Crowley Police Chief Jimmy Broussard's attorney has filed a motion in court, asking that the remaining charge against him be dropped based on "prosecutorial misconduct."
The Motion has delayed his trial, so a hearing can be held later this month.
Broussard was indicted by a grand jury in February 2021 on four counts of malfeasance in office, one count of obstruction of justice, and one count of attempted first-degree injuring of public records. All but one of those charges, a malfeasance charge, were dropped when an amended indictment was filed in the case. He now faces only that one charge of malfeasance in office.
In the Motion filed Tuesday, Attorney William L. Goode argues "the case against Chief Broussard is obviously political and not well-founded in law and fact, and the District Attorney's Office has gone out of its way" to protect two witnesses in the case - despite evidence that they are guilty of crimes. He also argues that Broussard isn't guilty of the crime alleged, because he did what the indictment alleges he didn't do.
Goode's Motion focuses on two of the state's witnesses: One, a former Crowley detective. The other, a "career, habitual, felony offender" who is the alleged victim in the case giving rise to Broussard's indictment.
KATC isn't naming the former detective unless or until he is arrested or charged with a crime.
Back when Broussard was indicted, the District Attorney's Office did not answer any questions posed about the reasons for the charges. However, KATC Investigates did some digging, and when we asked for records related to Broussard's arrest, we were provided with the same document we got in January 2021 when we asked for records related to an April 2020 excessive force case. That document stated that the District Attorney had called the Acadia Sheriff's Office to request an investigation of the Crowley Police Department.
In that case, Officer Ashlee McElroy was accused of excessive force in an April 2020 incident. She was booked in January 2021 with second-degree battery and malfeasance in connection with an incident involving a person in her custody. The alleged victim in that case, Travis Cormier, is the person Goode describes as a career criminal in his Motion.
In the Motion, Goode says that the indictment against Broussard accuses him of "knowingly, intentionally, and voluntarily failing to investigate, enforce, and/or report to the District Attorney's Office the alleged violation of state law" by McElroy.
Goode's Motion argues that Broussard found out about the incident the day after it happened, and ordered a report be prepared. He also suspended McElroy and ordered an Internal Affairs investigation, the Motion argues.
Also in early 2020, the Motion alleges, an investigation into the former Crowley detective - who conducted the IA investigation in the McElroy case - had begun. The results of that investigation - which alleged more than 40 counts of malfeasance and obstruction against that detective - were turned over to the District Attorney's Office in March 2021. To date, Goode writes, the DA has done nothing with that evidence.
The former Crowley detective resigned in December 2020, after his captain asked that he be removed from the detective division, the Motion alleges. The detective allegedly hadn't worked his cases, hadn't processed evidence properly and was so sloppy in maintaining his paperwork that some crimes couldn't be prosecuted, the Motion alleges.
"It was discovered that (the former detective) had a total of 215 cases in his office that were not worked properly, in addition to a large stack of paperwork, discs, and miscellaneous evidence that had to be sorted and placed in their appropriate case files or entered into evidence to be properly stored. However, it was not possible to connect every disc and every document with a case file nor was it possible to connect all the evidence with a case file," the Motion alleges.
Another detective attempting to clean up the mess "also located in (the former detective's) office several bags of clothing that had been taken on a sexual assault kit that had been completed by Acadia General Hospital, which (the clean-up detective) was unable to connect with any case because the clothes had never been labeled," the Motion alleges.
Because he conducted the IA investigation, his testimony will be used against Broussard, the Motion states.
As to the other witness, Travis Cormier was arrested in January 2022 on several charges, including a felony, and is awaiting trials on two other felonies, as well as four probation revocation hearings, Goode's Motion alleges. However, just last week Cormier was released on his own recognizance - in other words without having to post any bail - by 15th Judicial District Judge Kristian Earles.
That action "allowed Mr. Cormier to appear in court on 6/30/22 as a witness against Chief Broussard wearing nice, casual, comfortable, civilian clothes as opposed to a jumpsuit, slides and shackles," the Motion states.
The hearing set for later this month will focus on the question of whether Goode can call Judge Earles as a witness in his Motion to Dismiss.
"Undoubtedly, Mr. Cormier was going to continue to remain incarcerated for a lengthy period of time prior to being released on his own recognizance. Clearly, Judge Earles would not have ordered Mr. Cormier's release on his own recognizance with home detention without being requested to do so by someone in a strong position to do so, someone in a position of authority and power," Goode's Motion argues.
In his Motion, Goode asks for an evidentiary hearing to support his dismissal argument.
"The disparity between how the District Attorney's Office has treated Chief Broussard as compared to (the former detective) and Mr. Cormier is really quite amazing, is, clearly, very prejudicial to Chief Broussard and should result in a dismissal of this case," Goode wrote.
We reached out to District Attorney Don Landry to see if he wanted to make any response, but haven't heard back yet.