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

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 ( 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


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.”

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