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Baton Rouge's gun violence cases could soon be handled by a dedicated court

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BATON ROUGE - A judge is offering a solution to speed up justice in violent crime cases: a separate court dedicated to prosecuting gun violence in the city.

Baton Rouge police were called out to their latest homicide investigation Thursday afternoon.

"Every day there is a shooting... That shouldn't be the case here, not in East Baton Rouge Parish. We're going to deal with that," Chief Judge Donald Johnson for the 19th Judicial District Court said.

Thursday's deadly shooting is another case that could end up in front of a judge. It happened one day after local and federal officials announced a plan to try to put a major dent in the crime problem.

Judge Johnson says it's not only up to the police and the District Attorney's office, but also those on the bench.

"As we see the need and the involvement, it takes intentionality, and it takes a dedicated workforce," Johnson said.

The judge, who is seeking reelection, plans to ask state lawmakers to fund a dedicated court here for crimes involving gun violence. It would be a test run. He says it takes too long right now for an offender to go to trial, allowing them to bail out, get a new gun, and start the cycle all over again.

Johnson is not the only one asking for a change. The Orleans Parish District Attorney hopes lawmakers will amend laws involving juveniles with guns. EBR District Attorney Hillar Moore wants laws involving felons and modified guns to be toughened.

Johnson plans to meet with legislation next year to discuss his idea.


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