charged with aggravated flight and armed robbery the September before the killing, but court documents show Williams refused the robbery charge.

The Metropolitan Crime Commission also reports that in 2021 around half of all violent cases were refused or dismissed by Williams as compared to under 20% by the last DA Leon Cannizaro.

We have reached out multiple times to the DA’s office for a response to the criticism and spokesperson sent over the following response:

“Charges against Keddrick Butler were refused based upon the constitution and the law. There was insufficient reasonable suspicion for a stop of Mr. Butler with regard to those earlier charges. Mr. Butler was one of four men standing in proximity to one another when officers developed probable cause to arrest one of them.

While we and our partners are pursuing every avenue to deal with lawbreakers, we cannot do so violating civil liberties based purely on a person’s proximity to a responsible party or Ignore the United States Constitution. Prosecutors have a legal and ethical obligation to adhere to the constitution for all people.”