The state Supreme Court has again refused to hear an appeal from City Marshal Brian Pope in his ongoing dispute with a local newspaper over public records requests.
Back in September, an appeals court has rejected City Marshal Brian Pope's argument that The Independent could not sue him for his failure to comply with public records requests. He appealed that ruling, and last week the Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal.
In the September ruling, a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeal denied Pope's argument that the reporter who made the request had to sue him. If he had won that argument, his attorneys say, the entire litigation - which has gone on for almost a year now - would be reversed and the newspaper would have start from square one.
The appeals court disagreed, finding Pope's arguments "unpersuasive" and his citing of cases "misplaced." To read that story, click here.
Last month, the Supreme Court rejected Pope's appeal of Judge Jules Edwards' ruling finding him in contempt of court and the seven-day house arrest sentence that Pope then served.
To read Edwards' rulings, which the Third Circuit and the Supreme Court have upheld, scroll down.
In addition to this protracted civil dispute with the Independent, Pope also is facing criminal charges. In August, a grand jury indicted him on two counts of perjury and three counts use of public funds to urge electors to vote for or against a candidate. All five charges are felonies. The perjury charges accuse Pope of lying about authorizing a mass email -- an issue that came to light during the Independent lawsuit -- about now-Sheriff Mark Garber's immigration policy, and allegedly lied about using the services of Hilary "Joe" Castille, sheriff candidate Chad Leger's campaign manager. Castille also handled the campaign of Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux.
Then in November, he was indicted again. The second indictment included the two original perjury cases, but revised the three other charges to include the term "malfeasance in office." It also added two new malfeasance in office charges. The indictment did not specify the basis of those charges but The Independent, which has been combing through Pope's legal bills since the court ordered he turn them over, linked the exact dates in the indictment with two payments made by the City Marshal's Office to local criminal defense attorneys Jonathan T. Jarrett and Katherine Guilbeau Guillot.. Both of those attorneys, the newspaper reports, are handling Pope's criminal case, and one of the bills includes a notation that the attorney was billing for a conversation he had with the district attorney who is prosecuting Pope.
To read the Independent's story, click here.
The changes increased the jail time and fines Pope could face if convicted; he originally faced up to one year in prison on each of those charges, now he faces up to five years in prison on each count. All told, Pope now faces up to 35 years in prison and fines of up to $45,000. To read the story about that indictment, click here.
Also in November, the same grand jury indicted Charles Middleton, a Lafayette attorney who Edwards determined was paid by Pope's office to draft a court motion that as used in an attempt to influence the Lafayette Sheriff election. To read that story, click here.