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


April 11, 2005

LSU Hospital to Handle own Collections

The Shreveport Times reports that the LSU hospital system will no longer use private attorneys to file liens and recover treatment costs from responsible third parties. Although proponents of the plan say it may save the state 1.3 million dollars, others note that collections will likely suffer as a result of moving the collections process to in-house administrators.

Posted by AJR at 08:48 AM

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

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 15, 2005

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

March 10, 2005

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

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

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

February 16, 2005

City to Sue Cox Cable?

The Shreveport Times reports that Bossier City and Bossier Parish are exploring the possibility of suing Cox Communications to enforce a franchise agreement that requires the cable company to carry KTAL-TV, the local NBC affiliate. Cox dropped the station in compliance with a 1992 FCC ruling after the station's owner ordered the company to remove the station from the cable-TV line-up. "However, a federal court has ruled that cable operators are responsible for more than just what is required by the FCC, City Attorney Jimmy Hall said. The city and parish now are seeking to test whether the issue exceeds their regulatory control, he said. "

Posted by AJR at 07:36 AM

February 09, 2005

Shreveport Going on Offensive

The Shreveport Times reports that a state lawsuit seeking to challenge Shreveport's use of state funds to build a convention center hotel was not filed yesterday because of the Mardi Gras holiday. Attorney Billy Pesnell, who represents Shreveport Citizens for Food Government, contends the city cannot use the state funds for hotel construction. The City, however, disagrees. "We've been on the defensive and will be. We're receiving these every week," Mayor Keith Hightower said. "But we're about to go on the offensive. We're tired of spending untold dollars defending frivolous attempts to stop this project."

Posted by AJR at 07:51 AM

Contractors are Still Unpaid

The Shreveport Times reports that subcontractors to Whitaker Construction are still owed in excess of $1.4 million for their work on the expansion of the Independence Bowl in 2001. The City of Shreveport plans to appeal a jury verdict awarding their general contractor, Whitaker Construction, $764,000 for additional work that the was performed by contractors on the stadium outside the scope of the contract.

Accordingly, until the matter is finally resolved, the subcontractors have not been paid by the city or the bonding company responsible for satisfying their liens on the Independence Bowl. The contractors will be lucky to get pennies on the dollar,"
Shreveport City Council Chairman Mike Gibson said. "The attorneys are the ones who are going to make a bunch of money."

Posted by AJR at 07:46 AM

February 08, 2005

Shreveport Group Changes Tactics Against City

The Shreveport Timesreports that a group in Shreveport is dropping its suit against the city over a proposed hotel addition to its convention center. An earlier story on this issue was posted on Nakedownership.com. It appears that the group could file another suit as early as today.

Posted by AJH at 09:27 AM

February 02, 2005

Legal Technology Seminar in Shreveport

Jim Calloway and Tom Mighell will be presenting a seminar on Technology for Lawyers, Paralegals, Legal Secretaries, Office Administrators, Law Firm and Court IT Specialists. The program, which has the subtitle 'What You Don't Know Can Hurt You' will take place on February 21st at the University Club on 401 Market St. in Shreveport. Here is a PDF version of the brochure, which highlights the various interesting sessions, including the one on how to more effectively manage your E-mail in-box and how to use the Internet more effectively in your law practice.

Posted by EES at 01:02 PM

January 27, 2005

Jury Orders Shreveport to Pay $764,265

In a follow up to a story posted Tuesday, a Shreveport Jury has ordered the city to pay Whitaker Construction $764,265 for work done above and beyond Whitaker's contract with the city. The Shreveport Times reports that Mayor Keith Hightower, incredulous at the decision, has vowed to appeal the ruling.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 10:54 AM

January 26, 2005

Jury Rules against Whitaker Construction

The Shreveport Times reports that the jury in US District Judge Don Walter's court has found that the City of Shreveport did not breach its contract with Whitaker Construction Co. The jury, however, still has to determine whether or not the City was unjustly enriched by the work that Whitaker performed out of the contract's scope. Accordingly, deliberations will resume again today.

Posted by AJR at 07:43 AM

January 25, 2005

Shreveport Official Claims Contractor Tried to Bilk City Out of $1 Million

The trial to determine whether the city of Shreveport owes an additional $5.2 million entered its fifth day Monday. The Shreveport Times reported that the court heard testimony that the contractor hired to complete renovations to Independence Stadium tried to avoid bankruptcy by billing the city an additional $1 million for work that had already been paid.

Posted by AJR at 08:53 AM

January 24, 2005

LSU Shreveport Liable to Doctor

In an opinion with high drama deserving of a reality TV show, the Louisiana Supreme Court held LSUHSC (LSU Shreveport Medical School) liable for attempting to torpedo an otolaryngologist's career. Allegations of illicit weekend nose-job surgery and nasty letters to licensing boards were flying back and forth between Dr. Peter Driscoll, who had recently finished his otolaryngology residency at the medical school and Dr. Fred Stucker, the director of the program. The Supreme Court concluded that the trial court was correct in awarding over 1/2 million in lost wages to Dr. Driscoll, who was delayed in his quest to become a plastic surgeon. The opinion can be found here. [pdf]

Posted by TRS at 04:16 PM | Comments (0)

Sabine DA Disputes Sister Helen Prejean

The Shreveport Times reports that District Attorney Don Burkett, of the 11th Judicial District, believes Sister Helen Prejean's newest book belongs on the fiction shelf. The book, Death of Innocents, asserts that Dobie Gillis Williams and Joseph O'Dell were innocently executed. "I don't know whether she is deliberately trying to mislead the public or if she's being mislead by others. But she's wrong," Burkett said of Prejean's review of Williams' case.

Posted by AJR at 08:05 AM

January 22, 2005

Update in Whitaker Construction Trial

The Shreveport Times reports on the ongoing trial involving Whitaker Construction Co. and its renovations to the Independence Bowl in Shreveport. Whitaker claims that the City owes his former company more than $2 million related to change orders associated with the project. The City argues that the company had already been paid for the work. The disagreement arises out of whether the contract was only for a stipulated fee or for a per square-foot basis. Shreveport Mayor Keith Hightower testified Friday that the city never agreed to pay Whitaker per square foot, and that Whitaker was eager to sign the contract as it was.

Posted by AJR at 09:00 AM

January 18, 2005

Group Sues to Block Shreveport Convention Hotel

A group has filed suit to stop the issuance of bonds to construct a hotel next to the Shreveport convention center. The Shreveport Times reports that the group is suing because the initial bond election did not include a provision for a hotel. They also believe that the hotel is a money losing proposition, and the state funded competition will harm local hotels.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 09:55 AM

January 17, 2005

City of Shreveport and Contractor Begin Trial on Tuesday

The Shreveport Times reports that the trial of claims filed by Whitaker Construction against the City of Shreveport will begin on Tuesday in U.S. District Court Judge Don Walter's courtroom. The company is seeking compensation for costs associated with its renovations of the Indenpendence Bowl in 2001. The project, which bankrupted the company, also resulted in the arrest of the company president on charges of failing to pay subcontractors, as noted here.

Posted by AJR at 09:44 AM

Former DeSoto Parish Clerk of Court Dies

The Shreveport Times reports that former longtime DeSoto Parish Clerk of Court Wade Alvin Porter Jr. died Sunday after a brief illness. Mr. Porter, who served the community for 36 years, was 81.

Posted by AJR at 09:37 AM

August 19, 2004

Millions Owed in Back Child Support

The Shreveport Times reports that over $110.6 million is owed in past-due child support in Caddo, Bossier and Webster Parishes. The article details the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act, which was enacted this year.

Posted by AJR at 07:40 AM

August 16, 2004

Prestige Plates Ruling Expected Soon

The Shreveport Times reports that a ruling is expected by the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal regarding Louisiana's prestige license plate program. The article details the effect that U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval's decision has had on the state's program and the funds it generates.

Posted by AJR at 08:15 AM

August 12, 2004

Lawsuit Filed to Challenge Alexander

The Shreveport Times reports that Christopher Whittington, a Baton Rouge attorney, has filed a lawsuit that challenges the legality of US Representative Rodney Alexander's recent party switch. The plaintiff, Jeremy Lacombe, says: "'The code is clear that he can't do it. It's just a question of law' that will be reviewed during a hearing at 4 p.m. Friday in Iberville District Court in Plaquemine, the 5th Congressional District courthouse nearest the state Capitol."

Posted by AJR at 09:02 AM

August 11, 2004

Summary of Amendments Facing Louisiana Voters

The Shreveport Time reports on the Constitutional amendments facing Louisiana voters this fall. The article focuses on the "high-profile issue of prohibiting the recognition of any marriage or civil union except those between one man and one woman and prohibiting 'the legal incidents' of marriage by other means" and its associated lawsuits.

Posted by AJR at 08:37 AM

August 10, 2004

Woman May Burn Book

The Shreveport Times provides today's human interest story.

Update: There is a little more information (and a picture) provided by the Town Talk.

Posted by AJR at 10:34 PM

August 03, 2004

Freeze your Credit Report

The Shreveport Times reports that next July Louisiana will become part of a small minority of states that makes additional protections available to citizens seeking to prevent identity theft. The new weapon, called a security freeze, prevents the major credit bureaus from providing a credit report to anyone unless the person seeking credit has provided the creditor with express permission to access his or her credit report. The service will cost $10 and it looks like you will have to pay $8 each time you want to provide access to your records.

Posted by AJR at 11:33 AM

Former Webster Parish Clerk of Court Sentenced to Prison

The Shreveport Times reports that Sueletha Frazier, a former Webster Parish Clerk of Court, will be serving three years in jail after she pled guilty to theft and malfeasance in office. "Frazier resigned in March. She was re-elected without opposition in November and was scheduled to take her second oath of office on July 1. A special election to permanently fill the spot will be Sept. 18."

Posted by AJR at 11:24 AM

July 16, 2004

Lake Bistineau Drawdown Underway

The Shreveport Times reports that 26th JDC Judge Dewey Burchett issued a ruling allowing the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to drawdown Lake Bistineau. The judge found that the drawdown is the "only feasible plan for controlling aquatic growth of exotic plants." Accordingly, he refused to issue an injunction to delay the planned drawdown until the end of summer.

James Seales, LDWF District 1 fisheries biologist supervisor, has said this summer drawdown is needed to get sufficient drying action on the lake bottom. A proliferation of water hyacinth and hydrilla, both considered exotic or non-native plants, accompanied by leaf litter dropped by the massive cypress tree canopy, has contributed to a buildup of muck anywhere from 10 inches to 2 feet thick on the lakebed.
Posted by AJR at 09:28 AM

July 15, 2004

Decision on Lake Bistineau Expected Today

The Shreveport Times reports that 26th JDC Judge Dewey Burchett, Jr. will decide whether the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries can move forward with a planned drawdown of Lake Bisteneau before 4:30 this afternoon. More specifically, Judge Burchett is considering whether to issue a preliminary injunction that would delay the drawdown until after the end of the recreational season at the Lake.

Posted by AJR at 09:53 AM

July 14, 2004

Lake Bistineau Hearing Set for Today

The Shreveport Times reports that 26th JDC Judge Dewey E. Burchett Jr. expects a full courtroom as he considers whether or not to issue an injunction to prevent the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries from beginning to draw down the popular Lake Bistineau. The injunction seeks to delay the planned draw down until after Labor Day in an effort to minimize business damages.

Posted by AJR at 08:20 AM

Man Wants Mistrial, Man Gets Mistrial

The Shreveport Times reports that a trial on a charge of forcible rape against John Vincent Spano, which was set to begin on Monday, was delayed after Spano attacked his public defender.

Spano allegedly walked up to Rickey Swift, a senior attorney with the public defender's office, and decked him in front of at least 12 potential jurors, two prosecutors, two deputies, a bailiff and the judge in Courtroom H on the second floor of the Caddo Courthouse, sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Don Gibbs said.

Sounds like a scene straight out of The Practice.

Posted by AJR at 08:12 AM

July 13, 2004

State AG Investigating Caddo Judge

The Shreveport Times reports that the state attorney general's office is investigating whether battery charges should be filed against First JDC District Judge Michael Walker. The investigation stems from an altercation at Shreveport City Court a few weeks ago when Judge Walker allegedly chest-butted a deputy as the judge passed through a metal detector. Judge Walker has sent a letter seeking an apology from the marshal's office and the termination of the deputy involved in the dispute.

Posted by AJR at 10:10 AM

June 29, 2004

Landrieu Discusses Juveniles with DAs

The Shreveport Times reports that Senator Mary Landrieu met with district attorneys from throughout north Louisiana to brainstorm on ways of improving Louisiana's juvenile justice system.

Posted by AJR at 08:01 AM

Food Bank to Receive Settlement Money

The Shreveport Times reports that Attorney General Charles Foti will be in Shreveport today to present the non-profit Northwest Louisiana Food Bank with a check for $10,000. The money is being distributed as part of a settlement with the Salton Corporation, which manufactures George Foreman grills.

Posted by AJR at 07:59 AM

September 17, 2003

Judge Walter Comments on Trip to Iraq

Don Walter, a US Western District Judge sitting in Shreveport, was one of 25 advisors that agreed to visit Iraq this summer to assist in the reconstruction of the judicial, prosecutorial and law enforcement sectors in that country. This press release from the United States DOJ details the mission and its participants. Since his return, Judge Walter has given a few speeches reporting his observations and they are creating a buzz--Instapundit has posted a copy of the speech emailed to him by Judge Walter's secretary.

Judge Walter indicates that law professors are needed in Iraq and that LSU has refused to help. Accordingly, he is currently seeking assistance from Seton Hall and Rutgers. He notes that he has not contacted Tulane yet, with no mention of Loyola. On a somewhat related topic, one of my professors mentioned that LSU was instrumental in drafting a new civil code for Iraq during the Gulf War. I wonder if it is still around. . .

Posted by AJR at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2003

Constitutionality of Lethal Injection on Trial in Shreveport

The Times-Picayune reports on State District Judge Ramona Emanuel's ongoing hearing to determine the constitutionality of lethal injection. The hearing was ordered by the Louisiana Supreme Court in "one of the state's most horrific (crimes)." The article provides a comprehensive consideration of the issue that will most certainly be heading to the Louisiana Supreme Court, regardless of the hearing's outcome.

Posted by AJR at 09:27 AM

August 05, 2003

Lester Issues Apology

The Times reports that Shreveport Councilman Calvin Lester issued a letter of apology to his consituents after details of his plea bargain that reduced more than $10,000 in state and local traffic fines to only $50 became public. "Many stones have been cast at me over the past weeks, many of them deserved," Lester's letter states. "I want to take this opportunity to reassure you that those issues have been resolved. I have hurt myself and let others down."

Posted by AJR at 08:23 AM

August 04, 2003

"Lester Deal" Making the Rounds in Shreveport

The Times reports that a Shreveport City Councilman who had hundreds of dollars of parking tickets and violations reduced to a single violation and fine of $50 may end up costing the city as citizens try to take advantage of the same "deal."

Posted by AJR at 08:45 AM

July 29, 2003

Hicks Takes Place on Federal Bench

The Times reports on the entertaining swearing-in ceremony of US District Judge Maurice Hicks in the Western District of Louisiana.

Posted by AJR at 08:41 AM

July 28, 2003

Choose Life Decision Affects Other Causes

The Times reports that U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval's decision to halt the sales of specialty license plates has delayed a program aimed at reducing the number of feral cats and dogs.

Posted by AJR at 07:39 AM

July 22, 2003

Father of Alleged Victim Files Suit Against DeSoto School Board

The Times reports that the father of a 16-year old girl who alleges that she was forced to engage in oral sex with five male basketball players on a bus returning from a game in January has filed suit against the DeSoto Parish School Board and its insurer. The boys have been expelled and the lawsuit was filed using names like Jane Doe to protect the privacy of the victim. The criminal investigation has been ongoing.

Posted by AJR at 08:27 AM

Louisiana Sheriff Subject of Copyright Suit

The Times-Picayune reports on a lawsuit filed against the Sheriff of Claiborne Parish, which alleges that inmates and visitors to the Claiborne Parish Detention Center can buy pirated copies of recordings. The Department of Corrections says it will investigate, but the computers involved supposedly don't have Internet access. Sounds like some enterprising inmates found a way to make a few bucks.

Posted by AJR at 08:20 AM

July 18, 2003

Whitaker Waives Extradition

The Times reports that Shreveport contractor Joe Whitaker waived extradition in federal court on Thursday and will be returned to Monroe to face criminal charges for allegedly failing to pay subcontractors for a hospital project.

Posted by AJR at 08:20 AM

July 17, 2003

Shreveport Businessman Arrested

The Times reports the arrest of contractor Joe Whitaker. Whitaker, who was preparing to leave today to assume the position of senior advisor to the Iraqi Minister of Health, was arrested in El Paso, Texas on allegations of "contractors' misapplication of payments." Whitaker's company, Whitaker Construction, was once Louisiana's third-largest construction firm, but was forced into bankruptcy last year. The company has been involved in several high profile projects and has recently been involved in lawsuits with the City of Shreveport related to renovations of Independence Stadium (see here).

Posted by AJR at 07:29 AM

July 16, 2003

Traffic Tickets Costly for Shreveport Attorney

The Times reports that Shreveport councilman and attorney Calvin Lester has been barred from practicing in federal court until 2005 after he failed to appear at an appeal hearing related to his suspension. The article outlines the significant problems Lester has caused himself by failing to address traffic citations and neglecting to show up in court--both as an attorney and a defendant.

Posted by AJR at 07:34 AM

July 07, 2003

Ex-congregation Sues Pastor

The Advertiser reports that an alienated Shreveport congregation has filed suit against their former pastor. The former members of Riverside Baptist Church allege that the pastor, Lee Jenkins, changed the church's theology and practice in 2000, thereby alienating a large number of the congregation. They allege that the pastor then illegally donated the church to the new congregation, which is about to be sold for $1.5 million.

Posted by AJR at 07:32 AM

June 23, 2003

Bakke in Louisiana?

The Times reports that the United States Supreme Court's decision in the University of Michigan admissions case is not expected to impact Louisiana's colleges and universities. The state is still governed by a federal desegregation settlement reached in 1994. The ruling, however, "focused less on admissions policies and more on attracting other-race students by concentrating on duplicated and underfunded programs and recruitment efforts."

Posted by AJR at 07:43 AM

June 13, 2003

Former 2nd JDC Judge Whitten Passes Away

The News-Star reports that former 2nd JDC Judge Leon Whitten passed away on Wednesday. Whitten's career with the Second District spanned nearly 30 years. He served as district attorney from 1972-1982 and as district judge from 1982- 2000.

Posted by AJR at 07:54 AM

June 11, 2003

"CSI" Equipment Donated by Bossier City Police Department

The Bossier City Police Department has donated a Bluemaxx amber light to the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program to be used during sexual assault examinations. The Times reports that nurses are trained to respond immediately in sexual assault cases.

Posted by AJR at 07:44 AM

June 06, 2003

Shreveport Police to Use Video Cameras in Neighborhoods

The Times reports that Shreveport police will begin using video surveillances to fight crime.

"People whose homes are getting broken into, or stuff is being stolen from their yards, they want the camera," said Stephanie Lynch, president of the Mooretown Neighborhood Strategy Council. "People who feel it's an invasion of privacy, it's 'Big Brother,' they don't want it. Then there are others who just don't understand the scope of the situation. It's a mixed reaction, house to house."

Posted by AJR at 07:41 AM

May 30, 2003

Lethal Injection Challenge Moving Forward

The Times reports that a hearing to determine whether lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment (and a violation of the Eighth Amendment) is now entering its fourth month.

The hearing before Caddo District Judge Ramona Emanuel was ordered by the state Supreme Court, and began in February in response to appeals filed to spare Code's life. Code is being represented by the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana.

Code, who is a convicted quadruple murderer will be the beneficiary of an extensive hearing that might result in testimony from nearly 60 witnesses.

Posted by AJR at 07:23 AM

May 14, 2003

Judge Rules for Sheriff in Caddo Jail Funding Dispute

The Times reports that 1st JDC Judge Roy Brun issued a ruling ordering the Caddo Parish Commission to pay the Sheriff for all jail expenses resulting in the arrest, confinement and prosecution of prisoners, and any costs associated with deputies testifying. The ruling is expected to cost the Parish almost $775,000 more than it currently pays the Caddo Correctional Center. An appeal is likely.

Posted by AJR at 07:33 AM

May 13, 2003

Judge to Rule in Caddo Jail Funding Dispute

The Times reports on the trial between the Caddo Parish Council and the Sheriff. After more than a year of legal controversy related to the jail's funding, both parties presented their closing arguments to 1st JDC Judge Roy Brun yesterday. Judge Brun has indicated that he will rule by noon today.

Posted by AJR at 07:29 AM

April 28, 2003

Former 2nd Circuit Chief Judge Dies at 74

The Times reports that Charles A. "Corky" Marvin of Minden died Sunday after a battle with cancer. The Honorable Marvin became a judge on the circuit appeal court in June 1975. "Funeral services are pending with Rose-Neath Funeral Home in Minden. Visitation is today from 5-8 p.m. at the funeral home."

Posted by AJR at 02:47 PM

April 25, 2003

Caddo Parish Jail Funding Suit Ongoing

The Times reports on the trial between Caddo Parish and its Sheriff regarding the costs associated with running the Parish Jail. The case is recessed as 1st JDC Judge Roy Brun decided to give attorneys time to prepare closing arguments, but no date has been set.

Posted by AJR at 07:32 AM

April 24, 2003

Caddo Sheriff, Parish Meet in Court

The Times reports that the ongoing dispute between Caddo Parish and its Sheriff regarding the costs of housing parish inmates will go to trial today. The case will be tried before 1st JDC Judge Roy Brun and is expected to last two days. Commission President Carl Pierson said, regardless of the hearing's outcome, "the sheriff and the commission have to continue to work together."

Posted by AJR at 10:38 AM

Bossier City Settles Park Employees' Lawsuits

The Times reports that Bossier City offered $297,000 to settle lawsuits filed by former employees arrested in a 1997 investigation of alleged payroll fraud. The trial, which began with voir dire last week, was abruptly ended when the city decided that it was more economical to offer the money than to continue fighting. "We estimated that the legal fees and court costs involved in continuing to fight would have cost the city close to $750,000 or more," city spokesman Mark Natale said. "The plaintiffs have incurred considerable legal costs as well, meaning at least some will hardly break even, if at all, on receiving their share of the settlement."

Posted by AJR at 10:34 AM

April 22, 2003

Bossier Parks Plaintiff Takes the Stand

The Times provides coverage of the Bossier Parks and Recreation lawsuit filed by nearly a dozen former employees against Bossier City, its mayor, police department, and others. The suit alleges false arrest and defamation of character. Former park superintendent Larry Sharrah was on the stand yesterday and testified about the impact the arrest and resulting publicity had on his life.

Posted by AJR at 10:34 AM

April 21, 2003

Shreveport Council Focuses on Property Owners

The Times reports that the Shreveport City Council has more than tripled the fee charged to owners who neglect their property. The council is also pursuing the option of attaching liens on property that the city is forced to tend to. "The city has more than 7,000 pieces of adjudicated property that mostly lie dormant throughout the city, but in some cases actually sap funds because the city spends money cutting weeds or boarding up structures."

Posted by AJR at 07:30 AM

April 08, 2003

Construction Company Files $5.2 Million Suit Against Shreveport

The Times reports that bankrupt Shreveport-based Whitaker Construction filed a $5.2 million lawsuit against the City of Shreveport on Monday. The lawsuit alleges that the city refused to pay Whitaker the amounts due for its work on the Independence Stadium in a reasonable time period, which ultimately resulted in its financial problems. "City administrators are expected today to ask the City Council to approve the hiring of attorney Joseph Greenwald to pursue a counter-suit alleging Whitaker did not finish the almost $14 million Independence Stadium project in the time line outlined in the contract."

Posted by AJR at 10:35 AM

April 01, 2003

Shreveport Trials Reset for Next Week

The Times reports that the unavailability of a key witness resulted in the trial delay of 14 consolidated lawsuits, which were filed against Bossier City over the 1997 arrest of 17 Bossier Parks and Recreation Employees. The arrests were related to an alleged payroll-mishandling case, but charges were dropped by then DA Jim Bullers. The trial was rescheduled because one of the two men who led the police investigation is still recovering from recent surgery and the trial is expected to last for six weeks.

Posted by AJR at 10:38 AM

March 28, 2003

Sabine River Authority Asks for Review of Audit

The Town Talk reports that Sabine River Authority commissioners took no action in response to the audit recently released by the state legislative auditor. Rather, commissioners are awaiting further word from Sabine District Attorney Don Burkett or State Attorney General Richard Ieyoub.

Several board members, backed by applauding audience members, said it's already clear they need to take action on one audit finding: Ask former Executive Director Linda Curtis-Sparks to return a $117,500 payment given to her in January as part of a settlement agreement reached Dec. 30.

Posted by AJR at 06:58 AM

March 27, 2003

Mansfield Businessman Admits Widespread Fraud

The Times reports that a Mansfield businessman who developed and managed hundreds of apartment complexes throughout Louisiana and the rest of the South admitted to bilking the government out of millions of dollars. Riemer Calhoun, Jr., a 66-year-old millionaire, plead guilty to two counts of wire fraud and to one count of conspiracy to commit equity skimming. His agreement requires him to pay a $1 million dollar fine and to serve a possible 10-year prison sentence.

Calhoun used two different schemes to defraud government agencies and various investors throughout the country of $2.5 million, Flanagan said. Some of those investors also stand to lose money if the Internal Revenue Service disallows tax credits they received through Calhoun's fraudulent business practices.

Posted by AJR at 10:30 AM

March 26, 2003

Shreveport to Payback Bond Funds

The Times reports that the Shreveport City Council has approved Mayor Keith Hightower's plan to partially reimburse a park bond fund that was used to buy land for a downtown convention center. The land and bond funds have been the subject of controversy as a result of the council's approval of the Deja Vu strip club. The apparent mingling of bond funds is now the focus of the state legislative auditor. Of the $958,000 used to purchase land for the convention center, $700,00 has already been reimbursed. The council approved the Mayor's plan to pay back the remainder from a hotel bond fund.

Posted by AJR at 08:06 AM

March 25, 2003

Sabine River Authority Cited by Legislative Auditor

The legislative auditor has issued a report citing ten allegations of improper conduct by the Sabine River Authority, reports The Times. Allegations include improper payments totaling $117,500 to the former executive director, Linda Curtis-Sparks, failure to comply with state law in contracting professional services and failure to follow the bid process when purchasing furniture and fixtures. The article provides an brief chart/summary of the audit at the bottom of the web page.

Posted by AJR at 08:53 AM

Shreveport Council to Discuss Bond Funds

The Times reports that the Shreveport City Council is debating on whether or not to return 1996 bond money to a fund that was intended to create a riverfront park, but was instead used to purchase land for the convention center. The legislative auditor revealed last week that it is investigating the use of the funds, which have become a hot topic as a result of the Deja Vu strip club zoning and permitting fiasco. The council has maintained that it did nothing wrong with the funds and one councilman has questioned this proposal as nothing more than a way to avoid the impression of impropriety.

Posted by AJR at 08:47 AM

March 19, 2003

Horseshoe Casino to Settle State Dispute for $7.4 Million

The Horseshoe Casino has agreed to pay the State $7.4 million to settle charges that its owner, Jack Binion engaged in "extraordinary and inappropriate" business practices, reports The Times. "With the casino agreeing to the sanction, the state Gaming Control Board voted unanimously to grant it an unconditional license that will come up for another five-year renewal on Nov. 22, 2004." The article provides a concise summary of the agreement.

Posted by AJR at 07:04 AM

March 17, 2003

Casino and State Nearing Agreement

The Advertiser reports that the Horseshoe Casino is very close to settling charges of unconventional business practices with the State Gaming Control Board. If an agreement is reached it would allow the casino to obtain an unconditional five-year renewal of its gaming license.

Posted by AJR at 08:32 AM

March 12, 2003

Shreveport Men's Club Ruling Appealed

The Advertiser reports that the five women who sued the Southern Trace Country Club in in Shreveport have appealed the district court decision that a restaurant's men-only policy does not violate the state constitution. The story has been previously reported on by Naked Ownershiphere and here.

Posted by AJR at 08:36 AM

Deja Vu Prevails at Shreveport City Council Meeting

The Times reports that the Shreveport City Council rejected arguments regarding its misuse of bond monies alleged by opponents of the downtown Deja Vu strip club. The council, in a 5-2 vote, upheld a Zoning Board of Appeals' decision that the club is not within a 1,000 feet of a park. Opponents of the strip club have already stated that they will appeal the decision.

Posted by AJR at 08:14 AM

March 10, 2003

Deja Vu: Shreveport Council Headed to Court

The Times reports that regardless of a Shreveport City Council vote on Tuesday, a debate over grant monies and the Deja Vu strip club is headed to court. This aspect of the Deja Vu saga centers on $5 million in bond funds intended for the development of a Cross Bayou park that was instead used to buy land for the City's convention center. "In other words, the council will be asked Tuesday to vote on a definition of a park."

Posted by AJR at 08:31 AM

March 05, 2003

Shreveport Police Corporal Arrested

Shreveport Police Corporal Jimmie Peck and former police officer Kevin Buford were arrested by the Caddo Parish Sheriff and the FBI for allegedly participating in the attempted robbery of an ATM, reports The Times. Further, "the sheriff's office and FBI are investigating Burford and Peck's involvement in other similar robberies and several home-invasion robberies. They could face state and federal charges."

Posted by AJR at 08:04 AM

February 28, 2003

Deja Vu Opponents Say Bond Money Misspent

The Times reports that opponents of the Shreveport Deja Vu strip club are in a dispute with the city over nearly $4 million in bond revenues that they claim were intended to build a park but were used to purchase land for a downtown convention center.

Scott Sinclair, lead attorney for opponents of the club, said that because the city used bond money to buy those parcels, they legally become parks.Under city law, parks are a protected use, meaning the $4 million Deja Vu cannot locate at 202 Commerce St. Sinclair said.

Posted by AJR at 08:37 AM

February 26, 2003

Shreveport Woman Unfit for Trial

First JDC Judge John Mosely ruled that Joan B. Edgar, a grandmother who allegedly shot her daughter and two granddaughters is incompetent to stand trial, reports The Times. "She does not have sufficient ability to consult with her attorney," Mosely said as he handed down his decision. "She presents a danger to herself and to others. She is not competent to stand trial."

Posted by AJR at 08:33 AM

February 25, 2003

Shreveport Club's Men-Only Policy Constitutional

First JDC Judge Roy Brun decided that the Men's Grille in the Southern Trace Country Club does not violate the state constitution with its men-only policy, reports The Times. The plaintiffs will appeal the decision, which found that the Southern Trace Country Club is a "public" facility under state law. The following probably had some bearing on the judge's decision:

The Men's Grille, attached to the male locker room, is a sit-down restaurant with a big-screen television. A similar entity in the female locker area is referred to as the "Ladies Card Room." Neither the card room nor the grill prepare food. All food is prepared in the kitchen and delivered to the designated areas upon request.

Posted by AJR at 10:23 AM

February 24, 2003

Woman Likely Faces Death Penalty

Brandy Holmes, accused of killing Rev. Julian Brandon in his home, is a 23-year-old woman likely facing the death penalty for her crime, reports The Times. The article provides a brief history of women murderers in the area and concludes that Holmes defies the stereotypes of women killers.

Posted by AJR at 08:10 AM

Parish and Sheriff Disagree Over Jail Operating Revenues

The Times reports that a long-running dispute between the Caddo Commission and Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator over jail operating revenues may be finally going to trial. The breakpoint in negotiations over the last year has been the per diem the parish pays to the sheriff to house parish inmates at the Caddo Correctional center.

State law mandates that parishes pay a minimum of $3.50 per diem per parish inmate, but Prator has filed suit seeking $14.92 per day. He dropped the request to $7.00 per day in settlement negotiations, but the Commission says it just can't find the money and that perhaps Prator should be suing the State rather than the parish for additional funds.

Posted by AJR at 08:04 AM

February 13, 2003

Deja Vu Dances On

The Times reports that Deja Vu recorded another legal victory yesterday when the Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously agreed that the the club can legally locate on Commerce Street. Opponents of the club will appeal the decision to the Shreveport City Council. The saga continues. . .

Posted by AJR at 10:31 AM

February 12, 2003

Shreveport Passes Sex Business Laws

The Shreveport City Council voted to adopt a law that regulates sexually-oriented business reports The Times. Except for requiring licensing by the city, the law does not go beyond the rules required by state and local liquor codes. The council defeated amendments that would have required a six-foot buffer and limited hours by votes of 4-3. Nonetheless, this isn't the end of the Deja Vu saga, as the Shreveport Zoning Board of Appeals will hold a meeting today to reconsider the zoning of the club.

Posted by AJR at 07:26 AM

February 11, 2003

Council Set to Vote on Latest Chapter of Deja Vu Saga

A Shreveport City Councilman will ask the council to approve a proposed law that would regulate sexually oriented businesses in Shreveport, reports The Times. Council members will be asked to vote on the base ordinance as well as seven separate amendments. Two of those amendments were at the heart of the last council's debate - requiring dancers to remain at least six feet from patrons, and not allowing sexually oriented business to be conducted between midnight and 6 a.m.

Posted by AJR at 10:43 AM

Lethal Injection Challenged as Cruel and Unusual

The Time reports on a Caddo District Court hearing that will consider whether execution by lethal injection constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Lawyers with the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana are arguing on behalf of Nathaniel Code. Code was sentenced to die in 1991 by a Caddo District Court jury and has spent 13 years on death row for murdering four people in Shreveport. Testimony is expected to last all week and Angola Warden Burl Cain is among 15 witnesses scheduled to testify.

Posted by AJR at 10:37 AM

February 10, 2003

Trial Looms for Accused Gang Members

The Times reports on Shreveport's gang problems noting that trial dates are nearing for four men accused in a deadly drive-by shooting. Caddo Parish DA, Paul Carmouche, will seek the death penalty against the four men.

Posted by AJR at 08:06 AM

February 07, 2003

Deja Vu Opens to Large Crowd

Typing Deja Vu into the Naked Ownership search box will provide a brief overview of the controversy surrounding the Shreveport strip club. Despite the ongoing dispute between the club, the city, and opponents The Times reports that the club's grand opening drew more than 4,000 people on invitation-status before opening to the general public. The occupancy permit and zoning status of the club are still being challenged.

Posted by AJR at 08:15 AM

January 29, 2003

Johnnie Cochran Joins Shreveport Walk of Stars

The Times reports on Johnnie Cochran's inclusion into the Shreveport Walk of Stars.

"Cochran reminisced to an audience of about 50 Tuesday at Barnwell Garden and Art Center as he imprinted his hands and feet in a cement square. Cochran, born in 1937, is the first attorney to be inducted in the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce's Walk of Stars."

Posted by AJR at 08:12 AM

January 28, 2003

Deju Vu Still Dancing

The Times reports on the Deja Vu strip club's attempts to remain open in Shreveport.

"Council members were notified Friday that a three-inch thick, bound document outlining what he deemed legal shortcomings in the city's latest effort to create an ordinance to govern sexually oriented businesses was delivered from Brad Shafer, Michigan-based attorney for Deja Vu, the national chain of strip clubs that recently opened a club in downtown Shreveport."

Accordingly, City Council members are expected to postpone their vote on the ordinance today.

Posted by AJR at 10:47 AM

January 27, 2003

Let my Son Play

The Times reports on a lawsuit filed by a parent accusing Bossier City of breach of contract because his son remained on the bench throughout the city football season-despite a rule that each player is supposed to play a "major portion" of each game. Apparently, complaints to the coaches and supervisors were not addressed, so Pat Cordara is suing to have his $45 registration fee returned.

Posted by AJR at 08:18 AM
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