New Orleans Prosecutors Routinely Violate Defendants’ Right to Counsel to Keep Them in Jail


Written by Jordan Smith

From the start, the murder that William Bonham was charged with looked like a case of self-defense.

Bonham was arrested for the stabbing death of his friend Kent “Frenchy” Brouillette in December 2015. The whole thing had started several months earlier, when Bonham, a musician who played gigs in New Orleans’s French Quarter, had $25,000 worth of instruments and equipment stolen from his room in a tenement house where both he and Brouillette lived. He reported the theft to police, but the cop assigned to the case was uninterested, suggesting that the situation sounded like a civil matter. Undeterred, Bonham did his own investigation and determined that others in the house, including Brouillette, were responsible. According to court records, Brouillette told Bonham to drop the matter or he would kill him.

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