Independent asks judge to review Pope's probation - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Independent asks judge to review Pope's probation

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Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope

Following a December hearing, the Independent newspaper has filed a Motion withdrawing its request that Judge Jules Edwards revoke City Marshal Brian Pope's probation - but asks him to review Pope's probation himself. 

The Independent's motion says the paper "withdraws and dismisses its Motion to Revoke Probation," but asks Edwards to set a hearing where Pope can review his probation status within the context of the judge's philosophy of "restorative justice."

"...this Court articulated its three-point philosophy for 'restorative justice that requires a probationer to admit his wrong, admit the harm his wrong has caused, and right the wrong,'" wrote Gary McGoffin, the paper's attorney. "The elements of restorative justice are relevant to the status of Brian Pope's probation without regard to the issue of any criminal actions that may be alleged to have arisen during the term of his probation."

The newspaper has been locked in a legal battle with the elected official over public records requests for two years, during which Pope has been indicted on felony perjury and malfeasance charges for actions related to the case.

One of Pope's attorneys also has been indicted in the case.

Pope's trial is set for this spring. Also during those two years, a recall was launched against Pope and failed — and his office arrested the leader of that campaign the day after it ended on a 20-year-old misdemeanor warrant.

Early on in the legal battle, after determining that Pope deleted emails the newspaper requested, Edwards found him in contempt of court, which constituted a misdemeanor conviction. He ordered the marshal to serve seven days of house arrest and to perform 180 hours of community service.

Although that sentence was handed down in 2016, so far the marshal has only completed eight hours of community service, which consisted of one day of trash pick-up last month. 

Late last year, the Independent filed a motion asking the court to revoke Pope's probation and order him to serve the 23 days in jail the judge suspended in his original sentence. To read about that motion, click here.

The newspaper argued that Pope wasn't meeting the terms of the probation, that he was further violating it by improperly collecting civil fines and fees for himself, and was violating the public records law again for blocking release of an attorney general's opinion about that allegedly improper collection. 

After a hearing last month, the judge found the newspaper didn't have the correct legal position to make that motion, but he did say the District Attorney could do so. To read about the hearing, including Edwards' statements about "restorative justice," click here.

To read the newspaper's motion, see below. 

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