03 November 2006

3rd circuit calls off wilbert rideau bill collectors

obviously, some people in louisiana dont know when they are beat. this is a scary example of what can happen when a malicious louisiana prosecutor and justice system has it in for you. wilbert rideau who according to the march 1993 issue of life magazine is "the most rehabilitated prisoner in america"

"On January 15, 2005, Wilbert Rideau was convicted of manslaughter. He waived the delays for sentencing. The trial court sentenced Rideau to serve the maximum term of twenty-one years at hard labor, with credit for time served.1 Since he had already served forty-four years in Angola, he was released from custody and became a free man. As part of the sentence, the trial court ordered Rideau “to pay all court costs associated with these proceedings.” Rideau was not informed of the amount of the costs at the time of sentencing. Sixty days later, on March 15, 2005, the trial court issued an Order casting Rideau with court costs and indigent defense fees in the amount of $127,905.45 [100,741.52 eur]..."

In 1961, Wilbert Rideau robbed a bank in Lake Charles, Louisiana kidnaped three bank employees, and murdered one of the tellers, Julia Ferguson. Rideau was black, nineteen years old and indigent. The crime was sensational news in Lake Charles. Passions ran high and televised details of the crime, including an “interview” with Rideau was broadcast throughout the area. Because of the highly charged atmosphere in Lake Charles, the defense moved for a change of venue, which was denied by the trial court. Justice was administered swiftly, although not constitutionally, for Rideau.

He was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death. The conviction was reversed by the United States Supreme Court. Rideau v. Louisiana, 373 U.S. 723, 83 S.Ct. 1417 (1963). In a stinging indictment of the criminal justice system in Calcasieu Parish, the Court called the proceedings a “kangaroo court” and described the events leading up to and during the trial as a “spectacle.” Id. at 725-26. Significantly, the Court noted the handling of Rideau’s case was unprecedented in Calcasieu Parish and this Defendant was being singled out for special treatment by the criminal justice system. Id. at 727. This observation, made by the Court in 1963, holds true even today.
the third circuit added: "We note, as well, the Indigent Defender’s Board, the real party in interest, has not sought to recoup any costs of defense or other fees from Rideau."