But the District Attorney Mike Harson didn’t know all this was going on…
U.S. Attorney’s Office January 14, 2013 – Western District of Louisiana (318) 676-3641
LAFAYETTE—United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that Barna D. Haynes, 58, of Lafayette, Louisiana, the former office administrator and secretary to the District Attorney for the 15th Judicial District, pled guilty to a one count bill of information charging Haynes with conspiracy. According to the bill of information, beginning in approximately March of 2008 and continuing until February 27, 2012, Haynes conspired to accept bribes from a co-conspirator in return for Haynes’ assistance in obtaining favorable resolutions of criminal cases pending in the 15th Judicial District.
LAFAYETTE — The former secretary and office administrator for 15th Judicial District Attorney Mike Harson pleaded guilty Monday to allegations of accepting at least $55,000 in bribes to give criminal defendants a break, mainly in DWI cases.
Barna D. Haynes, 58, of Lafayette, faces up to five years in prison on a count of conspiracy in an ongoing federal investigation of bribery in the local court system.
U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley said Monday that she anticipates more guilty pleas in the investigation.
The scheme was carried out without Harson’s knowledge or approval but occurred because of a “lack of oversight and safeguards,” according to a summary of the allegations filed by prosecutors.
Barna Haynes, the former long-time secretary to District Attorney Mike Harson, this morning pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to accept bribes.
The guilty plea is the first in a federal investigation launched two years ago by the FBI into the 15th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, according to lead agent Doug Herman.
Haynes, 58, of Lafayette, pleaded guilty in open court this morning to a one-count Bill of Information, U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley said at a news conference today.
The District Attorney’s Office had established an “immediate 894” process in which certain individuals arrested for OWI who certified at the time of the plea that they had completed legal requirements such as community service. If so, Harson’s office would authorize the “immediate 894 plea.”
The judge would immediately grant the 894, dismissing the conviction and immediately reinstating their driving priveleges.
Starting in 2008, “due to a lack of oversight and safeguards” with the DA’s immediate 894 process, Haynes began placing the OWI case of the co-conspirator’s clients in the immediate 894 process allegedly “without the District Attorney’s knowledge and approval,” according to the news release from Finley’s office.
“Hayes would coordinate the scheduling and execution of special immediate 894 sessions with the District Court Judge and the assigned Assistant District Attorney,” the news release states.