An illegal “walking quorum” meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) was broken up this morning by Morning Paper publisher John Hays and Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) publisher and editor Walter Abbott.
A 1:00 PM meeting of two of Lincoln Parish’s top law enforcement officers – Sheriff Mike Stone and Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union parishes) First Assistant District Attorney Andy Shealy – and members of the jury was cancelled after Stone claimed to have had an emergency call and was unable to attend. The jurors scheduled to attend the meeting were notified that no meeting would be held.
Earlier, the two met with groups of police jurors to discuss parish detention center issues. At the 9:00 AM meeting reportedly were jurors Micky Mays, Jody Backus, Theresa Wyatt, and juror-elect Ronnie Walker. The 10:00 AM meeting was attended by Roy Glover, Joe Henderson, and Annie Brown, a source said.
A walking quorum is a series of gatherings among separate groups of members of a governmental body, each less than quorum size, who agree, tacitly or explicitly, to act uniformly in sufficient number to reach a quorum.
When this reporter and Hays arrived at 11:00 AM on the third floor of the Lincoln Parish courthouse, no jurors were there, nor was the sheriff or the ADA.
Jury personnel said at the time they knew nothing about any meetings. When shown a copy of the email that had originated from the jury office, Administrator Courtney Hall said, “You’ll have to go talk to Mr. Shealy about that – I don’t have anything to say to y’all.”
In an impromptu meeting with Shealy moments later, Hays and Abbott asked about the meetings that had taken place earlier that morning. Shealy admitted that he had met with the sheriff and some of the jurors. But he denied that any such meeting was illegal or that the meetings were clandestine.
“You can have meetings to explore possibilities,” said Shealy. “Nobody’s trying to keep a secret,” he added.
Shealy also denied having anything to do with the email that summoned the jurors to the meeting. When it was shown to Shealy he said, “You didn’t see me write that email, did you?”