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Morris Bart lawyers to screen misdemeanor gun charges for DA | courts

The “exponential increase” in guns on the streets has led the Orleans Parish district attorney‘s office to draft Morris Bart’s civil law firm for free help in screening cases for prosecutors.

“When you’re the murder capital of the world, you have to start thinking differently,” District Attorney Jason Williams said Tuesday in announcing the unusual partnership. “As opposed to pointing fingers, [Bart] saw a need.”

A team of at least six lawyers affiliated with Bart, a personal injury lawyer regionally famous for his prolific advertising, are reviewing police reports on misdemeanor weapons arrests and making non-binding recommendations on whether prosecutors should file formal charges, Williams said.

Hoping to curb violence

Williams said he hopes the screening assistance helps his prosecutors move faster through those cases and, eventually, curb shootings and other violent crimes.

Personal injury lawyer Morris Bart and Orleans Parish District Attorney Jason Williams announces a partnership that has lawyers from Bart’s civil law firm helping the DA’s office screen misdemeanor weapons cases for criminal prosecution. Story at

In a city where the number of murders has been increasing for more than three years, Bart said his firm won’t be paid for its public work. Instead, he said of the partnership, “I wanted to step up. I wanted to do something very meaningful.”

Dane Ciolino, a professor of legal ethics at Loyola University, called the arrangement “unusual but not unethical.” And he hailed the partnership: “Anything you can do to get the community and lawyers in the community more involved in public safety – it’s a good thing.”

Gun cases dismissed

The announcement came two weeks after one of Williams’ division heads, Emily Maw, unilaterally dismissed gun complaints against nine people in the Magistrate Court on Mardi Gras. Williams has called her decisions “improper and unrepresentative of

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