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In the rancid, distorted, bigoted world of Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions, human life begins at conception and ends at America’s southern border.

And I’m not so sure the same can’t be said of the ass clowns we refer to as our Louisiana Congressional delegation.

Another certainty is that Session’s quoting the Bible notwithstanding, neither man can lay legitimate claim to being a Christian. That right was forfeited the instant the decision was made that innocent children, some of them still breast-feeding, should be ripped from their mother’s arms and warehoused in an empty Walmart store in Brownsville, Texas.

Acquaintances have ridiculed me for previous comparisons of idiot Trump to Hitler. Those comparisons were never more valid than now. When is the last time you saw an American president:

  • Rip more than 1300 children from their families for no greater offense than seeking asylum?
  • Incorrectly cite a Bible verse as justification for doing so?
  • Express the desire to emulate China’s President Xi in becoming President for life?
  • Have his lackeys follow the example of North Korea’s Kim Jong-un’s lackeys by sitting at attention when Dear Leader speaks? (and before you try to tell me he was “just kidding,” save your breath. He wasn’t. He was dead serious.)
  • Call the media “America’s greatest enemy”? (Okay, that may not be Hitler, per se, but it’s pretty darn close to another mad man named Nixon.)

And while we’re on the subject, I wonder if anyone has bothered to check to see if these might be private prisons contracting to hold these kids—for a nice profit, of course.

Oh, and don’t even bother to invoke the names of Obama or Clinton. Obama had his flaws as any human does, but he never once pulled the stunts and uttered the nonsense Trump has and while he had some less than stellar appointments to his cabinet, not one of them was named Scott Pruitt or Mick Mulvaney or Ben Carson or Betsy Devos or Wilbur Ross (Ross is the Commerce Secretary who was head of the Bank of Cyprus, an acknowledged vehicle for massive Russian money laundering. No Russian collusion? You can do your own Google search). And Clinton is not, was not, and will never be President so don’t even try to bring her into the mix.

In other words, let’s keep the conversation about a man who:

  • Repeatedly declared bankruptcy but always came back—with other people’s money, much of it from the Deutsche Bank, another bank that plays ball with the Russians who have money to wash;
  • Has a bad habit of not paying his contractors;
  • Ran a bogus real estate college in Florida that bilked students out of millions while failing to deliver on its promises—a college that was under investigation by the Florida attorney general…until Trump made a generous contribution to her election campaign, and then the investigation was conveniently dropped;
  • A man who has no respect for women whatsoever (don’t take Stormy Daniels’ word for it; just listen to the Billy Bush tape);
  • A man who does everything in his power to discredit, insult, and humiliate his justice department, the FBI, the IRS, the media, Congress, and anyone else who dares criticize him;
  • A man who cannot, for the life of him, maintain any consistency in his positions on issues, positions which sometimes change hourly;
  • A man who steadfastly refuses to make public his income taxes (gee, what could he be afraid of?);
  • A man who uses his position to help his family and himself financially (just look at the way in which he gave the Chinese firm ZTE a big break on his tariffs just as his daughter got nine trademark approvals from the Chinese government.)

I could go on, but why bother? If you are a Trump devotee, you’re not going to change your mind if it were proven that he was a serial axe murderer. You would simply regurgitate his and Fox News’ favorite response: fake news.

So, I will just end by saying this: If you are going to run around spewing your mantra of family values—whether as a Republican candidate or as a supporter of said candidate—while looking the other way as children are torn from their families, then you, my friend, are a damned liar and a hypocrite.

That goes for John Neely Kennedy, Bill Cassidy, Garrett Graves, Clay Higgins, Steve Scalise, Mike Johnson, or Ralph Abraham.

You are lying cowards, one and all, if you can advocate family values on one hand and imprisonment of children on the other.

And you’re certainly no Christian.

 

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“You may obtain an original birth certificate or birth card at our office if you were born in Louisiana.  If not born in Louisiana, you must contact the state you were born in.  You may also obtain a death certificate if you died in Louisiana.”

—From the Assumption Parish Clerk of Court’s Web page. 

http://assumptionclerk.com/birth-certificates/

This is the story of the “Mysterious X” that catapulted Jerry Larpenter into the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office way back in April 1987.

Going into the beginning of April of that year, Charlton P. Rozands was still the sheriff, but at that particular point in time, he was:

  • Under federal indictment;
  • Dying of cancer.

Rozands and his two sons, along with Chief of Detectives Aubrey Authement and deputy Elmore Songe were all INDICTED on charges ranging from malfeasance in office, improper removal of weapons from the sheriff’s office, unauthorized and illegal personal use of weapons being held as evidence, and the disposal of weapons being held as evidence but which had been in Authement’s possession.

In fact, the sheriff’s cancer was so advanced that he was said to have been heavily medicated on morphine that he was unable to be arraigned and could not perform the simplest of tasks.

ROZANDS DIED ON APRIL 19 (from the Houma Daily Courier)

Six days before his death, on April 13, Larpenter signed the required OATH OF OFFICE oath of office as Rozands’ Chief Criminal Deputy.

On the second page of that document, in the left-hand margin, is the signature, “C.P. Rozands, Sheriff.”

Except it’s not Rozands’ signature. A comparison of that signature with a document actually signed by Rozands makes that point abundantly clear.

COMPARE SIGNATURES

Several people who were in positions to know have told LouisianaVoice that Rozands would have been physically unable to sign anything because of the advanced stages of his cancer and because he was heavily medicated with morphine. What is not clear is who actually signed his name.

In fact, at some point prior to Larpenter’s signing his oath of office, sources tell LouisianaVoice that a meeting was held to discuss a successor. Said to have been at that meeting were Rozands’ wife Mae, his two sons, and Houma attorney William F. Dodd, legal counsel for the sheriff’s office. He remains the sheriff’s legal counsel today.

The meeting was held to discuss the succession to Rozands who by this time obviously near death. At the time, 1987, state law allowed an official’s widow to assume his seat but Mrs. Rozands let it be known she wasn’t interested in the job. Nor were either of their sons.

The choices were quickly eliminated until there was only Larpenter who, when asked, said he would take the job.

The affidavit was quickly drafted, presumably by Dodd, that named Larpenter as Chief Criminal Deputy, which would make him next in line for the office of sheriff.

But to make the appointment official, Rozands was required to sign it. With him unable to affix his signature, he supposedly signed with an “X.”

But did he? One person close to the series of events said, “I don’t think Rozands would have waited until he was that sick to appoint Jerry Larpenter. They were close, but I think if Rozands had wanted Larpenter as his Chief Criminal Deputy, he would have appointed him while he was well enough to know what he was doing.”

Besides the job promotion and salary boost that came with Larpenter’s ascension into the sheriff’s chair, it also gave him the decided advantage of running as an incumbent in the next regular election only months away in October 1987.

In that election, the incumbency proved beneficial, all right. Larpenter, running against eight opponents, got a whopping 44 per cent of the vote, a full 30 points of his closest competitor, who got 14 percent. In the November runoff, he received 69 per cent of the vote to win his first of seven terms, interrupted only by his unsuccessful run for Parish President in 2007.

Each one of his elections—he was unopposed in 2015—were won by wide margins.

But the details of how he went from obscure deputy to sheriff for those few months in 1987 remain murky and clouded with questions of whether Rozands actually scrawled that “X” or it was done by someone in his name.

It’s almost as big a mystery as that entry in Larpenter’s campaign expense report. He lists an expenditure of $15,400 to an outfit named WEBCORP in Missouri for bulletproof vests for the sheriff’s department.

It’s awfully magnanimous of him to spend his own campaign funds to purchase equipment for his deputies—especially when Web Corp isn’t in the business of bulletproof vests. It’s an Internet web-building company.

The offenses are listed as misdemeanors but Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office is spending a lot of state resources pursuing the wife of a blogger who once criticized the Terrebonne Parish power structure.

And apparently, he’s not above being used by others to do their dirty work for them.

Wayne Anderson, a Houma Police officer, you may remember, had his home raided some time back by Sheriff Jerry Larpenter who seized his and his children’s computers.

Here are links to a few of the stories that appeared online then:

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20160805/04434835163/sheriff-uses-unconstitutional-law-to-raid-home-seize-electronics-belonging-to-watchdog-blogger.shtml

https://theintercept.com/2016/08/04/sheriff-raids-house-to-find-anonymous-blogger-who-called-him-corrupt/

https://reason.com/blog/2016/08/12/louisiana-sheriff-doesnt-like-critical-b

https://www.offthegridnews.com/current-events/blogger-criticizes-sheriff-so-sheriff-raids-home-and-takes-computers/

Anderson and his wife Jennifer, promptly filed suit in federal court and after the presiding judge chewed on Larpenter’s backside for a while, Larpenter decided to SETTLE with the couple for an undetermined amount but which is believed to be about $250,000. Also settling were co-defendants Parish President Gordon Dove and the parish government after a $50,000 settlement of their part of the litigation.

Lesson learned, right? Don’t mess with people’s right to freedom of speech.

Well yes and no.

Jennifer Anderson subsequently was arrested for DWI. Deputies said she had a child in the vehicle at the time but she insists there was no child in the car with her. It’s not for us to say whether or not she was drinking and driving. That should be decided in a court of law, but it should be done so properly and according to legal procedures.  Instead, what has ensued is a series of missteps on the part of prosecutors and those blunders have shown just how vindictive the local power clique can be when crossed.

District Attorney Joseph Waltz, Jr. recused himself from the DWI matter because he was prominently mentioned in Wayne Anderson’s blog Exposedat. That was the proper thing to do and the case was referred to Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office.

But when the Assistant Attorney General handling the case, one Angad Ghai, failed to appear for Anderson’s arraignment on four separate occasions, 32nd Judicial District Court Judge John Walker dismissed the case. Dismissals usually are handed down after two misses but the court gave the state every opportunity to prosecute its case in this matter. LouisianaVoice, by the way, was told Monday (June 12) that Ghai is no longer employed by the attorney general’s office.

LouisianaVoice does not condone drinking and driving and this is not a defense of Jennifer Anderson by any stretch. But when prosecutors neglect to show up in for courtroom proceedings not once, not twice, not three times, but four times, then the onus is on them.

Over and done on a technicality, right? Wrong. It’s not a technicality when prosecutors are negligent—or inept. Accordingly, Attorney General Jeff Landry should have simply tucked his tail, admitted his office’s incompetence and skulked back to Baton Rouge.

But no. Landry is an ego-driven politician, so he sent Assistant Attorney General Molly Lancaster into the fray to re-file charges on March 15 of this year—15 months after Anderson’s Jan. 20, 2017, arrest.

It was the classic example of re-filing as a means of judge-shopping and this time the AG got a different judge, Judge George Larke. We don’t know if that was an advantage to Landry or not. It really doesn’t matter.

What does matter is who initiated the new charges.

That would be the parish president, Gordon Dove, which makes no sense since he is not an attorney and, on the surface of it all, has no dog in the hunt. But that wouldn’t stop Dove.

For a little background on Dove, consider this:

  • Dove is a former legislator who not only served on the House Committee on Natural Resources and Environment but was its chairman of that committee.
  • Dove also was owner of Dual Trucking Co. which was cited by the Montana Department of Environmental Equality for dumping oilfield radioactive waste from the nearby Bakken Oilfield.

How ironic.

  • But wait. Dove also owns Vacco Marine, Inc., which was the subject of several investigations, negative reports, citations, and compliance orders by and from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) over a period of several years.

More irony.

  • And while serving on the House Natural Resources Committee and while sitting as a member of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, he joined with 12 other members of the Natural Resources Committee in passing an amendment to a Senate bill that made the prohibition against suing oil companies for damages to the state’s wetlands and marshes retroactive.

Still more irony.

For a more complete dossier on Dove, go HERE.

But now we have Gordon Dove who is so concerned about the safety and welfare of the good folks of Terrebonne Parish (if not the good folks in Montana) that he goes out of his way to pursue charges (which had already been dismissed) against a woman whose husband had the audacity to criticize the political structure of the parish, a structure that features Dove in the mix, along with others already mentioned.

And they’ve got good ol’ Jeff Landry carrying the water for them while the attorney general ignores citizen complaints about the Jennings City Council’s refusal to allow citizens to speak at its meetings without prior approval of a secret “pre-meeting” where the agenda is drawn up.

(LouisianaVoice will have more on that in the days to come. But the point is that Jeff Landry likes to cherry-pick the causes he fights for, generally opting to help political allies and ignore anyone who can’t advance his career.)

The June 11 hearing on the continuance motion for Anderson’s case was one for the books. Anderson was arraigned, she wasn’t arraigned. No one knew for sure. The court’s minute clerk’s records said the case was allotted to Division A, another official said Division B. No one knew for sure (It was finally determined the case was allotted to A).

And during all this, Anderson was somehow never served with any notice of Landry’s renewed efforts.

But never mine, Jeff Landry is happy to dance the two-step with Gordon Dove.

Isn’t it rich, isn’t it queer
Losing my timing this late in my career
But where are the clowns – send in the clowns
Don’t bother they’re here.

—Frank Sinatra: Send in the Clowns

What happens when local Politician A finds himself at odds with Politician B, who just happens to be the most powerful politician in the parish and a close ally with Politician C, who has the authority to make life miserable for Politician A?

That apparently is what happened with Politician A, the Iberia Parish clerk of court, who found himself on the outside of the political in-crowd when he had a falling out with Politician B, the local sheriff, and the sheriff’s good buddy, Politician C, the local district attorney, promptly indicted Politician A on 14 criminal counts of perjury, racketeering, malfeasance, theft of advance court costs, filing false/altered public records.

In this case, it was Iberia Parish Clerk of Court Michael Thibodeaux who was indicted by District Attorney M. Bofill Duhé’s office on Friday (June 8) on the basis of a 2016 Legislative Auditor’s INVESTIGATIVE AUDIT of the clerk’s office.

All this is not to claim either that Thibodeaux is guilty or that he’s as pure as the driven snow, but it is rather curious that Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal was never indicted by Duhé’s office for some of the transgressions he was accused of—little things like turning vicious dogs loose on defenseless prisoners or forcing prisoners to simulate oral sex with deputies’ nightsticks.

Here are a few other lowlights of the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office, as itemized in a letter to then U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch by U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond of New Orleans, none of which attracted the diligence of Duhé’s office:

  • In 2005, a former inmate alleged that deputies beat him so badly when he was booked into jail that he had to spend two weeks in a hospital.
  • In 2008, a man alleged that a deputy beat him so badly during an arrest that he coughed up blood and then a muzzle was put over his mouth. The man later settled a suit with the Sheriff’s Office for $50,000.
  • In 2009, Michael Jones, a 43-year-old man who suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, died in the jail after an altercation with then-Warden Frank Ellis and then-lieutenant Wesley Hayes. This year, a judge ruled that two Sheriff’s Office employees were responsible for Jones’ death. The judgment in the case totaled $61,000.
  • In 2009, former inmate Curtis Ozenne alleged that officers began a contraband sweep by forcing him to remain in the “Muslim praying position” for nearly three hours. Mr. Ozenne alleged he was kicked in the mouth multiple times, threatened with police dogs and then his head was shaved. In his complaint, Mr. Ozenne also alleged that Sheriff Ackal threatened him with a dog and watched as an officer struck him with a baton for smiling. Mr. Ozenne’s suit against the Sheriff’s Office was later settled for $15,000.
  • In 2009, Robert Sonnier, a 62-year-old mentally ill man, died as the result of a fatal blow delivered by an IPSO Deputy in the course of a physical altercation. After Mr. Sonnier was unable to receive a psychological evaluation authorized by his wife, he was left in a wheelchair to stew in his own waste for several hours. He eventually became agitated which led to altercations with Deputies that resulted in Sonnier being pepper sprayed twice and eventually leading to the fatal blow.
  • In 2012, Marcus Robicheaux, an inmate at Iberia Parish Jail, was pulled from a wall and thrown to the ground as IPSO correctional officers ran a contraband sweep. A deputy’s dog then attacked Mr. Robicheaux, biting his legs, arms and torso, as the deputy stomped and kicked the prone inmate. The whole three-minute incident was captured on video from the jail’s surveillance cameras.
  • In 2014, Victor White III died as the result of a fatal gunshot wound while handcuffed in the backseat of an IPSO car. The sheriff’s deputies who arrested Mr. Victor (sic) alleged that he wouldn’t leave the car and became “uncooperative.” They say he pulled out a handgun, while his hands were cuffed behind his back, and shot himself in the back. However, the full coroner’s report indicated that Mr. White had died from a single shot to his right chest, contradicting the initial police statement that he had shot himself in the back.

But Duhé was right there when Ackal needed him to help shut up a New Iberia black man who initiated a recall petition after the Victor White shooting.

On July 8, 2016, Broussard was rear-ended by a hit-and-run driver In Lafayette Parish who minutes later collided head-on with an 18-wheeler and was killed in adjacent Iberia Parish.

Yet it was Broussard who was indicted on a charge of manslaughter by an Iberia Parish grand jury on March 19, 2017, just nine days before the seven deputies were sentenced.

So just how did Broussard find himself in Ackal’s crosshairs? On July 1, a week before the auto accident, Broussard committed the unpardonable sin when he became the impetus behind a recall of Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal.

Broussard, an African-American, was one of the organizers of The Justice for Victor White III Foundation which filed a petition on July 1 to force a recall election. White was the 22-year-old who died of a gunshot wound while in the back seat of a sheriff deputy’s patrol car in March 2014. The official report said the gunshot was self-inflicted. The coroner’s report said he was shot in the front with the bullet entering his right chest and exiting under his left armpit. White’s hands were cuffed behind his back at the time.

Ackal, of course, skated on that issue and was later indicted, tried and acquitted on federal charges involving beating prisoners and turning dogs loose on prisoners, as well. But when you’ve got retired federal judge and family member Fred Haik helping with the defense, you tend to land on your feet.

It was into that hostile territory that DONALD BROUSSARD unwisely ventured with his recall effort.

A story in the March 19, 2017, Daily Iberian read, “A New Iberia man who was instrumental in the drive to recall Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal last year has been indicted for manslaughter in the aftermath of an alleged road rage incident that left a Bossier City man deal in July.”

Here’s the chronology of events:

Moments before the fatal crash, Rakeem Blakes, 24, rear-ended a Cadillac driven by Broussard at the corner of Ambassador Caffery Parkway and U.S. 90 in Lafayette Parish. Broussard said he followed Blakes when Blakes fled the scene after Broussard had approached his car but denied that he chased Blakes. “The guy hit me,” Broussard said. “I got within 20 feet of him so I could get his license plate number. I gave it (the license number) to the (911) dispatcher and they told me to fall back, so I fell back.” Broussard said reports that he had a gun were ridiculous. “I don’t even own a gun, he said. “I told the State Police they could search my car. They just handed me my license and let me go on my way.”

Broussard said Blakes was driving erratically, causing a hazard for other drivers.

Iberia Parish District Attorney Bo Duhé said the case involving Broussard was turned over to his office for review in November following completion of the LSP investigation. In what has to be one of the most convoluted reviews of the investigation, Assistant District Attorney Janet Perrodin presented the case and the grand jury last Friday returned a true bill indicting Broussard for manslaughter and “aggravated obstruction of a highway,” which led to Blakes’ death.

Unexplained in this bizarre episode was how Broussard created an “aggravated obstruction” when it was Blakes who rear-ended him and subsequently fled the scene. Duhé, in some fancy verbal footwork, said state law allows a manslaughter charge to be brought when an offender “is engaged in the perpetration of any intentional misdemeanor directly affecting the person. Aggravated obstruction of a highway is the performance of any act on a highway where human life may be endangered,” he said.

By those definitions, virtually anyone could be arrested, jailed, tried and convicted at just about any time. That, of course, is not likely. This was a scenario tailored just for Broussard who had the temerity to take on a powerful sheriff whose proclivity to extract revenge against those who would dare stand up to his authority was already well-established.

Broussard, for his part, vowed to fight the “malicious and unwarranted” prosecution. “I welcome their witch-hunt. The truth will come out at trial. They like to keep niggers in their place in Iberia Parish because most of the time, that’s what they’re used to dealing with. But they’re dealing with an educated black man who has never been, nor will I ever be, scared to speak truth to power—especially in instances when those in power abuse that power. They picked the wrong one to go to war with.”

With no real case, Duhé’s office eventually dropped the charges against Broussard but the entire affair is illustrative of how the local powers that be can come together to make another’s life a living hell.

In light of all those cases, it’s rather easy to see that Duhé and Ackal run a pretty tight parish and woe unto anyone, even someone else in the courthouse crowd, who crosses them.

Among other things, the state audit said that from May 2013 to May 2016, the clerk’s office “improperly retained $314,495 in unused advance court costs that state law required to be refunded to the persons who originally deposited those monies. Of this amount, the Clerk of Court transferred $218,021 from the advance deposit bank account (advance deposit fund) to the Clerk of Court’s salary fund bank account (salary fund) to pay Clerk of Court salaries and other expenses. The remaining $96,924 represents monies currently in the Clerk of Court’s advance deposit fund that should be returned to the persons who made the original deposits.”

The misuse, misapplication, mismanagement and/or the misappropriation of more than $300,000 is a serious offense, one which should never be taken lightly and the DA’s office took the appropriate action in pursuing its own legal investigation once the audit came to light.

And certainly, no charges should ever have been brought against Donald Broussard. But they were, because apparently Ackal wanted him charged and Duhé was only too happy to oblige.

But the question must be asked: where was the DA’s office when prisoners were being abused and killed while in custody of Duhé’s friend, Sheriff Louis Ackal?

Apparently justice is blind only when it benefits the good ol’ boy network.