U.S. District Court Judge Lance Africk has preliminarily approved a proposed consent decree for the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office and Orleans Parish Prison. Africk will not sign off on final approval until after a fairness hearing, now scheduled for April 1.
A trial on funding for the decree, originally set for April, is now scheduled for late May. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has said the money Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman has requested — taken along with new expenses for the New Orleans Police Department consent decree — could bankrupt the city. Landrieu wants Africk to slow things down, but the judge's ruling last week suggests he's moving forward quickly.
With the issue of funding unresolved, exactly what the preliminary approval means for implementation of the agreement remains unclear.
— Charles Maldonado