New Orleans Criminal Court Judge Charles Elloie, who has been widely criticized for granting thousands of free or reduced bail bonds — including to felons accused of violent crimes — has been suspended by the Louisiana Supreme Court, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The order came on the recommendation of the Louisiana Judiciary Commission, a nine-member panel of judges, lawyers, and laymen that investigates alleged judicial misconduct. The commission agrees with arguments made by the Metropolitan Crime Commission in New Orleans, a nonprofit watchdog group whose leaders for years have criticized Elloie’s judgment as a public safety hazard.
Elloie attorney Jim Boren said the court suspended Elloie without allowing him a hearing or time to review and submit a response to the suspension recommendation. “We believe that there are completely valid reasons for the (bail bond) decisions that he made in each one of the instances that the court and the commission is criticizing him about,” he said. While suspended, Elloie, 68, will continue to collect his annual salary of about $110,000. The commission said Elloie did not answer several of its requests for responses to complaints it received about him. Boren said some of the panel’s letters did not arrive because they were sent to the courthouse when it was closed after Hurricane Katrina.