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


March 31, 2005

5th Circuit Says "No" to Caddo Magnet Schools

The 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has refused to reconsider the Caddo School Board's case concerning admissions policies to its elementary magnet schools, according to a report in The Shreveport-Times. The court's previous ruling declared the system's race-based admissions procedures unconstitutional for discriminating against a white applicant. Currently, there are approximately 1,000 students seeking first-time acceptance to Caddo magnet schools waiting to hear from the board concerning their admission.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 09:41 AM

Avoyelles Parish Sheriff Deputy Accused of Fraud

According to a report by the Associated Press, FBI agents arrested Avoyelles Parish Assistant Chief Deputy Larry Wilmer and two other men Wednesday, after a 14-count indictment accusing them of conspiracy, wire fraud and mail fraud against Volunteer Firemen's Insurance Company. U.S. Attorney Donald Washington said the indictment alleges that between May 2001 and January 2003, the men fraudulently sent the insurance company information claiming false work-related injuries.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 09:16 AM

March 30, 2005

Judge doesn't go far for jury duty

Date line: Ville Platte, LA: The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

Judge Thomas Fuselier didn't have far to go to report for jury duty — he just walked across the hall.
(via The Legal Reader)

Posted by RPW at 10:18 PM

Cedric Richmond follow-up

Six days ago, we reported the La. Supreme Court's disqualification of Cedric Richmond from the New Orleans City Council District D election. Today, the Court issued its opinion supporting its judgment.

Posted by RPW at 06:22 PM

Lake Charles Judge Reaches Agreement with EPA

The American Press reports that 14th Judicial District Judge Wilford Carter has reached an agreement in principle concerning alleged wetland violations. Judge Carter filled approximately 2.6 acres of land while developing a residential subdivision. The agreement calls for the payment of a $15,000 fine.

The American Press filed freedom of information requests and received multiple emails concerning the matter, including the following from an EPA employee in Dallas commenting on the penalty negotiations:

"Let's not put the judge out any further, poor wretch, and drop the case ... how low of penalty does he want for an incentive to settle??? Couple of discount coupons for future destruction of wetlands???" she wrote.

"I didn't realize EPA was a discount clearing house, if you're gonna do the crime you gotta pay the fine, he should be familiar with that line being a judge. And just what is this extraordinary evidence his good attorney refers???"

Posted by AJR at 01:55 PM

19th JDC to Replace Civilian Bailiffs

The Advocate reports that the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office will be replacing up to 14 civilian bailiffs with certified deputies. The move is intended to increase security, in response to recent events. The article profiles a few of the bailiffs who will likely lose their positions.

Posted by AJR at 01:40 PM

March 29, 2005

LACE Tickets Give Monroe a Bad Name?

The News Star reports that some residents fear that LACE tickets are giving Monroe a reputation as a speed trap. LACE (Local Agency Compensated Enforcement program) gives officers overtime and mileage in exchange for generating revenue by writing tickets. The mayor claims the LACE program has enhanced traffic safety in Monroe.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 10:08 AM

Louisiana Living Wills

With the Terry Schiavo situation unfolding in Florida before a national audience, now is the time to take a look at Louisiana laws concerning living wills. According to the Louisiana Hospital Association, a living will, also known as an advance directive, is a legal document that describes the extent of medical treatment that a person desires should he or she be in a coma or similar condition with no reasonable chance of recovery nor ability to participate in decisions about treatment. A living will may also be used to designate who should execute decisions concerning end of life decisions.

Clark Cossé, chief governmental officer and general counsel for the Louisiana Hospital Association, explains in a report by The Advocate that there is a potential for conflict when a patient has not designated someone to make end of life choices. In that case, Louisiana law would give authority to a court-appointed guardian if there was one. Otherwise, the spouse, as long as not legally separated, would make the decision. If there is no qualified spouse, the available adult children would have to agree on what course to follow. If there are no qualified children, the decision goes to the parents, siblings and other relatives.

If a person does make the decision to execute a living will, Tenet Louisiana's Memorial Medical Center reports that the person must notify their physician of the existence of the document. In addition, the living will may be registered with the Office of the Secretary of State. However, this is not required.

A comprehensive look at Louisiana's living will policies and a free copy of a blank living will as provided by the Louisiana Legislature (La. R.S. 40:1299.58.3) can be found here.

Copies of living wills from the Louisiana Hospital Association may be purchased here.

For information concerning the Louisiana Living Will Registry and the filing requirements for living wills, check out the Lousiana Secretary of State's website here.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 10:06 AM

Jury Continues to Deliberate in Discrimination Suit

The Times-Picayune reports that a Federal Jury is still deliberating in the discrimination case against New Orleans DA Eddie Jordan. Jordan is accused of being racially motivated in his hirings and firings after he took office in 2003. Jordan has stated that his actions were not motivated by race, but he simply wanted to clean house and bring in people who were loyal to him.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 10:02 AM

Suit Over Old $100 Bill Reinstated

The First Circuit reinstated a suit against East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Deputies and Jack in the Box over a detention and investigation into a 1974 $100 bill according to The Advocate. A Southern University student was detained while deputies tried to ascertain the legitimacy of the bill. Lawyers for the Sheriff's Department stated that the First Circuit "missed the point" and the detention was reasonable under the circumstances.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 09:56 AM

March 28, 2005

Plaintiffs Wait for Stay to Lift against Hollywood

The Shreveport Times reports on the status of multiple lawsuits pending against Hollywood Casino, as the company appears ready to emerge from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. In addition to a sexual harassment suit filed by 12 cocktail waitresses, there are a multitude of other suits that have been filed against the company. The article notes, however, that some claimants have sought other avenues for redress, including suing the City of Shreveport, Hollywood's insurer, or its parent company.

Posted by AJR at 01:41 PM

March 24, 2005

LSC disqualifies Cedric Richmond from City Council election

Today the Louisiana Supreme Court disqualified Cedric Richmond from the election for New Orleans City Council District D.

Posted by RPW at 05:52 PM

Louisiana can tax income earned by non-resident corporation

Last June, we reported that the Louisiana Supreme Court granted writs in Bridges v. Autozone Properties, Inc. Today, the Court handed down its decision.

The case concerns Autozone's attempt to use a pass-through corporate entity to shield rental income paid by a subsidiary to the pass-through, which in turn paid the income, in the form of dividends, to a non-resident corporation. The issue: does Louisiana have taxing jurisdiction over the non-resident beneficiary corporation, which received benefits from corporate affiliates doing business in Louisiana? The Supreme Court answers "yes." "Since the taxing jurisdiction, Louisiana, has helped to create the income, it should not be prevented from assessing a constitutionally permissible share of those gains in the form of income taxes for the support of the government." Slip op. at 36.

Posted by RPW at 05:47 PM

March 23, 2005

Changes to Rules of Professional Conduct

The Supreme Court announced changes to the rules of professional conduct. The changes affect rules 5.5 and 8.5. A new "in-house counsel" rule has also been adopted.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 09:21 PM

March 22, 2005

State Senator Wants to Stop Saints Payments

Senator Marionneaux has filed a bill to stop payments by the state to the Saints. The Advocate reports that The senator stated that he and his constituents are upset about the money being paid to the Saints under a deal negotiated by former Governor Foster. He stated it is especially troubling because the team refuses to open its books.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 11:33 AM

ACLU Chief Defends Prayer Ruling

The Advocate reports that Joe Cook, head of the ACLU in Louisiana, defended a federal district judge's ruling banning prayer by the Tangipahoa Parish School Board. Cook stated that, despite criticism from the Governor and others, the decision was sound. Judge Berrigan's prior leadership of the Louisiana ACLU did not affect his ruling, and his fitness to rule in the matter was not questioned by the attorneys for the school board.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 11:21 AM

March 18, 2005

Team Looking At Starting Juvenile Drug Court in Monroe

The News Star reports that a ten member team is exploring the opening of a juvenile drug court to complement the existing adult drug court. The article points out that it is much more cost effective to send someone through drug court than the penal system.

Posted by AJH at 09:22 AM
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Editorial Promotes Crime Lab

An editorial in the Daily Advertister discusses the postitive impact that the Acadiana Crime Lab has had in bringing criminals to justice and exonerating those who have been wrongly convicted. It also points out the Lab's budget problems and urges the Acadiana Criminalistics Laboratory District Commission to pass a tax to fund the Lab.

Posted by AJH at 09:15 AM
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March 17, 2005

Jordan Discrimination Trial Continues

The trial over Orleans DA Eddie Jordan's hiring and firing decisions after his election continues according to the Times-Picayune. A member of his transition team testified that while the decisions were not based on experience or job performance, they were also not based on race. Jordan has defended his decisions as part of the so called spoils system of appointment.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 10:24 AM

Juvenile Justice Project Contract Suspended

The Advocate reports that the Juvenile Justice Project has had its contract suspended by the state. The project provides lawyers for juveniles whose adjudications are up for periodic review. The Governor's Executive Counsel stated that the review of the contract is not politically motivated, but has been instituted to make sure that the money provided by the state is actually going to indigent defense and not other programs.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 10:13 AM

March 16, 2005

Jurisdictional statements in appellate briefs: An editorial

In Louisiana's appellate courts, the appellant's brief must "set forth the jurisdiction of the court." Rule 2-12.4, Unif. R. La. Cts. App. I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that the courts of appeal put that requirement in Rule 2-12.4 for a reason: to help the court determine whether it in fact has appellate jurisdiction. If that is the purpose of the jurisdictional statement, then most jurisdictional statements that Louisiana lawyers actually write are useless.

If you're a Louisiana lawyer who, on occasion, writes an appellate brief, and if you'd like to distinguish yourself from the herd -- if you want the court of appeal to appreciate your brief -- then read below the fold.

Here is a typical jurisdictional statement:

This Court has jurisdiction of this appeal pursuant to the Louisiana Constitution, Article V, Section 10 and La. Rev. Stat. § 13:312.
Jurisdictional statements like this are useless for helping the court figure out whether it actually has jurisdiction. They are useless because they fail to tell the court anything that the court doesn't already know.

A good jurisdictional statement should tell the court things that it does not already know: the facts and record citations to answer two questions:

1. Is the judgment in question subject to an appeal?
2. Did the appellant obtain a timely order of appeal?
Here are some examples of informative answers to question # 1:
The judgment in question is a final judgment under La. C.C.P. Art. 1915(A), because it dismisses the suit as to one defendant. R.__. Therefore, it is an appealable judgment under La. C.C.P. Art. 1911.

The judgment in question is an appealable judgment, because the trial court designated it as a final judgment, after expressly finding no just reason to delay an immediate appeal. R.___. Therefore, the judgment is appealable under La. C.C.P. Art. 1915(B).

This is an appeal from a judgment granting a preliminary injunction. R. ___. Such a judgment is immediately appealable under La. C.C.P. 3612(B).

To answer question # 2 -- whether the appeal is timely -- requires that you give the court the pertinent dates, with record citations. For example:

The clerk of court mailed notice of judgment on February 1, 2005. R. ___. On February 20, 2005, the trial court granted an order of suspensive appeal, R. ___, and on February 28, 2005, the appellant furnished security for the appeal in the amount fixed by the trial court. R. ___. Thus, the appellant timely perfected its suspensive appeal. La. C.C.P. Art. 2123(A).
Write an informative, useful jurisdictional statement, and you will establish yourself in the court's eyes as a better than average lawyer.

Posted by RPW at 07:25 PM | Comments (0)

Attorney Challenges Tapes

The Town Talk reports that Noland Hammond, an Alexandria attorney, has filed suit against Avoyelles Parish District Attorney Charles Riddle and Rapides Parish Sheriff William Earl Hilton seeking a preliminary injunction barring the transcription and distribution of taped conversations between himself and clients at the Rapides Parish Detention Center III. The action is related to criminal allegations made against Mr. Hammond after he allegedly filmed a woman as she performed oral sex on two Avoyelles Parish inmates.

Posted by AJR at 08:18 AM

Sunshine Week Challenge

The Shreveport Times reports that "Louisiana Gannett newspapers are filing suit today against East Baton Rouge Parish's Emergency Medical Services Department seeking release of the 911 tapes that summoned help last month for Secretary of State Fox McKeithen." The East Baton Rouge District Attorney represents EMS and has denied the request citing the privacy protections contained in HIPAA.

Posted by AJR at 08:11 AM

Judge Foret Passes

The Advocate reports that retired state appellate court Judge James Burton Foret Sr. died Tuesday. Judge Foret served on the Third Circuit Court of Appeal. In addition to profiling Judge Foret's career, the article notes that a memorial service that will be held on Thursday.

Posted by AJR at 08:07 AM

Justice Calogero Favors Judicial Elections

The Advocate reports that Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Pascal Calogero Jr. addressed the primary cause of the Louisiana Organization for Judicial Excellence when he noted that he is partial to Louisiana's current system for electing judges:

"To me, elections and re-elections were growth experiences," he said, adding that his judicial campaigns got him "out into the community" and away from the courthouse for a while.
Posted by AJR at 08:04 AM

Courtroom Security Concerns Run High

The Advocate reports that eleven 19th Judicial District judges met with members of the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office to talk about the security in the downtown Governmental Building on Tuesday. A companion article notes that Sheriff's Deputies and other law enforcement officers are opposed to any requirements that would have them lock up their guns in the courthouse.

On a related note, the Shreveport Times reports that courthouse security is a concern in the Caddo Parish Courthouse, but Caddo Assistant District Attorney Hugo Holland thinks that the courthouse is "one of the best" prepared to handle unexpected events like the one in Atlanta last week.

Posted by AJR at 07:59 AM

March 15, 2005

Drug Court Makes Impact

The Town Talk reports that the Rapides Parish Drug Court is making a difference in the lives of those who participate in it. Judge Thomas Yeager is looking at expanding the program in Alexandria. The District Attorney's office supports the program as a good alternative to probation and incarceration for those addicted to drugs.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 10:10 AM

Caddo Parish Courthouse Reviews Security

According to the Shreveport Times, Caddo parish courthouse employees are reviewing their own safety concerns in light of the recent courthouse violence in Atlanta. Caddo parish has had courthouse incidents in the past, including a defendant beating his appointed attorney. The Atlanta incident has prompted the Sheriff's Department to institute a training exercise in case a situation like that ever erupts in the courthouse.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 10:05 AM

Calcasieu Public Defender Charged with Fraud

A Lake Charles attorney was charged with 7 counts of fraud and identity theft. The Lake Charles American Press reports that the attorney was investigated by the Attorney General after receiving complaints of identity theft from several of her clients. Attorney General Charles Foti said special agents found that Van Dyke "had been obtaining credit cards using clients' names and identities," including that of one man who had died.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 09:59 AM

March 14, 2005

NOLA Judge Blasted in Report

The Times-Picayune reports that the Metropolitan Crime Commission of New Orleans is going to release a report today indicating that Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge Charles Elloie grants bail bond reductions at a significantly higher rate than other judges. After reading a draft copy of the report, Judge Elloie noted: "Yeah, it took me by surprise, I knew I was doing the lion's share, but I didn't think the lion was that greedy." The article notes that Judge Elloie has agreed to change some of his practices after reviewing the report.

Posted by AJR at 08:17 AM

C-Murder Won't Get New Trial

The Advocate reports that Louisiana's 5th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned State District Judge Martha Sassone's decision to grant a new trial to Corey Miller, also known as C-Murder. Judge Sassone granted the new trial after learning that prosecutors withheld information from Miller's attorney that some of the state's key witnesses had criminal records. The Court of Appeals reversed, finding an abundance of other evidence to fully establish Miller's guilt.

Posted by AJR at 08:11 AM

Insurance Law Update

The Advocate reports on the results of the Legislature's efforts to decrease regulation of insurers in the state. The new law, which allows insurance companies to raise rates up to ten percent without commission approval, has resulted in companies issuing 141 rate reductions accounting for $38 million in savings to consumers. During the same time period, however, insurers also increased rates 372 times, for a total of $195 million , in rate increases. The reaction to the law's success is mixed.

Posted by AJR at 08:06 AM

Sunshine Law Week

In the spirit of Sunshine Week, the Town Talk reports on Louisiana's sunshine laws. In the article, Attorney General Charles Foti notes that the sunshine provision in Louisiana's Constitution does not constitute an absolute guarantee and that it is not totally self-executing. See Article XII, Section 3.

Posted by AJR at 08:01 AM

March 11, 2005

All Property Tax Sales From 1995 to 1997 Might Be in Flux

According to a report in The Advocate, Royal International Petroleum Corp. (Ripco) is readying to challenge a 1st Circuit Court of Appeal decision that allowed a delinquent property tax payer more than the statutory period of three years to redeem his property. Ripco's attorney, Charles Blaize says that "last week's 1st Circuit opinion, if upheld, could undermine all tax sales across the state from 1995 to 1997." Ripco had purchased a Baton Rouge house valued at $70,000 for $71.68 in a 1995 tax sale after the homeowner went delinquent on his taxes. The homeowner then let the three-year window for redeeming the property lapse, but the 1st Circuit annulled the sale, finding that the homeowner should have another chance to keep the property because the Sheriff failed to provide the required notice of the redemption rights. The case is expected to go to the Louisiana Supreme Court. The homeowner is represented by attorney Danny McGlynn.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 12:45 PM

March 10, 2005

Two Arrested for Shouting "Guilty" in an IHOP

A report in The Times-Picayune states that a pair of St. Tammany men were arrested and charged with jury tampering on Tuesday because they shouted "guilty" while dining at a Covington International House of Pancakes. The two men were sitting near the 12 jurors and three alternates who are deciding the first-degree murder case of Jesse Montejo. State Judge Donald Fendlason ordered that the men be held in lieu of $30,000 cash bonds. Fendlason said the incident could have caused a mistrial, which would cost the parish tens of thousands of dollars for the efforts that have gone into sequestering the jury all week.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 11:23 AM

Ninth Year in Prison Without Trial

Two brothers serving their ninth year in prison without ever going to trial could be out within weeks, according to a report on USAToday.com. A three-judge panel granted motions that could free the two men. In 1996, they were arrested for allegedly killing a man. The Louisiana Attorney General's Office said defense motions and requests for delays dragged out the case.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 11:06 AM

Tinted Bus Windows Raise Concerns

A report in The Shreveport Times states that the window tinting of almost 100 buses in Caddo Parish has alarmed local law enforcement. According to state law, a sun-screening device on the front window must have a light transmission of 40 percent. Side windows must have a light transmission of at least 25 percent. And rear windows must have a light transmission of 12 percent. The buses' windows are within the state's legal limits but members of law enforcement special response teams who deal with hijackings and hostage situations have expressed concerns that limited visibility hampers their ability to do their jobs.

You can view Louisiana's law about tinted windows here.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 10:57 AM

Oyster Industry Dredging Up Dispute

The Associated Press reports that the Louisiana oyster industry is split on whether or not to sue California for its ban on untreated oysters harvested in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Some oystermen say the ban is not allowed under the U.S. Constitution's commerce clause. Others argue that a lawsuit would be a waste of money and give the Gulf's oyster industry a bad name. Since the ban in 2003, California has not reported a single illness due to untreated oysters. Before the ban, five Californians a year died.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 10:22 AM

State Senator Wants to Change Stelly Plan

James David Cain is continuing his ongoing mission to undo portions of the Stelly Plan according to the American Press in Lake Charles. The State Senator would like to restore some itemized deductions. Cain failed to get a similar measure passed last year.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 10:17 AM

March 09, 2005

I-49 Challenge Continues

The Advocate reports that the Concerned Citizens Coalition, which is being represented by the Tulane Law Clinic, has filed the brief in its appeal of a federal district court decision upholding the route selection for a southern extension of the I-49 highway. The group argues that the Federal Highway Administration failed to comply with its own standards in approving the route selection.

Posted by AJR at 07:45 AM

Orleans DA in Federal Court

The Times-Picayune reports on yesterday's opening arguments in a case filed by former employees of the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office against District Attorney Eddie Jordan. The plaintiffs claim that DA Jordan was improperly motivated by race when he fired 44 workers when taking office in January 2003.

"While it may be OK for a new DA, or a new sheriff, to come in and clean house, you can't clean house with all of one race," said Clement Donelon, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, during opening arguments in the case. "You can't fire all the white people to hire your friends and all the black people."

The trial is before US Eastern District Judge Stanwood Duval and is expected to last four weeks.

Posted by AJR at 07:39 AM

Judge Wrongly Accepts Donations

The Times-Picayune reports that Judge Leon Cannizzaro Jr. improperly accepted donations during his successful run for a seat on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Cannizzaro apologized for the mistake in an appearance before the Louisiana Judiciary Commission, and the panel found "no indication whatsoever that [he] has been anything but a fair and unbiased judge." Accordingly, the commission has recommended that the judge be publicly censured by the Louisiana Supreme Court and ordered to pay $800 for the cost of the investigation.

Posted by AJR at 07:33 AM

Fiber Optic Judgment to be Appealed?

The Daily Advertiser reports that 15th JDC Judge Byron Hebert is expected to sign a judgment on his ruling that the Lafayette City-Parish followed an improper state law when deciding to issue $125 million in bonds to pay for a fiber-optic cable infrastructure project. It is not clear if the city plans to appeal the decision.

Posted by AJR at 07:26 AM

March 08, 2005

Caddo Board Asks for Rehearing of Race-Based Admissions Case

The Shreveport Times reports that the Caddo Parish School Board will ask for a rehearing in federal court after the Fifth Circuit ruled that its race based admissions procedures are unconstitutional. The attorney for the board stated that it could a couple of weeks before the Fifth Circuit will decide whether to take another look at the case.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 09:48 AM

Other School Boards to Pray, Despite Court Ruling

The Times-Picayune reports that the St. Bernard Parish school board will open its meeting tonight with prayer, despite a federal judge's ruling regarding school board prayer in Tangipahoa Parish. Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Loyola Law School, Rev. Lawrence Moore, states that the court ruling should be narrowly construed and only applies to Tangipahoa. Joe Cook of the Louisiana ACLU disagrees, saying that, particularly in the Eastern District, all school boards should abide by the ruling.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 09:42 AM

Louisiana Supreme Court Considers Trade Center Tax Issue

The Louisiana Supreme Court will hear arguments regarding dedicated tax dollars and the renovation of the World Trade Center hotel according to a report in The Advocate. The issue presented in the WTC case is very similar to one decided by the Court in February. In a case involving the proposed Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs, the Court ruled that dedicated tax dollars could not be diverted to help lure the sporting goods store to the area.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 09:34 AM

Capital Clerks Provides Legal Research for Louisiana Attorneys

Capital Clerks is an online legal research company that provides high-quality legal research to Louisiana law firms and legal departments. We are qualified LSU law school students who are eager to assist you in researching your legal issues. To learn more about us, give us a call at 888-263-6625 or visit us on the web at CapitalClerks.com.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 09:29 AM

March 07, 2005

"I Can Learn" Trial Begins Today

The Times-Picayune reports that a suit filed by JRL Enterprises, Inc. against several of its former board members is set to go to trial today before Judge Yada Magee in Orleans Civil District Court. JRL Enterprises develops and markets "I Can Learn" educational software, which is used nationally. The multi-million dollar suit alleges that Richard Bachmann, a former member of the board, conspired to take control of the company from its founder in order to sell it quickly.

Posted by AJR at 08:08 AM

March 03, 2005

Suit Filed in Tribal Court

The Associated Press reports that a member of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana has filed a lawsuit in tribal court to force tribal election officials to process three petitions filed more than six months ago seeking the recall of three Tribal Council members. The tribal members who pushed the recall have questioned more than $32 million spent in three years on Washington, D.C. lobbyists. The U.S. Senate's Committee on Indian Affairs held two hearings last year into the fees paid to lobbyists by several tribes, including the Coushattas. The Coushattas have also filed a lawsuit against the lobbyists, claiming they were overcharged and billed for work that was never performed, and that the lobbyists converted tribal funds to personal use.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 09:18 AM

Judge Faces Disciplinary Hearing

Judge Pamela Taylor Johnson, an East Baton Rouge Parish Juvenile Court judge, went in front of the Louisiana Supreme Court Wednesday, according to a report in the The Advocate. She was accused of judicial misconduct by the Louisiana Judiciary Commission. The commission recommended that Judge Johnson be suspended for 60 days without pay for allegedly failing to timely sign judgments in three dozen child-support cases, and for allegedly interfering with a retired Orleans Parish Juvenile Court judge appointed by the high court in February 2001 to oversee the administrative functions of East Baton Rouge Parish Juvenile Court. Judge Johnson's attorney, Nelson Taylor, argued that the disciplinary hearing was politically motivated and meant to punish her for helping to create a "politically unpopular" juvenile drug court and drug treatment center. The La. high court has issued no decision yet.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 09:03 AM

Four Not Going to be Executed at Angola

A report by the Business Report states that four death row inmates at Angola State Penitentiary will not be executed as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that executing criminals who were juveniles at the time of their crime is unconstitutional. Angola Attorney Bruce Dodd says prison officials are researching the matter, but it appears that the four men will be spared execution.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 08:49 AM

March 02, 2005

Fifth Circuit Finds Quota System at Magnet School

The Shreveport Times reports that the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded a decision in favor of the Caddo Parish School Board, finding that a magnet school admissions policy was a quota system. The article notes that the case was won by pro se plaintiff, Julie Ann Cavalier. "All we know is that we beat them," she said. "Caddo Parish may take it to the Supreme Court, but I doubt it. I've said all along I'd take it as far as I had to."

Posted by AJR at 07:48 AM

Monroe City Court to be Run by State

The News Star reports on the Louisiana Supreme Court's decision to order an administrative takeover of Monroe City Court operations for the second time in less than seven years. The Supreme Court order gives complete control of the Monroe City Court operations to retired 4th Judicial District Judge John Harrison. Judge Harrison will be assisted by the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office and the Ouachita Parish Clerk of Court.

Posted by AJR at 07:40 AM

Iberville Parish Attorney Fired

The Advocate reports that Iberville Parish President Mitch Ourso fired parish attorney John W. Wilbert, III after a heated meeting last month. Wilbert has not been replaced.

Posted by AJR at 07:33 AM

School Board to Appeal Prayer Decision

Newspapers around the state are reporting on the impact of U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan's decision to ban prayer at Tanghipahoa Parish School Board Meetings. The Times-Picayunereports that the School Board voted to appeal the decision at its meeting last night. Meanwhile, school boards across the state opened their meetings with prayer, many stating that they will not cease the practice until challenged. See:

Calcasieu Parish School Board Keeps Praying
Cenla School Boards embrace prayer
School Boards Grapple with Prayer
Ruling Prompts Emphasis on Prayer
Boards: Prayer to Stay at Meetings

Posted by AJR at 07:15 AM

March 01, 2005

Supreme Court Rules Juvenile Death Penalty Unconstitutional

According to a CNN.com article, the Supreme Court has ruled that executing a person for a crime they committed while still a juvenile violates the 8th amendment. Justice Kennedy wrote for the majority in a 5-4 decision.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 09:55 AM

Monroe Mayor Moving Criminal Cases to District Court

Mayor Jamie Mayo is going forward with his plan to move the city's misdemeanor cases to the State District Court in May, according to The News Star The Mayor states that the move will save money for the city because prisoners currently housed by the city will become the responsibility of the Sheriff. Sheriff Fewell says that he may have to hire as many as 20 new employees to cover the additional work load. The city has made other cost cutting and revue raising moves, including raising fines on traffic offenses.

Posted by AJH at 07:55 AM

Convicted Man Allowed to Continue Claims of Wrongful Conviction

A man serving a life sentence for his role in a 1997 murder can continue his appeal on the basis that he was wrongly convicted, according to a State District Judge. The Times-Picayune reports that the man was convicted of being the getaway driver. The man who was convited of being his partner and the shooter was later cleared by DNA evidence. The defense argument is that because they were convicted under the theory that they worked together, evidence clearing one should clear the other.

Posted by AJH at 07:48 AM

Girl Sues Zulu for Coconut Injury

The Times-Picayune reports that a 14 year old girl was injured by a coconut thrown from a float during the 2004 Zulu parade. The krewe is protected by a state law that states that parade goers assume the risk of being hit by anything traditional thrown from Mardi Gras floats. The suit seeks damages for "physical pain and suffering", and future "emotional and mental anguish."

Posted by AJH at 07:42 AM

Blanco Says School Boards Should Be Able to Pray

According to a report in The Advocate Governor Blanco is urging the Tangipahoa Parish School Board to appeal a ruling by a federal district judge declaring prayer at their meetings unconstitutional. The governor said, "I believe that such prayers are entirely appropriate, constitutional and in keeping with a practice in our nation that dates back to the Continental Congress." The court found that prayer at school board meetings is different from prayer to open a legislative session, for example.

Posted by AJH at 07:35 AM
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Al J. Robert, Jr.
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