Two inmates attack social worker, attorney in separate incidents at Orleans jail, courthouse this week

A social worker’s conclusion that a defendant awaiting trial on a murder charge was “neither suicidal nor homicidal” so enraged the accused killer that he attacked the social worker with handcuffs inside the city’s new jail this week, Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies said.

Even as Magistrate Judge Harry Cantrell was setting bail Thursday for the man, 20-year-old Jude Braud, on a new count of battery of a correctional facility employee, the rancor spilled into the courthouse.

This time, Braud was involved in a dispute with other inmates in court, and Cantrell was forced to order him out.

Minutes later, a private defense attorney was attacked in the same courtroom by another defendant.

Both incidents startled onlookers, including an audience of high school students on a field trip to Criminal District Court.

A grand jury indicted Braud, along with two other men, in connection with a December 2013 drug deal gone bad that took the life of 18-year-old Kenneth Young, according to a May 2014 nola.com report.

On Monday, according to an arrest report, a social worker visited Braud in jail to evaluate a report that he was thinking of killing himself or others.

The social worker, an employee of jail contractor Correct Care Solutions, determined that Braud was “neither suicidal nor homicidal,” according to the arrest report. Braud became upset when he learned of that conclusion.

Deputies said Braud stepped closer and then “without a warning” placed a hand on either side of the social worker’s neck. Braud used his handcuffs’ links stretching across the social worker’s throat to shove him backward about 3 feet, according to the arrest report.

The entire incident was caught on video, deputies said.

Cantrell, the judge, set $25,000 bail on the new count of battery of a correctional facility employee.

Braud’s total bail now stands at $1.65 million.

Cantrell ordered Braud removed from court Thursday morning after he made threats, according to online court records.

The usual routine of first appearances and bail determinations at Magistrate Court was also disrupted by an incident involving another inmate, according to a courtroom source.

As a defense lawyer conferred with her client in a row of benches on the side of the courtroom, the witness said, inmate Traore Leigh first tried to choke the lawyer with his handcuffs, then hit her.

One deputy was missing from the courtroom because of the earlier commotion involving Braud, but another was able to bring the situation under control.

The attorney appeared shaken but declined to speak about it, beyond confirming that she was attacked and that she was not injured.

Leigh, 46, was arrested by New Orleans police this week on counts of simple battery, simple robbery and resisting an officer. The New Jersey man was appearing in court Thursday on a warrant for his extradition to New York City on a charge of second-degree assault.

Leigh’s total bail now stands at $170,000.

A jail spokesperson said deputies intend to rebook him in connection with the Thursday attack.

More Stories