Category: The Inquisitor

WANTED: Open Government – Sunshine Forum

by Marion Marks

Wanted OPEN Government by Order of the CitizensSeldom do the stars cross at precisely the time we need them in education and “real life.” An educational – Governmental forum, Wednesday, March 19th just happens to be a “Predestined” coincidence.

Shreve Memorial Library is sponsoring at Cohab, in downtown Shreveport a discussion panel dealing with transparency in government, experiences dealing with public records, and the reality of open government in Louisiana. The program is scheduled from 7:00-8:30 followed by question-and-answer with the audience. Panelists scheduled to appear are Elliott Stoneciper (Evets Management Services, Inc.), Tom Arceneaux (attorney with Blanchard, Walker, O’Quin & Roberts), Alison Bath (The Shreveport Times), Danny Lawler (The Inquisitor) and Jeff Everson (City of Shreveport-City Council).

CoHab-SunshineWeek-March 19_TextCurrent public records requests with the City Council, Mayor and Parish Commission will certainly be part of the topic of discussion. In light of the struggle to control the leadership of the Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) and documents that have been sent to us, a PRR (Public Records Request) was submitted to determine what other improper or potentially illegal email will be forthcoming from the two bodies and the mayor.

I am NOT an attorney, but the attorneys who we have engaged to assist with this utilizing the Public Records Act of Louisiana (R.S. 44:1 et seq.), told us to respectfully request the following information. And our request was as specific and narrow as possible so as to not give a chance to come back with a “too broad” response from the city or parish attorneys.

bullseye_darts
Bulls eye!

The specific information requested is “Bulls eye”clear. We asked for: documents, emails, texts, faxes, appointment calendars & logs containing reference Read more

Judge Sheva Sims Under Investigation

Shreveport Attorney John Settle
by John Settle

By Judiciary Commission

The Louisiana Judiciary Commission has opened an investigation into Shreveport City Judge Sheva M. Sims, taking depositions in Shreveport this week. At least four assistant clerks from the Shreveport City Clerk’s office received subpoena from Lantz Savage, Assistant Special Counsel of the Judiciary Commission to appear for sworn statements under oath. Additionally at least one member (or former member) of the Shreveport City Marshal’s office has also been questioned about Judge Sims.

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Sims was elected as Shreveport City Judge in 2011, winning a close election against Shanté Wells. Sim’s has previously conducted unsuccessful races for the Shreveport City Council. Her term is up for re-election in the fall of 2015, and she is expected to draw at least one formidable opposition candidate.

Sims had a checkered legal career before her election to a judgeship. As a practicing attorney, she was notorious for Read more

The Real Meaning of “To Serve and Protect”

Law enforcement senior officers live in fear that “Dirty Little Secrets,” well hidden and protected through bribery, blackmail, secret payments, back room deals and political corruption will protect them and their networks from the same fate Frank Serpico inflicted on the New York City Police Department.image

However, among us, live courageous protectors of the public. They believe the oath “To Serve and Protect” means more than a slogan on a shield or the side of a patrol car. We will assist a number of brave representatives of law enforcement who stand for more than just that slogan. Some have live lives more closely akin to legend, at least as they Read more

Judge Mike Pitman Dishes Out Retribution for Political Column?

Shreveport Attorney John Settle
John Settle

by John Settle

I have always taken the position that public officials are just that —  persons paid with public dollars who owe a responsibility to those that pay them, i.e. John Q. Public.  As a part of the decision to run for a public office, those individuals must accept the reality that their actions and inactions are subject to public review — be that praise or criticism.

Unfortunately, some judges believe that they are exempt from public examinations and that the right of free speech does not apply to them.  Thus, any public comments about their credentials or their actions are totally off limits, not tolerated and summarily  discounted if not punished.

Apparently, this belief is the attitude of Caddo District Court Mike Pitman, the husband of Caddo District Judge Francis Pitman. After Judge Francis began her campaign for the Second Circuit, I wrote a column about the candidates that was not received well by the Pitman campaign.

    The court house crowd, in large part, agreed with the content of the column; many warned me that I was playing with fire because I regularly appeared before Judge Mike representing Read more

LA Attorney General Stops $50,000 Commission Cleanup

by John Settle
Shreveport Attorney John Settle
John Settle

In what can only be described as great news is a recent opinion of the Louisiana Attorney General that precludes the expenditure of $50,000 by the Caddo Commission to clean up a marshy area behind a number of homes in the Cherokee Park Subdivision. The May expropriation by the Commission was conditioned upon approval by the Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell. The clearly worded, definitive opinion(12-0114) has not only saved the Commission from litigation challenging this expenditure, but also possible malfeasance. Oxbow at Cherokee PArk

The property in question is an old oxbow of the Red River; according to Parish Attorney Charles Grubb the old river bed is now owned by the private property owners. The City of Shreveport had, on at least one occasion, cleaned this area of undergrowth and trees. A recent request from the Cherokee Park homeowners was declined by the City and the homeowners sought assistance from the Commission.

In an effort to justify this public project on private property, the Commission strained to Read more

Update on City Court Clerk/Judicial Administrator Jobs

by John Settle
Shreveport Attorney John Settle
John Settle

Accurate reports on closed door decision-making by elected officials –including judges –are generally difficult to obtain, and often the “real story” never comes to the light of day. This has been, in large part, the case with the selection by Shreveport City Judges of a new Clerk of Court, as well as the creation of a new “Judicial Administrator” position.

More information has now leaked out, and a previous article (“Game Playing on Clerk/Administrator Selection?”) can now be updated, clarified, and in some issues corrected. Hopefully, this column will shed more light on the new high dollar hires by the four elected judges –Bill Kelly, Lee Irvin (with apologies for prior misspelling), Pam Lattier, and Sheva Sims.

The selection committee appointed by Chief Judge Bill Kelly to interview candidates for the advertised position of Shreveport City Clerk made one unanimous Read more

Bossier VIP Henry Meachum DWI Stop

by Danny Inquisitor
Bossier Parish Police Juror Henry Meachum in Handcuffs
Birds of a feather in Cuffs

OK, it’s really a very simple story. It’s commonly called “The Free State of Bossier” story. Harken back to the days of yesteryear. And, you get to see a portion of it as it played out in the video of a Louisiana State Police traffic stop of a suspected driver under the influence. (VIEW VIDEO HERE!) The story goes like this:

Bossier Parish Police Juror Henry Meachum is arrested by Louisiana State Police on a charge of driving under the influence.  Bossier-Webster District Attorney Schuyler Marvin calls upon Louisiana Attorney General Charles Fory to prosecute the case, in an effort to avoid the appearance of evil.  However in reality they send in Asst. Attorney General Clifford Strider to squash the DWI for Marvin.

Despite all the evidence mounted against Meachum in this video and after admitting to being under the influence of painkillers and mixed drinks after a night of partying, Strider squashes the DWI and merely charges Meachum with reckless operation.  Strider is the same prosecutor Marvin used to squash the DWI of his investigator Buddy Mondello’s daughter Brandi Mondello Dunn.  Strider is also the same prosecutor that assisted Marvin as co-prosecutor when at the murder trial of Charles Rodgers Pilkinton and on the third day of trial they allowed him to plead to negligent homicide after Pilkinton shot his estranged wife’s male friend in the head while he was sitting in a car parked in her driveway. Pilkinton is the father-in-law of Marvin’s best friend’s brother.  For the full details on this story, check out the details in the June 1, 2012 issue of The Inquisitor.

And for those of you who still believe in the Tooth Fairy, Bossier Parish runs a “real tight ship!” As long as you play ball their way…