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December 16, 2010     The Ponchatoula Times
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December 16, 2010

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Fine Food & Entertainment, Ask an Attorney "How long will my lawsuit last?" By PARKER LAYRISSON Times Legal Columnist Predicting the length of litigation is difficult. Each case is unique. A host of factors outside your control could expedite or de- lay the process. Some cases settle quickly while others last years awaiting trial and appeals. For example, in my law prac- tice I have handled matters de- cided by trials within a week of the initial disputes. On the other hand, I have tried cases so old they were filed by other lawyers before I even began law school over ten years ago! How- ever, most lawsuits fall some- where between those stark ex- tremes. The type of litigation, crimi- nal or civil, plays into its length. As a general rule, criminal cas- es move faster than civil. If you have been charged with a crime, you can usually expect to go to trial within a year. Moreover, prosecutor impson up on ation case Dear Editor: Chastened school board members, including four new members, were informed by the federal judge that if there was no tax on the ballot in April he would either order the board to call an election on the tax, or busing. The judge quoted two cases upholding his position, which can be visited on the internet. The first case, Palmer v. Thomp- son, 403 U.S. 317 (1971), cov- ered the closure of swimming pools in Jackson, MS: it has nothing to do with powers of a federal judge to impose a tax. The second case is Missouri v. Jenkins, 515 U.S. 70 & 495 U.S. 33 (the famous Kansas City case). A policy analysis by Paul Ciotti in 1998 (Cato Policy Analysis No. 298, March 16, 1998, Money and School Perfor- mance: Lessons from the Kan- sas City Desegregation Experi- ment) stated as follows: lions with simultaneous trans- lation capability, and field trips to Mexico and Senegal. The student-teacher ratio was 12 or 13 to 1, the lowest of any major schooi district in the country. The results were dismal. Test scores did not rise; the black- white gap did not diminish; and there was less, not greater, in- tegration. The Kansas City experiment suggests that, indeed, educa- tional problems can't be solved by throwing money at them, that the structural problems of our current educational system are far more important than a lack of material resources, and that the focus on desegregation THE PONCHATOULA TIMES, DECEMBER 16,2010 PAGE A-3~ hadn't worked. Even so, some advocates of increased spend- ing on public schools were still arguing that Kansas City's only problem was that it never got enough money or had enough time. But money was never the issue in Kansas City. The KC- MSD got more money per pupil than any of 280 other major schools districts in the coun- try, and it got it for more than a decade. The real issues were way beyond mere funding. Un- fortunately, given the current structure of public education in America, they were a lot more intractable, too. Anyone wanting to read these cases and the policy anal- ysis can produce them from the internet. Every school board member and newly elected board mem- ber should read them. Also, every citizen interested in the public schools should read Clot- ti's review. The proposed 30 mill tax and one percent sales tax will be onerous on home owners, rent- ers and small businesses. Joseph H. Simpson Enjoying the Chamber Christmas Parade in Ponchatoula misdemeanors mature quicker For decades critics of the diverted attention from the real .................................................. than felonies, public schools have been say- problem, low achievement. I The constitution guarantees ing, "You can't solve educa-The. situation in Kansas criminal defendants a right to Parker Layrisson tional problems by throwing City warranted some action, a speedy trial. Civil actions, on . money at them.' The education as teachers were quitting. The NOW Tile0 the other hand, often take many the sizeofthecourtsdocket, establishment and its support- buildings were in terrible shape,Ii Featu ng" years to resolve. Of course, in both criminal ers have replied, "No one's ever the textbooks were out of date, '! Usually your attorney willand civil matters, trial is not tried." In Kansas City they did etc. Over two billion dollars pro- I,PITII[ 9: !i-:}0'- "0: spend months attempting to necessarily the end of litigation, try. To improve the education of duced by the tax was spent to settle your case before filing a Parties have the right to up-black students and encourage build fifteen new schools, fifty- I[ IJIItL ll-lg lawsuit. Once litigation is filed, peal the trial verdict. Appeals desegregation, a federal judge four were renovated, five char- l] ,:ilu:,m, lu.