Discovery is a procedural device employed by a party to a civil or criminal action, prior to trial, to require the adverse party to disclose information that is essential for the preparation of the requesting party’s case.
The hearing was held in Fourth Judicial (Morehouse, Ouachita Parishes) District Court in Monroe in the case Palowski v Campbell, et al. In the suit, Palowsky alleges that Court Clerk Allyson Campbell destroyed court documents in another civil case Palowsky is involved in, and that several judges in the district covered up the wrongdoing.
Barbera was appointed by Louisiana State Supreme Court Justice Marcus Clark to hear the case. Prior to his election to the state’s highest court, Clark was a judge in the 4th JD.
In 2004, Clark was disciplined by the Supreme Court for not deciding his cases in a timely manner.
How Barbera would rule today was apparent early into the hearing.
While attorney for defendant Campbell Brian Crawford was allowed to make his case uninterrupted, plaintiff attorney Joe Ward was interrupted by the judge several times to tell him what he could and could not say.
Crawford railed about how the proceedings had become a “civil public witch hunt” against his client and that it was an “embarrassment to our legal and judicial community.”
Crawford even took out after The Ouachita Citizen’s coverage of the case, saying that when the weekly’s reporting came out his client’s name was “splattered all over the front page of a local newspaper.”
Ward countered that his client had a right to interview, under oath, witnesses and to call them to the stand. He reiterated that one of the judges in the district, Sharon Marchman, was willing to waive immunity and testify if called.
Ward also noted that the judges had sued the Citizen when it tried to uncover documents relevant to the issue.
After an hour’s argument, the attorneys and judge retired to chambers for a conference behind closed doors.