Jaclyn Kelley / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @jkelleyWWL

NEW ORLEANS -- Community leaders on Wednesday called for local Judge Franz Zibilich to step down, as well as an investigation into how he handled the initial property bond for Merritt Landry.

Police arrested Landry, 33, last Friday for attemped second-degree murder for shooting Marshall Coulter, 14, in the head.

Landry found the teen inside his fenced-in yard just before 2 a.m. and told police he fire his gun when the teen reached for something.

Now, the NAACP and several other community leaders are calling for justice after learning the initial bond granted for Landry was deemed illegal by District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.

'If we are going to have a justice system in this city, then we all want to be treated equally,' said Robert Goodman with the safe streets, strong communities organization.

Outrage erupted in the community after it was discovered that presiding Judge Franz Zibilich granted Landry bond on Friday afternoon, allowing him to walk out of jail, even though the proper paperwork had not been submitted or processed yet.

'The paperwork could not get reviewed until the office people come in on Monday,' said Tracie Washington, a civil rights attorney with the Louisiana Justice Institute. 'That is why so many folks get stuck in parish prison all weekend.'

Landry's attorney said Tuesday that it was merely an error and that Landry had until Tuesday to file the correct paperwork.

'Today's hearing was simply a matter of perfecting Mr. Landry's bond,' Landry's attorney Michael Kennedy said Tuesday. 'It has been accepted by the state, which I had no reason to believe it wouldn't.'

Now the NAACP is calling for a thorough investigation, while others are calling for Zibilich to step down immediately.

'Clearly, from what we have seen, he has violated not only the law, but the code of ethics,' said Washington. 'He needs to step down.'

The personal relationship between Zibilich and the Landry family has also played a role. While a defense attorney, Zibilich represented Landry's brother, who was facing drug charges at the time.

It is a conflict of interest the NAACP says cannot be ignored.

'We want to see the system work, that's what we want,' said New Orleans branch NAACP President Danatus King. 'Right now there is no way Judge Zibilich can preside over this matter, no way in the world.'

The NAACP officials contacted several government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice, and say they will keep pushing the issue until an investigation is conducted.

Read or Share this story: