What do you do when you just keep getting into trouble whenever you get behind the wheel of an automobile?
How is that when you rack up multiple DWIs (at least three), tickets for speeding, illegal passing, driving under suspension, possession of narcotics, reckless driving, passing a stopped school bus unloading kids, no insurance, no seat belt, following too close—and then fail to even appear in court and you are sentenced to not a day in jail because friendly district attorneys quietly make the charges go away?
How is it that you even manage to have a cooperative district attorney submit court records showing you have completed a pre-trial intervention (PTI) program in record time—a program intended solely for first-offenders—so you avoid jail time?
How is it that even the charge of no insurance goes away with the “presentation of proof of insurance” showing that coverage started, conveniently, the day before the ticket was issued—and even though the insurance is in someone else’s name, it’s accepted with no questions asked by the court?
And most puzzling of all, how is it that your court date for your latest DWI was changed from Wednesday, the usual day for the court to hear DWIs when Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) normally monitors the court proceedings, to Monday, December 5—with no notification given to MADD?
Could it be because your grandfather (Marvin Henderson, in whose name the supposed “proof of insurance” was issued) has, over the years, greased the palms of Louisiana politicians, including a former “reform” governor, a state treasurer, a parish president and a state senator currently running for mayor-president of Baton Rouge to the tune of more than $50,000 over the years?
Perhaps it’s just that Cody Bowlin of Livingston is just lucky to have found the district attorneys and judges in St. Landry and Livingston parishes in exceptionally good moods.
More likely, however, it’s Paw-paw.
LouisianaVoice has long held to the position that too many politicians with no souls, no moral compasses and with (they seem to believe) no responsibility to adhere to any code of conduct or ethical values facilitate bad behavior by the politically connected.
Cody Bowlin, 26, a self-employed auctioneer, appears to be connected via his grandfather, Marvin Henderson of Livingston, founder of Henderson Brothers Auctioneers who has contributed more than $50,000 to various political candidates since 2003.
Henderson has experienced legal problems of his own which will be discussed in more detail in a subsequent post. But for now, let’s look at Cody Bowlin.
His citations, in chronological order, include:
- March 18, 2008—Possession of marijuana;
- Nov. 21, 2008—Speeding, limitations on passing on the left;
- Sept. 24, 2009—Following too closely, driving under suspension (amended to improper parking);
- May 3, 2011—Shoplifting;
- Dec. 13, 2011—No seat belt;
- May 31, 2012—Speeding;
- Nov, 27, 2012—Careless operation, driving left of center, operating a vehicle while intoxicated with controlled dangerous substance;
- June 2, 2015—Improper overtaking and passing a stopped school bus;
- Oct. 27, 2015—Possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana or synthetic contraband;
- Nov. 17, 2015—Careless operation of a motor vehicle, driving while intoxicated—controlled substance, second offense; operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages, second offense;
- June 11, 2016—Possession of marijuana, possession of a schedule 3 drug, improper passing, no insurance (all charges dismissed after proof of insurance mailed in showing the insured to be not Bowlin, but his grandfather, Marvin Henderson—insurance coverage that was issued June 10, the day before Bowlin’s arrest and which did not list Bowlin as covered as a driver);
- June 23, 2016—Speeding;
- Sept. 21, 2016—Possession of drug paraphernalia.
In at least three cases, Bowlin failed to appear for arraignment and bench warrants were issued for him.
Some with less pull might find himself subject to Louisiana’s three strike law that imposes harsher penalties to multiple offenders.
Bowlin also picked up a DWI in Mississippi several years ago. In that case, he completed a 90-day pre-trial intervention (PTI) program for first offenders, court records from that state indicate.
He later completed another PTI and charges were dropped. PTI programs are intended only for first offenders.
But it is his arrest in St. Landry back in June and the November 17, 2015, DWI arrest that raise eyebrows.
In the St. Landry case, papers submitted to the court by District Attorney Earl Taylor’s office certified that he had completed yet another PTI program in an astonishing nine days (PTIs normally require several weeks to complete, in some cases, months) and charges were dismissed. (Perhaps he was enrolled in the accelerated class, given his experience in the program.)
But it is that Nov. 17, 2015, that warrants special attention.
That’s because in Livingston Parish, where this arrest occurred, DWI cases are always held on Wednesdays. Always, except for Bowlin’s case, that is.
You see, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) monitors DWI cases and always shows up to track DWI trials.
But Bowlin was flying under MADD’s radar.
That’s because the case has been scheduled for next Monday, December 5, LouisianaVoice has learned, and MADD is mad.
There was no explanation of why Bowlin’s case was moved from Wednesday to Monday.
Perrilloux has already dropped charges against Bowlin in two other cases, the ones on June 2, 2015, and October 27, 2015. He probably planned to do the same next Monday but with MADD sitting in the courtroom, perhaps he should reconsider.
But now that MADD has been alerted, they will be there, the best (or worst) intentions of District Attorney Scott Perrilloux notwithstanding.