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One Louisiana Justice - 2010

Crash victim's family wants DA to recuse himself

Posted: Jan 21, 2010 8:31 PM CST Updated: Jan 22, 2010 4:43 AM CST

By David Spunt - bio | email

NEW ROADS, LA (WAFB) - Family members of a crash victim want the district attorney to recuse himself from prosecuting the case because of his close ties to the family of the accused.

"I don't trust Ricky Ward and the reason for that is because last time I talked with him, he told me to my face that this girl's family that hit my daughter, they were very good friends," said John Parker, the victim's father. "I cannot set a precedent of recusing myself in cases because I know or happen to be acquainted with someone," said District Attorney Ricky Ward.

Parker said he wants the case argued by a prosecutor from the Office of the Louisiana Attorney General. Ward argued he is obligated to take the case. He added in order for him to step aside, all family members must sign a formal letter and send it to his office. Parker admitted he did not sign the letter, but claimed he did not know it was required.

"I'm willing to sign the letter and I told Ricky to his face I will sign the letter and it will be signed," Parker stated.

Teri Parker, 23, was killed as she sat in the passenger's seat of a car while heading home from work two days before Christmas. According to the New Roads Police Department, the car she was in was hit by Victoria Gosserand, 23, of Ventress. Records show Gosserand's blood alcohol level was almost four times the legal limit. She was charged with DWI.

Kyle Riviere, the driver of the car, was released from Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge. His family has not requested Ward be taken off the case. Riviere is also 23 years old.

The grand jury hearing is scheduled for Feb. 12. If Gosserand is indicted and later convicted in trial, she could face a minimum of five years behind bars.

Court records show this is Gosserand's second DWI arrest. The first case is still pending.

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La. incarceration rate No. 1 in nation

By DOUG SIMPSON  Associated Press writer

Published: Mar 2, 2009 -

One out of every 55 Louisiana residents is behind bars, a higher incarceration rate than any other state, according to research released Monday by a Washington, D.C., nonprofit group.

One in 26 Louisiana adults is under correctional control, if probation and parole are included, the group found.

The Pew Center for the States study of 2007 U.S. Census data found that Louisiana's incarceration rate spiked by 272 percent since 1982. That rate of increase is far from the nation's highest of 357 percent in North Dakota, and not far from Mississippi's 256 percent increase. Neighbor states Texas and Arkansas have seen increases around 200 percent.

The Pew group argued that, particularly during a recession, rising costs of incarceration should push states to reduce prison spending by moving more nonviolent inmates out of prisons and into community-based parole and probation systems. One researcher pointed to Texas, where he said a recent shift in the politics of corrections has led to policy changes and a leveling off of that state's incarceration rate.

"I think what we're seeing is that the politics of this issue are changing," said Adam Gelb, director of Pew's public safety performance project. "The old question used to be, 'How can we demonstrate we're tough on crime?' More and more, policy-makers from both sides of the aisle are asking a better question, which is: 'How do we get taxpayers a better return on their dollars?"

Gelb said Texas had saved $500 million by expanding parole and probation, while stopping the construction of new prisons.

Louisiana's prison's chief said he's thinking along the same lines - but is unable to back a big shift toward parole and probation, partly because those parts of his agency are already overburdened with work.

"Some states are paroling people out, but we're not in a position to do that, in my opinion," said Jimmy LeBlanc, the state's corrections secretary. "Probation and Parole is already overtasked, and releasing even the best prisoners would not be good. We're kind of in a holding pattern as far as that is concerned."

However, LeBlanc said he's planning to convene a new committee within the next few weeks to consider how Louisiana could improve the way it handles criminals. He said the panel, to be chaired by state Supreme Court Chief Justice Kitty Kimball, would include prosecutors, defense lawyers, judges and lawmakers.

The Pew group found that it costs the state $39.75 to keep an offender behind bars for one day. The figure is $2.70 per day for those on probation or parole.

The gargantuan problem of Justice in Louisiana is explicated by the constant putting off of the evidentiary outcome. No one wants to deal with the situation right now. But when the "system" implodes, every one will be wagging their heads in disbelief at the horrific circumstances that are destined to portray themselves in the disruptions affecting the incarcerated's final outburst for freedom.
Drug dealer testimony, jail tapes May result in Probe of Judge by Stanley Nelson - posted Thursday, August 21st, 2008 @ 8:03 am
Judge Leo Boothe reduced the 25-year sentence of convicted drug dealer James Skipper to 12 years last week, stating that his decision was due to "startling information" and "saddening developments" that partly involved the other judge in the Seventh Judicial District -- Kathy Johnson.
Due to allegations made in those proceedings, the Louisiana Supreme Court has requested a tape of the hearing. Valerie S. Willard, Deputy Judicial Administrator for the Supreme Court, said Monday that as a matter of policy she could neither confirm nor deny whether an investigation has been launched. Judge Johnson said Tuesday that "the timing of this event before an election is no coincidence and I do not understand how a sitting judge who has been named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit by Skipper, can hear a criminal case and release him based solely on Skipper's testimony."
According to the transcript of the proceedings, Skipper said in court on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2008, that a plot was hatched a few years ago to remove Judge Boothe from his judgeship so that Judge Johnson could be the chief judge.
Dist. Atty. John Johnson recommended that Skipper's sentence be reduced in half in lieu of telephone transcripts and testimony filed last week.
On April 11, 2002, a parish petit jury found Skipper, in his second felony offense, guilty of three counts of distribution of cocaine and one count of intent to distribute. Following Skipper's conviction, Judge Boothe initially sentenced Skipper to 80 years -- 25 years on each count of distribution of cocaine, and five years on attempted possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
On Feb. 12, 2003, the sentence was reduced to 25 years. Representing himself once again in court last week, Skipper said he filed the motion on the docket asking for a modification of his sentence because he was "a pawn for some people's agenda."
Those people included, he said, Judge Johnson of Division A; Skipper's nephew, the Rev. Justin Conner; and Gene Allen, the former mayor of Ferriday.
The district attorney introduced into evidence transcripts of three telephone conversations between Skipper and Conner while Skipper was incarcerated in the Avoyelles Correctional Center in Cottonport.
In one conversation the two men called and talked briefly with Judge Johnson.
Skipper said that during his incarceration at Avoyelles he "engaged in conversations concerning my case" with Conner and Judge Johnson and concerning "pleadings' brought before Judge Boothe's court in Division B. "I was instructed to file motion to produce newspaper articles concerning the district attorney," said Skipper.
"Motions to, not more or less a motion, but a complaint to the judiciary committee alleging misconduct by your Honor, Judge Boothe, pertaining to a certain issue that was brought to my attention. I was advised to pursue the recusal issue...because I didn't know exactly how to get evidence into court but was advised how to proffer evidence in after the objection of the judge."
Skipper said he learned later from Richard Ortego of the Louisiana State Police that those conversations were taped.
The district attorney said transcripts were provided him by the Louisiana Attorney General a while ago and were kept in his desk drawer until court day last week.
David Caldwell of the Louisiana Attorney General's office said "the transcripts came out as a tangential issue and an outgrowth of our (Ferriday mayoral) voter fraud investigation.
We were made aware of those transcripts and the district attorney was made aware." The concern, said Caldwell, was that "one judge (Johnson) was speaking with an inmate at the jail and the problem is that there are only two judges in that jurisdiction so if the other judge (Boothe) recused himself" from Skipper's case "it would have come to her (Johnson)."
"That raised an eyebrow as a possible ethical issue," said Caldwell. Those jail house telephone recordings, Skipper said, involved how to pursue his case, and how to "proffer motions in return," all to advance the ultimate goal of removing Judge Boothe from office. Skipper said Judge Johnson instructed him to file motions "to produce newspaper articles concerning the district attorney," and "alleging misconduct" by Judge Boothe.
On the fifth day of recusal proceedings in February 2006 initiated against Judge Boothe by Skipper, Judge John Joyce ruled against Skipper, who subpoenaed elected officials and candidates for sheriff from the 2003 campaign for that trial.
Additionally, Skipper told DA Johnson that in the recusal case against Judge Boothe, Skipper unsuccessfully sought "the investigative file of your wreck in which your wife was killed."
Skepper said the State Police "wouldn't give it to me."
Skipper contended that Boothe could not be impartial and fair in handling his case, alleging that Boothe, Dist. Atty. Johnson and Sheriff Randy Maxwell made a deal with Gene Allen months before he became mayor of Ferriday. Also involved in the deal, he said, were other black leaders, and all parties conspired to release Skipper from prison in exchange for black support of Maxwell in the 2003 run-off election for sheriff.
Skipper claimed the group reneged on the deal five months later when he was returned to jail. Boothe said he had been "mystified" by many of "Mr. Skipper's actions." The judge said he testified in court "that those allegations about these deals or whatever were not only untrue, that they had never been discussed."
Skipper was out of jail on appeal on a $250,000 bond from December 2003 to May 2004 when the Louisiana Supreme Court denied an appeal of his conviction on drug charges. During that time, Skipper campaigned for Allen and was named to Allen's transition team after Allen emerged victorious over incumbent Glen McGlothin. Conner was named administrative assistant for the town once Allen took office.
In April 2005, Skipper, Conner and Henrietta Williams were among seven people arrested for voter fraud in that election, although the number of defendants was eventually reduced to five. The Attorney General's office handled the case.
In May 2005, Judge Boothe denied a request to reconsider Skipper's sentence.
In the voter fraud case, Williams was the only person tried and convicted. She was sentenced in May 2006 by Judge Sharon Marchman to 18 months in prison for filing a false public document in that election -- an absentee ballot. Williams began serving her sentence in March at the Louisiana's Correctional Institute for Women in St. Gabriel.
In July 2006, five months after Judge Joyce ruled against Skipper in his recusal hearing concerning Judge Boothe, three telephone conversations were recorded between Skipper and Conner. In one taped conversation initiated at 10:04 p.m. July 27, Jim Whittington, a candidate for sheriff in 2003, asked
Skipper: "You gonna tell 'em that ya'll mailed the absentees at the post office in Vidalia?"
Skipper: "Fifty three of 'em."
Conner: "Uh s--t." Skipper: "We put fifty three of 'em in the mailbox over there." (inaudible)
Skipper: "Look, we didn't have but fifty-three absentee mail in ballots, and we took 'em all to Vidalia. And his handwriting all over 'em."
Conner: "All over 'em man. I mean all over 'em."
Skipper: "See what I'm saying. They just aint checked for 'em. They just don't know where to check at." On the telephone, Conner and Skipper referred to Judge Johnson by the name -- "Little Bird" and "Lady Bird." In a brief conversation Skipper and Conner had with the judge on July 26, she offered no advice to Skipper, but of 20 comments attributed to her, 12 were listed by the transcriber as partially or entirely "inaudible."
"We made an attempt to get the tapes cleaned up but were not able to get them any cleaner," said Caldwell of the Attorney General's office. He said several different agencies were consulted on the matter but without success.
A month after Skipper's conversations were taped -- August 2006 -- charges against he and other voter fraud defendants were dropped. A complication involving the state's lead witness reportedly derailed the case.
Skipper in court last week said that if a "certain person ran against (DA) Johnson," Judge Johnson planned to run against Boothe in the 2008 election. That "certain person" was Jack McLemore, he said. Skipper said Judge Johnson and Conner "knew there was going to be a possibly three-man race or a four-man race" for DA, including McLemore, while Ronnie McMillin, then an assistant district attorney, "would run against" Boothe.
On the transcript of the jail house recordings Conner told Skipper that Judge Johnson "don't want to lose me."
Skipper answered, "Uh huh. 'Cause she know now, you'll get on her."
Conner replied, "S--t, I'll get in on her. Cause let me tell you something, she called me two or three times a week."
Skipper asked Conner why McMillin was demoted as 1st assistant district attorney.
Conner: "Well, he do it to discourage Ronnie Mack, cause..."
Skipper: "...Ronnie Mack's planning to run against Leo. See, y'all gonna blister Leo...with these recusals."
Conner: "Yea." Skipper also testified that Judge Johnson told him to enter his pleadings in her division -- A -- so she "would either rule on it or refer it to the proper division if she couldn't rule on it. I was told that if it was something that required Judge Boothe ruling then she would have to refer it there but if I got it filed in her division she would consider it."
Both the DA and Judge Boothe said Skipper's testimony cleared up a mystery as to why Skipper turned down a five-year plea bargain when his trial was beginning on April 8, 2002.
On that day, said Skipper, his attorney, Derrick Carson, presented the deal as jury selection was set to begin. But Skipper said he was "cut off from speaking with Derrick," by Conner, who advised him not to take the deal.
DA Johnson asked if Conner interfered "between you and your attorney?" "Yes sir," answered Skipper, "and Gene Allen was there also. Derrick brought the plea in, was trying to tell me what it was, but Gene and Justin was in the room. I sent Gene back up to talk to you (DA) and ask you could I speak to my wife and my family before I accepted this plea.
At that point, Justin interjected and said not to take the plea and I didn't take it." Skipper said he "was advised by Gene Allen that I wouldn't return to prison and I believed him." He said Conner's advice not to accept the plea "wasn't out of concern but out of his agenda..." Skipper was prosecuted in that case by former Asst. Dist. Atty. Ronnie McMillin.
In that case, it was pointed out that Skipper had previously served nine years in federal prison in Texas for distribution of cocaine. DA Johnson said when the plea deal was offered he "knew in my heart that I could not understand why he would turn down such an attractive offer at that time. But now with the advice and the testimony and the transcripts of these tapes, I can understand that perhaps he was used as a pawn in the general scheme of things...
" While the district attorney said he "was not justifying what Mr. Skipper has done as far as the criminal offense," he felt Skipper "was being used" and recommended that his sentence be reduced from 25 years to 12.
Justin Conner said Tuesday that the court proceedings last week "were strange. I didn't know anything about it. It was all political. They waited until the political season to bring this up" to "hurt Judge Johnson politically."
He said the phone conversations were recorded for the voter fraud investigation and those transcripts were provided to the District Attorney's office by the Louisiana State Police two years ago. "Ortego gave it to them," he said, adding that Judge Johnson "made no promises about anything."
Conner said he expects Skipper to drop his lawsuits and judicial complaints soon and that "the community will see James Skipper" returning "some favors."
When asked about Skipper's allegations in court, Gene Allen said, "I have no comment. I know nothing about it."
For the past years, Skipper has been one of the most prolific litigators in the parish, having filed scores of documents and pleadings both in criminal and civil court involving hundreds of pages. Since 2005, more than 150 documents -- letters, exhibits, subpoenas, transcripts and motions -- have been filed in his case in criminal court.

May 11-13 -Noose's hung on Cross at Bayou Chicot Church

8 face charges in Jena High fire
2006 blaze was not related to 'Jena Six' case

JENA -- A plot to get rid of bad grades and get out of school may land eight people -- including three juveniles -- in prison for no less than two years.

After more than a year, eight people will be charged with arson in connection with the fire that destroyed the main building of Jena High School in November 2006, authorities said Friday.

The motivation for the fire wasn't racial, as many suspected, but solely to destroy records of bad grades and shut down the school, said LaSalle Parish Sheriff-elect Scott Franklin, who is CEO of the Sheriff's Office. "Some of the students involved were doing poorly in school and decided that setting the school on fire would be a great way to get rid of their records and not have to go to school for a long time," Franklin said.

"They did not take into consideration the strong resiliency of the administration, faculty, staff and students of Jena High School, who were back in classes at the campus just three days later."

The arson is not connected to the "Jena Six" case, none of the six defendants in that case are suspects in the arson, and the arson was not racially motivated, Franklin said. The group of suspects in the arson case is racially diverse.

Investigators had been hopeful that in a community as small as Jena someone would eventually talk, giving investigators a break in the case.

Finally someone did.

An undercover narcotics operation led to information about the suspects in the school arson, Franklin said during a press conference at the LaSalle Parish Courthouse.

Three Jena men have been arrested, and two more men are being sought. The other three suspects are juveniles. All are males.

Four of the eight suspects were students at Jena High School at the time of the fire, and two are currently students at the school, Franklin said.

When Franklin announced the 13-month-old arson case was solved, an audible sigh of relief and applause could be heard from the courtroom packed with Jena residents.

"I'm glad it's over," said Sylvia Norris, who works in the LaSalle Parish School System. "We needed closure, and we're all very excited to hear this news."

The arrests

The three adults arrested are Marcus Lee, 20, Joshua McGee, 18, and Dakota Graham, 19, all of Jena, according to Franklin. All are still being housed in the LaSalle Parish Jail, pending bond.

The names of the other two adult suspects have not been released because they have not yet been arrested, and the names of the juveniles won't be released.

Franklin said authorities have good leads on the whereabouts of the two men at large and foresee their arrests in the near future.

All three of the adults already arrested are charged with aggravated arson and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Lee also is charged with three counts of distribution of marijuana, police said, and McGee also faces charges of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

The felony charge of aggravated arson carries a sentence of six to 20 years in prison with at least two years having to be served without probation or parole, LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters said.

"These are very serious crimes," he pointed out. "(The District Attorney's Office) will move forward on this as quickly as possible."

The school fire occurred on Nov. 30, 2006, and a year after the blaze, investigators said there were still no suspects or new leads in the arson probe.

But when Franklin assumed his position as CEO a little more than a month ago, he implemented a narcotics enforcement operation that included undercover narcotics work. Through one of those undercover operations, information was obtained that led to the naming of four suspects, Franklin said.

With that information, the Sheriff's Office launched a full-scale investigation using all available resources, leading to even more suspects. The three arrests took place Thursday afternoon.

Information sought

During authorities' investigation, Franklin said, they discovered that "several students" at Jena High who weren't involved in the arson had personal knowledge about who did it.

"Let me share this with all the parents -- talk with your children if they were at Jena High last fall in the days following the fire," Franklin said. "If they have any information, it would behoove them to come forward now."

Franklin said "there is a strong possibility" that those who knew of the arsonists but did not come forward could face criminal charges.

"The arsonists have been revealed, and the time for protecting them or choosing not to get involved is over," he said. "Again, I warn those that have information -- come forward now before officers from our department come knocking on your door."

The $5,000 Crime Stoppers reward will be paid to the person who led investigators to the suspects, but Franklin didn't release the person's name. He also said officials would be calling on the Rev. P.A. "Fox" Paul, a Jena minister who has collected "several thousands of dollars" in reward money, to be paid to the unidentified informant.

'Always optimistic'

School Board member Dolan Pendarvis said the community is close-knit, has gone through a lot of emotions this past year and is grateful to hear of the arrests.

"I was always optimistic that eventually it would get solved," he said.

Others in the community had been convinced the crime would remain cold since all attention was focused on the Jena Six case and not the arson. But state and local investigators didn't give up.

"Even a year later, these kinds of crimes can be solved," Marc Reech, lead investigator for the State Fire Marshal's Office in Baton Rouge, said during a late November interview with The Town Talk. And sheriff's investigators then said they continued to work hard on solving the case.

Reech said investigators knew the fire was arson because the fire started in several different places in the building -- in the first-floor office area and in at least one classroom upstairs.

The building was a total loss, and investigators said the majority of the classrooms were gutted.

The main academic building held the math, science, English and art departments, as well as the school's main offices. The building was demolished this summer, and the spot is now bare.

Tentative plans call for the school to have more classrooms than the old building, just one story and an updated look, Schools Superintendent Roy Breithaupt said. But he stressed that it won't be here anytime soon and that the process is a lengthy one.

"I'm very glad to hear that those who committed the crimes will be brought to justice," Breithaupt said after the announcement.

Dec. 4, 2006

After the fire, students returned to what many called "chaos" on Dec. 4, 2006. That was the day that authorities say six black high school students -- who became known as the Jena Six -- attacked white student Justin Barker. Barker was knocked unconscious and treated at a local emergency room for about three hours.

The incident and the legal system's response to it thrust the high school and entire community into the national spotlight.

The six were arrested and initially charged with attempted murder, but the charges eventually were reduced.

More than 20,000 marched through the streets of Jena on Sept. 20 to protest what they called unequal justice.

Only one of the cases has made its way through the justice system.

Mychal Bell pleaded guilty to second-degree battery after admitting in court on Dec. 3 that he did hit Barker, knocking him unconscious. As part of his plea agreement, Bell will have to "truthfully testify" in any of the cases involving the other members of the Jena Six.

Bell was sentenced in December to 18 months in a juvenile facility to run concurrently, where possible, with the previous sentence of 18 months that Bell had received for three previous crimes.

The other five members -- Robert Bailey Jr., Jesse Ray Beard, Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis and Theo Shaw -- have yet to face trial, and no trial dates have been set.

LaSalle Parish School Board member Dolan Pendarvis and Sylvia Norris, who works in the LaSalle Parish School System, talk about the announcement that eight people will face charges in the Nov. 30, 2006, arson fire at Jena High School. “... We’re all very excited to hear this news,” Norris said.

Melinda Martinez/The Town Talk

LaSalle Parish residents clap Friday after Scott Franklin, CEO and LaSalle Parish sheriff-elect, said that eight people will be charged in connection with the arson fire that destroyed Jena High School’s main academic building in November 2006. The racially diverse group of suspects started the fire because they had bad grades and wanted to shut down the school, said Franklin.

Melinda Martinez/The Town Talk

Scott Franklin, CEO and sheriff-elect of LaSalle Parish, announces names of some people officials believe are responsible for the arson fire that destroyed part of Jena High School in November 2006. Behind Franklin are (from left) Jena High Principal Glen Joiner, LaSalle District Attorney Reed Walters, LaSalle School Superintendent Roy Breithaupt and deputies Denny Pittman and Joe Phillps.

Joshua McGee

Dakota Graham

Marcus Lee

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  • NIFONGED OR WHAT!?-"Jena Six" Trial begins Monday May 21, 2007 in LaSalle Parish

    Justice is on the Way

    Video:Thomas Moore,[brother,speaks out]

    B   r   e   a    k    i   n   g    N e w s     
                               News You Don't Need to Forget, Yet 

    Legislature signals recovery push

    If the Louisiana Legislature has the power to hold the LRA to its mandates in this instance, surely the legislature has the power to address wrongful convictions in the State of Louisiana.  Senate Concurrent Resolution 117 calls for a thorough search of justice practices in Louisiana by April 1, 2007.
    August 24, 2007

    Official: DPW workers shot at

    Click Image to Enlarge
    Advocate staff photo by LIZ CONDO
    Two white men retrieved a 12-gauge shotgun from this house Thursday on Amite River Road, the Sheriff’s Office said. Eric Arnaud is accused of firing the shotgun at two black Department of Public Works workers cutting grass on Hoo Shoo Too Road.

    Two BR men arrested on hate-crime counts

    Advocate staff writer
    Published: Aug 24, 2007 - Page: 1A

    Two white men were arrested on counts of hate crimes Thursday, accused of firing a shotgun and yelling racial slurs at two black DPW workers, officials said.

    The two employees of the city-parish Department of Public Works were cutting grass along Hoo Shoo Too Road in East Baton Rouge Parish Thursday morning when Eric Arnaud, 22, and Christopher Roussell, 17, drove up.

    The two swore and yelled racial slurs at the DPW workers, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Fred Raiford says in a statement.

    “It was discriminatory,” Raiford said in a phone interview.

    The two suspects went to a house at 11212 Amite River Road where they retrieved a 12-gauge shotgun, Raiford said.

    They returned to the lawn workers at Hoo Shoo Too and Kendalwood roads, where Arnaud opened fire, Raiford said.

    “They were firing directly at them,” Raiford said.

    Both lawn workers escaped unscathed, and headed to the Kleinpeter Sheriff’s Substation to report the crime, said Pete Newkirk, director of the Department Public Works.

    Deputies arrested Arnaud and Roussell on Thursday, booking Arnaud into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on two counts of attempted second-degree murder and a count of hate crime. Roussell was booked on two counts of principal to attempted second-degree murder and a count of hate crime.

    Newkirk said the two workers had been cutting grass around Hoo Shoo Too Road Thursday morning when their tractor got a flat. A supervisor was on the way with a replacement when the shooting started, he said.

    Raiford said the suspects had a Confederate flag displayed outside their house on Amite River Road when sheriff’s deputies arrived.

    “They can have that (a Confederate flag) in their prison cells for the next 30 years,” Newkirk said.

    By early Thursday evening, someone had removed the flag from the blue house, which is elevated on stilts to avoid flooding from the nearby Amite River and Bayou Manchac.

    Pat LeBlanc, 54, attends church at Riverbend Baptist near Arnaud’s home. LeBlanc said he has known Arnaud since he was born.
    “Eric grew up 100 yards from my house,” LeBlanc said.

    LeBlanc said he was surprised by Arnaud’s actions. But he said Arnaud had problems growing up, including dropping out of high school.

    “I didn’t know he owned a gun,” LeBlanc said.

    He said Arnaud, an only child, worked cutting lawns in the area.

    “It’s sad. The choices they make are going to follow them a long time, right down on to Angola,” LeBlanc said. “I’m glad nobody got hurt. Eric hurt himself, but I’m glad none of the guys got hurt.”

    LeBlanc said his community, on the southeastern point of East Baton Rouge Parish, usually is tolerant, peaceful and not known for being racist.

    “We don’t play that here,” LeBlanc said. “Everybody’s welcome here.”

    Arnaud’s grandmother, Melba Pylant, declined to comment on the day’s events involving her sole grandchild.

    “I bought him a Confederate flag, but not to flaunt,” she said. “I bought him a United States flag, too.”

    Judge Steps In for Poor Inmates Without Justice

    Judge Arthur Hunter
    Set to release thousands of illegally incarcerated

    Jefferson Wins Runoff

    Bush orders documents seized in Capitol Hill search sealed

    WASHINGTON (AP) House Speaker Dennis Hastert accused the Justice Department Thursday of trying to intimidate him in retaliation for criticizing the FBI's weekend raid on a congressman's office, escalating a searing battle between the executive and legislative branches of government.

    FBI Raid on Lawmaker's Office Is Questioned! The FBI is investigating allegations that Jefferson, acting as a member of Congress, took hundreds of thousand of dollars in bribes to promote high-tech business ventures in Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana.


    Report from THE DEAD PELICAN


    Go to Links Page Click on Louisiana Political News
    Scroll to May 21 Read Status Quo & Nagin Walks




    An F.B.I. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the continuing criminal investigation, said it was the first time the agency had raided a lawmaker's office on Capitol Hill.

    NAACP Leaders say man didn't shoot Deputy


    Edited May 23, 2006 4:52p
    At 7:15pm Saturday May 20, 2006, while the now Honorable Mayor Ray Nagin was on his way to victory; the congressional offices of William Jefferson were being searched by the federal government.
    As Ray Nagin was out-distancing the favorite to win, backed by "uncommon power"; another New Orleanian was being abducted into the dark world of the, elemental criminal.  Even as Jefferson's daughter sits in the state legislature, she is on a furious pace to get her legislation, over and done.  In a recent committee meeting, she commented to the chair, I've got to get this done before I have to leave [office] here.
    The political apparatus has decided. 
    It would do well to remember where everyone stood in SPRING 2006.  Nagin is the man for the job. Now.   Bush was the man for the job in Autumn 2001.  However, now that we are here though,  they sided up; as the system decided to go after Jefferson; the one who opposed CNOOC, a favorite of the President.  And it turns out to be a funny thing.  The woman who wore the wire has for a lawyer the husband of Richard Nixon's daughter Tricia.  Nixon, the Republican.  The truth of the matter was evident when Nancy Pelosi, the democrat gave the go ahead to investigate, actually three elected officials.  Congressman Jefferson's office was the only office to be search in such a way.
    Remember this PLEASE!  The DNC didnot back Ray Nagin. As a recent article quoted the Lt. Governor,  Nagin was put throught the crucible and came out the winner.  Joe Biden has already been to Jackson, Mississippi; and Jim Dean's Democracy for America sent out their " 2006 critical issues" mailer the week of the election.  The Republicans still want New Orleans and the Democrats still have a bad read on whose a sure shot.  Either way, it is the entire system, that sold the poor short; don't be fooled!  They're in on it, together.
    It took a so-called Maverick, with a "give a care" attitude to go-the-distance.  Every smug nuance, down to the immigration quesition, to the national guard in the Big Un-Easy.  After Jesse, Sharpton, Bruce Gordon and Al Ater.  Cleo, Charles, Danatus and a host of others.  It's Nagin.
    It Ain't Over Yet, Though.  All the grassroot organizations, that have sprung-up.
    The Die is Cast.  As New Orleans goes.  America goes.  Watch for your self.  If the New Urbanist have their way, still the demographers will write a depolutated script for the Cresent City.   REbuild New Orleans rebuild America.  From the bottom up.  Rebuild the Gulf Coast, this "urboruralist cosmopulus" there's a chance at saving the nation. 

    Mayor calls for a real partnership in hopes to rebuild Katrina-ravaged city! Re-elected Nagin hopes for New Orleans rebirth!

    ''A distinction that would treat searches in their offices completely differently is superficial and baseless,'' Vitter wrote. ''The American people will come to one conclusion -- that congressional leaders are trying to protect their own from valid investigations.''''These self-serving separation of power arguments'' have no basis in law, said Sen. David Vitter, R-La., in a letter to GOP leaders. He noted that search warrants had previously been served on members' homes, including Jefferson's.

                      August 2006


    May 19,2006
    Henrietta Williams has been sentenced to five years in Concordia Parish's  District court on Voter Fraud charges.  Her attorney, Raymond Cannon of Tallulah filed an immediate motion for the sentence to be reconsidered by the ad hoc judge. A new court date for the hearing of Cannon's motion has been set for June 20, 2006.  Judge Sharon Marchman sentenced Williams to all but 18 months of the five years.  The 18 months is with hard labor.  After which a 5 year supervised probation would be in place.  Several black women in the court room were seen sobbing hysterically after hearing the verdict. 
    The State filed its motion for change of venue.
    This conviction could be considered the easiest to obtain, considering two witnesses testified for the state as to Williams actions.  It had been stated prior to the motion for change of venue, that such legal maneuvering is an attempt to gain the advantage on the remaining counts on all defendants. 
    The Attorney General's office is prosecuting the case.
    Ms. Williams had at least 16 other counts to be tried on.  Four other defendants are on trial in the case. Three of the other defendants are members of the NAACP.  One is president of the local NAACP chapter.  Williams, secretary of the local NAACP branch, resides in Ferriday, Louisiana. 


    Ferriday Man Beaten

    Originally broadcast May 4, 2006

    Local Newspaper article

    May 24, 2006  [2015 hrs.]
    Recent revelations in Washington D.C., may still have some confused, as to where all of this is comeing from.  There is still a battle for New Orleans going on.  The true soul of America is rested in its past.  That past is more evident in the exasperations of desperate folk in desperate places.  How desperate. 
    Cover-ups are a part of U.S. domestic governmental dogma.  However, the out of bounds reactionary tactics of the government, may have now played in to the hands of the defusers of the present system.  So, licks are taken on each side of the congressional aisle.  Now, it's just the other sides time to take the licks.  Someone is still going to have to answer, though.
    Still, a governor of Louisiana has to be selected.  U.S. Senators & Representatives have to be selected, from New Orleans.  Who will the state parties back.  Will a North Louisiana Democrat run against the Governor?  Will Mary Landrieu have the same politcal base?  The answers to all of these quesitions swing in the balance with the outcome of William Jefferson.
    Must be something in the WATER!
    Congressman Jefferson is actually testing the waters of innocent, until proven guilty.  The judicial system is such that, in a tight, everyone knuckles under.  It should be apparent now, that the water that invaded New Orleans, done something to the people.  They don't give up. Easily.

    More to come . .. ...

                                   Edited May 24, 2006

                                                                       Let the light of Justice shine.

    1LaJustice * One Louisiana Justice * The Groundswell
    Gulf South Systems for Change