Wouldn't it be a strange and disturbing twist if the same storm that killed more than a thousand innocent people ended up freeing thousands of criminals? Dangerous criminals, like child molesters, rapists, even murderers.
It could happen in New Orleans, where Katrina has brought the justice system to a standstill. The city's public defenders office is broke, documents are destroyed, and the courts are running out of time to bring defendants to trial. State law says they have no more than three years to do so.
In tonight's show, you'll meet Dwight Doskey, a public defender whose office is now his pickup truck. The original public defenders office was condemned after Katrina.
Doskey is handling more than 700 cases alone. He says it would take him all year just to interview his clients, never mind doing extensive research on their cases. And that doesn't even account for court appearances.
As we found out, Louisiana is the only state in the country that relies on traffic fines to fund its public defender program. Because nobody was driving or parking after the storm, the office lost 70 percent of its funding and had to lay off 36 of its 42 lawyers.
Also tonight, you'll hear the story of a confessed killer who strangled a woman in New Orleans back in 2003. Come December, if his case hasn't been heard, he can walk free, even though he told police he needs to get off the street before he kills again.
We contacted the Louisiana attorney general's office for comment, but they haven't returned our calls.