Monday, December 30, 2013

THE LOUISIANA WE HATE:::Time Warped

The varying degrees of strangeness has taken holt! This "Time Warped" state of american-souther confluity may very well be the undoing of the entire nation. If indeed, there ever was a nation. This flowing together of completely different absolutes, is the type of rhetorical menage which led to the war between the states.  Which in most instances, never ended.

This, that allows absolute fooltrickery of words to make believe that all is well, when it is not is likened to the days of "Jackie Gleason & the Moonlighters"; Gleason's character kept talking about one of these days, he was gonna give in to her right in the kisser.  Never saw him do it, but he kept saying it. 

We have been equating apples & oranges. Both are fruit, but totally different. Both have seeds. But totally different. I must recall 1960's Louisiana.

Wasn't no folk in no cotton fields, full of jocularity and singing along the cotton rows as if all was well. Folk was sick and tired of the status-quo; and protesting,and raising hell, like there was not a tommorrow. And for some there wasn't.  The ruling class however, had such a tight reign on affairs, that folk had sense enough to keep they're mouths shut. Do there business, and arrange clandestine mass meetings.

Those folk, knew who was who, and were prepared to die at a given notice or were ready to "scratch a match" if pushed to far. No such tomfoolery existed.

But for, an individual or a group to state publicly the views that place two completely groups in the same spit tomb is absurd.

But America asked for it. And America, now must live with it and its outcomes.  The slickness of the rhetoric, for which no one can decry without distinquishing between the two, has in effect silenced all detractors.  A majority of the dectractors, have already stated their convictions of equanimity.

The statements were calculated.  It was known, that such could be said without any formal authoritative answer.

However, this american-souther mentality shall arise in 2016 amongst the candidates for office.  We, the people will be duped into believing the lies perpetrated. 



 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Louisiana We Hate: FAST BACKWARDS

Who's running this state anyway? The Devil, Lucifer or ..... .. . . .. ..
Well, here we go. Preparations are underway for the Spring 2013 Legislative Session. What's the topic? Taxes. Sounds familiar?

More than likely, what ever "He" wants will occur, unless some cataclysmic event occurs, the legislature revolts or some "manical break with reality" exposes him for who he really is.  But, the GOP will have lost its mind, if it thinks, that just because, the fate of things will change.  Just because you present a "pretty picture", don't mean folks won't see right through you.

And who will suffer, the most?

What happened to the LSU-Hospital System? What happened with the Voucher system? What about the retirement system?  Who's going to see after the GOOD teachers who became stressed out over evaluations, had heart attacks and are filing suit?
If a legislator, doesn't go along with the official hardline, out you go from committee appointments.  Anyone, in any capacity not towing the line are gone. 
I guess we just going to wait around until they come for your status, or job or career.  

Okay, the Palestinian's Hamas and Israel are going at it in Gaza and along its border. Syrian refugees are flooding into Turkey, Jordan and any where else they can get. Lybia, still is in captivity, but no one wants to say so. And the commander of forces in Afghanistan is on the ropes.

As all of us well know, a storm called Sandy blew through the Caribbean and gained strength and went up the East Coast to become Superstorm-Sandy. What calamitous cataclysm is store for us since we continue on this fast track backwards.

States file petition to secede from US

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/States-file-petition-to-secede-from-US_12983467#ixzz2CWlKqEva

THOUSANDS of Americans in over 30 of the 50 contiguous states have signed petitions, seeking permission to secede from the United States.
The petitions, hosted on the White House's We the People website, read "We petition the Obama Administration to peacefully grant the State... to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government".
States represented up to 4:00 pm yesterday, included Arizona, Arkansas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Nevada, Missouri, Tennessee, Michigan, New York, Colorado, Oregon, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Indiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Utah, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, and Delaware.
In the case of Oregon, the wording of its petition was "Allow Oregon to vote on and leave the Union peacefully and remain an ally to the Nation". Further, Alaska is requesting a "free and open election to decide whether or not it should secede", while Austin in Texas, is seeking to "withdraw from the State of Texas and remain part of the United States".
We the People, according to the website, gives all Americans a way to engage their government on the issues that matter to them. It allows users to browse open petitions and add their signature, or to start new petitions.
"If a petition meets the signature threshold, it will be reviewed by the administration and we will issue a response," the website said.
The goal is for each state to reach 25,000 signatures by December 11, 2012. So far Texas has 79,445; Georgia, for which two identical petitions are being signed, has 22,528 and 9,987; Louisiana has 29,782; Tennessee, 21, 174; Alabama, 21,972; and North Carolina has 20,739.
The bulk of the petitions were created on Sunday, November 11 and Monday November 12, respectively five and six days following the November 6 election which secured a second term for President Barack Obama.
Counter to the appeals for secession are two calls for those who signed such petitions to be stripped of their citizenship and deported or exiled. Together, they have over 8,000 signatures.
Some of the other petitions on the site are "to officially recognise American Sign Language as a community language and a language of instruction in schools" (5,588), "come clean about the radical Islamist terrorist attack and murder of four Americans in Benghazi" (11,564), repeal Obamacare (307) and "recount the election", which has 41,774 signatures.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

FastBackwards:The LOUISIANA we Hate


In both audio and video devices there is a fast forward option. In Louisiana, there is a FASTBackward option! And it seems, that since 2008, the whole of the American nation has been on fast backward; in it's mechanism of hate. Racism, Institutionalized has taken a definite turn for the extreme. In the courts, in the legislature, in every area of governance.

New Roads' Victoria Gosserand is scheduled for trial in February 2012.
In 2011, Scott Nugent was let-0ff twice and dealt a plea by the "justice system"!

If, you don't recollect, Scott killed Baron "Scooter" Pikes[Collins] in Winnfield in 2008. January 2008. MLK Weekend to be specific. Richard Barrett's Nationalist's were scheduled to "march in Jena" the same weekend. The whole situation was playing out in federal court in Cenla's Alexandria.
Currently, the federal system is to status conference January 2012 on the civil suit against, the city of Winnfield and Taser international.
The Racists, were emboldened. Scott went to school with Baron. Baron was Michael's cousin. That Michael. Jena's Michael!

Furthermore, Barack Obama was the Democratic contender for the presidency of the United States. Jena Times editor/publisher Sammy Franklin would write an article referencing "jumping frogs" and the need for white activist to get busy. And did they. It is my contention, that while all eyes were on the little town of Jena, the "neuvo-conservative movement" began. The Tea Party sprouted and blossomed to a full fledged revolt, when 13 states filed suit against the Obama Administration, citing the HealthCare Plan, violated the "Commerce Clause" of the U.S. Constitution! Furthermore, a push for enough states to convene a Constitutional Convention evolved.
Listen Up!

Dates set for Supreme Court health care reform arguments

he Supreme Court has carved out a week in late March to hold oral arguments in perhaps its biggest case in a decade -- the sweeping healthcare reform law championed by President Obama.

The court announced Monday it will hear 5½ hours of arguments spread over three days March 26-28.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or ACA) was signed into law March 23, 2010, passed by a Democratic congressional majority with the support of the president. It has about 2700 pages and contains 450 some provisions.

A ruling from the court is expected by late June and regardless of the outcome, will become a major issue in a presidential election year.

The largest and broadest legal challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act comes from a joint filing by 26 states, led by Florida. It was that series of appeals the high court had accepted for review.

At issue is whether the "individual mandate" section -- requiring nearly all Americans to buy health insurance by 2014 or face financial penalties -- is an improper exercise of federal authority. The states also say that if that linchpin provision is unconstitutional, the entire law must be also go.

Joining Florida in the challenge are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Four issues will be addressed by the Supreme Court:

Anti-Injunction Act

First, the court on March 26 will consider whether those challenging the law be barred from making any legal or constitutional claims until the individual mandate actually goes into effect in 2014.

The AIA -- in place since the 19th century -- bars claimants from asking for a refund on a tax until that tax has been collected and paid. Judges in two federal appeals courts have made that argument, which would effectively stop the current legal fight in its tracks. Citing that law might give the court a way out of deciding the explosive issue in an election year.

The majority could decide the political branches can best resolve the conflicts, at least for now, or that the matter can be handled after the November elections. Some court watchers have called this the health care "sleeper issue." It could potentially delay a decision on the constitutionality of the individual mandate for at least four years.

Individual mandate

The court will hear two hours of arguments on this most key issue on March 27. This provision requires nearly all Americans to buy some form of health insurance beginning in 2014, or face financial penalties. May the federal government, under the Constitution's Commerce Clause, regulate economic "inactivity"? Three federal appeals courts have found the PPACA to be constitutional, while another has said it is not, labeling it "breathtaking in its expansive scope." That "circuit split" all but assured the Supreme Court would step in and decide the matter.
keep reading

State lawmaker calls for convention to amend U.S. Constitution

State Rep. Nick Lorusso, who represents Lakeview and portions of Mid-City, wants Congress to call a convention of state legislatures for the purpose of amending the U.S. Constitution.

A Republican attorney who was elected to the Louisiana Legislature in 2007, Lorusso cites Article V of the U.S. Constitution, which states that if 34 state legislatures apply for a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution, Congress is required to call one.

Although it does not spell out the procedures for the actual convention, Article V limits the convention’s power to proposing amendments. Those amendments would have to be approved by three-fourths of the states, either by their legislatures or by state conventions, to be added to the Constitution.

“The Article V Convention method of proposing amendments to the U.S. Constitution provides a mechanism to bypass Congress, which arguably would never vote to reduce its own power or authority,” Lorusso said.

Lorusso has formed the Rebirth of Freedom organization which supports 10 resolutions it refers to as the Liberty Bill. They specifically call for fiscal restraint and limited government at the federal level.


State Rep. Kirk Talbot, R-River Ridge, is part of Lorusso’s effort. He said Article V establishes state legislatures as a “check and balance” on the federal government.

“Even Alexander Hamilton, an ardent Federalist, stated in The Federalist Paper No. 85 that the American people could ’safely rely on the dispositions of the state legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority.’”

Other lawmakers who have joined the cause are Reps. Tim Burns, R-Mandeville; Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport; George Cromer, R-Slidell; Cameron Henry, R-New Orleans; Frank Hoffman, R-West Monroe; John LaBruzzo, R-Metairie; J. Rogers Pope, R-Denham Springs; John Schroder, R-Covington; and Jane Smith, R-Bossier City; and Sen. A.G. Crowe, R-Pearl River.

Fiscal measures in the Rebirth of Freedom agenda include a requirement for a balanced budget, a federal spending cap, a super-majority vote of Congress to raise taxes and a Presidential line-item veto and a debt reduction requirement.

The group’s resolutions on limited government include congressional term limits, a transparency in legislation requirement and limitations on Congress’s authority to pass legislation pursuant to the Commerce Clause, General Welfare Clause and Necessary and Proper Clause.

“The federal government is spending our nation deeper in debt with no end in sight,” Lorusso said. “It is time for fiscal restraint, including a balanced budget amendment.”

Lorusso and his fellow Louisiana lawmakers are grappling with Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposed $24.4 billion state budget for fiscal 2010-11 and a projected $3 billion shortfall over the next two years.

In other significance.
The State of Louisiana appears to be trending toward ousting, minority employees from public sector jobs. The Department of Education appears to be allowing in multiple school districts the verbal and sometimes "physical, pyshosocial and pyschosexual harrasment" of black and poor children. Reports from responsible parties have catalogued various instances in district where black children, entire classrooms were subjected to both verbal and physical abuse. A girls basketball coach, attempted to incite a student to disobey her parents in order to participate in the coach's program. What is expected is not what is being obtained!

Friday, October 29, 2010

The "STATE" of Louisiana Justice 2010

2011 No Better!? 2012 Worse! ~ Unless!~ Joint Motion all must reply

Former officer clears last criminal charge

Oct. 22, 2011, 1:15 p.m. CDT
AP

WINNFIELD, La. (AP) — Winn Parish prosecutors have dropped a malfeasance charge against a former Winnfield policeman in the death of a man who was shocked with a stun gun, and former officer Scott Nugent has agreed not to seek reinstatement or back pay.

Nugent's attorney, George Higgins, told The Town Talk (http://townta.lk/pQrixs) about the agreement Friday.

A jury acquitted Nugent last year of manslaughter in the death of Baron "Scooter" Pikes, who died in 2008 after being shocked eight times.

Higgins says the case is finally over.

However, there's still a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court against Nugent and city officials. They asked Judge Dee D. Drell in September to dismiss it.

Latrina D. Thomas, the mother of Pikes' young son, has until Nov. 4 to file her response.

**all parties in the case in the Western District are required to reply by Nov. 4** LeSieur

Louisiana State NAACP Convention Sept 22-25 2011 to be held in

Ferriday/Vidalia/Natchez area.

The truth sometimes, just doesn't come out. However, when a video is played to a jury, and a man says; "you killed me" & "you're going to suffer".

Before the recording ended, Collins told Nugent, “You’re going to suffer…You killed me.”

Nugent replied: “Are you threatening us… You ain’t dead. You’re talking. You’re alive.”

The following story, should have you aware what will not happen with the finality of this case. So, sad to say but this is the "state" of Louisiana Justice. *lesieur

September 23, 2010


AG still denies release of report due to open records debate

Report on shooting death of Bernard Monroe, Sr. remains sealed

MICHELLE BATES, Editor

A lawsuit filed in New Orleans, regarding the release of a deceased’s medical records, is having a direct affect on the release of the Louisiana State Police report involving the shooting death of Bernard Monroe, Sr.

The New Orleans case revolves around Dr. Anna Pou and two nurses who allegedly gave elderly patients a lethal cocktail of drugs to euthanize them after the charity hospital flooded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

When the grand jury didn’t return indictments, CNN and the Times Picayune of New Orleans requested the records of five patients who allegedly died under the doctor’s hands be released.

However, two defendants, who were unnamed in the article, filed suit requesting those records be blocked from release “claiming the records are covered by grand jury secrecy rules, that they should have been considered confidential informants and that releasing the documents would violate their privacy.”

According to a CNN article published Thursday, September 9, Judge Donald Johnson of the 19th Judicial District Court for the Parish of East Baton Rouge ruled that “records of the Memorial Medical Center deaths” in New Orleans should be released because the deaths “don’t involve ‘criminal litigation which is either pending or which can be reasonably anticipated.’”

This means the records should be released under state open records laws, and the judge’s decision is now under appeal.

The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office filed suit saying the courts needed to better define open records laws. In July, the case was sent from the Supreme Court back to District Court, which made the ruling to have the records released.

Assistant District Attorney Kurt Wall said that case is now on appeal, so no records have been released. Because of this case, the Louisiana State Police report on the officer-involved shooting death of Monroe is also not being released.

In earlier editions of The Guardian-Journal, Wall said that because the New Orleans case was still under litigation, Attorney General Buddy Caldwell ordered that no reports be released to the public until a ruling on the definition of open records laws is better defined.

Monroe was shot and killed on Friday, February 20, 2009, by former Homer Police Officer Tim Cox. The shooting occurred when Cox and former Homer Officer Joseph Henry were chasing Monroe’s son, Shawn. The chase led to the elder Monroe’s home, where the events of that day took place. Police said he was shot because he allegedly engaged the two officers with a loaded handgun. Witnesses and family members say Monroe did not have a gun in his possession at the time of the shooting. Instead, he was holding a sports drink bottle.

The case caused an uproar of outrage and anger in the community. At the time of the shooting, the Louisiana State Police were brought in to investigate the case, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Justice Department. The FBI was brought in to look into whether any of Monroe’s civil rights were violated. According to Agent Sheila Thorne, media spokesperson in the New Orleans Office, the investigation is still open and ongoing.

The Americans for Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was also brought into the picture, and they found that the Homer Police Department practiced racial profiling because a majority of the arrests they made were minorities.

In December 2009, the case was turned over to the Claiborne Parish District Attorney’s Office, and District Attorney Jonathan Stewart immediately turned it over to the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office. When the grand jury returned no true bills against either former officer, the Monroe family hired famed civil rights attorney Morris Dees and filed a civil suit.

Earlier this year, the Town of Homer settled with the Monroe family to prevent any further litigation in the case and release the two former officers and the town from any liability afterwards.



Ex-officer not guilty in death of man shocked 8 times with Taser

- Associated Press

WINNFIELD, La. — It took a state court jury only three hours Friday to return a not-guilty verdict in the manslaughter trial of a former Winnfield police officer accused of applying eight Taser gun shocks to a handcuffed man who later died.

The verdict cleared Scott Nugent in the death of Baron Pikes, who was stunned repeatedly as he lay on the ground, hands cuffed behind his back, for refusing to get up. After Pikes was inside the police car, he was again shocked when he did not get out as ordered.

The verdict does not, however, end the case. The mother of Pikes’ 4-year-old son has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit in federal court against Nugent and city officials. A malfeasance-in-office charge is also pending against Nugent.

“We thought we put together a strong case,” Winn Parish District Attorney Chris Nevils said. “There was not a single bit of evidence we had that we didn’t put on for the jury.”

The 10 white and two black jurors voted 11-1 to find Nugent not guilty, Nevils said. Only 10 jurors were needed to reach a verdict.

Nugent was hurried from the courtroom to a waiting car after the verdict was read.His attorney, George Higgins, later said Nugent and his family were “thrilled” by the decision. “Hopefully this will end the two-year ordeal they’ve been through,” Higgins said. “You have to remember, he was only 21 when this took place.”

Higgins said he believed the district attorney would weigh pursuing the pending malfeasance charge in light of Friday’s verdict.

The defense attorney said he thought the verdict was completely supported by evidence and witnesses who testified as to how professional Nugent was and the “overwhelming scientific testimony that the Taser could not have caused Mr. Pikes’ death.”

Asked whether his client would pursue returning to the force, Higgins said, “I think Mr. Nugent wants to get on with his life. I would doubt that he would return to any police department. For the last two years, he was unjustly labeled a murderer. I would guess he has a sour taste in his mouth for serving the public in that position again.”

The trial took three weeks. The defense put on a number of expert witnesses who said the Taser gun that Nugent used and the manner in which he used it — applying so-called “drive stuns” to Pikes’ back — would not have killed him, even though Nugent shocked Pikes eight times.

“This case was never about Taser,” Nevils said. “It was about the actions of this officer.”

In closing arguments the prosecutor described Nugent’s actions as abusive and leading to Pikes’ death.

Police are trained to increase force on a noncompliant subject in steps, Nevils told the jury, beginning with verbal orders, then applying soft hand force followed by hard hand force. Nugent skipped the early steps, Nevils said.

“He didn’t follow his training,” Nevils said. “He went straight to the thing he likes the most — to hurry him (Pikes) along, and he killed him.”

The autopsy lists the cause of Pikes’ death as undetermined. An expert witness for the prosecution called it homicide. An expert for the defense said the 21-year-old died of sudden exertion sickle cell death.

Forensic pathologist Charles Wetli, whose area of expertise is sudden death caused by sickle cell trait, testified that the Taser shocks did not cause Pikes’ death.

Pikes had sickle-cell trait, which can make blood cells change from the normal round shape into a sickle shape during exertion, clog blood vessels and deprive the body of oxygen. That happened to Pikes when he ran from officers who stopped him, defense attorney Jerry Glas said Friday during final arguments.

“Did the Taser trigger exertion sickle-cell death?” Glas asked the jury. “The exertion triggered the exertion sickle-cell death.”

On rebuttal, Nevils pointed out Pikes ran only a block and a half, and had run from officers during prior arrests and “he didn’t die then.”

The courtroom was crowded for closing arguments, with extra security measures at the courthouse, but the crowd was orderly. Several women cried quietly as Nevils wrapped up his rebuttal by referring to a videotape of Pikes writhing on the floor of the police department as they awaited an ambulance and telling police officers there, “You killed me.”

Nugent sat quietly at the defense table, staring down throughout the arguments.

“This was a travesty of justice,” said Carol Powell Lexing, attorney for Latrina Thomas, who is the mother of Pikes’ son. “But that dog-and-pony show that took place in Winnfield won’t last long in federal court.”



Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2010/10/29/2595828_p2/ex-officer-not-guilty-in-death.html#ixzz13rWHnTkO


Well

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Multi-City/Town:Mass INJUSTICE Demonstrations NOW | The NEW GRASSROOTS MASSMOVEMENT2010

Honest Services 24Jun10 | Enron-Skilling ruling | La. Public Defender Board
Forging of America
Injustice
Justice Needed. Now!!
Every facet of the judicial process in Louisiana is in dis-array. Jean Faria sat in a House Judiciary Committee on April 21, while State Senator Francis Thompson, floated a legislative instrument dealing with the composition of the Louisiana Public Defender Board. The instrument would have stipulated a board member from the northern part of the state. In his statements, the questions were raised as to why, the majority of the members on the La. Public Defender Board were from S. Louisiana. He stated, that the Governor was from S.La., as was the Speaker of the House and others. The Senate seat held by Thompson, was formerly held by Senator Charles D. Jones. In essence, Thompson's seat is in a minority district. Louisiana is not the only state with justice issues.

By the fact of blacks, being the majority in prison and the courts, and subsequently still disproportionately receiving stiffer sentencings, wrongful convictions, prosecutorial indiscretions and un-equal justice and ultimately "death-justice" as in the death of Baron "Skooter" Pikes in Winnfield, Louisiana, of whose trial is scheduled for June 2010 in Winn parish. When we consider, the accusations in Tensas Parish's, Waterproof, La. As we consider, the incident of un-equaled justice playing out in the home-parish of the -yet to be confirmed- Middle District US Attorney. In the Gosserand case, the defendant was allowed to absent herself from court and not held in contempt -said to be in a rehab. -31 July 2010
In Pointe Coupee - The new US Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana turns out to be Don Cazayoux.
In Tensas parish the Mayor of Waterproof was convicted & the LASC denied his writ on July 23rd.

In Winnfield, Louisiana -Scott Nugent is scheduled for trial on August 31, 2010 in the death of Baron Pikes.

Judge delays Gosserand's arraignment hearing

Posted: Apr 08, 2010 5:38 AM CDT Updated: Apr 12, 2010 5:35 AM CDT

NEW ROADS, LA (WAFB) - A woman who faces a vehicular homicide charge in connection with a deadly crash was scheduled to stand before a judge Thursday morning to tell how she pleads in the case, but the hearing has been postponed.

According to her attorney, Victoria Gosserand is currently in a rehab facility outside of the state. The judge rescheduled her arraignment for Aug. 26.

Gosserand stands accused in the death of Terri Parker, 23. Parker was killed in a crash in December on a Pointe Coupee Parish roadway. gssc/end

When we consider all things, relating to the judicial process, equity & un-equal justice due to socio-economic status, there is no other choice but coordinated MASS DIRECT-ACTION NON-VIOLENT DEMONSTRATIONS.

THIS IS A CALL TO ACTION FOR ALL UNIVERSITY, COLLEGE & COMMUNITY COLLEGE AGE STUDENTS TO RE-CONVENE IN LOUISIANA.

The New GRASSROOTS MASSMOVEMENT AGAINST UNEQUAL JUSTICE!!

Legislation hasn't Secured Unequal justice's demise. The courts have refused to rectify the problem because the law stipulates harsh punishments, exercised at the indiscretion of prosecutors, judges & the 1844 ruling class mentality. Nothing will change, unless we move, Now.


postscript:23Apr2010 16minutes aftermidnight

Analysis:Torch Passes in Civil Rights Struggle
Analysis: Torch passes in civil rights struggle

ATLANTA — The recent deaths of Dorothy Height and Benjamin Hooks, two icons of the civil rights era, nudge those who have come behind them closer to the control for which they have clamored.

It is a prospect that is at once enticing and intimidating for the movement's heirs, who have waited years for their turn and a chance to further the progress of black America. Those years have caught up with both groups, as the graying civil rights generation has no choice but to step aside.

The next generation must decide whether they will step up as the nature of the struggle is in question and the future fight takes on a new identity.

It's put up or shut up now, said the Rev. Al Sharpton.

"I remember for years we said, 'Give us a chance,'" Sharpton said. "Well, we're center stage now. What are we gonna do?"

At 55, Sharpton is considered young among civil rights activists. He was groomed by people like Height and Hooks to lead after they left.

"They knew the struggle would continue beyond them," said Sharpton, who founded his National Action Network nearly 20 years ago. "We are facing more institutional inequities. These matters are not as dramatic as they were in their time, but they're just as insidious."

For years, the heroes of the 1950s and 1960s kept us connected to a time when the battle for equality in this country was real and present for millions of black Americans, decades away from the election of the first black president.

The larger-than-life examples of Andrew Young, Joseph Lowery and John Lewis — who marched alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and lived to tell us about it year after year — were constant reminders that the fight is not over.

When she died Tuesday at 98, Height was one of the few female voices of the movement. Her activism stretched from the New Deal to marching alongside King before she witnessed the historic election of President Barack Obama.

Hooks led the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for 15 years after he was inspired to fight against social injustice and bigotry as a young soldier guarding Italian prisoners of war while serving overseas in the Army during World War II. Foreign prisoners could eat in "for whites only" restaurants but he could not. He died Thursday at the age of 85.

The struggle they leave behind is far different from the one they inherited under a segregated America. Today, the Rev. Raphael Warnock of MLK's Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta is carrying the mantle of social justice theology, fighting for voting rights and financial literacy and against disparities in the criminal justice system — without the permission of his elders.

"I don't know that anybody handed that generation the leadership," said the 40-year-old Warnock. "I think they took it. And the onus is on us to assume leadership and not wait on somebody to give it to us. We are clearly witnessing the changing of the guard."

This generation does not live in fear of biting dogs or the sting of a fire hose, but must still fight to ensure equal access to education and employment. Hundreds of black elected officials across the country do not eliminate the need to advocate the right to vote.

"Losing Dr. Height hurts immeasurably, but it also inspires unconditionally," said Julianne Malveaux, president of the all-female, historically black Bennett College. "When we think about the struggles she identified with and the work that she did, she's really left us with a social, economic and legislative agenda."

Malveaux said that many young people are respectful of history and may be ready to carry on with Height's mission, but others may see her labor as part of a bygone era.

"They have been seduced by our progress to feel that the civil rights movement may not be necessary," she said.

The call to action now extends not to an aging few, but to countless blacks from 18 to 70 — still young, compared to the those who were stirred to action in the last century. Already there are those who have answered. The NAACP has at its helm the youngest president and chairwoman in its 101-year history. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is preparing to install as its new leader Bernice King, the youngest daughter of King, the organization's most famous founder. And the executive director of Sharpton's National Action Network is under 30.

Whether they can rally their peers as their predecessors rallied for the betterment of a people remains to be seen. But after years of asking, they will soon get their wish.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Justice Denied:STILL-Louisiana Style

Mike Thompson convicted in US Court | Hobbs Act trial Awaits

State Senator Lydia Jackson spoke on the first panel of the United States Department of Justice's Indigent Defense Symposium Feb. 18 & 19th 2010 in Washington, D.C.

Already in this state, the Louisiana Attorney General's office has presided over a grand jury in Homer, Louisiana that returned a "no true bill" in the death of Bernard Monroe, at the hands of two police officers.

The problem in Louisiana is gargantuan and requires direct intervention. The last such legal gathering of the US DOJ was in 1999-2000 according to Symposium statements.

As we write, because of legal maneuvering and shenanigans in a federal criminal case two young black state-defendants are being denied proper due process because of mechinations by a federal public defender and his 43 year old federal client. The two 20-year-olds have no idea, what is going on behind the scenes. One defendant's - public defender may be aware of the maneuvering. The federal client & the two state defendants are linked to the same alledged crime!

If someone wants to talk about systemic injustice, one must begin at the bottom. And the boot is on the foot of Louisiana. The Public Defender Office in Baton Rouge is being scrutinized, after several officials plead guilty to impropriety on federal charges. In a "Jena related" case a defendant has begun to experience Baton Rouge PDO's ineffective assistance of counsel.

In the national scene, a concerted effort has been ongoing to distance America from the "lasting affects of the 'Jena Scenario' played out in Louisiana's debacled courts".

January 17, 2008 Baron "Scooter" Pikes was supposed to have been arrested, according to Winnfield, Louisiana police. He Died!

Baron "Scooter" Pikes' Life was arrested the day the police tasered him, against his will. In affect, his civil rights were violated.

If the system of justice is to change in America, that change must begin in Louisiana.

As late as October 2009, Jean Faria, in an article in the Lake Charles, Louisiana newspaper American Press; stated that indigent defense in the state was a problem not solved yet. [ Calcasieu PDO AmericanPress.com]

Faria called the problems “systemic.” She compared the criminal justice system to a three-legged stool with one leg being the courts, a second being the prosecution and the third the defense.

Presently the stool definitely cannot sit straight because the defense “leg” is shorter than the others. First, Faria said, people have to come together.

She would like parties involved in the criminal justice system to sit down with the local legislative delegation and say “This is what it looks like here … this is the mess we are in and it’s going to take all of us good, well-intentioned people to sit together and figure out how we’re going to deal with this in Calcasieu.”

“Can you help us craft a solution?”

“The answer,” she said, “may be yes. The answer may be no. But the answer cannot be that the public defender clients suffer.”


Justice Dept. Symposium Washington,D.C.-State Senator Lydia Jackson at 102:36 mark!


Eric Holder in New Orleans 23 Feb. 2010 for National Fusion Center Conference. Conference is on Terrorism. "Instead of pursuing a narrow, ideological approach to fighting terrorism, combating crime, and protecting the safety of our people, today's Justice Department is committed to being flexible, pragmatic and aggressive. This approach is working. By focusing on improving communication and collaboration, we've helped to prevent hundreds of crimes and to protect even more lives."

Taser death could be considered Torture

JUSTICE FOR SALE PBS.org

Judge seals video tape in Taser Case Why is the tape sealed!?

Impoverished Youth Justice DOJ Symposium Feb. 17 2010 - Washington,DC

Judge puts gag order in place for Gosserand trial

Posted: Mar 11, 2010 11:02 AM CST Updated: Mar 12, 2010 6:47 AM CST

By David Spunt - bio | email

NEW ROADS, LA (WAFB) - The judge in the New Roads vehicular homicide trial has placed a gag order on all attorneys involved with the case. The gag order means attorneys from both sides are not permitted to talk to the media about this specific case.

Judge puts gag-order



New Roads Vehicular Homicide a TEST CASE. Two Judges removed from court case.
Grand Jury Indicts Woman in New Roads Case
Woman indicted in wreck WAFB

Vehicular homicide count charged
  • By KORAN ADDO
  • Advocate Westside bureau
  • Published: Feb 23, 2010

NEW ROADS — A grand jury indicted a Ventress woman on a count of vehicular homicide and another charge Monday in a wreck that killed a New Roads woman in December.

The grand jury also indicted Victoria Gosserand, 23, on a count of first-degree negligent vehicular injuring in the Dec. 23 wreck that killed Terri Parker, 23, and sent Kyle Riviere, 23, to a hospital with serious injuries.

The 18th Judicial District prosecutor, Tony Clayton, said Gosserand’s blood-alcohol content was 0.30, or nearly four times the 0.08 legal limit, the night of the wreck.

If convicted of vehicular homicide, the more serious of the two charges, Gosserand faces up to 30 years in prison with a minimum of five years served without the benefit of parole, probation or a suspended sentence.

She faces up to five years in prison, a $2,000 fine or both on the count of first-degree negligent vehicular injuring.

After Monday’s court proceedings, Parker’s mother, Debra Cushionberry, said the grand jury’s decision was “a relief.”

Cushionberry, along with two dozen friends and family members, spent much of Monday in the courthouse hallway waiting for the grand jury’s decision.

Many of them wore shirts emblazoned on the front with Parker’s picture with the words “In Loving Memory” and “Justice for Terri Marie Parker.”

“I feel good. It’s a relief,” Cushionberry said after the indictments were announced.

“It’s not that a burden has been lifted from me, because my daughter is dead, but this is the first step towards justice,” she said.

Justice, she said, would be for Gosserand to serve prison time.

Parker’s aunt, Rosemarie Parker, said the family will continue to fight to make sure the death of her niece, who would have turned 24 last month, will not go unpunished.

“My eyes are wide open,” Rosemarie Parker said. “We just want what’s right for Terri.”

Neither Gosserand nor her family was in court; however, her attorneys, Nathan Fisher and Jerry D’Aquila, attended the reading of the indictment.

Gosserand, 7702 Cook’s Landing, Ventress, is due back in court April 8, at which time she is expected to enter a plea, prosecutors said.

The grand jury’s decision stems from the night of Dec. 23, when a New Roads police officer saw Gosserand speed through a red light at Hospital Road and False River Drive in her 2002 Acura MDX sport utility vehicle about 11:30 p.m., New Roads police have said.

Gosserand’s car slammed into Riviere’s 1999 Toyota Camry as he was turning left at a green light onto False River Drive, police have said.

The collision threw Parker from the Camry onto the shoulder of False River Drive, where police found the young mother of a 2-year-old boy lying motionless, her neck apparently broken, the report said.

The parish Coroner’s Office pronounced her dead at the scene, police have said.

According to the police report, investigators and paramedics approached a “screaming and cursing” Gosserand in her SUV and tried to get her out of the vehicle.

Gosserand became “combative,” the report said, and authorities had to restrain her before loading her into an ambulance to be taken to Pointe Coupee General Hospital.

Riviere, also of New Roads, was taken to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge after authorities extracted him from his crumpled car, the report said.

Gosserand, 7702 Cook’s Landing, Ventress, is due back in court April 8, at which time she is expected to enter a plea, prosecutors said.


Officer: Gosserand had 'aggressive attitude'
  • Advocate Westside bureau
  • Published: Mar 11, 2010 - UPDATED: 6:30 p.m

NEW ROADS — A New Roads policeman testified Thursday that the defendant in a Dec. 23 vehicular homicide case had an “aggressive attitude” and “had to be restrained” following the wreck in which a woman was killed and a man seriously injured.

Officer Brandon Spillman said he was parked in a vacant lot while on duty around midnight at the intersection of False River Drive and Hospital Road when he witnessed Victoria Gosserand run a red light at a high rate of speed in her dark-colored sport utility vehicle.

Gosserand’s SUV crashed into Kyle Riviere’s green Toyota Camry as Riviere attempted to make a left turn onto False River Drive, Spillman said.

Gosserand did not attempt to slow down or stop her vehicle as she sped through the intersection, he said.

The impact of the crash sent both vehicles spinning, at which time Spillman said, he saw a large object, which turned out to be Camry passenger Terri Parker, 23, of New Roads, flying through the air.

When Parker landed about 30 feet from the point of impact, Riviere’s car appeared to run over her body, the officer said. Parker was pronounced dead at the scene, he said.

Monday’s hearing in 18th Judicial District Court marks the first time Gosserand, 23, 7702 Cook’s Landing, Ventress, has appeared in court in connection with the Dec. 23 wreck.

Prosecutors have said Gosserand’s blood-alcohol content was 0.30 percent, or nearly four times the 0.08 percent blood alcohol content which is considered presumptive evidence of drunken driving in Louisiana,.

The defendant is scheduled to return to the Pointe Coupee Parish Courthouse April 8 to enter a plea on one count each of vehicular homicide and first-degree negligent injuring. If convicted, Gosserand faces between five and 30 years in prison for vehicular homicide, the more serious of the two charges.

Judges puts gag-order on Gosserand trial |

Officer describes crash
Testimony offered in fatal accident
  • By KORAN ADDO
  • Advocate Westside bureau
  • Published: Mar 12, 2010

NEW ROADS — A New Roads police officer testified Thursday that the defendant in a Dec. 23 vehicular homicide case had an “aggressive attitude” and “had to be restrained” following the wreck in which a woman was killed and a man seriously injured.

Officer Brandon Spillman said he was parked in a vacant lot while on duty around midnight at the intersection of False River Drive and Hospital Road when he witnessed Victoria Gosserand run a red light at a high rate of speed in her dark-colored sport utility vehicle.

Gosserand’s SUV crashed into Kyle Riviere’s green Toyota Camry as Riviere attempted to make a left turn onto False River Drive, Spillman said.

Gosserand did not attempt to slow down or stop her vehicle as she sped through the intersection, he said.

The impact of the crash sent both vehicles spinning, at which time Spillman said, he saw a large object, which turned out to be Camry passenger Terri Parker, 23, of New Roads, flying through the air.

When Parker landed about 30 feet from the point of impact, Riviere’s car appeared to run over her body, the officer said.

Spillman testified that he ran to Gosserand’s vehicle first because it was closer to him.

“She was laid back in the driver’s seat,” he said. “I could hear her mumbling.”

As he tried to talk to Gosserand, Spillman said, he smelled “a strong odor of alcohol” coming from her.

Spillman testified that after the wreck, Gosserand told him that she had three friends in her SUV, although he observed that Gosserand was the vehicle’s only occupant.

Moments later, Spillman said, he approached the Camry and noticed Kyle Riviere’s arm hanging out of the car’s window.

“He was conscious, but not alert. It was obvious that he was trapped in the car,” the officer said.

Spillman said he also observed “a pretty good-sized hole” in the passenger side of the Camry’s windshield.

The officer said he checked on Parker’s motionless body near a curb on False River Drive and couldn’t detect the accident victim’s pulse.

“Due to the position of her head, it was apparent that she suffered a broken neck,” Spillman said.

Paramedics on the scene determined that Parker was dead, Spillman said.

As paramedics tried to extract Gosserand from her SUV, she began yelling and cursing at them, flailing her arms around and being “very uncooperative,” Spillman testified.

“It was not like she was yelling in pain,” the officer said. “She was saying, ‘Get away from me. I don’t want you around me.’ ”

At that point, Gosserand’s father had arrived at the scene and accompanied his daughter, Spillman and paramedics to Pointe Coupee General Hospital, the officer said.

Inside the ambulance, Spillman said, Gosserand was “very uncooperative and aggressive” as a paramedic attempted to insert an intravenous tube into her arm.

During the ride in the ambulance, Gosserand yelled expletives at her father and threatened to kill him, the officer testified.

At the hospital, it took several members of the hospital’s staff, Spillman and Gosserand’s father to restrain her, Spillman said.

During cross-examination, defense attorney Jerry D’Aquila noted that Spillman filled out two accident reports in the days after the wreck but only the second report noted the odor of alcohol coming from Gosserand.

Spillman testified that he was “fatigued” when he wrote the first report on Dec. 24 and then amended the report on Dec. 28 when he remembered more details.

D’Aquila questioned how Spillman was able to witness the wreck — both cars spinning, Parker’s ejection from the Camry and note that the traffic light controlling westbound traffic was red — in such detail.

That line of questioning provoked a strong response from Assistant District Attorney Tony Clayton, who demonstrated for the court how the prosecution believes Spillman, during just a few moments, was able to mentally record key elements of the wreck.

Clayton stood at the back of the courtroom and counted to three as he walked toward Spillman seated in the witness chair.

As Clayton counted aloud, Spillman said “crash” on the count of one, “cars spinning” at the count of two and “saw the red light” at the count of three.

Monday’s hearing in 18th Judicial District Court marks the first time Gosserand, 23, 7702 Cook’s Landing, Ventress, has appeared in court in connection with the Dec. 23 wreck.

Prosecutors have said Gosserand’s blood-alcohol content was 0.30 percent, or nearly four times the 0.08 percent blood alcohol content which is considered presumptive evidence of drunken driving in Louisiana.

Throughout Spillman’s testimony, Gosserand kept her head down, occasionally wiping tears from her eyes.

She is scheduled to return to the Pointe Coupee Parish Courthouse April 8 to enter a plea on one count each of vehicular homicide and first-degree negligent injuring. If convicted, Gosserand faces between five and 30 years in prison for vehicular homicide, the more serious of the two charges.

Defense attorney Rob Marionneaux told District Judge Alvin Batiste, who is presiding over the case, that it is possible Gosserand may not be available for the April 8 court session because she is scheduled to enter “treatment.”

It is unclear if Gosserand would be required to appear for her arraignment.

After Thursday’s court session, prosecutors and defense attorneys both said the judge issued a gag order preventing them from discussing the case in public.



Prosecutorial Misconduct:an increasing problem or overblown hysteria?

North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission


The first Louisiana StateWide Civil Rights Conference and Forum was held October 2007 in Alexandria, Louisiana. The first "StateWide Symposium" was held in Grambling, Louisiana in February 2008.
Are you prepared for LSWCR Conference & Forum
2010-11
It is evident a StateWide Conference is necessitated. An individual was incarcerated earlier in the year, by what appeared to have been; a detaining by a "joint federal task force." On 1-7-11, the person was glared & stared at by the arresting officer, in the incident earlier this year. The arrestee has dealt with current legal matters. An amount of money will be paid to the appropriate authorities for late fees to probation and parole.

However, 'the taking' of the individual on that day by the task force, was incorrigable.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Louisiana Attorney General takes Homer, La.-Bernard Monroe CaseClaiborne DA Recuses Office

Monday January 18, 2010
The eighth annual Martin Luther King Day Noon Ecumenical Observance will be noon Monday in the Ruston Civic Center.
This service follows the annual Martin Luther King Unity March and parade that will start at 11 a.m. at Louisiana Tech's Thomas Assembly Center, where marchers will meet at 10:45 a.m. The event is coordinated by the office of multicultural affairs at Louisiana Tech and produced by a committee of students, faculty, staff and local residents. The keynote speaker will be the Rev. Carmelita Pope Freeman, regional community relations director for the U.S. Justice Department and an ordained elder in the CME 4th Episcopal District.

Grand Jury to hear Racially Charged Case| Homer investigation moves forward| "What other choice do we have"|
December 10, 2009
Monroe case sent to Attorney General
Stewart recuses office from shooting investigation Dees & Claiborne NAACP Reps

MICHELLE BATES, Editor

Claiborne Parish District Attorney Jonathan Stewart has recused his office from any further involvement in the February shooting death of 73-year-old Bernard Monroe Sr.

In a press conference held Wednesday, December 2, Stewart addressed the case, saying he was sending it to the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, citing conflicts of interest for his office.

“After the order of recusal is signed, my office will have no further involvement with this case,” Stewart said, “other than to turn over the entire file and investigative materials to the attorney general, which will occur at some point in time next week.”

He cited two reasons for bowing out. One, he said, is that both former Homer police officers involved in the case – Timon Cox and Joseph Henry – are witnesses in pending criminal cases, which have not been resolved. Second, he said it would put his office and the officers in a “difficult position.”

Monroe was shot and killed by Cox on Friday, February 20, in the front yard of his home. According to police, the officers were pursuing Monroe’s son, Sean. The foot pursuit ended in Monroe’s front yard where Cox allegedly chased the younger Monroe out of the house.

Initial reports say Monroe was shot when he allegedly engaged the two officers with a loaded handgun. Witnesses, family members and friends say Monroe did not have a gun in his possession at the time of the shooting.

Stewart refused to answer any questions regarding what is in the final report turned in by the state police.

“I do not want to prejudice how the attorney general presents it, and I also do not want to prejudice anybody that might be on the grand jury,” Stewart said.

Stewart said the attorney general’s office will convene a grand jury from Claiborne Parish in January 2010 in order to make a decision on whether to pursue criminal charges or not.

“I have spoken with the attorney general several times over the last month, and he has agreed to give the case his personal attention,” the district attorney said.

In the wake of the shooting, the Monroe family hired Southern Poverty Law Center heavyweight Morris Dees to represent them.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is a nonprofit organization, and was founded as a small civil rights law firm in 1971, according to their website, www.splcenter.com.

Along with Georgia Norton, Monroe’s sister-in-law, Dees made it clear that the Monroe family wants to see justice.

“This family has suffered greatly to have their loved one shot to death in their presence, inside their house, by a police officer who had absolutely no legal rights to be in this home,” Dees said. “We have been very patient – the lawyers, the family has been more than patient. At this point, we put our faith in the grand jury and this community, and we’ll have to wait and see what happens. As the late Dr. Martin Luther King says, ‘The moral arc of justice is long, but it bends towards fairness in the end,’ and we hope that’s what we’ll see in this case.”

Asked if a civil suit would be filed, he said they would wait and see.

“We’re going to make that decision with the family and we’ll be discussing what they ought to do,” he said. “You can be assured that the facts of this case are going to come out, whether in a criminal case or in a civil case.”

Homer Town Attorney Jim Colvin said, “We’ll represent and defend the town as best we can, and we look forward to the conclusion to this investigation. As a citizen of this town and as town attorney, I look forward to the conclusion of this investigation. If there is a civil case, we’ll do our best to represent the town’s interest based on the facts revealed in the investigation to come.”

Norton spoke on behalf of the family, saying that Monroe’s widow is doing as well as can be expected.

“We’re okay,” she said, “and we’re hoping for the same thing that our attorney is – that this be fair and justice is fairly done.”

Terry Willis, communications director for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), repeated her sentiments, saying he hopes the case is handled in a “very expeditious manner.”

“We need this resolved so that our community can begin to heal and that justice will be served no matter what the outcome,” Willis said.

When asked if he thought the case would go to trial, he said, “Hopefully not.”

And if the officers are cleared of wrong doing?

“We’ll just have to cross that bridge when we get to it, no matter the outcome,” he responded. “This is a ‘catch 22’ for this community, for this department and our local government. We will have to settle and deal with the circumstances whatever they may be.”

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Justears! Louisiana's Backwater

Jeffress | Ciolino | 7th JDC PDO | Original complaint | 14th JDC PDO suit re-opened | October 15, 2009
Gov. Jindal to visit Homer October 16

Governor Bobby Jindal will be in Homer, from 2 until 4 p.m. Friday, October 16 at a Louisiana Honor Medal Ceremony. All elected officials are encouraged to attend.

For more information, please call Brandi White at 927-3077 (Monday, Wednesday and Friday), 263-7419 (Tuesday and Thursday) or cell phone at 422-2951.

DA to reach decision in Homer shooting soon

MICHELLE BATES, Editor

District Attorney Jonathan Stewart will possibly be releasing a decision on the officer-involved shooting death of Bernard Monroe Sr. soon.

That’s according to Stewart himself, who said he is still reviewing the Louisiana State Police report turned over to his office several weeks ago – but he insists there is no set deadline for his decision.

“I don’t have any deadline. We’re doing some investigating on our own as a follow up to the state police report,” Stewart said.

He said the state police report is very thorough, but there is just some follow up to do. He shares the concerns of many in the community and Monroe’s family, saying that he understands the gravity of the situation.

“All I want is the truth to come out,” he said. “That’s what we’re looking for – the truth. The community has a lot at stake, and it has hurt enough.”

Stewart will have to decide whether to send the report to a grand jury to review the evidence and decide if the shooting was justified. Or, he could turn it over to the Louisiana Attorney General’s office to handle the case. The third option would be for Stewart to actually make a decision on whether it was justified or not.

Monroe was shot and killed by two Homer Police Officers on Friday, February 20, after he allegedly engaged the two with a loaded handgun.

According to police, Monroe was armed. His family and those close to him say he was not.

In the wake of his death, much controversy has surrounded the small town of Homer. The U.S. Justice Department has been working closely with community members in an effort to buff the town’s division over the incident. The Federal Bureau of Investigations has also conducted its own investigation into any alleged civil rights violations. The American Civil Liberties Union has also conducted its own investigation into racial profiling, to which it concluded that there were more arrests of blacks in the Town of Homer than whites.

In response, Homer Police Chief Russell Mills and his department are putting their numbers together as well to show more accuracy, he said. The Guardian-Journal, also, has requested the same public documents requested by the ACLU in order to conduct its own inquiry.

Since Monroe’s death, former officers Joseph Henry and Timon Cox have both resigned.


System broken; no fix in sight (10/18)
Posted October 18, 2009 at 12:30 am
Filed Under News

By VINCENT LUPO
AMERICAN PRESS

Defense attorneys, judges and prosecutors say the public defender system in state district court here is broken, but no one knows quite how to fix it.

The ideal solution would be to have the Legislature allocate more money to the state indigent defender system that oversees and helps fund the local Public Defenders Office.

In light of budget cuts looming over the state in all areas, the hope of attracting more funds for an agency perceived by the public to represent “criminals” is merely a pipe dream.

Mitch Bergeron, executive director of the local PDO, says he needs about 20 more attorneys to keep up with the demands coming from local courts and for those lawyers to be effective in representing clients.

The agency employs 11 attorneys. Three other lawyers have contracts to handle specific types of cases for the agency. The PDO also pays five so-called conflict attorneys randomly appointed when the agency, because of conflicts of interest, cannot ethically represent a defendant.

There used to be six conflict attorneys, Bergeron said, but one resigned recently. Contracts with some of the other conflict lawyers will not be renewed in the near future.

About 95 percent of the cases that come through local courts are assigned to the PDO because the defendants are too poor to hire their own lawyers, Bergeron said. Each of his felony attorneys now has about 500 cases assigned at any one time. Misdemeanor attorneys have about 700 cases each.

The guidelines of the National Advisory Commission for Defense Attorneys recommend no one public defender have more than 150 felony cases assigned per year and no more than 400 misdemeanor cases per attorney per year.

Because of his staff’s present caseload, Bergeron said there are ethical and constitutional issues coming into play.

A criminal defendant has the constitutional right to representation by an attorney.

“But,” Bergeron said, “that right goes beyond just having a warm body with a law degree standing with the defendant.”

Those accused of crimes are entitled by both the U.S. and Louisiana constitutions to effective assistance of counsel.

Higher courts have said “reasonable assistance of counsel means that a lawyer not only possesses adequate skill and knowledge, but also has time and resources to apply his skill and knowledge to (the) task of defending his individual clients.”

Bergeron said with the present caseload, his staff isn’t able to meet those requirements.

His office may not be in a position to receive any more cases. If that happens, the courts may have to implement another plan to use in naming lawyers to represent indigent defendants.

Jean Faria of the Louisiana Public Defender Board said Act 307 adopted during the 2007 regular session of the Legislature, created on paper a uniform statewide system that gives poor defendants their constitutionally mandated right to effective counsel and provided for additional funds to indigent defense.
Two years later, it is obvious that that legislation is not enough to solve the problems with the indigent defense system.

Faria called the problems “systemic.” She compared the criminal justice system to a three-legged stool with one leg being the courts, a second being the prosecution and the third the defense.

Presently the stool definitely cannot sit straight because the defense “leg” is shorter than the others.

Faria noted her office requested $46 million from the state to help local jurisdictions with indigent defense. She was given $27.8 million, which funds about 40 percent of the local PDOs. The remainder of their funds comes from fines and court costs, but those are not what they should be, either.

Meanwhile, the other legs of the stool remain on an even floor because of public funding and other means.

She pointed out that district attorney offices do not have such worries as rent or health insurance payments, because these are provided by state and/or local government agencies.

Bergeron’s office, on the other hand, pays about $150,000 in rent annually and the same amount for health insurance benefits for its employees.

Savings in those areas could provide at least two attorneys to the local public defender ranks, she said.

“This (the PDO) is as much for the community as that (the D.A.’s office) is,” Faria said. “And there is not even a thought, apparently, of the responsibility of the parish to say ‘Well, we’re providing free rent here. We need to provide free rent for these fellows.’ “

Faria said with the ethics issues now involved, the local PDO “is not in a position to continue to receive cases.”

That is a decision Bergeron must make, Faria said. The state board, she said, will assist the defenders in what they have to do to function ethically because “it’s a profession, and we’re talking about people’s lives, liberty and freedom.”

“If you convict the wrong person, the perpetrator is out there still,” Faria said.

“What could be worse than an innocent person going to prison because the lawyer does not have the time and the resources to do what needs to be done?”

Many of the judges here have been ordering defendants appointed to the PDO to pay a certain amount for legal services.

Some do pay, but, as Bergeron pointed out, “It is hard to ask those people for money when you’re trying to build up a relationship of trust with them so you can better represent them in court.

“And, we don’t have a whole lot of time to start off anyway, so you don’t want that whole relationship to be about money,” he said.

“Then people who should be coming in to talk to you (about their case) are avoiding you — and they were appointed to us anyway because they are indigent.”

Faria said the judges who are ordering such payments are well-intentioned to try to help with the financial situation of the office, but “if the collection agency for that is also the same agency that is rendering the service, it’s tough.”

Bergeron said there are systemic issues in the court system here that add to the problem.

For one, Division H has been moved to Family and Juvenile Court. So now six, rather than seven, divisions of the court are handling criminal matters.

Those six judge also have civil dockets, he said, so there are only a limited number of court dates when a particular judge is in criminal court.

“We just don’t have enough court days to satisfy this caseload.”

So what is the answer? How do you fix the broke and the broken PDO?

Bergeron has considered filing motions to declare his agency ineffective and violative of the rights of the clients it represents. Those types of motions are time-consuming and tedious and would only be a last-ditch effort.

First, Faria said, people have to come together.

She would like parties involved in the criminal justice system to sit down with the local legislative delegation and say “This is what it looks like here … this is the mess we are in and it’s going to take all of us good, well-intentioned people to sit together and figure out how we’re going to deal with this in Calcasieu.”

“Can you help us craft a solution?”

“The answer,” she said, “may be yes. The answer may be no. But the answer cannot be that the public defender clients suffer.”

“Business as usual in this extraordinary caseload just can’t go on.”

Man who claims brutality found not guilty in case against him
Civil rights activist to review alleged police misconduct, school system charges
Posted October 20th, 2009
A corrections officer has been found not guilty of charges stemming from an April incident in which he claimed he was unjustly pepper-sprayed and was the victim of multiple stun gun applications.
Meanwhile, a citizens’ meeting featuring civil rights personality the Rev. DeVes Toon of the National Action Network is scheduled in Eunice Thursday to air allegations of police misconduct.
Judge Lynette Feucht found Jernell Smith, Jr., 52, not guilty of interfering with the duties of a police officer and resisting an officer in a bench trial in City Court.
Smith, represented at trial by Opelousas attorney Jarvis Clairborne, was arrested April 23 after a late-night run-in with officers near Lloyd Street.
The officers - two city police officers and a sheriff’s deputy - were investigating a stabbing that had happened a few minutes earlier at another location
The next day, Smith alleged he was the subject of excessive force, used on him, he claimed, after he had identified himself as a corrections officer and told police he was trying to get to his house.
In addition to being the victim of pepper spraying and Taser use, he alleged he was subjected to verbal abuse during and after his arrest.
Toon, according to his organization, is supposed to appear at a 3 p.m. Thursday session at St. Luke Baptist Church to look into allegations such as Smith’s and those of Josh Andrus, who claimed he was also the object of excessive force during an arrest earlier in April.
The officer accused in that instance has since resigned and the case file of a State Police investigation into the incident is in the District Attorney’s Office.
Complaints against the police began to build about a year ago, when African Americans began claiming Officer A.J. Frank, who is black, was harassing them and unjustly issuing citations.
Internal investigation determined there was no foundation for the complaints.
One concern expressed by the citizens group - overcrowding in the city jail - is indisputable. It often has 50 or more inmates in a facility built for 43.
Toon’s office also said alleged “unfairness” in the parish school desegregation plan and in school employment practices will be aired.
The desegregation plan was ordered by federal district court, after input from the Department of Justice, the School Board and a special Bi-Racial Committee.
School system employment practices are monitored by the same federal court.

Civil rights leader visits Eunice
By Judy Bastien • jbastien@dailyworld.com • October 25, 2009
The Rev. DeVes Toon of the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network met Thursday with Eunice community leaders at St. Luke Baptist Church in Eunice.Toon was in the city to hear residents' complaints of alleged misconduct on the part of the Eunice Police Department, as well as objections to some of the provisions of the recently implemented desegregation plan as it affects Eunice schools submitted by community activist Clifton Lemelle.
Toon plans to carry the complaints to the office of the attorney general in Washington, D.C., said George Fisher, one of the event's organizers.
About 25 citizens braved Thursday's severe weather to attend the meeting, which had been scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.
They waited quietly in the church pews until Toon arrived at about 3:45 p.m. and was whisked into a closed-door meeting with organizers.
When the meeting began, sometime after 4 p.m., citizens were invited to come forward and present their own complaints.
At the end of the meeting, the topics of local enforcement and the desegregation plan were discussed.
Representatives of the Eunice Police Department were unavailable for comment.
When contacted, Superintendent of St. Landry Parish Schools Michael Nassif said he stands by previous statements made earlir on the subject of desegregation.
Nassif had previously pointed out that the desegregation plan, which had languished for more than 40 years, had finally been hammered out by a biracial committee and approved by the Department of Justice and federal Judge Tucker Melancon.
Fisher said that his group hopes to have the desegregation matter reopened by the Justice Department.

2008 Winter Advocate LACDL Faria Apellate Project

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Reeling: Continued Infamy

13Aug2009
Colfax police officer Indicted |
6Aug2009
Homer, La. officers resign |
9 July 2009| Poverty Point Fraud Trial
|Racial tensions run high in Paris after charges dropped in murder case| Charges dismissed - Paris, Tx.| Louisiana:Ex-Iberville School Board Member arrested after protest| Second Homer Forum - US ATTY press release 052209


March marks N.O. teen's killing
'This is not acceptable. Every life is important'

At Baronne Street and Washington Avenue,Raphael mentioned the shooting nearby.




The Usual Suspects show up to cry foul in situations such as the following. However, the idea of a permeable mass-movement is beyond their grasp of reasoning. They do not understand and they never will.

But, this you must understand, Tonya Littlefeather is convicted and imprisoned, Michael Cobb is still in Angola & Mychal is still in the "pawnbrokers" shop! Torture in Our Own Backyard

This isn't the first instance of trouble at this facility. Oct 08 Alex Harris Story
Trio of convictions spark outcry

Written by Tiffany Flournoy
Friday, 24 April 2009

Concerns regarding cases of alleged injustices were expressed during an “urgent” community forum Wednesday at Mt. Zion CME Church, specifically those surrounding the Minden 3.

The Community Relations Service, a component of the U.S. Department of Justice and Civil Rights Investigator Irvin Robins were on hand to offer a listening ear.

The two-plus hour meeting, hosted by Concerned Citizens for Justice, touched a number of area judicial concerns for both Webster and Claiborne parishes. However, the session revolved around what some are calling the Minden 3 — Kelton Greenard of Minden, Arthur Henderson II of Cotton Valley and Anthony Combs of Homer.

In January, the trio was ordered to serve five years at hard labor in the Louisiana Department of Correction, with two years suspended after being found guilty in October 2008, of negligent homicide and cruelty to a juvenile in the death of former Hope Youth Ranch resident 12-year-old Alex Harris.

“In this case, I had some terrible circumstances and what I found is discriminatory prosecution,” said Jena 6 Attorney Louis Scott, who was present during Wednesday’s meeting.

Scott said in regards to this particular case, many people had the same, similar or greater responsibilities as those who stood trial.

“Many people were closer to what happened than people convicted. Some were convicted and others were not,” Scott said. “This case says more to me about the prosecution than most anybody else. It (case) speaks for itself. One man treated one way and the next treated another way — a classic definition of discrimination.”

The Rev. David Brown, who was in attendance during the evening session, said the electrocution of justice didn’t need to see the shock on his face when he heard the words “guilty on all counts,” referring to the verdict of the Minden 3.

Brown said the purpose of the open session was not to point fingers at anyone, but to further point out the evidence that has already been filed — all 62 pieces.

“Ninety-two percent of the pieces show three innocent young men in a way that is so innocent, I find it hard to just sit here,” Brown said. “If they look at the appeal, I believe in my heart, justice will be wearing the blindfold.”

The case is currently under appeal at the Second Circuit Court of Appeal in Shreveport, where it will be reviewed by three judges. These judges will be responsible for deciding whether there is sufficient evidence for a finding of guilt. They will also make determinations regarding technical issues, such as whether the hearsay testimony by a Louisiana State Trooper could have been used in court.

Greenard and Henderson are currently serving time at Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center and Combs at David Wade Correctional Center. NW-La.News

Hope Youth Ranch Trial

Three Hope Youth Ranch employees were found guilty October 15 of negligent homicide and cruelty to a juvenile in connection to the death of facility resident Alex Harris.

Following three days of testimony, District Court Judge Parker Self found former HYR direct care workers Kelton Greenard of Minden, Arthur Henderson II of Cotton Valley and Anthony Combs of Homer guilty of the above charges in relation to the 12-year-old’s death.

Throughout the trial, testimony revealed that on Sept. 13, 2005 Harris, a resident of the residential treatment facility for boys, was ordered to serve in-school suspension — a form of punishment that involves performing outdoor chores. During the morning hours Harris, along with four to five other boys, were ordered to mow grass. Afterwards, the boys were made to run a pipeline – an activity not authorized by the facility.

Testimony revealed that during the run, Harris began to experience symptoms of environmental hyperthermia — heat stroke. When Harris attempted to get water, two other residents prevented him from doing so.

Harris’ symptoms worsened throughout the day as no staff or those in supervisory positions offered the boy any assistance. The events of that day, and the lack of intervention, led to the young boy’s death.

On the day in question, Greenard and Combs were in charge of the afternoon work detail. The third defendant, Henderson, visited the work site with Supervisor Willis Doyle.

Self said testimony presented during the trial convinced him that Harris was laid in the sun on the day of his death and that the defendants took no action on the boy’s behalf.

Self ordered a pre-sentence investigation with sentencing to be held December 15; however, as the pre-sentence investigation was not complete on that date, sentencing was postponed until Jan. 26, 2008.

N0.3

Three sentenced in HYR death
MICHELLE BATES, Editor

Three men convicted of negligent homicide and cruelty to a juvenile were sentenced Monday.

Anthony Combs of Homer, Kelton Greenard of Minden and Arthur Henderson II of Cotton Valley were all sentenced to five years at hard labor on each count, all but three years suspended in the death of 12-year-old Alex Harris, a resident of Hope Youth Ranch. The sentences are to run concurrent.

The three defendants were given credit for time served. Once released from prison, they will be under active supervised probation for two years and each will pay a $1,500 fine plus court costs. These must be paid within their first year of probation.

Judge Parker Self also assigned 400 hours each of community service.

“I’ve heard no remorse and I’m going to make you put someone else above yourself,” said the judge, who handed down a guilty verdict in a trial by judge in October 2008.

All three stood before the judge with heads bowed.

On September 13, 2005, Harris was placed in in-school suspension, where he and a group of boys were taken on a disciplinary run and various work assignments. According to testimony at the trial, Harris began to lag behind the other boys and he fell to the ground. He was carried by some of the other boys, also residents at the ranch, until he vomited. A series of events followed which led to his death as a result of hyperthermia, otherwise known as heatstroke.

State Prosecutor Jack Montgomery said he felt the family was satisfied with the outcome.

“The family, I believe that they were satisfied with the sentence,” Montgomery said. “The grandfather made a victim’s statement and then he stayed because he wanted to see the three taken out of the courtroom.”

Before the sentence was handed down, the victim’s family was given an opportunity to make a statement. Charles Allen, grandfather of the victim, stood before the judge and spoke for his family – his wife Judy, and mother of the victim, Amber Harris.

“It’s impossible to put into words how this has affected my family,” he said. r would not wish this on anyone. Alex was far from perfect, otherwise he would not have been at Hope Youth Ranch, but he certainly didn’t deserve to be treated as he was. These children were in your care and you dropped the ball. You took so much from Alex – a chance to grow up and have a family of his own.”

After hearing a motion from the defense stating that the evidence presented in the pre-sentencing investigation were the same for both charges – negligent homicide and cruelty to a juvenile – Self weighed their defense. The defense alleged that these charges were double jeopardy.

Montgomery said he didn’t feel there was anything new, so the state stands by its case.

“If the sentence runs concurrent, then that will take away any motion of double jeopardy,” Montgomery said.

The judge agreed and the motion was denied.

The three defendants were given an opportunity to speak before sentencing, but all three declined.

Self said he’d spent a long time weighing the facts of the case, taking emotion and empathy out of the scenario. He said he may not make the victim’s family happy or the prosecutors happy, but he had to look at everything.

“The court takes very seriously its role in this matter. I had to look at the totality of the circumstances,” Self said. “We’re not just looking at acts, but omissions. I can’t change the events of that day, and I can’t bring Alex back.”

It was said in open court that each defendant would appeal the sentencing, and they each requested and received a $100,000 bond on each count until their appellate delays have run. According to Montgomery, the defendants are entitled to the bond after conviction at the court’s discretion. As of press time, all three defendants were incarcerated at Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center in Minden.

Once the sentence was handed down, Combs fainted in the courtroom. An ambulance was called, but it was not clear whether he was taken to a hospital.
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MINDEN -- Eight people who were indicted Monday morning by a Webster grand jury in the death of a 12-year-old boy last fall at a Christian-based nonprofit juvenile facility are free on bonds of $2,500 each posted by the shelter.

The seven employees and an ex-employee of Hope Youth Ranch, 10 miles north of Minden, turned themselves in to Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center on Monday afternoon.

Identified in separate sealed bills of indictment and charged with one count of negligent homicide are Troy Hamilton, 31, of the 1500 block of Memphis Street, Homer; Willis Doyle, 48, of the 500 block of New Friendship Road, Castor; Anthony L. Combs, 38, of the 1700 block of West California Street, Ruston; Arthur G. Henderson II, 24, of the 200 block of Greenard Road, Cotton Valley; Kelton Greenard, 26, of the 1100 block of West Street, Minden; Tasha G. Jackson, 29, of the 1000 block of Marigia Drive, Haynesville; Marcus D. Jones, 24, of the 500 block of New Friendship Road, Castor; and Jeremy Blanks, 22, of the 400 block of Hillside, Minden.

Negligent homicide carries a prison sentence of up to five years.

Bossier-Webster District Attorney Schuyler Marvin sought the indictments against the eight, whom he described as direct care workers, not teachers, because he believed they intentionally denied care to Alex Harris[HYR] during a disciplinary run in September.

An autopsy indicates Harris, of Haughton, died of dehydration and trauma to the head following a punishment run at the ranch. He reportedly was denied water during the run and was dropped on the ground when an older boy picked him up after Harris had collapsed.

Doug Pierrelee, spokesman for state police Troop G, said at one point during Harris' punishment, the eight employees locked themselves in an air-conditioned truck to keep Harris from getting inside.

Common sense and the "power of one's own conscious" should be the guide in situations where "training has failed to prepare you," Pierrelee said.

"If care of others is not your genuine motivation, then you should be responsible enough to remain unemployed," he said.

"These eight people missed the opportunity to save a 12-year-old child who was begging for his life."

The state police conducted the investigation because of a conflict of interest involving the Webster Parish sheriff's office. Sheriff's deputies routinely provide security at the site, and Chief Deputy Bobby Igo Jr. is on the governing board and serves as vice president.

Roy Martinez, the shelter's director, could not be reached at the shelter or at his residence late Monday afternoon. Earlier this month, however, Martinez said the facility's insurance company and lawyers had advised him not to discuss the case. He said Harris' death was the first at the ranch, and in a printed statement he said the staff was "heartbroken and full of grief" over Harris' death.

The nonprofit Hope Youth Ranch receives state funding because the juveniles in its care are either foster children or have been sent there by state juvenile authorities.

Marvin did not seek indictments against the ranch's corporation.