Federal investigators in New Orleans are questioning officials at Orleans Parish Criminal District Court about an alleged scheme in which a defense lawyer and a former court-employed drug counselor asked people on probation for money and offered to make it look as if they passed a urine drug test that they never took, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Probationers recently came to court officials complaining of “something being afoot,” said Chief Judge Calvin Johnson.
“In our system we have checks and balances,” Johnson said. “Maybe it’s possible for a case manager to fudge a drug test, but I don’t know how. It’s computerized. The results are computer generated.” It’s unclear whether money actually changed hands, but the alleged scheme involved using the threat of jail time to intimidate probationers into paying cash to satisfy their obligations to test clean to stay in the program, sources said. Failing a drug test doesn’t automatically translate into jail time for probationers. “There are graduated sanctions,” Johnson said. “Community service is the first sanction for failing a drug test. They’re drug addicts. We expect (some) to fail.”