A perfect parable of New Orleans Justice:
Merlene Maten, a 73-year-old church deaconess, never before in trouble with the law, spent two weeks in jail after a judge (I'm STILL LOOKING FOR HIS NAME) set her bail at $50,000.
Her offense? Police say the grandmother from New Orleans took $63.50 in goods from a looted deli the day after Katrina struck
Maten was moved from a parish jail to a state prison an hour away. Her daughter had evacuated to Texas. And the original judge who set $50,000 bail by phone -- 100 times the maximum $500 fine under state law for minor thefts -- hadn't returned a week's worth of calls. She's been IN for two weeks.