New Orleans Court System Ready to Go After Nearly One Year

Nick Fishman

The good news is that after one year of virtual inactivity criminal courts in New Orleans have finally started hearing cases.  The bad news is that the court’s backlog of cases has swelled from 3,500 case pre-Katrina to over 6,000 cases.  It is going to take some time, but progress is good for the city of New Orleans, it court system and for employers who conduct background checks and the applicants they screen.

The benefits for city and its courts are obvious, but here are the not so obvious benefits of the courts reopening.  Imagine if you were an employer, screening an applicant with a pending criminal record in Orleans Parrish in September of 2005.  Do you know that to this day, there still wouldn’t be a decision in that case?  Say that pending case was serious in nature and if a conviction resulted would adversely affect an employer’s hiring decision.  The employer has a few choices.  They can hire the applicant knowing that this case could result in a conviction.  This has the potential to compromise the employer in several ways.  First, what if the case ultimately ends with a conviction and results in a jail sentence? The employer now invested time and money into that employee and very well might lose them to the prison system.  Maybe the conviction doesn’t result in jail time, but due to the nature of the offense, the employee is no longer eligible for employment.  The same scenario repeats.  In the event that the employer withheld an offer based on the outcome of the case, chances are that the applicant would be long gone by now and an otherwise perfect candidate will have been lost.  Under this scenario, the applicant might be unfairly affected as well.  Let’s assume that the pending case does not result in a conviction and the charges made them unemployable until cleared.  This person would have been denied employment for nearly a year even if the case was heard and dispensed of today.

The fact of the matter is that Hurricane Katrina caused massive devastation to an entire city and one year later we are still seeing the ripple affects it has caused.  We look forward to many more positive developments out of this region in the weeks and months to come.

Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
Nick Fishman
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