Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

That’s right folks.

Almost two years after being asked to investigate the rape of a 17-year-old girl in the Union Parish jail by a man already convicted of aggravated rape and awaiting sentencing, Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office finally took its case before a Union Parish grand jury.

And guess what?

The grand jury, after reviewing all the evidence provided by Landry’s office, declined to indict Demarcus Shavez Peyton of Homer.

Te refresh you memory, Peyton was awaiting sentencing after being convicted of aggravated rape in a separate case in nearby Claiborne Parish. He was allowed to leave his jail cell and to enter the cell of the 17-year-old, who was being detained after being picked up on meth charges. Peyton was said to have raped the girl not once, but twice

Because the Union Parish Detention Center is run by a commission comprised of the sheriff, the district attorney and several area mayors, the district attorney, rightly claiming a conflict of interest, asked Landry to investigate the matter.

So Landry’s office was handed an investigation of:

  • A rape that occurred at a time, date and location known to investigators;
  • Allegedly committed by a person known to investigators;
  • Committed against a victim also known to investigators.

Yet, the attorney general somehow was unable to build a case against Peyton despite the presence of a witness who said he also was allowed into the victim’s cell with the intent of sexually assaulting her but departed without doing so.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see how the civil suit filed by the victim plays out. While criminal convictions call for proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt, a civil suit need only show a preponderance of the evidence. An illustration of that is the exoneration of O.J. Simpson on the criminal charges of murdering his wife and Ron Goldman but Goldman’s parents then sued Simpson in civil court and won.

Meanwhile, several questions immediately come to mind regarding the AG’s investigation and the presentation of evidence to the grand jury:

  • Was a rape kit was used by investigators?
  • Was the rape victim interviewed?
  • Was the witness interviewed? Apparently he was, since he admitted that he initially intended to participate.
  • Were DNA samples collected?

We probably will never know the answers to these questions because contrary to Landry’s penchant for issuing glowing press releases to trumpet his wonderful work on behalf of law and order and the American way, his press office was strangely mute on this matter. No press releases this time, thank you very much.

Oh, there was one email response to the Farmerville newspaper editor’s inquiry from Landry’s press secretary that said, “…at a hearing on March 15, members of a grand jury in the 3rd Judicial District were given an opportunity to review all the evidence we had in this matter. After our presentation, the grand jury determined that no formal charges should be filed. While we must respect the grand jury’s decision, it is important to note that our office stands ready to act should new credible evidence arise.”

Well, that’s certainly reassuring.

No effort was made to so inform LouisianaVoice  which, for 18 months, has dogged Landry’s office for updates on the investigation. We were always told that the investigation was ongoing and that no details could be released.

Of course, when details could be released, the attorney general’s office was strangely quiet. But then, we never really expected Landry to go out of his way to keep us in the loop.

But now that the investigation is over and the matter is closed, there’s no reason for Landry’s office to continue to withhold details of his office’s investigation. Accordingly, LouisianaVoice will be making an official public records request for the AG’s file on the investigation.

And now we can turn our attention to another “ongoing investigation” by Landry’s office—one that a lot of people in Baton Rouge will be watching and one which has a much higher profile.

More than 10 months ago Landry’s office was asked to investigate the shooting of a Baton Rouge black man, Alton Sterling, by Baton Rouge police. Landry appears to be dragging his heels on that probe as well and there is growing pressure from the black community to announce his findings. Their voices are considerably louder than that of a young girl raped in a lonely north Louisiana jail cell.

If that Union Parish “investigation” is any indication….




Read Full Post »

…And we thought that Attorney General Jeff Landry was a horn-tooting self-promoter, who loved to tout his prosecutorial “accomplishments” while conveniently ignoring more blatant wrongdoing.

Turns out Landry should be watching State Inspector General Stephen B. Street and taking notes on how to fool all the people all the time—or at least make a pretty decent effort at doing so.

Street has just released his 29-page 2017 ANNUAL REPORT and network television must already be poring over it as the possible basis for a weekly series on crime fighting. Or maybe a sitcom. Either way, with all the tax breaks for movie and television production being given away by the state, the show is certain to be profitable while making Street a star in the process.

Eleven photographs are included in the annual report and Street’s smiling face is included in every single one. Here’s what one observer said of the photos: “…only one other staff member, an investigator, gets in one. Boy he must have done something really special to merit being the single staff member to be picked to be in a picture with the boss in the annual report. I am sure this did wonders for office morale.

“Street couldn’t even see the way clear to have a group picture of the whole staff in what only can be considered his annual report? I guess he couldn’t get the, as described very limited, 14 staff members in the same room to have one taken (probably has a shortage of meeting space also).”

Street, who undoubtedly wears a large red “S” on his chest, chronicles how his office beat back efforts by legislators in 2012 and 2016 to shut his office down for ineffectiveness—although his office, like most other agencies, has endured appropriations cutbacks.

Of those efforts to shut him down, Street, somewhat smugly philosophizes: “The 2016 OIG funding fight in Louisiana was simply the latest reminder of what comes with the territory in the Inspector General business. If you do the job aggressively – and we have — folks will come after you. It’s absolutely guaranteed. It was also a great reminder that the public is overwhelmingly supportive of Inspectors General, and we should never forget this.”

So, let’s review just how he has done his job “aggressively” to see who it prompted to “come after” him.

Street’s office, in response to a November 2016 public records request from LouisianaVoice, provided a list of FUNDS RECOVERED totaling more than $5.3 million since July 1, 2013, for which he claimed credit. No one on that list who might “come after” street—just low-hanging fruit. Easy pickings don’t often “go after” anyone.

Of course, the recovery of funds is quite different from orders of restitution, which was what each of these cases was. An order of restitution means little if there are no funds to be recovered.

“We have no information regarding amounts collected by those office and we receive none of the funds,” said OIG General Counsel Joseph Lotwick in a letter to LouisianaVoice.

In the case of Deborah Loper, for example, most of the million dollars ordered repaid had long since disappeared into slot machines at area casinos so any real chance of restitution is, for all intents and purposes, non-existent. Still, Street listed that as a recovery of funds.

The LouisianaVoice request was made pursuant to Street’s claim for an accounting of public funds recovery stemming from OIG investigations.

Moreover, what Street’s office did not say, the difficulty of actually collecting notwithstanding, is that the OIG’s role in many of the above investigations was secondary to the U.S. Attorney’s role and restitution payments, if any, are made through either U.S. Probation or, in the case of the state’s being the lead prosecutor, to Louisiana Probation and Parole.

Nor did Street happen to mention the investigations by his office that either blew up in his face or simply did not occur. Even though most, if not all, actually occurred prior to 2017, they’re still worth mentioning:

  • The Murphy Painter fiasco, orchestrated by Bobby Jindal and Steve Waguespack, which resulted in the federal criminal trial of Painter who was cleared of all charges and the state had to pony up his legal fees of $474,000;
  • The illegal raid on the home and offices of Corey DelaHoussaye under the mistaken assumption (Street’s an attorney: attorneys should never “assume”) that DelaHoussaye was contracted to the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) when in fact, he was contracted to the Livingston Parish Council where he had no jurisdiction (embarrassing). DelaHoussaye was subsequently exonerated of all charges.
  • Likewise, it was Street’s office that investigated and found no wrongdoing in the case of two assistant district attorneys in CADDO PARISHwho applied for a grant to obtain eight automatic M-16 rifles from the Department of Defense’s Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO). The two claimed on their application that they, as part of a Special Investigations Section (SIS), “routinely participate in high-risk surveillance and arrests (sic) activities with the Shreveport Police and Caddo Sheriff.” Persons interviewed from both agencies, however, refuted the claim that SIS employees took part in such operations.
  • Street also failed to follow through on an investigation into widespread abuses by the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry. The board, with the aid of its investigator who employed questionable methods, was imposing excessively high fines against dentists for relative minor infractions and even bankrupted one dentist who blew the whistle on faulty jaw implants developed by a dentist at the LSU School of Dentistry.
  • Retired State Trooper Leon “Bucky” Millet said he filed a formal complaint on February 19 with Street’s office against the four State Troopers who drove the state vehicle to San Diego last October but never received an acknowledgement from Street. “I know he received because I sent the complaint by certified return receipt mail,” Millet said. Of course, it turned out that what Street’s office could not or would not do, the Baton Rouge Advocate’s Jim Mustian, New Orleans TV investigative reporter Lee Zurik and LouisianaVoice did—and we know the outcome of that.
  • Street said there was nothing to investigate when a gravity drainage district in Calcasieu Parish refused to pay contractor Billy Broussard a million dollars for work he did in dredging canals after hurricanes in 2005 and 2006. Broussard performed the work he was asked to do and the district refused to pay him, yet Street said there was nothing to investigate.
  • And he’s done nothing toward investigating possible human trafficking in the baby adoption racket in Louisiana, despite the persistent efforts of Craig Mills to get both Street and Landry involved in the investigation.

Of course, in listing the successful prosecutions (again, low-hanging fruit—people who are a lock not to “go after” him), Street is careful to see to it that his office is cited in all 10 reports—even if he had to insert the recognition himself, which he does in eight of the cases. Five of the reports were actually press releases from the U.S. Attorney’s office but Street piggy-backed them in his annual report.

But perhaps the best indicator of the effectiveness of Street’s office turns up in the report on 2017 travel expenses for his office.

That report shows that the office spent only $57.13 for in-state travel to conferences and just $509.11 on instate field travel (investigations).

But the office spent $2,564.46 on out-of-state travel to conventions and conferences.

Of 376 complaints received in 2017, OIG opened 60 investigations. The 2016 numbers showed 42 investigations opened on 401 complaints.


Read Full Post »



Read Full Post »

Perhaps I’m a prime candidate for self-flagellation but I would rather stand by what I believe in the face of ridicule and scorn—even from those I once considered friends—than surrender my self-respect for the sake of being liked by those who would turn on you in a heartbeat.

And I know no one would ever mistake me for Tom Petty but as he said in that great song, I won’t back down.

So go ahead, pile on the criticism and outrage at what I’m about to say but know this: If and when that awful day comes when some deranged individual bursts into a school, armed with an AR-15 somewhere in Louisiana, you’d better pray to God he doesn’t gun down your child or grandchild.

And make no mistake, it can happen here.

You might want to remember that, Sen. Bill Cassidy ($2.8 million), Sen. John Kennedy ($9,900) Rep. Garrett Graves ($6,000), Rep. Clay Higgins ($3,500), Rep. James Johnson ($1,000) or Rep. Ralph Abraham ($1,000), and—of all people—Rep. Steve Scalise ($23,850) before you accept any future campaign contributions from the NRA.

A further breakdown of contributions for just the 2016 election cycle can be viewed HERE. Rep. Charles Boustany, Kennedy, and Scalise each received $4,950 from the most powerful lobby in the universe.

Here is a partial listing of some of the recipients of the more generous NRA direct and indirect contributions These include contributions in support of these candidates and contributions in opposition to their challengers. They may cover several election cycles:

As for the latest slaughter, this one in Parkland, Florida (where, incidentally, a Denham Springs resident had two grandchildren enrolled—fortunately, they were unhurt), we can count on our members of Congress who, lacking the backbone to stand up to the NRA, will utter these same two worn-out clichés:

“Our thoughts and prayers (shortened to TAP) are with the families of the victims.”

“Now is not the time” to talk about legislation to curtail access to automatic weapons.

And, of course, mouthpieces for the NRA will continue to spew the garbage that the best deterrent against bad people with guns is good people with guns. Just what we need, a shootout between teachers with a pistol and a maniac with an AR-15—with school kids caught in the crossfire. Brilliant strategy.

The chorus of protest certain to arise from this post will consist of criticism of any advocacy of additional laws to control ready access to automatic weapons. That, I will admit, is a valid criticism: Those laws should have been enacted long ago but for the collective cowardice of Congress.

Some will say there are already laws on the books if we would just enforce them but there are gaping loopholes LOOPHOLES in the law that addresses access to automatic weapons like the AR-15, which seems to be the COMMON DENOMINATOR in these mass shootings. In fact, there is a package of BILLS—backed by the NRA—that would actually make it easier to purchase silencers like the one used in the Las Vegas attack that killed 59 people. Here’s another link to the AR-15 popularity.

The only people with real courage in this oft-repeated scenario are the ones like the teacher at Sandy Hook or the COACH at Parkland yesterday who shielded students from their attackers and took a fatal bullet in the process. Or the teacher at Parkland who had the presence of mind to herd 19 students into a CLOSET during the rampage.

Those are the heroes. Too bad we can look in vain for any member of Congress who would do as much. They would rather offer TAP and continue to take NRA money.

Sen. MARCO RUBIO ($4,950), Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart ($27,450), Gus Billrakis ($16,450), Vernon Buchanan ($15,450), Bill Posey ($13,500), Dennis Ross ($11,000), Charles Crist Jr. ($9,900), Daniel Webster ($7,950), Carlos Curbelo ($7,450), Brian Mast ($4,950), Theodore Yoho ($4,000), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen ($2,000), Tom Rooney and Neal Dunn ($2,000 each), and Alcee Hastings, Matt Gaetz, and John Rutherford ($1,000 each) may also wish to justify their NRA contributions to their Florida constituents.

Full disclosure: I own a .22 rifle and a .38 revolver. Does that make me a hypocrite? Perhaps. But I do not own an AR-15 nor are either of my guns equipped with a silencer. I’m not a hunter but if I were, I fail to see why I need an automatic weapon to bring down Bambi. If I’m not good enough to do it in one or two shots, maybe it’s time to take my checkerboard to the park and hobnob with some other equally inept old geezer. And why would I need a bump stock to go squirrel hunting anyway?

Moreover, while I readily acknowledge the rights of non-felon mentally sane Americans under the Second Amendment, there’s this thought, for what it’s worth:

The universal expression in invoking the Second Amendment is the protection it gives us in preventing the “guvmint” from swooping in and confiscating all our weapons.

Well, to those folks, I say you might want to take a look around you.

Local police departments—even college and university police departments—are stocking up with heavy-duty MILITARY ARMAMENTS even as I write this. These are weapons designed for massive destructive force. Lethal would be a good word to describe them.

Why would a small-town police department need an armored urban assault vehicle? Why would it need a military helicopter?

And if the “guvmint” ever decided to swoop in and confiscate your weapons, what effect might your deer rifle have in preventing that? Against those kinds of weapons, even an AR-15 would be the equivalent of a bb gun against a grizzly bear.

So, go ahead. Take your best shot. I stand by my outrage at the silence and inaction of our political leaders in the face of such obviously escalating CARNAGE.

I don’t profess to have the answers. But I do know this: TAP and saying now isn’t the time ain’t the solution; it’s a weak-kneed cop-out. TAP aren’t going to stop a bullet and now most certainly IS the time to talk about it.


Read Full Post »

When it comes to sucking up to Donald Trump, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has no peer.

In Jeff Landry’s very limited world view, the Trumpster can do no wrong—just as (in Landry’s opinion) Gov. John Bel Edwards can do nothing right.

Never mind that at least 18 women have come forward to say that Frump molested or attempted to molest them in some fashion over the years.

He’s Jeff’s boy.

Never mind that candidate Grump was heard plainly boasting to Billy Bush about how he loves to grab women.

He’s Jeff’s boy.

Never mind that Thumper openly bragged about bursting into the dressing room of Miss USA candidates, grabbing and pawing the terrified contestants.

He’s Jeff’s boy.

Never mind that Trump approved, before actually reading it, the release of that Nunes memo that was supposed to be a bombshell that would completely discredit the Mueller investigation—but who now refuses to approve the release of the Democrats’ memo rebutting the Nunes memo.

He’s Jeff’s boy.

Never mind that Trump pointed out that Rob Porter, ousted from his White House job after two ex-wives claimed he physically abused them, had never received “due process,” said lament coming just over a year after he chanted on the campaign trail of Hillary Clinton: “Lock her up!”

Not that there’s any lost sympathy for Hillary here, but didn’t she deserve “due process” just as much as Porter?

But never mind, Trump’s Jeff’s boy.

And that’s from the supposed top legal authority in state government.

Now, that’s truly sad for a guy who can’t seem to close out investigations of felony theft in the Desoto Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Alton Sterling shooting, or, after nearly two years, the rape of a 17-year-old girl by an already-convicted rapist in a Union Parish jail cell.

Here are a few examples of Jeff Landry press releases, issued courtesy of Louisiana taxpayer dollars:


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Majority Whip Congressman Steve Scalise Returns to Congress; Attorney General Jeff Landry Elated

BATON ROUGE, LA – Attorney General Jeff Landry today enthusiastically recognized the return of Majority Whip Steve Scalise to the U.S. House Floor:

“It is truly a miracle to see Majority Whip, and my good friend, Steve Scalise return to the House Floor today. Witnessing his triumphant return took us all back to that emotional and terrifying morning in June when he was shot while practicing for the annual Congressional baseball game, an event Steve cherished. As he said this morning in his address, the Capitol Police officers who rushed to his aid that day were heroes – saving his life and undoubtedly the lives of many others. The Capitol Police work tirelessly to keep all members of Congress safe and as a former Congressman, I am grateful for their service. Steve’s message of faith presented on the House Floor today is important for all Americans regardless of religion, political party, or background. Steve’s will to live, his strong faith in God, the selflessness of the Capitol Police, and the prayers of people across the world carried him through. I look forward to following Steve as he continues to be a ferocious leader for Louisiana and our country.”



Thursday, September 28, 2017

BATON ROUGE, LA – Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry applauded the White House’s announcement of Louisiana natives Kyle Duncan and Eastern District Chief Judge Kurt Engelhardt to the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

The AG’s full statement may be found below:

“Kyle is an exceptional constitutional lawyer and will make an excellent appellate judge. Kyle has vast experience in complex constitutional cases, both civil and criminal. In every case, he demonstrates that is a consummate professional. He and his wife Martha have deep roots in Louisiana, and we are glad he will be bringing his family and intellect back home.

Chief Judge Kurt Engelhardt is also a great choice. Judge Engelhardt has been serving on the federal bench in Louisiana since 2001 and has time and again demonstrated his commitment to the highest principles of judicial ethics and service. We have been lucky to have him on the district court bench here for the last 16 years and are happy to share his intellect and sound judicial instincts with the rest of the Fifth Circuit.



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Clean Power Plan Repealed, AG Jeff Landry Praises Decision by Trump Administration

BATON ROUGE, LA – Attorney General Jeff Landry is praising EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision today to repeal the Clean Power Plan, an Obama overreach that would have devastated Louisiana’s power plants and energy consumers.

“On behalf of Louisiana workers, job creators, and consumers – I commend Administrator Pruitt and the Trump Administration for repealing this unconstitutional, job-killing regulation,” said General Landry. “The so-called Clean Power Plan was always a political attempt to force states into green energy submission.”

“Since taking office – I have challenged the legality of the Clean Power Plan, worked with fellow attorneys general to get a stay in federal court on the mandate, and pushed for today’s repeal,” continued General Landry. “The Trump Administration has acknowledged the Clean Power Plan was an unprecedented Washington power grab not only from the states but also from other federal regulatory agencies. It would have cost tens of billions to implement, jeopardized Louisiana’s six coal-powered plants, and devastated the pocketbooks of our State’s seniors and working families who rely upon low-cost energy.”

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

BATON ROUGE, LA – Attorney General Jeff Landry applauded President Trump’s nomination of Louisiana Department of Justice (LADOJ) Criminal Director Brandon Fremin as U.S. Attorney for the Middle District.

“President Trump’s nomination of Brandon Fremin is a grand slam homerun. Brandon has truly lived a life of public service, both as a Marine and a prosecutor,” said General Landry. “Brandon has been a tremendous asset to our office; and I am confident that he will lead the U.S. Attorney’s Office in a fair, ethical, and honest way.”

In January 2016, Fremin was hired to serve the Criminal Director for General Landry’s office where he oversees several sections including: general prosecutions, insurance fraud, and the award-winning Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Under his watch, over 15 public officials have been arrested for public corruption charges – many of whom are currently being prosecuted by the LADOJ.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Federal Marijuana Enforcement Policy Praised by AG Jeff Landry

BATON ROUGE, LA – Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry issued the following statement in support of today’s decision by United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions to rescind the Cole Memo:

“I applaud Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his decision to promote the rule of law and rescind the Cole Memo. This issue affects banking, interstate commerce, public safety, and many other areas that are best addressed by Congress not by Executive fiat. Fortunately, the Trump Administration has worked tirelessly to reverse the ill practices of the previous administration. This issue should be settled by our lawmakers, not our law enforcers. Choosing to not enforce duly enacted laws is a dangerous precedent. Whether the law concerns the legality of marijuana or immigration, non-enforcement by the Department mandated to execute the laws is bad policy.”


Wonderful. We now have the Louisiana attorney general and the U.S. attorney general working to keep our prisons overcrowded with non-violent offenders.


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Louisiana AG Jeff Landry Praises President Donald Trump’s State of the Union

BATON ROUGE, LA – Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry praised President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, especially the parts about two issues of great concern to General Landry: the opioid crisis and illegal immigration.

The opioid crisis is a critical public safety issue that General Landry has spent much time fighting, as it has affected his ability to keep communities safe.

“As the Attorney General of a state most impacted by the opioid crisis, I applaud President Trump for his efforts to end this epidemic,” said General Landry. “President Trump’s support not only helps families struggling with addiction; but also those of us working to reduce opioid misuse, abuse, and overdose.”

Another American public safety issue that General Landry has railed against is illegal immigration. General Landry has repeatedly called for an end to sanctuary cities, most recently when he led an 11-state coalition in a legal brief supporting President Trump’s executive order that prohibits sanctuary cities from receiving grant dollars from specific federal programs.

“As a state chief legal officer tasked with enforcing the law and protecting citizens, I salute President Trump for his commitment to border security,” added General Landry. “President Trump’s efforts to end sanctuary cities will help law enforcement throughout our Nation make our communities safer.”

General Landry, the President-Elect of the National Association of Attorneys General, looks forward to continue working with the Trump Administration on these issues and others of importance to the people of Louisiana.


You probably noticed that Landry manages to make himself the story in virtually every press release coming out of his office. Even when he is voicing support or praise for some program or individual, he somehow manages to begin nearly every release with “Attorney General Jeff Landry…” and oftentimes even manages to sneak his name into a headline for the release.

Well, Jeff, old boy, what we’d really like to see instead of you spending your time trying to score brownie points with Trump and Sessions who, in all likelihood, don’t even know who you are, we’d love to see this headline on one of your press releases:

“Attorney General’s Office releases results of Union Parish jail rape investigation.”

After all, it’s been nearly two years and dozens upon dozens of self-aggrandizing press releases extolling the virtues of one Jeff Landry.

But we won’t hold our breath.


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »