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All Things Legal in Louisiana


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

March 02, 2005

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

January 26, 2005

Monroe City Court Given a Second Chance

The News-Star reports that Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo has delayed a plan to begin sending Monroe's criminal misdemeanor cases to state district court. The extended deadline, which has been moved to April 30, will allow the City Court a chance to find a way to replace city subsidies that have allowed the Court to operate in the red.

Posted by AJR at 07:54 AM

January 24, 2005

Monroe City Court Expected to See Fewer Cases

The News-Star reports that Monroe city government recently decided to start sending criminal misdemeanor cases to district court. As a result of the decision, the Monroe City Court system is expected to face drastic personnel and budget cuts.

Posted by AJR at 08:10 AM

January 19, 2005

Car Trial Continues

The News Star reports that the United States is nearing the end of putting on its evidence in a case against several defendants alleged to have engaged in fraudulent practices at car dealerships throughout the state. The case is pending in U.S. District Court in Monroe.

Posted by AJR at 08:08 AM

August 13, 2004

Monroe School Board Release Records

The News-Star reports that its extensive legal fight with the Monroe City School Board proved fruitful yesterday after the board released details and records related to its search for a new superintendent.

Posted by AJR at 08:33 AM

August 11, 2004

Domestic Cases to Be Heard Faster

The News-Star reports that the Fourth JDC has established new rules for all family and domestic proceedings that are designed to reduce the time necessary to resolve family docket cases by months. "Speed is important because time is money and the longer court proceedings take, the more it cost," said 4th Judicial District Judge Sharon Marchman. "It also helps parties solve disputes before they come to court."

Posted by AJR at 08:33 AM

August 10, 2004

Ouachita Parish Courthouse Gets Upgrade

The News-Star reports on renovations that will take place at the Ouachita Parish Courthouse as a result of ceiling that fell in July.

[A Monroe engineer's] report basically states that the deterioration of the plaster ceilings and wire mesh "is probably caused by the flooding of the floors at numerous times by the prisoners flooding the jail floor above, roof leaks and leaking pipes in the public restrooms."
Posted by AJR at 10:31 PM

Monroe City School Board Continues in Secret

The News-Star reports that the Monroe City School Board's search for a new superintendent continues in secret. The paper also reports that the District Attorney is investigating a criminal complaint that alleges the secrecy violates the state's open meetings and open records laws.

Posted by AJR at 10:27 PM

August 06, 2004

Monroe School Board Facing Scrutiny

The Newsstar reports that the Monroe City School Board is under fire for its refusal to release the names of more than 100 people applying for the position of school superintendent. Doug Lawrence, the school board's lawyer, is "trying to determine whether the board is violating state public records laws by keeping superintendent applications confidential." Apparently, the board has hired a consulting firm, Ray and Associates, which has all of the applications--a fact they seem to be using to distinguish themselves from precedent outlined in this article.

Posted by AJR at 09:41 AM

August 03, 2004

Living Will Ruled Valid

The News Star reports that Fourth JDC Judge Alvin Sharp ruled yesterday that an 89-year old woman's living will is valid as he lifted the TRO that kept her feeding tube in place. "The judge ruled the court should not 'assume that it is better to 'live' with significant disabilities than to 'die' with the degree of dignity' if the person's wishes were expressed in a living will."

Posted by AJR at 11:39 AM

July 16, 2004

Arrest of Public Works Director Complicates Policy Jury Case

The New Star reports that 4th Judicial District DA Jerry Jones said that the arrest of former Ouachita Parish Public Works Director Bo Boyte will not make his job easier. Boyte is one of two key witnesses in a Ouachita Policy Jury corruption probe and he was granted limited immunity for his involvement in the corruption in exchange for his testimony. Wednesday's arrest, however, was on charges of possession of stolen property and alteration of a vehicle identification plate and was, apparently, entirely unrelated to the corruption probe. "Common sense tells me (the arrests) may have an impact," Jones said. "The Police Jury investigation was a complicated one to start with, and this has not done anything to help."

Posted by AJR at 09:33 AM

July 13, 2004

LASC Blocks Longer Sentence

The News Star reports on a Louisiana Supreme Court decision that prevents the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office from using a drunk-driving conviction as an enhanceable felony. The article provides a brief overview of the court's decision, which addressed conflicting statutory law.

Posted by AJR at 10:18 AM

Ouachita Malfeasance Trial Set

The News Star reports that the trial of former Ouachita Parish Public Works Director Frederick "Bo" Boyte, one of eight people indicted in a Policy Jury corruption probe, has been rescheduled for November 29, 2004.

Posted by AJR at 10:13 AM

July 08, 2004

Foti to Present Another Check

The News Star reports that Attorney General Charles Foti will present a check to the St. Vincent DePaul Community Pharmacy in Monroe today. Attorney General Foti has been traveling across the state to deliver a settlement of more than $125,000 that was awarded to the State as the result of a class-action anti-trust settlement with the maker of the George Foreman grills, The Salton Corporation.

Posted by AJR at 08:28 AM

Ouachita Clerk of Court Cleans Up

The New Star reports that the Ouachita Parish Clerk of Court has started to clean up after Tuesday's ceiling collapse. The civil filing office has been relocated to the basement of the parish courthouse.

Posted by AJR at 08:22 AM

June 29, 2004

Monroe City Court Undergoing Audit

The News-Star reports that state legislative auditors have completed an audit on travel expenses at Monroe City Court. The article notes that the fieldwork is done and that a draft report will be completed and presented to the court system for comment before it is released to the public.

Posted by AJR at 07:56 AM

June 15, 2004

Trial Set for Ouachita Parish Workers

The News Star reports that trial dates for two former Ouachita Parish Police Jury Public Works Department employees have been reset until August 30. These two workers are the first of 8 that will be tried on charges of filing false public records, felony theft of road materials, malfeasance in office and public bribery. The article outlines the indictments against all eight involved.

Posted by AJR at 08:00 AM

June 04, 2004

A Tort Reformer's Dream

The Newsstar reports on a lawsuit filed against a Captain D's restaurant in Monroe that claims a cup of scalding coffee spilled into Ben Alex Norwood's lap and not only caused severe burns to his lower body, but also contributed to his death less than two months later. Attorney Vince Dunn, Jr. was fully aware that the suit would foster comparisons to a poster child of tort reform, the McDonald's case. "I know the McDonald's case is seen as the laughingstock. I don't want this to be seen as a joke," Dunn said. "This man truly suffered, as did his family."

A current poll on the Newstar web site indicates that over 90% of 274 respondents think that the suit is "one more sign that frivolous lawsuits need to be stopped."

Posted by AJR at 12:21 PM

July 25, 2003

Monroe Mayor Writes to United States DOJ

The News-Star reports that Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo has written a letter to the United States Department of Justice notifying the department of rising tensions betweent the Monroe police department and city officials. The dispute is related to pay raises.

"It is my opinion that this issue has the potential of becoming hostile and divisive," Mayo wrote. "It is my purpose to make you aware of the issue in the event the situation escalates, affecting the safety and wellbeing of our citizens, as well as myself and family personally."

Posted by AJR at 08:46 AM

July 24, 2003

Lolley Announces Candidacy for LA 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal

The News-Star reports that Fourth JDC Judge Larry Lolley formally announced his canidacy for a seat on the Louisiana 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal. Lolley's only opponent at this time is former Ouachita Parish Sheriff Chuch Cook.

Posted by AJR at 07:41 AM

June 26, 2003

Legal Heavyweights to Face Off in Ouachita?

The News-Star reports on a possible trial litigated by former 4th JDC DA Johnny Parkerson and current DA Jerry Jones. "I can promise you there wouldn't be an empty seat in the courtroom," Parkerson said.

'It ain't nothing but ego,' Parkerson said. 'We both have super egos or neither one of us would be DA. I was on my way to being a wealthy man before I won the DA's job, and Jerry was making a lot of money practicing law as a defense attorney before he won the job.'

Posted by AJR at 07:40 AM

June 25, 2003

Ouachita Parish Legal Scramble Begins

The News-Star provides several reports related to Monday's indictment of eight people, including parish employees and police jurors. The legal scramble begins outlines actions taken by the parish and this article explains what is to come in the judicial process. Finally, this article reports that confusion over surety bonds angered some of the indictees.

Posted by AJR at 07:44 AM

June 24, 2003

Ouachita Parish Police Jurors Indicted

The News-Star reports that Ouachita Parish police jurors Daryll Berry and King Dawson were among eight people indicted Monday by a Ouachita Parish grand jury.

The indictments signed Monday by 4th Judicial District Court Judge Wilson Rambo contained 23 felony counts - including public bribery involving sex, filing false public documents and malfeasance in office.
Posted by AJR at 07:29 AM

June 13, 2003

Bill Pryor Has Ties to Louisiana

The News-Star reports on the connections Bill Pryor, a Bush nominee for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal, has to Louisiana.

Posted by AJR at 07:58 AM

June 06, 2003

Attorney James Sharp, Jr. dies at Age 80

The News-Star reports that James Sharp, Jr., a Monroe civil rights attorney and father of two sitting 4th JDC judges, died Thursday afternoon. The article details the obstacles that Mr. Sharp, one of the area's first black attorneys, faced as he began to practice in 1952.

Posted by AJR at 07:48 AM

June 02, 2003

A Primer on Voir Dire

The News-Star provides some insights into the voir dire process in preparation for the jury selection of James Divers' second trial. "Court personnel spent time gearing up for a trial they expect to last three weeks or longer, including preparations to accommodate about 300 jury pool members who may be chosen to hear the case. "

Posted by AJR at 07:36 AM

May 30, 2003

Monroe makes Internet Drug Bust

The Monroe Metro Narcotics Task Force announced the arrest of two people that used the Internet to buy drugs that they received through the mail, reports The News-Star. "This is our first Internet arrest because of all the privacy laws," Metro Director, Lt. Hank Smith said. "We can't use wire taps in this case." He said agents "expect to have several more Internet arrests in the future. We finally caught someone who will lead us to others; we just hope these people come to us and give up the information first."

Posted by AJR at 07:28 AM

May 29, 2003

Monroe Clerk of Court Suspended

The News-Star reports that Monroe Clerk of Court Carol Powell-Lexing has been suspended by Monroe Chief Judge Tammy Lee. City officials are tight-lipped about the reasons for the suspension.

Posted by AJR at 07:36 AM

May 02, 2003

Monroe Students Go to Court

Members of the Tri-District Boys and Girls of Monroe spent the day in the 4th District Court in observance of law day, reports the News-Star. The students participated in a mock trial of Curly Pig, who was on trial for charges of attempted wolf-boiling. Danny Ellender, the incoming president of the local Bar Association, "said the aim of the play was to teach the elementary school children about the judicial system and the law. The best way to teach, he said, is to put things into a format children can understand and let them jump right in."

Posted by AJR at 11:34 AM

April 22, 2003

Another Redistricting Suit Filed

The News Star reports that Union Parish voters filed suit to stop the Union Parish Policy Jury's redistricting plan from being used in elections this fall. Monroe attorney Paul Hurd filed the suit on behalf of four plaintiffs that allege the new plan dilutes the minority vote. "The Justice Department approved the plan and we've held a School Board election under the plan," Police Jury President Danny Smith said.

Posted by AJR at 10:40 AM

April 16, 2003

Man Pleads Guilty To Altering Satellite Cards

The News-Star reports that a Bastrop man pleaded guilty in US District Court to one count of altering satellite reception devices to receive unauthorized services. Chad Ward, who had the hardware and software that allowed him to modify access cards, sold access cards that gave buyers "from a few days to six months" of DirecTV service. He faces up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

Posted by AJR at 11:18 PM

April 14, 2003

What is Obscenity?

The News-Star attempts to answer the question in this report. "The cornerstone of obscenity codes is community standards," Assistant 3rd JDC DA Mike Ruddick said. "What is allowed in Baton Rouge will be different than in Shreveport or here - not saying one is better than the other." The article appears to be in response to a few police raids and the recent opening of an adult video store in Lincoln Parish.

Posted by AJR at 08:41 AM

April 09, 2003

Class Action to Pay for a Ouachita Library

The News-Star reports that the Sterlington area will be the beneficiary of $1 million paid in punitive damages. The money will be used for a new library and is being paid as the result of a class action lawsuit filed after a 1991 explosion at the ANGUS Chemical Company. "This is money to be spent for the benefit of the entire class, but cannot be paid to any member of the class involved in the class action suit," said Dennie Hennen, a representative for the plaintiffs.

Posted by AJR at 08:24 AM

Monroe City Judge Pay Discussed

The News-Star reports that Monroe officials may take a second look at the pay of City Court judges if a proposed bill in the state Legislature passes. House Bill No. 1125 would repeal 1991 legislation that prohibits Monroe City Judges from practicing law outside City Court.

Currently, the city pays each judge $59,520 to supplement the judge's pay from the state and Ouachita Parish governments. After a scheduled pay increase by the city in July, each judge will make more than $95,000 a year, making them the highest-paid elected officials in the city of Monroe.

Posted by AJR at 08:20 AM

April 08, 2003

Louisiana Supreme Court Justices in Monroe

The News-Star reports on the Louisiana Supreme Court's trip to the University of Louisiana at Monroe. "Justices heard four cases in two separate sessions, the last the tragedy surrounding one Monroe teenager who shot a friend after an early morning altercation." Picture included.

Posted by AJR at 11:00 AM

March 28, 2003

Assistant DA Resigns After DWI Indictment

The News-Star reports that Cyrus Frazier, III, assistant district attorney for the 37th JDC in Caldwell Parish, was indicted on Thursday for a felony count of third offense DWI. "He came in Tuesday morning, we talked about it, and he tendered his resignation," said Illey Evans, 37th JDC DA, on Thursday afternoon.

Posted by AJR at 07:30 AM

March 20, 2003

Clerks of Court Convention in Monroe

The News-Star reports that clerks of court from across the state will meet in Monroe this week for the Louisiana Clerks of Court Association Annual Convention. Hopefully, they will be discussing electronic access to docket information, etc.

Posted by AJR at 10:44 AM

March 14, 2003

Judges Honored

Members of the Lincoln and Union Parish Bar Associations said thank-you to former Ad Hoc Third JDC Judge James Brodie and to Justice Chet Traylor for appointing him, reports The News-Star. Boddie, now a Lincoln Parish resident, said he "absolutely" enjoyed his almost six-year temporary stay on the 3rd District bench.

Posted by AJR at 07:59 AM

March 06, 2003

Ouachita Parish Courthouse Increases Security

The News-Star reports that the Ouachita Parish Courthouse has installed a new security center and 39 cameras - both inside and outside the courthouse. "More than $268,000 has been invested in the security system over the past year."

"Right now I would say we're one of the top 10 best-secured courthouses in the state," said Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Chief Civil Deputy Steve Struben. "A lot of the new courthouses in the state were constructed with security built-in, but here we have a courthouse that was built in 1927 so it's been harder (to secure)," Struben said.

Posted by AJR at 09:05 AM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2003

Monroe City Court Costs May Rise

The News-Star reports that Monroe City Court officials may need to raise the price of fines to deal with declining revenues. Chief Judge Tammy Lee blames the declining revenues on the lack of cases being brought to court. She said a revolving door of part-time prosecutors in recent years has been the main factor in the lack of cases.

Posted by AJR at 10:46 AM

February 20, 2003

Monroe City Court Officials Fail to Show at Council Meeting

The News-Star reports that Monroe City Council members were left waiting for an explanation of why the Monroe City Court has experienced declining revenues in recent years when no court representative attended the meeting. "The city has had to increase its annual subsidy from $120,000 in 2000 to nearly $500,000 in the upcoming fiscal year."

Posted by AJR at 10:57 AM

February 18, 2003

Grand Jury Investigation of Ouachita Parish Police Jury

Fourth JDC DA Jerry Jones has set a mid-March target date to present evidence to a grand jury regarding alledged misconduct of the Ouachita Parish Policy Jury after the state Legislative Auditor's Office issued an investigative report yesterday, reports The New-Star. The audit can be viewed here [pdf]. The auditor's report recommends the jury seek restitution and cites possible criminal violations.

Posted by AJR at 01:52 PM

February 13, 2003

Store file Defamation Suit Against Former Employee

The News-Star reports that the owners of Haneline's Men's Wear in Monroe filed suit for defamation against a former employee who had sued them for sexual harassment. The sexual harassment suit was recently dismissed by a 4th District Judge.

Posted by AJR at 10:38 AM

February 12, 2003

Bank Forecloses on Cowboy Town

The Town Talk reports that Bank One filed suit yesterday afternoon to seize and sell a never-completed complex that was to include an arena, restaurant and stores. If the suit filed can be resolved, it will make way for local groups working with "Boxing USA, the U.S. Olympic Committee and Louisiana economic development officials to make the arena into a southern regional facility for athletic development."

Posted by AJR at 07:19 AM

February 05, 2003

Supreme Court Denies Appeal in Murder Case Without a Body

The News Star reports on the Louisiana Supreme Court's denial of Ronnie Dorsey's appeal last week. Dorsey, who is currently serving a life sentence in Angola, was convicted for the murder of his wife despite the fact that her body was never recovered.

Posted by AJR at 07:55 AM
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