Aug 14, 2010 11:07 PM by Chris Welty
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A New Orleans man faces up to 10 years in
prison after being charged with issuing worthless checks to pay for
his wife's funeral.
Saturday's Times-Picayune reported that James Simmons, 67,
appeared in Criminal District Court on Friday.
Simmons is accused of purposely avoiding the funeral bill after
writing checks that he knew were worthless.
The Murray Henderson Funeral Home in Algiers reported that
Simmons had failed to pay a dime since the two separate checks,
totaling $9,347, were returned by the bank 14 months after his
An arrest warrant issued for Simmons said that he "admitted to
the NSF checks and failed to make restitution" to the 101-year-old
funeral home, whose owner Constance Selico declined to comment on
the criminal case.
Judge Terry Alarcon released Simmons on a $100 recognizance bond
and then apologized to him for having to face the charges.
"I've been a judge a long time and I've never done this before,
but I'm going to apologize to you," said Alarcon, a former
prosecutor first elected judge in 1996. "This case is beyond my
comprehension. It's an embarrassment to the entire system."
Simmons was arrested May 10. He showed up Friday without an
attorney. Alarcon asked the public defenders program to represent
him, and set a new hearing date for Oct. 1.
"I believe this matter will be resolved before that," said
prosecutor Alex Calenda.
"Prayerfully, I hope so," said the judge.