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N A K E D Louisiana O W N E R S H I P 
All Things Legal in Louisiana


December 28, 2002

Second Circuit Rules for Deja Vu

The Times reports on the continuing saga related to the Deja Vu strip club in downtown Shreveport. A ruling Friday by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal effectively allows the strip club to open, provided that a certificate of occupancy is issued and not appealled. Not surprisingly, an appeal is all but assurred by the opposition if the city issues a certificate of occupancy.

Posted by AJR at 08:52 PM

Starring NOLA Court X

Film scouts for John Grisham's thriller, "Runaway Jury," have overruled New Orleans CDC as a filming location, even though the Hollywood version of the thriller focuses on a lawsuit against gun manufactuerers in New Orleans. The Times Picayune reports that the more photogenic criminal courhouse at Tulane and Broad and the the new Supreme Curt are serious contenders for the film location.

Posted by AJR at 08:42 PM | Comments (0)

Bankston reapplies to Bar

The Times Picayune reports: "Former state Sen. Larry Bankston, who was disbarred for five years retroactively by the state's highest court in March after being convicted in a bribery-tainted video poker scandal in 1997, is applying to be reinstated as a lawyer."

Posted by AJR at 08:36 PM

December 27, 2002

Take This Land and Keep It

The Times reports that the Federal 5th Circuit upheld an earlier district court ruling that allowed the City of Shreveport to expropriate land for a multimillion-dollar parking garage. "Thursday's ruling likely marks the end to years of contentious argument over the land being used to develop the problem-plagued convention center, the largest capital project in city history."

Posted by AJR at 08:44 AM

Running for Judge can be Expensive

The two canidates running for a seat in the 22nd JDC spent over $600,000, collectively, on their campaigns according to theTimes Picayune. Judge Patrica Hedges, the incumbent, beat challenger Chris Aubert of Covington.

Campaign Finance Reports can be viewed at the State Ethics Board website, when it is back up and running.

Posted by AJR at 08:41 AM

Wal-Mart faces Court Challenge in NOLA

The New Orleans City Council approved a plan to use tax revenue from a new Wal-Mart to be built on the site of the former St. Thomas public housing complex (near Magazine Street) to back $20 million in bonds to help pay for housing planned near the Garden District. The Times Picayune reports that the city filed a petition against All Taxpayers, Property Owners and Citizens of New Orleans, which seeked to "permanently [enjoin] any person from bringing any action or proceeding contesting the validity" of the bonds, the council's actions or any of the lengthy legal documents involved, "or any other matters adjudicated or which might have been called into question in said proceedings."

The citizens fighting Wal-Mart and the housing development have also filed suit to contest the council's approved use of "tax increment financing" to underwrite the bonds. Not surprisingly, the developer intends to begin construction in a few months, despite the large number of legal challenges he faces. Deja Vu anyone?

Posted by AJR at 08:30 AM

Brown Appeals to Supremes

Not-acting Insurance Commissioner Jim Brown has filed an appeal with the US Supreme Court reports the Times Picayune. Brown has already served two months of his six-month sentence and does not expect a response from the Supreme Court for sixty to ninety days.

Things must be getting a little more intense in prison, since Jim isn't even updating his website with thoughts and insights on prison life anymore.

Posted by AJR at 08:17 AM

Moore Sworn to 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal

The News Star provides coverage of Judge Milton D. Moore's swearing-in ceremony from yesterday (with a picture).

Posted by AJR at 08:09 AM

December 26, 2002

New Judges to be Sworn In

"Fourth District Court Judge D. Milton Moore III will take the oath of office for Louisiana's 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal at 4 p.m. today in Courtroom 2 at the Ouachita Parish Courthouse, 301 S. Grand St., Monroe," reports the News Star. Other judges to be sworn in include:

-Jay McCallum in the Third District Court

-Wendell Manning in the Fourth District Court

-Daryl Blue as Monroe City Judge

Posted by AJR at 09:31 AM

Law Primer

The News Star provides a basic introduction to the legal system. Additionally, they detail the importance of court-appointed lawyers in criminal proceedings. More to come?

Posted by AJR at 09:23 AM

December 24, 2002

15th JDC District Judges Retire

Two judges from the 15th JDC (Acadia, Lafayette, and Vermillion Parishes) were honored at a ceremony sponsored by the local bar association. The Daily Advertiser reports on the ceremony for Judges Don Aaron, Jr. and Ronald Cox, who have both served nearly twenty years in the 15th JDC.

Posted by AJR at 03:39 PM

3rd Circuit Court of Appeal Violated State Law

The American Press reports that State Legislative Auditor Dan Kyle has found that the Third Circuit Court of Appeal in Lake Charles "expended state funds on behalf of an employee to purchase one year of service credit in the Louisiana Employees' Retirement Systems (LASERS)." Such conduct violates Article VII, Section 14, of the Louisiana Constitution, which prohibits the donation of state property without a legal obligation to do so.

Cheif Judge Doucet, Jr. agreed that part of the payment was wrong, but asserts that the remainder was properly paid as interest due on the employee's contributions. The Chief Judge cited a case involving the St. Landry Police Jury and one of its employees for support.

Posted by AJR at 02:25 PM

New Gretna Courthouse

Attorneys and judges on the "Best" Bank of the Mississippi will be getting a new court headquarters. The Jefferson Parish council authorized $5.5 million in bond issues to finance the new three-story building, which will be built at 100 Huey P. Long Avenue.

Posted by AJR at 02:17 PM

Discriminating Jury Pool

The Times Picayune reports on an interesting disupte regarding the Jefferson Parish jury pool. Clive Stafford-Smith, who is representing a defendant in a first-degree murder retrial, argues that the jury pool unfairly discrminates against African-American residents because the jury pool database is alleged to contain more than 830,000 names even though only 450,000 people live in the parish. The Clerk of Court, Jon Gegenheimer, answers that the larger database contains duplicates and other individuals ineligible for jury duty and that the jury pool database only contains about 200,000 names.

Posted by AJR at 02:06 PM

Stop and Run?

A 23 year-old New Orleans man was arrested on hit-and-run charges after abandoning his car on Interstate 10 near Bullard Avenue in New Orleans. Another man got out of his car to direct traffic around the abandonded car and was killed when he was struck by two vehicles that collided with one another as they approaced the abandoned car. This unfortunate set of events will likely be found on tort exams in the near future.

In a rather coincidental report, the American Press printed comments from Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Kam Movassaghi that reminds motorists to move vehicles out of traffic.

Mr. Movassaghi's press release: "In accordance with Act 401 of the 2001 Louisiana Legislature, in the event of a motor vehicle accident and no one is seriously injured, it is not necessary to wait for the police before moving your vehicle out of the flow of traffic." Fellow law students would do well to remember that the existence of this statute would not establish the young man's negligence per se.

Posted by AJR at 01:52 PM

Another Edwards Cohort Appeals

Andrew Martin, a former Edwards aide, is appealling his tax evasion conviction. The Advocate reports that the U.S. Fifth Circuit has set oral agruments for February 11, 2003. Martin is currently serving prison sentences of 41 months for the tax evasion conviction and 68 months for his part in the casino corruption case.

Posted by AJR at 01:36 PM

Environmental Convict

The former plant manager of PCS Nitrogen in Geismar was fined $30,000 by District Judge Holdridge of the 23rd JDC, reports The Advocate. The facility itself has already agreed to pay $1.7 million in fines and $9.3 million in improvements and repairs for the facilty. David Dugas, a U.S. Attorney, indicated that the fines were the largest ever imposed for an environmental crime in Louisiana.

The charges against the plant manager resulted from a four-year investigation by the EPA, FBI, and U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Louisiana.

In somewhat related news, the Times Picayune reports that federal prosecutors from the U.S. attorney's office in New Orleans have charged an Iowa shipping company in the dumping of two tons of industrial waste into the Mississippi River. A joint investigation by the EPA and U.S. Coast Guard determined that crew members knowingly discharged a load of bunker fule and cargo hold debris from the ship's bilge directly into the Mississippi, which is a violation of the Clean Water Act.

Posted by AJR at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)

Deja Vu Appeals

The Times reports that the Deja Vu strip club has filed an appeal in the Second Circuit requesting that the court allow them to open while their certificate of occupancy is being contested. Scott Sinclair, attorney for opponents of the club, says: "Their game, from day one, was to hurry up, get the thing built and dare somebody to keep them from opening."

This controversy will likely go back in front of the city council, which will have 6 (out of 7) new members in the new year. It is certainly a possibility that the 20,000 square foot club will lose its occupancy certificate and a zoning debate if that were to happen.

Posted by AJR at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)

Why Smart Lawyers Pick Dumb Jurors

I only post this article because I gained nothing else from the ten minutes it took me to read it - in fact, I am now dumber for having read it (to paraphrase from Billy Madison). The article essentially uses 5,000 plus words to support the following quote attributed to Mark Twain:

"The jury system puts a ban upon intelligence and honesty, and a premium upon ignorance, stupidity, and perjury, [we] swear in juries composed of fools and rascals, because the system rigidly excludes honest men and men of brains."

Posted by AJR at 12:44 AM | Comments (0)

December 23, 2002

Trimming the "Fat"?

The new District Attorney for Bossier and Webster Parishes, Schulyer Marvin, has wasted no time in preparing to take over his office on January 13, 2003. The Times reports that Marvin, who was appointed on November 7 as a special assistant prosecutor by the present DA, has already decided to lay off attorneys and secretaries. In addition, he has declared several vehicles as surplus and intends to reveiw salaries.

Posted by AJR at 07:57 AM

December 22, 2002

Servitude Semantics

The Baton Rouge Rouge Business Report provides an overview of a servitude dispute gurgling in the Baton Rouge sewers. Not just another landowner lawsuit outlines the dispute between a few developers and the East Baton Rouge Department of Public Works concerning the installation of sewer lines in drainage servitudes. Although it is apparently common practice for the DPW to use drainage servitudes to install underground utilities, one developer has balked at the idea.

Fred Raiford, the head of the DPW, says: "We may lose this case, but the developers in this parish are going to lose in the long run. If we lose then we will never, ever allow any more utilities in our servitudes—never."

Posted by AJR at 08:57 PM

December 18, 2002

Louisiana Tax Breaks

The ACLU's successful challenge to a Louisiana state law granting tax exemptions exclusively to religious persons and organizations is still being considered by the Fifth Circuit, nine months after U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan ruled at the district level. The primary issue on appeal is whether the ACLU's challenge should be made in state court because state tax laws "are uniquely representative of state independence and state domestic policy."

Posted by AJR at 08:17 AM

Low Income Property Depreciation

A homeowner's association near Monroe is seeking an injunction in federal court to stop the construction of a low-income subdivision near their own. They allege that their property values have already fallen 30% since apartments were built near their homes.

Posted by AJR at 08:08 AM

Deja Vu for Shreveport?

As finishing touches are being placed on a new $2 million strip club in downtown Shreveport, legal wranglings regarding its operation are really heating up. An article in The Times, Judge takes Deja Vu under advisement, considers the opponents most recent action to block the club from opening while issues concerning the zoning of the facility are resoloved. The city's zoning policy came under fire earlier this year when plans for the 20,000-square-foot club were unveiled.

"Amid fierce debate, the Zoning Board of Appeals and the City Council ruled in favor of the club opening, arguing that a sexually oriented business could not be banned under the city's entertainment zoning.

But in the weeks following those decisions, District C Councilman Thomas Carmody submitted a long list of amendments to current city code that would have completely overhauled the city's sexually oriented business regulations and drastically changed how strip clubs and other adult-themed businesses operate. The amendments were voted down 4-3 in the last major vote for the outgoing council.

Carmody has said he will introduce a similar slate of amendments to the new council."

Posted by AJR at 08:01 AM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2002

Death of "Living Legend" Mourned

Senior United States District Judge Richard Putnman, Sr., a JFK appointee, died early Monday in Abbeville. Judge Putnam had been a member of the federal bench for more than forty years and was "perhaps best remembered as the man who ordered the desegregation of Lafayette Parish schools in the turbulent 1960s. Services are planned for 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Mary Magdalen Church in Abbeville.

Posted by AJR at 07:46 AM

Edwards Last Resort

Former Governor Edwards and his son Stephen filed their appeal with the United States Supreme Court on Monday. The Advocate outlines the three grounds on which they are appealling: (1) violation of Sixth Amendment rights resulting from removal of juror; (2) violation of Sixth Amendment rights resulting from the anonymous jury; and (3) the government's failure to disclose "the long criminal history of deception and manipulation" of the informants in the case.

Posted by AJR at 07:41 AM | Comments (0)

December 15, 2002

Down Home Justice

What would you do if your neighbor's dog insisted on using your yard as their toilet? Many in the state call on the People's court . The Times Picayune provides a comprehensive look at the State's Justice of the Peace system, indicating that some justices bring in over $100,000 per year with nearly zero supervision or accountability.

Suprisingly, your local Justice of the Peace has the power to issue arrest warrants (typically without conducting any investigation), garnish wages, and impose civil penalties. As the courts of first resort, Justices of the Peace provide cheap and easy access to justice. In some cases, however, those most in need of such a system are the ones most likely to suffer when the system fails. If you need to call a Justice of the Peace in your parish, just check the Secretary of State's elected officials database lisiting.

Posted by AJR at 05:39 PM

December 12, 2002


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Posted by AJR at 10:24 PM | Comments (0)
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