OPP inmate appears in court 'loaded' on drugs for a third time, - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

OPP inmate appears in court 'loaded' on drugs for a third time, records say

NEW ORLEANS - An Orleans Parish Prison inmate who was so high on drugs he couldn't physically stand before a criminal court judge has been ordered to undergo drug testing - again.

According to court records, that's what happened Monday at the Orleans Criminal Courthouse.

Records show Willis Turner, who is awaiting trial on an attempted murder charge, had appeared in court in the same state twice before.

According to the transcript from Monday's hearing, Judge Frank Marullo said, "This is the third time that I have had this defendant here, and he can't even walk."

A prosecutor asked medical staffers from the Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff's Office, "Are you giving him a stockpile of drugs?"

They answered, "No, ma'am."

Marullo chimed in, "Well how does he come in all loaded like this?"

When they couldn't explain, Marullo said, "Something is remiss here. He's either getting drugs from you or getting drugs from somewhere else in the prison."

The judge then ordered a drug test which, records show, came back positive for opiates.

On Thursday, Sheriff Marlin Gusman said the incident is under criminal investigation and he couldn't comment further.

"It's a pretty sad commentary on the state of affairs inside that jail," said FOX 8 Legal Analyst Joe Raspanti.

Raspanti said the situation is stalling developments with the inmate's underlying charge.

"In the short term, this guy has got to be able to come to court sober for court to be done appropriately. In the big picture, they've got to start to try to solve the problems inside that jail," he said.

The incident comes several months after a video surfaced showing OPP inmates apparently taking drugs. In the video, one inmate even flashes a gun.

Now, following the courtroom incident, prison reform advocates are speaking out.

"Under the backdrop of the consent decree going on now, all the exposure that's on the jail, for something like this, for an inmate to show up in court and be totally out of it," said Norris Henderson with the Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition. "It's obvious that all the things that have been complained about, that these things are still continuing inside the jail."

According to court records, Judge Marullo held Turner in contempt of court, scheduling a contempt hearing and another drug test Friday.

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