Archive for the ‘State Supreme Court’ Category

AP: Belton Met with LSP Brass over Greene Homicide the Day After Statement and Video Publication

08/04/2021

Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Attorney John Belton met with Louisiana State Police Commander Col Lamar Davis and his Chief of Staff Lt Col Doug Cain II in Ruston the day after the Associated Press published bodycam video of the incident, according to an AP story published earlier today.

The date was May 20 of this year, the AP says.

That was also a day after Belton put out a statement to the media vowing to make no extra judicial comments about the case.

Here are the pertinent paragraphs from today’s news story:

MONROE, La. (AP) — Federal prosecutors are investigating whether Louisiana State Police brass obstructed justice to protect the troopers seen on punching, dragging and stunning Black motorist Ronald Greene during his fatal 2019 arrest.

A key point under scrutiny in the federal investigation came just a day after the AP published the video, when the head of the state police, Col. Lamar Davis, and his chief of staff, Lt. Col. Doug Cain, made a hastily arranged attempt to dissuade state prosecutors from charging troopers in the Greene case, according to several people familiar with the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss it.

Davis and Cain traveled to District Attorney John Belton’s office in Ruston — more than 200 miles north of Baton Rouge — on May 20 to review the video frame by frame and make the case that the troopers’ actions were justified. Belton, who told colleagues he was deeply disturbed by the footage, referred the case to federal authorities in September 2019 but has not ruled out prosecuting the troopers at the state level.

LSP Whistleblower Talks to Baton Rouge TV Station

06/30/2021

From WBRZ-TV2 Baton Rouge:

Nakamoto exclusive: Ronald Greene investigative notes show troopers asked for colleagues to be arrested

By: Trey Schmaltz, Chris Nakamoto & Erin McWilliams

From The Hayride:

Chris Nakamoto Is Going To Get To The Bottom Of The Ronald Greene Cover-Up

The author has this bit of commentary about Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Attorney John Belton.

Oh – and by the way, Belton is also saying he’s planning on running for Attorney General of Louisiana in 2023. Because sitting on a murder case for two years and laying it off on the feds when you knew exactly what happened is a great resume-builder for statewide office.

There are lots of questions somebody might ask of John Belton. Like, for example, whether he was asked to play possum on this investigation until after Edwards won re-election.

And what he might have been offered in order to agree to that plan.

Belton just held a fundraiser for his 2023 statewide campaign, by the way, and a whole host of district attorneys around the state threw in for him. Including Jason Williams, the uber-leftist DA from New Orleans.

Belton isn’t even a registered Democrat, interestingly enough. He’s an independent. That doesn’t really matter.

Now – is Belton wrong about the feds’ involvement precluding him from being able to do anything now? No. He’s right about that. What we don’t know is when the feds jumped in. As we understand this, though we could well be wrong, it was 2020 before the FBI started an investigation into the Greene matter, meaning that Belton would have had a window of his own discretion during which he chose not to move on the case.

LSP General Counsel Bounced

06/23/2021

From WBRZ-TV2 Baton Rouge – Trey Schmaltz

BATON ROUGE – The top attorney for Louisiana State Police was removed from her position Wednesday amid a handful of Chris Nakamoto and WBRZ Investigative Unit reports about State Police emails obtained by the TV station showing how top brass messaged to spin liability for the death of Ronald Greene.

WBRZ and Nakamoto were first to confirm news Faye Morrison was removed as general counsel for the Louisiana Department of Public Safety.

Multiple sources confirmed the re-assignment.  State Police have not released more information.

Morrison was assigned a different position days after WBRZ initially reported on controversial emails Morrison wrote.  She’d previously been the agency’s lead attorney, overseeing all legal matters for DPS, including State Police.

WBRZ obtained email threads showing Morrison discussing ways to spin “liability” after Ronald Greene died in State Police custody and suggested guilty pleas were important to justify troopers’ use of excessive force in any situation. 

Defendant Responds to Amended Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Ronald Greene Case

06/23/2021

Union Parish Sheriff’s Office Deputy Christopher Harpin, one of several defendants named in a lawsuit alleging the wrongful death of Ronald Greene, has filed a response to an amended complaint that was filed last month.

The original lawsuit was filed in May, 2020, a year after the incident that occurred in Union Parish near the Crossroads community.

See here Harpin’s response.

Burns: LSP Brass’ Phones “Sanitized”, Evidence Destroyed

06/11/2021

From our friend Robert Burns at Sound Off Louisiana

Mike Noel, Gov. Edwards’ hand-picked Gaming Control Board Chairman and former Chief of Staff under former LSP Col. Kevin Reeves, abruptly resigned mere hours before facing a Louisiana Senate confirmation hearing.

We’re going to elaborate some on this one.  The night before the confirmation hearing, which was scheduled for 9:00 a.m. yesterday (Wednesday, June 9, 2021), we received multiple requests for any evidence we had that former Lt. Col. Noel’s phone had been sanitized prior to his departure.  We complied with the request shortly before 9 p.m. on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 by providing the requesting parties with this January 5, 2021 email from LSP Legal Counsel Faye Morrison in which she clearly states in writing that the phone was sanitized.

Let’s just say the requesting parties were stunned beyond words that LSP (via its legal counsel) readily confirmed that Noel’s phone was “sanitized” as he departed for the Gaming Control Board.  We were informed Gov. Edwards became actively involved late on the evening of Tuesday, June 8, 2021 immediately after we provided the above email to the requesting parties.  The next thing we heard (via another media outlet) was that Gov. Edwards’ office indicated that Noel opted to resign rather than face what had been described as an intense grilling over the Ronald Greene incident and any role he may have played in the coverup of same.

Also, while we cannot substantiate this assertion made to us, we have been told that former LSP Col. Kevin Reeves’ LSP-issued phone was also allegedly sanitized around June of 2020 during the same timeframe that Noel’s phone was sanitized.  That sanitizing was allegedly performed notwithstanding that, unlike Noel who departed at the time of the sanitizing, Reeves hung around for another three or four months.

Also, we’ve been told by one source that there is no such “LSP policy” on phone sanitization.  We were perplexed at the revelation that there was because the contents of that phone constitute public record.  Hence, if they can be sanitized so readily, it would seem LSP has carte blanche authority to destroy public records at its whim.

Is there a District Attorney in the State of Louisiana, or for that matter an Attorney General that has the spine to put a stop to this?

Anyone ever wonder why we don’t have news accounts of Organized Crime activity any more? It’s because Government, at all levels, has adopted the Mafia’s business model and the Mob just cannot compete.

Louisiana State Police Gets to Investigate Itself, Again

06/09/2021

From The Associated Press’ Jim Mustian

The same Louisiana State Police unit whose troopers stunned, punched and dragged Ronald Greene on video during a deadly 2019 arrest is now under internal investigation by a secret panel over whether its officers are systematically targeting Black motorists for abuse.

The panel, whose existence was confirmed to The Associated Press by four people familiar with it, was set up in response to Greene’s death as well as three other violent stops of Black men: one who was punched, stunned and hoisted to his feet by his hair braids in a body-camera video obtained by the AP, another who was beaten after he was handcuffed, and yet another who was slammed 18 times with a flashlight.

Its seven members, drawn from officials from across the State Police, are not only scouring the videos for signs of excessive force, the people told the AP, but also examining whether troopers showed racist tendencies in their traffic stops and pursuits, and whether they mislabeled body-camera videos, turned off their cameras or used other means to hide evidence from internal investigators.

Used to, Grand Juries, made up of voting, taxpaying citizens were empaneled to review, investigate, and act upon violations of state law within judicial districts.

The coverup continues, uninterrupted.

Destin Junkets Resume for Louisiana Lawyers

06/08/2021

June 6-11, 2021

Join us at the Louisiana State Bar Association’s 80th Annual Meeting and the LJC/LSBA Joint Summer School, “A New Frontier: Ideas Abound.” This year’s conference will be held at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Destin, Florida. Attendees will enjoy exceptional presentations, relaxing activities and networking opportunities at the six-day event.

June 28-July 2, 2021

Louisiana District Attorneys Association 43rd Annual Conference – Sandestin Resort, Destin, FL

Annual Conference Agenda

Alleged Victim Retains Counsel

01/19/2021

https://www.facebook.com/pg/markomaralaw/posts/

December 31, 2020 at 12:00 PM ·

The O’Mara Law Group, along with Samuel Robert Filler, II, PA, is proud to be entrusted with the responsibility of assisting a young blind woman abused as a child while in the care of one of the training facilities endorsed by the National Federation of the Blind which are in Louisiana, Colorado and Minnesota. There are additional similar facilities in Utah, Maryland and elsewhere where such trainings occur, and we will be researching these as well. While we are in the investigatory stages, there is strong evidence that the allegations of ongoing sexual abuse of our client and many others occurred while she was on-site at one of these facilities and was perpetrated by an employee of the facility.

Over the last couple of days, it has also come to our attention that there are numerous other allegations of similar abuse in these facilities and at the hands of individuals trusted by these children, and their families.

We intend to hold every individual and every organization responsible for the abuse that occurred, and for the horrific aftermath of such abuse. Our demands to address this systemic infection will include ongoing oversight of the facilities, increased training of those entrusted and swift prosecution of the abusers.

We are saddened to discover that at least some of the organizations responsible had been told of these incidences of abuse yet did not report the abuse or police themselves or their employees adequately.

We stand ready to hold these abusers and organizations to task.

#MarchingTogether
O’Mara Law Group
#nationalfederationfortheblind
#americanfederationfortheblind
#OLG


Mark M. O’Mara, Esq.
Board Certified Specialist, Criminal Trial
Board Certified Specialist, Marital and Family
Immediate Past President, National Trial Lawyers
O’Mara Law Group
221 NE Ivanhoe Blvd Suite 200
Orlando, Florida 32804
407-898-5151 office
407-898-2468 fax
mark@omaralawgroup.com
www.omaralawgroup.com

October Election Looms Large for Lincoln Parish

01/17/2021

To voters in Louisiana, elections are a way of life, usually with several dates set during the year for local and regional political offices, and for tax levies of one type or another.

2021 is no different.

Usually, the tax elections are scheduled by the taxing body (sheriff, police jury, school board, municipality, etc) for one of the obscure election dates, so as to keep the turnout low. The theory goes that a low turnout brings out mostly voters who benefit from taxes, while general elections with a lengthy ballot bring out more voters who might be inclined to vote no on taxes.

For this reason, efforts to consolidate the schedule to fewer dates have been unsuccessful. Local government lobbyists have strangled in the crib any legislation toward that end.

Depending upon what happens this week, or maybe on March 20 and/or April 24 of this year, there could be two tax elections in Lincoln Parish, and a district judges race for Lincoln and Union Parishes on Saturday, October 9, 2021.

Late last year, Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a proclamation declaring Saturday, March 20 as election day for the District 2, Section 1 seat on the Louisiana Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. That seat became vacant after Jay McCallum was elected to the Louisiana Supreme Court.

That district and section includes voters in Bienville, Caldwell, Claiborne, Jackson, Lincoln, Union, and Winn Parishes.

So far the only announced candidate is Jeff Robinsnon, incumbent Third Judicial District (Lincoln, Union Parishes) Division A judge. Qualifying for the appeals court seat is this Wednesday through Friday, January 20-22.

If Robinson has no opponent, he wins by default, and his district court seat will become vacant. It is notable that Robinson won his first race in July, 2018 with no opposition. If he has opposition, that election would be set for 3/20/21, with a runoff date (if needed) of 4/24.

Several local attorneys are assuming Robinson will be successful and are preparing to run. Among the names mentioned:

Lewis Jones – Assistant District Attorney and unsuccessful judge candidate in 2014.

Monique Clement – Attorney and unsuccessful judge candidate in 2018.

Tyler Storms – Attorney and unsuccessful judge candidate in 2014.

The next available election date is October 9, 2021.

Taxes, Taxes, Taxes

October 9 is also the date that is next available for the Lincoln Parish Library’s tax millage that failed last December by a 57-43 margin. If it fails again, the library will cease operation, as the tax provides about 95% of its operating funds.

A millage that helps fund the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s office may be on the 10/9 ballot, as a 7.83 mil tax expires at the end of 2021. Here is the language that was voted on in April, 2012:

Shall the Law Enforcement District of the Parish of Lincoln, State of Louisiana (the “District”), under the provisions of Article VI, Section 30 of the Constitution of the State of Louisiana of 1974, Section 9003 of Title 33 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950, as amended, and other constitutional and statutory authority supplemental thereto, be authorized to continue the levy and collection of an ad valorem tax of seven and eighty-three hundredths (7.83) mills on all property subject to taxation in the District (an estimated $2,779,100 reasonably expected at this time to be collected from the levy of the tax for an entire year), for a period of ten (10) years, beginning with the year 2012 and ending with the year 2021, to be dedicated and used for the purpose of (1) drug education, prevention, and enforcement; (2) personnel, training, and equipment and (3) other lawful expenses and operations of the Sheriff’s Office?

The library tax defeat got the attention of the local Courthouse Crowd, we are reliably informed. We can’t recall the last time a tax in Lincoln Parish failed.

Peking Restaurant can open “Immediately”

08/21/2020

Ruston’s Peking Restaurant can open “immediately” for business after a stipulated judgement was agreed to this morning in Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Court in Ruston, between the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) and the restaurant’s operators.

The agreement specifies some minor alterations to the “sneeze shield” at the buffet table, establishing a one-way traffic pattern around the table, and having restaurant staff fill the plates, instead of the diners.

See here the document.

The agreement was negotiated between LDH attorney Edward Brossettee and Ruston Attorney Aaron Lawrence, who represented the restaurant.

The restaurant, which has been in business for decades in the same location, was shut down last Friday after a temporary restraining order (TRO) was signed by Division C Judge Bruce Hampton. The order was sought by the LDH.

See here the TRO.

The order, which was issued “ex parte” (from one side), may have been in conflict with the exclusion section of the emergency powers act, under which authority Gov. Bel Edwards has been issuing his edicts.

In other words, the restaurant operators had no opportunity to be heard in court before the business was closed, and their ability to earn a living was damaged.

Specifically, the exclusion specifies that “…every person shall have an adequate remedy by due process of law and justice, administered without denial, partiality, or unreasonable delay, for injury to him in his person, property, reputation, or other rights.”

Restaurant Manager Allen Wang told Lincoln Parish News Online that they had not been issued any formal citation by the LDH prior to the restraining order being served last Friday.

It is expected that the restaurant may be open for business as early as this evening.