New Orleans — Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge Frank Marullo got home from dinner Tuesday night, parked his car in front of his Birch Street house and got out to find five men waiting.
“They were right on top of me,” the 73-year-old judge said.
The men told Marullo to “give it up,” so he handed over his wallet and car keys. Then they took off in his 2011 white Mercedes, 300 series.
“I really wasn’t scared,” Marullo said Wednesday, sitting on the bench at the criminal courthouse that he has occupied since 1974. If the robbers had a gun, he said, he never saw it.
The judge said he called his wife, inside the house, then called police.
The New Orleans Police Department tailed the Mercedes.
Marullo’s car flipped at the end of a high-speed police chase, and officers arrested the three occupants.
Leonard Robinson, 18; Demetrious Givens, 18; and a 16-year-old were booked with possession of stolen property and carjacking, according to the New Orleans Police Department.
What became of the other two robbers is unclear.
Both Givens and the 16-year-old had been ordered to wear electronic monitors until recently, according to Sheriff Marlin Gusman.
Givens was booked in the fall with resisting an officer and attempted unauthorized entry of a business, after he allegedly tried to break into a night club. He posted a $5,000 bond and was released.
Months later, in January, he was picked up again and charged with simple robbery. He was again released on a $5,000 bond, but ordered to wear an electronic monitor.
In April, a sheriff’s deputy testified that Givens had violated his monitoring contract.
Judge Keva Landrum-Johnson upped his bond to $20,000, which he posted the same day without an order to return to monitoring.
The 16-year-old had been on the same monitoring program until Monday, the day before the alleged car theft, Gusman said. The details of his prior arrests were not available, as such juvenile records are sealed.
Marullo’s Mercedes sedan is likely totaled and is now sitting at the Police Department’s impound lot. Marullo said it’s in such bad shape, officers can’t even open the doors to dust it for fingerprints. He doesn’t know whether police have recovered his stolen wallet, which contained all of Marullo’s credit cards and his driver’s license.
“These things happen when you live in the city,” the judge said. “All of us are subject to it. It doesn’t make any difference if you’re a judge or a plumber.”
Marullo said he did not tell his attackers that he was a judge.
His alleged robbers are facing two to 20 years in prison without parole on the carjacking charge. The possession of stolen property charge — presuming Marullo’s Mercedes was worth more than $1,500 — could tack on an additional decade in prison.
Marullo said all of the judges at Tulane Avenue and Broad Street will likely recuse themselves from hearing the case, and a special judge will be appointed.
As word spread of his ordeal Wednesday, Marullo paused court proceedings occasionally to talk with the steady stream of judges, attorneys and courthouse employees who stopped by to check on him.
Marullo, the longest-sitting judge in the state, reassured them all that he was fine. Mostly, he said he was annoyed that he had to replace his driver’s license, rent a car, and do other irritating tasks that victims in his courtroom so often complain of in the wake of such crimes.
“I’m really not rattled; you see this every day,” the judge said. “This is nothing unusual. I wish it was unusual, but it isn’t.”
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