Ray Boudreaux awaiting court ruling on new trial
A former Tulane University football star whose 2008 conviction in a brutal Bourbon Street knife fight was scrapped this summer remains in limbo as he waits for the Louisiana Supreme Court to decide whether he should go to prison or get a new trial. But Ray Boudreaux will likely get out of jail, once again, in the meantime.
Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge Arthur Hunter on Thursday slashed his bond by more than three-quarters, from $425,000 to $100,000.
Boudreaux, convicted in 2008 and sentenced to 10 years in prison, has so far served only 10 months in prison.
After his conviction, Hunter offered him an unusual reprieve: he opted to set a $200,000 appeal bond, and Boudreaux avoided prison for five years while waiting for higher courts to review his conviction on three counts of attempted manslaughter and aggravated battery.
Both Louisiana’s 4th Circuit Court of Appeal and the Louisiana Supreme Court affirmed his conviction, and Boudreaux was ordered to report to prison in November.
But earlier this summer, the case landed back before Hunter, and this time the judge tossed the conviction, finding that Boudreaux’s original attorneys botched his defense so badly he deserves to be tried anew.
In June, Hunter ordered Boudreaux held on a $425,000 bond awaiting a new trial.
The attorneys, Hunter wrote in his ruling, failed to present a surveillance video from a nearby strip club or call eyewitnesses who might have bolstered the football player’s claim that he was defending himself against an angry mob.
The fight broke out in September 2007 outside the Utopia nightclub on Bourbon Street. Police and prosecutors alleged that Boudreaux was the aggressor and charged at the others with a knife. Boudreaux maintained that he was the victim of the attack.
A jury disagreed, and convicted him on the attempted manslaughter and battery charges.
Hunter scrapped those convictions in June. The 4th Circuit agreed with his ruling, and the state appealed to the Louisiana Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered a stay, halting the progress of the case in district court until the high court can make a determination.
If the high court sides with Hunter, Boudreaux will be scheduled for trial a second time.
If it goes the other way, Boudreaux will be ordered to report back to prison to resume his decade-long sentence.
At a hearing on Thursday, Boudreaux’s new attorney, Majeeda Snead, cited Boudreaux’s prior five years of post-conviction freedom as reason for the judge to lower his bond from $425,000. He was staring at a decade in prison, she noted, and he came to court for each hearing, held down a job and stayed out of trouble.
But prosecutors asked the judge to keep his bond high. They argued that Boudreaux is both a flight risk — looking at a 10-year prison stint if the high court rules against him — and a danger to society.
He slashed five people with a knife, prosecutors maintained. One suffered brain damage, another lost part of a lung.
But Hunter on Thursday sided with Boudreaux, noting that Boudreaux behaved himself the last time he was out, and lowered his bond to $100,000.