Ruling in Ouachita Coverup: Judges, Law Clerks Above the Law

A judge this morning dismissed a lawsuit against 4th Judicial District (Morehouse, Ouachita Parishes) Law Clerk Allyson Campbell and five of the judges – Carl Sharp, Stephen Winters, Benjamin Jones, Wilson Rambo, and Frederic Amman, saying that they all enjoyed “absolute judicial immunity” for their actions.

In making his ruling, Judge Ad Hoc Jerome Barberra noted that while “lay people have difficulty grasping the concept of judicial immunity,” it was the “law of the land” and “was deeply rooted” in Louisiana jurisprudence.

Barberra’s behavior was eerily similar to that exhibited by former President Richard Nixon, who in 1977 famously proclaimed, “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

Attorneys for the plaintiff Stanley Palowski III (Joe Ward and Sedric Banks) said they would appeal today’s ruling.

Barberra also made another questionable ruling today, sealing the records in the case and forbidding any of the attorneys from providing motions, pleas, or any related documents to anyone except court personnel.

That ruling flies in the face of a Louisiana State Supreme Court ruling in Copeland v Copeland that states in part:

Considering the strong constitutional bias in favor of open access by the public to court proceedings, we find the trial court’s blanket order sealing the entire record in this case to be overbroad. Although there may be some justification for sealing certain sensitive evidence in a proceeding, the parties have the burden of making a specific showing that their privacy interests outweigh the public’s constitutional right of access to the record.   The trial court, should it grant such relief, must ensure that its order is narrowly tailored to cause the least interference possible with the right of public access.

The case at issue today was Palowski v Campbell, et al. The plaintiff alleges that Campbell destroyed court documents in another civil case, and the defendant judges covered up the wrongdoing.

The original suit, Palowski v Cork, is a dispute between former business partners. Palowski alleges that Campbell’s actions prevented him from obtaining a fair hearing.

Barberra is no stranger to the concept of judicial immunity, as a 2005 suit against him was dismissed on the same grounds.

Judge Overseeing Ouachita Coverup Case Was Once Sued Himself

Barberra was sued again in 2010 by a prospective trial juror who claimed the information he revealed in a juror questionnaire was sensitive, and he wanted the document returned to him.

The federal suit was dismissed on ground the plaintiff had no right of privacy to the information.

Galjour v Rodrigue & Barberra

The actions by Barberra in open court this morning followed an hour-long secret session in chambers with only the attorneys present. Later two of the defendant judges went into the meeting, but the plaintiffs did not participate.

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2 Responses to “Ruling in Ouachita Coverup: Judges, Law Clerks Above the Law”

  1. David Donnel Says:

    Corrupt judges need to go to jail like a person robbing a liquor store. These judges are worse with no moral compass they destroy our society.

  2. John Says:

    Some people want to create conspiracy stories because are pissed the didn’t get their way. What kaos will there be if someone can sued a judge every time he doesn’t win his case.

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