Louisiana news briefs
Bourbon Street night preaching ban removed
NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans City Council has overturned its ban against preaching after dark on Bourbon Street.
The revision of the city’s “aggressive solicitation” ordinance passed 6-0 on Thursday and takes effect immediately.
A federal judge barred enforcement in September after a street preacher sued the city in federal court.
Attorney Nathan Kellum says preacher Paul Gros won’t drop his lawsuit. He says there must be vindication of Gros’ constitutional rights.
The measure was passed in 2011. The first people arrested under the ordinance may have been a few street preachers picked up during the Southern Decadence gay pride festival over the Labor Day weekend in 2012.
Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier canceled a trial scheduled Aug. 12 and scheduled a status conference Aug. 15.
Kenner business man sentenced
in bribery case
NEW ORLEANS — A Kenner telecommunications contractor and the last defendant in the four-year investigation of Jefferson Parish political corruption, has been sentenced.
U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown sentenced Bill Mack on Thursday to 20 months for conspiring to bribe Parish President Aaron Broussard.
Mack admitted paying Broussard $66,000 for help in getting parish contracts.
The sentencing came as part of a plea agreement that Mack struck with federal prosecutors. They secured guilty pleas from Broussard, chief administrative officer Tim Whitmer, parish attorney Tom Wilkinson and Broussard’s ex-wife, Karen Parker.
Broussard, who resigned in 2010, is serving three years, 10 months in federal prison. Whitmer and Wilkinson, who also resigned that year, and Parker, are serving probation.
to submit jail plans
NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge has ordered Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman to submit new plans by today for a jail building currently under construction. The new plans must include medical and mental-health facilities.
U.S. District Judge Lance Africk first grilled Gusman’s attorneys in early June about what he called the “troubling” lack of the necessary medical accommodations, whose absence was brought to light by the Department of Justice and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Both are co-plaintiffs in a consent decree mandating an overhaul of the long-troubled Orleans Parish Prison.
Wednesday’s order came during a hearing at which an attorney for the city grilled Gusman on his finances in an effort to convince Africk that the sheriff should have to pay at least some of the consent decree’s costs.
Golden Meadow man dies after boat hits piling
GOLDEN MEADOW — The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says a 29-year-old Golden Meadow man died of head trauma after his boat hit a piling on Bayou Lafourche.
Enforcement division spokesman Adam Einck says Richard Griffin Jr. was alone in the 16-foot vessel when the accident occurred about 5:15 a.m. Wednesday about a half-mile south of Golden Meadow.
He says Griffin was taken to Lady of the Sea Hospital in Galliano and then to University Hospital in New Orleans, where he was pronounced dead.
The department is investigating the accident.
Diocese of Lake Charles’ founding bishop dies
LAKE CHARLES — Funeral services will be held next week for Bishop Jude Speyrer, the founding bishop of the Diocese of Lake Charles.
Speyrer, who served the diocese for 20 years, died Sunday. He was 84.
Morris LeBleu, director of communications for the diocese, said Wednesday he had no information on what caused Speyrer’s death.
“He had been ill, not seriously ill, but ill as any 84-year-old person would be and likely succumbed to a number of maladies,” LeBleu said.
Speyrer was ordained in 1953 and served in various posts in the Diocese of Lafayette for 27 years before being named bishop. Pope John Paul II chose Speyrer to lead the Diocese of Lake Charles as its first bishop when the diocese was established in 1980. He retired in 2000.
“I feel fortunate to have known and worked with this faithful priest and bishop, who did so much to build and strengthen the two dioceses in which he served. I pray that the Lord may grant him the reward of his labors,” Diocese of Lafayette Bishop Michael Jarrell said in a statement.
AMass of Christian Burial is scheduled for 11 a.m. July 31 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Lake Charles.
Public viewing will be from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. July 29 and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 30. Burial will be in the New Bethany Cemetery in Moss Bluff.
2 more arrested
in school burglary
ST. FRANCISVILLE — West Feliciana Parish sheriff’s deputies have accounted for one more of the 80 tablet stolen in a June 26 school burglary, bringing the recovery total to 41.
Lt. Col. Archer Lee said two West Feliciana Parish men allegedly tried to sell one of the stolen iPad 2 at a Baton Rouge store, but the owner called police.
Booking records show Vontrae Anderson and John Washington, both of St. Francisville, were booked at East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Tuesday night on one count each of possession of stolen property.
West Feliciana Parish deputies earlier arrested two 17-year-old boys and three juveniles for allegedly burglarizing West Feliciana High School.
to nearly 10 years for selling crack
NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge has sentenced a 39-year-old New Orleans to nearly 10 years in prison for trying to sell crack cocaine to a New Orleans police officer.
U.S. Judge Martin L.C. Feldman sentenced Hoxie Marcelin on Wednesday to 115 months in prison for possession with intent to distribute up to 28 grams of crack cocaine.
U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente said in a news release that officers found Marcelin in possession of 31 individually wrapped crack rocks and entire slabs of crack stored in the coffee maker of a Central City home.
Upon his release, Marcelin will be placed on four years of supervised release during which he will be under federal supervision.
Prison guards arrested
TALLULAH— Five prison guards at the Madison Parish Detention Center in Tallulah have been arrested in connection to allegations of an inmate being abused at the prison.
State Trooper Albert Paxton said the guards were arrested Thursday and all were booked with one count each of malfeasance. Two of the guards were also charged with aggravated battery.
All five were booked into the Madison Parish Jail.
The arrests were a result of an ongoing investigation that was requested July 16 by Madison Parish Sheriff Larry Cox.
Cox contacted investigators from the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations to conduct an independent investigation into allegations of prisoner abuse by guards that occurred at the Madison Parish Detention Center in February. Cox requested state police to continue an investigation he had started into the allegations.
From The Associated Press.
The suspected abuse involves three incidents with two separate inmates over two days.
Toney Barber, 37, and Timothy James, 36, both of Tallulah, were booked with aggravated battery and malfeasance. Clint Freeman, 66, of Tallulah; Gary James, 42, of Newellton; and Tori Thomas, 35, of Tallulah were booked with malfeasance.
All five of the guards have been terminated from the Madison Parish Detention Center. Toney Barber is also a civilian employee of the Department of Public Safety. The department has placed Barber on administrative leave because of his arrest.
If convicted on all charges, Barber and Timothy James face up to a $10,000 fine and from 1 to 15 years in prison without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. Freeman, Gary James and Thomas face up to a $5,000 fine and 5 years in prison if convicted.
It was unclear whether the former guards have attorneys.
From The Associated Press.