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La. court accused of ignoring appeals

NEW ORLEANS, July 1 (UPI) -- Inmates' attorneys are asking the Louisiana Supreme Court to investigate their claim a lower court for 13 years illegally ignored more than 2,000 appeals.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeal in Gretna illegally allowed one judge to handle all pro se writ applications from persons without an attorney between Feb. 8, 1994, and May 2007, a June 10 petition from attorneys for inmates Kerry Myers and Ted Addison alleges. Even worse, they claim their appeals and those of others were actually denied by an appeals court employee rather than a judge, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported Tuesday.

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That employee, Jerrold Peterson, committed suicide in his courthouse office last year reportedly after writing letters to 5th Circuit judges and the Louisiana Judiciary Commission's general counsel, describing how he handled the pro se writ applications. His letters said the court received $300 for each writ application despite having never reviewed the ones filed by people who did not have attorneys.

"It seems ironic now that I earned more money for the court than any judge, and possibly all judges combined," Peterson wrote.

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