" The lawsuit states that the "defendants knowing paid out far less than policy holders deserved to repair flooded homes and property [Officials throughout NFIP] deliberately and fraudulently used low-balling, high pressure tactics to get people to accept pennies on the dollar of what they are entitled to. (Seid, 2005)
In an article entitled "Multiple Failures Caused Relief Crisis - The Breakdown of the Relief Operation in New Orleans was the Result of Multiple Failures by City, State and Federal Authorities" (Reynolds, 2005 BBC News) which states: There was no one cause. The failures began long before the hurricane with a gamble that a Category Four or Five would not strike New Orleans." (Reynolds, 2005 BBC News) This mistake followed with an evacuation plan that was lacking and resulted in "a relief effort hampered by lack of planning, supplies and manpower, and a breakdown in communications of the most basic sort." FEMA expressed confidence in its readiness. However, the statement of Michael Brown, was a lame warning stating only "There's still time to take action now, but you must be prepared and take shelter and other emergency precautions immediately." One wonders why he did not state that the inhabitants of the city should evacuate with the hurricane of such force approaching? According to the BBC News Report of Reynolds (2005) Louisiana Governor stated that the President had called with an appeal for a 'mandatory evacuation.' Another problem was the gamble by the government, the Army Corps of Engineer commander, and the Washington "collective mindset that New Orleans would not be hit." (Reynolds, BBC News 2005) The city's levees were last strengthened in 1969 however, enough only to withstand a Category Three hurricane. Improvements of only $500 million over the next decade are reported and after 2003 to present "The Bush administration cut funds amid charges from the Army Corps of Engineers that the money was transferred to Iraq instead."(Reynolds, BBC News, 2005)
Another subject reported by BBC News is the racial and ethnic division that has come to the forefront being exposed since the hurricane. The area most devastated by the hurricane was an area known to be in danger due to the levees in the case of a hurricane and a place home to poor black people living from paycheck to paycheck, without transportation, and therefore without a way to escape the approaching hurricane. (Shields, BBC News, 2005)
It was stated in a report at the Alex Jones Prison Planet website that the New Orleans swat team showed up on shirts and caps with burning skulls and lightening bolts for the purpose of intimidating victims and forcing them to leave their homes...even those who still had homes in which to stay. (Jones, 2005)
Astounding news has come from the Total Analysis Online website in a report entitled: "Earwitness Tells ABC Explosives Blew the Industrial Canal Levee." Stated in the comments on the site was the following:
One should think in terms of hydrodynamics when considering the catastrophic failure of a reinforced, recently upgraded levee (17th street canal). Water seeks the path of least resistance. How does water traveling parallel to the levee walls apply sufficient hydraulic or perpendicular force to compromise grade 1 concrete, given three important factors: (1) There was no storm surge applied. (2) The Hurricane had passed; and (3) This is an open air canal. Excess water would simply spill over the sides, not cause a physical breach.
While the city, state and federal government of course denies the plausibility of this, it is clear that the people of New Orleans will want this addressed along with the plethora of other things which have plagued this city during this disaster and the situations of further aggravated crisis which followed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Steinahauer & Lipton (2005) report for the New York Times that FEMA has been extremely slow in its response to the victims in New Orleans.
Finally a report from the Vera Institute of Justice, Inc. (2002) entitled "The Administration of justice Under Emergency Conditions: Lessons Following the Attack on the World Trade Center" clearly outlines the responsibilities of those in positions of leadership during incidents such as the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The report came from the study of ad hoc committee, appointed by New York City Mayor, John V. Lindsay. The committee found that "reported crime, arrests and prosecutions all dropped dramatically after the World Trade Center catastrophe. In fact stated is that "The attack on the World Trade Center united disparate New Yorkers in ways that are unlikely to be repeated in future emergencies faced by a local justice system. Many people felt an overwhelming need to contribute to the common good in the days following September 11."(Vera Institute of Justice, Inc. 2002) Multiple factors are involved in the event of a crisis on the criminal justice level. While New York's tragedy did not have elements typical of strain for the credibility of the government, or elements that created suspicion of the police officers, it was acknowledged by the report that these factors must be considered while assuring the fair and the effective administration of justice during times of crisis while at the same time focusing toward the reduction of tensions.
The report states that: "Emergencies test the dexterity of the justice system. Civil unrest, we know from recent history, can overwhelm the courts with masses of arrests, terrorists attacks, we know since September 11, can force courts to operate without phones, computer, police witnesses, and even buildings. Whatever the emergency the challenge is to restore the administration of justice - with individual consideration of each case - as soon as possible." (Vera Institute of Justice, Inc., 2002) The committee stated that "Our examination of the response of the courts to the events of September 11, and our review of early guides to the administration of justice during emergencies lead us to suggest that future planning exercises and drills focus on the four issues we have identified as crucial."(Vera Institute of Justice, Inc., 2002) Those four issues were named to be (1) Leadership; (2) Business as Usual (3) Communication; and (4) Police availability.
Leadership in times of crisis requires that leaders have the ability to make decisions which are sound and to make those decisions in an autonomous manner in the hours just following the emergency. The second phase of leadership during times of emergency requires close communication between judicial and executive leaders.
Business as usual is the returning to normal operations expediently including having plans for safety, evacuation, as well as advance planning for temporary courtrooms if needed.
Communication is first the re-establishing of communication first following an emergency as well as maintaining consistently updated contact lists of government and judicial members.
Police availability simply is assured through relieving police officers of courtroom appearances in the days first following an emergency. This may require postponements by the court of cases that are set to be heard and requires the courts do this is a manner the all are ensured to being notified of the new date after the postponement of the case.
Findings of The Research
Clearly, this ad hoc committee in New York pointed out the well planned judicial and executive administration in New York City which helped the city to avoid mass arrests, loss of government credibility and in fact much of what is known to have occurred in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina dealt her blow to the city. It is the opinion of this researcher that legal oversight occurred on an expansive basis in New Orleans both before, due to lack of planning and after, due to mismanagement of the destruction of the hurricane. While it is still early in the process, it is clear that criminal charges will be an issue both on the part of citizens wrongfully arrested and on the part of officials that may be wrongfully not arrested for their actions following the hurricane.
Katrina: Post-Hurricane Failure in New Orleans
Design and Objectives
This research has been conducted through review of literature, news reports, commentaries, eyewitness reports and other information obtained relating to the hurricane and its accompanying impacts, both natural and man inflicted upon the city of New Orleans. The objective of this research is to contrast the administration of justice in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina with another similar event and the handling of that event by the judicial and executive leadership within the city.
Strategies of the Project
This project first looked at all available facts published to date in literature, specifically news reports by both major and minor news media sources that related to what took place in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Further, this project defined its strategies by researching and examining the most previous…