Jim Letten ‘weighing options’ for future

NEW ORLEANS — At his first public appearance since leaving office, former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said he is still weighing his options for the future.

Letten also said he is optimistic that New Orleans officials and the Justice Department will work together to improve the city’s troubled Police Department, despite recent differences between the two sides over the costs of reform.

Letten wouldn’t comment on specifics regarding the police issue or cases he oversaw as U.S. attorney.

Letten resigned last month. His departure came after two veteran prosecutors in his office admitted anonymously posting criticism of judges and comments about cases on a newspaper website.

He spoke with reporters Tuesday at a hotel where he addressed a benefit for the “Court Watch NOLA” organization, which monitors New Orleans’ criminal justice system.

Man accused of arson of mother’s home

MONROE — Authorities say Dominique Ellis, 38, of Monroe, was arrested Sunday on an aggravated arson charge after allegedly setting his mother’s house on fire with people inside.

According to an arrest affidavit, the victim told Ellis to leave her home on Saturday after Ellis told her he wanted to see her die. Ellis returned on Sunday around 9:50 p.m., poured gasoline on the northwest corner and the north side of the home, set it on fire, then went to his vehicle and sat in it.

Police said Ellis was found sitting in his vehicle with a lighter in his hand and no cigarettes.

Ellis was booked at Ouachita Correctional Center. His bond is set at $40,000.

Newlyweds headed to separate prisons

THIBODAUX — A Lafourche Parish couple spent the first week of their marriage free, but could spend the next nine years in separate prison cells as they serve time for cocaine distribution.

Tanna Hawkins, 30, and Tara Robinson Hawkins, 28, were married the first week of January, something they did knowing their individual guilty pleas would result in the prison sentences.

The convictions on unrelated charges would have also prevented them from cohabiting after their release because convicted felons on probation, as they will be after they’ve served their time, can’t live together unless they’re married.

Officials said Tanna and Tara’s crimes were unrelated and each had prior drug offenses.

Compiled from

The Associated Press