Thursday, February 23, 2006


Judge rejects legislators' bid to get FEMA list of evacuees

The Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Two New Orleans legislators lawmakers have failed again in their attempt to have the state to release the list of residents who have requested assistance from FEMA.

State Sen. Cleo Fields, D-Baton Rouge, said Wednesday's refusal ruling by State District Judge William Morvant to order the release sets the stage for New Orleans to hold a secret mayoral election in April.

Fields filed the suit on behalf of state Reps. Charmaine Marchand and Cedric Richmond.

"How are these people going to run for office if they can't get in touch with their constituents?" Fields said after court.

"Ninety-seven percent of the people in their districts have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina. We are going to have a public election without having a public voting roll," Fields said. "It is totally against democracy."

Marchand said she will ask the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal to review Morvant's ruling and Fields predicted the case will end up before the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Morvant found that Fields and New Orleans attorney Jonathan Augustine failed to prove that the FEMA list is a public record and did not show that Secretary of State Al Ater has any duty to release the records to the elected officials.

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