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Cough up the documents, risk being prosecuted?

Sun, Oct 28, 2012

Off The Beat

Left, Lafayette City Police Department Chief James ‘Jim’ Craft, Right, Lafayette City Prosecutor Gary Haynes

 

In August, Baton Rouge Attorneys Chris Alexander and Stephen Spring filed a writ of mandamus in the 15th Judicial on behalf of agent Kane Marceaux which is scheduled for trial tomorrow before Judge Conque.

According to the Spring and Alexander, Defense Attorney Michael Corry has requested a continuance because Lafayette Consolidated Governement’s Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley will be unavailable. The plaintiff’s attorneys have opposed the continuance likely because Dee Stanley is not named a defendant as he is not the custodian of these record. Perhaps Stanley’s presence is needed for emotional support for Haynes and Craft?!?!?!?

Basically, the legal filing seeks a Judge to order Chief James ‘Jim’ Craft with the Lafayette City Police and Lafayette City Prosecutor Gary Haynes to turn over any and all records regarding an incident involving an off duty Police officer, found armed and impaired on October 4, 2011 in the McDonald’s parking lot.

By default, it is believed most of the records the Attorneys are requesting are already considered public record, however, there seems to be an unknown reason why the Lafayette City Police Department and Lafayette City Prosecutor aren’t coughing them up.

When the incident first became public knowledge earlier this year, a series of audio recordings of the top brass including Chief James ‘Jim’ Craft and the head of internal affairs Dwayne ‘Epitome of Integrity’ Prejean (married to Lafayette Attorney Allyson M. Prejean) were released on the website Real Cops vs. Craft (which a judge ordered taken down) that give the public a firsthand glimpse of discussions behind closed doors at the Lafayette City Police Department. You can listen to the 45 minutes plus of recordings and the 911 call by visiting, ‘Cooler talk or cover up in the Lafayette City Police Department?’

In the Federal Lawsuit dubbed, Real Cops vs. Craft, it alleges that the October incident occurred after the officer remained at a local bar with three other officers consuming alcoholic beverages after 2 a.m. The suit says when the officers left the bar, one of them drove about a half-mile and passed out behind the wheel.

Shortly after the mandamus was filed The Advocate was able to obtain court records regarding the incident that seemed to be intentionally placed inside a case file regarding City Bar owner Brandon Hargrave being cited for afterhours drinking at his bar.

The report says that a Lafayette police officer who was found “in an impaired condition” and passed out behind the wheel of his car in October 2o11 was transported home at the direction of a supervisor, according to an incident report obtained by them. It’s unclear if this incident report was ever provided to Agent Marceaux or his Attorneys, however, we requested the same documents from Lafayette City Prosecutor Gary Haynes and he QUICKLY lawyered up.

According to the paper, the police report says Officer Dustin Lavergne responded to the McDonald’s on Johnston Street near the University of Louisiana at Lafayette at 5:50 a.m., where he found a “known officer of Lafayette Police Department … in an impaired condition.”

The report does not identify the officer, referring to him only as “the officer in question” however based on recordings and law enforcement sources within the Lafayette City Police Department, that officer is Cpl. Jeremy Dupuis.

On the same day of the filing, the Attorneys hand delivered a letter to District Attorney Mike Harson requesting his office to investigate the alleged cover up of this incident or turn it over to the Attorney General’s office.

The Attorneys cited where a Springfield Louisiana Mayor and Chief of Police were being prosecuted by the Attorney General’s office for allegedly trying to hide a woman’s DWI case.

In an email request to Harson on August 3rd, we asked:

Care to go on record with comments regarding the letter sent you from Attorneys Stephen Spring and Chris Alexander yesterday?

A copy of the letter can be found here,

http://www.scribd.com/doc/101937004/2-August-2012-Letter-to-Michael-Harson

A copy of Exhibit A can be found here,

http://www.scribd.com/doc/101937053/Microsoft-Word-Springfield-Mayor-and-Chief-of-Police-Indicted-Exhibit-A.

On August 8th, District Attorney Mike Harson responded back with:

“I am in the process of reviewing all the documents to decide whether there are legitimate criminal charges and, if so, which option I wish to follow.”

As suspected, we have not heard back from Harson since.

 

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