A New Orleans attorney was cited for marijuana possession this week after a joint tumbled out of his pocket in front of police, according to media reports.
Police say Jason Cantrell, who has a private practice but also serves as a part-time assistant city attorney, was in the magistrate section of criminal court chatting with police officers when a marijuana joint fell out of his pocket and onto the floor, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.
Cantrell, 43, was a first-time offender and was cited, issued a summons to appear in court for simple possession of marijuana and let go, according to police spokesman Garry Flot.
The handling of his case is the result of an effort by city leaders and prosecutors two years ago to unclog a congested system and allow people arrested for having a small amount of marijuana on them to receive a summons and not be taken to jail, according to the Times-Picayune.
Besides being a private practice attorney, Cantrell doubles as a part-time city attorney, handling cases in traffic court. He was not working for the city when the incident occurred.
City Hall spokesman Ryan Berni told WDSU that Cantrell has been suspended without pay, pending an investigation.
Cantrell’s wife, LaToya, is a candidate for a district seat on the City Council. She released a statement apologizing for her husband and saying, “I absolutely do not condone his actions,” the New York Daily News reported.
“I love my husband unconditionally and am very concerned for his health and well-being, and for that of our family,” LaToya said. “I hope that this incident will encourage Jason to seek the professional help.”
Cantrell has practiced civil and criminal law in New Orleans for 17 years, including six as a public defender in juvenile court.
He ran for a position as a judge in juvenile court in 2009 but lost.
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