In 2019, a federal judge said some of the prosecutors named in the suit were immune from some of the claims. But U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo allowed much of the lawsuit to continue, saying some of the claims “shock the conscience.”
Renata Singleton, the lead plaintiff, said she was jailed after she declined to pursue charges against a man who shattered her cellphone during a fight. The suit said she told a representative of Cannizzaro’s office she considered the situation resolved and did not want to risk having to take time off from work to pursue the case. She also was among three plaintiffs who said in the lawsuit that they received fraudulent subpoenas insisting they speak with prosecutors.
Singleton was one of three plaintiffs in Tuesday's settlement. She had also reached a partial settlement in earlier proceedings. At least four others reached earlier settlements over the years, along with the anti-crime group “Silence is Violence,” which claimed its leader was threatened with prosecution for complaining about practices in the district attorney's office.
Policies outlined in the settlement agreement state that Williams' office won't seek “material witness” warrants ordering a crime victim to provide information “unless exceptional circumstances apply.” And Williams agrees to appoint a supervising attorney who will have to approve any request to the court for a material witness warrant.