Deborah Cotton

Deborah Cotton

The New York Times has published an essay written by Deborah Cotton, the local writer who passed away this week, on the practice of arresting crime victims who refuse to testify in court. 

Cotton was shot in the stomach during the notorious Mother's Day second-line shooting in New Orleans four years ago, and she finally succumbed to her injuries Tuesday morning.

In the Times piece, she describes her own reluctance to speak with investigators, writing that she "didn't want to be part of the machine that sent men from my tribe to prison." 

Read the full essay here.

The Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office has been criticized recently for arresting victims and witnesses in order to compel their testimony.

The office also recently ended the practice of sending out letters with the word "subpoena" at the top, threatening reluctant witnesses with arrest and fines. 

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