C-Murder: Rapper Lives His Lyrics
Retrial Date Set and Postponed
In another development in the five-year-long C-Murder saga, the February 26, 2007, retrial date for Corey Miller set by Judge Martha Sassone was postponed indefinitely.
The decision by the Jefferson Parish District Attorney's Office to go ahead with the retrial had put to rest doubts that they would proceed in light of the discovery that the prosecution, during Miller's 2003 trial, had failed to disclose to the defense the criminal records of key witnesses who had claimed to have seen Miller shoot Steve Thomas. This oversight led Judge Sassone to order a new trial for Miller.
Prior to their decision to proceed with the retrial, it had not been known if the prosecutors still planned to use the same witnesses who had testified against Miller in the first trial. Ron Rakosky and Robert Glass still remain Miller's attorneys of record. Assistant DAs Roger Jordan and David Wolff are expected to make the state's case against Miller.
Before retrial date was initially set, however, some developments unfolded that left the New Orleans media and local observers scratching their heads in puzzlement. Sassone, widely known as the tough judge who had once sentenced a convicted armed robber to 792 years in jail, inexplicably eased Miller's home incarceration restrictions, even though he had reportedly violated the program's terms on a number of occasions.
In a hearing on July 13, 2006, prosecutors had sought to have Miller removed from the home incarceration program and returned to the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center for the program violations, including being out of range of monitoring devices for extended periods of time, stop-offs at unauthorized locations while outside his home, and having unapproved visitors at the home, including his girlfriend. However, instead of approving the prosecutors' recommendations, Sassone went in the opposite direction and gave Miller more leeway than he had previously.
Sassone ruled that Miller no longer had to wear the monitoring device on his ankle and could move about freely anywhere within Jefferson Parish and New Orleans, as long as he remained at his grandmother's home between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. He was forbidden to go to bars or drink alcohol, and there were still restrictions on the visitors he could have at home, but apparently his girlfriend was not one of those restricted. She was with him at the July 13 hearing and left the courtroom with him and family members after Sassone had issued her ruling.
Among the reasons Sassone cited for releasing Miller from many of the restrictions of home incarceration was the "burden" they had placed on those in charge of monitoring the program. After the decision was reported in the media, it drew a very vocal objection from Chief Arthur Lawson of the Gretna Police Department, which oversees the program. Lawson was quoted in the Times-Picayune as saying, "We certainly don't feel that it was a burden. It certainly wasn't the sentiment of our officers, the office, or the program." Lawson's comments did not become public for more than a week after Sassone's ruling because the prior gag order she had imposed on the case was only lifted days earlier.