U.S. District Judge Richard Haik will sentence former Assistant District Attorney J. Floyd Johnson Wednesday at 9 a.m., bringing an end to a federal probe first reported by The Independent Weekly in February 2010. Guilty of tax evasion, Johnson faces up to five years in prison, a $100,000 fine, and a mandatory minimum term of not less than two years and not more than three years supervised release following confinement. Legal experts consulted by this newspaper say he is likely to do time.
Johnson, then 50, pleaded guilty Nov. 10, 2010, to one count of tax evasion. In July of that year, while still a prosecutor with 15th Judicial District Attorney Mike Harson’s office, he was charged in a bill of information with the single count and resigned from the DA’s office shortly thereafter. The disgraced prosecutor, who had been with the DA’s office for 15 years when he resigned in July, was making about $83,000 for the full-time position.
Johnson was charged with a single count despite that court records show he knowingly failed to file income tax returns for the years 2003-2008.
As part of his tax evasion scheme, Johnson concealed ownership of a home, lying to federal investigators about it. According to court documents, Johnson told investigators that his north Lafayette property at 206 Woodrich Lane, pictured below, belonged to his brother.
Because Johnson notified officials of his intention to plead guilty in a timely fashion, which allowed the government to avoid the expense of preparing for trial, he will get a “one-point reduction in his offense level should that offense level be 16 or greater,” according to the plea agreement filed in court.
Close legal observers say the fact that he was an officer of the court charged with seeking punishment for those who broke the law — in particular the lead prosecutor in drug cases — does not bode well for him at sentencing. It is widely speculated that the investigation was not triggered by a tax matter related to the IRS but by law enforcement officials’ complaints about Johnson’s record on drug prosecutions, including drug cases he chose not to prosecute and his decisions to reduce charges.
As part of the presentence investigation, the government turned over all evidence developed in the case; presumably, that would include information on how and why the case was initiated.
JUNE 16 This story in the Advocate tells us that the state Department of Education is taking a look at the Course Choice program. They're doing that because the legislature (probably responding to reporting by Tom Aswell, who does not work for the Advocate) ordered them to make sure that these private companies aren't signing six-year-olds up for high school Latin classes without their parents' knowledge or consent.
JUNE 17 Columnist James Gill writes about the recent complaint of death row inmates at Angola: it's hot as you-know-what in their cells, with the heat index topping 120 for months. Since we're not executing people anymore (Gill opines) then we should probably officially end the practice of putting people on death row. The prisoners, by the way, are not asking for cool breezes: they only ask for clean water and a temp that doesn't top 88.
JUNE 17 Here's blogger Ian McGibboney's take on the Baton Rouge plan to give bus tickets to homeless people who have a home with family who live far away. Taken from one point of view, it could be a good solution for some people. But McGibboney raises some good points here, including this one: Why not improve opportunities for everybody in Baton Rouge so these people can find the jobs they came to BR for?
JUNE 17 Picayune columnist Jarvis DeBerry talks here about the Zimmerman trial, but the real topic is the concept of a black man being more dangerous, somehow, than a white man in a fight. It is an interesting discussion, and one that may enlighten people who think that racism doesn't exist because nobody's keeping black folks from eating at the Woolworth lunch counter.
JUNE 17 Here's an interesting column from Baton Rouge Business Report's publisher, Rolfe McCollister, about anger against the government. It's brewing because of recent revelations about the IRS and the GSA, he says. It's readable, not just for the subject, but because of McCollister's collection of sources: Huffington Post, National Review and Wikipedia. That's a combo you don't see every day.
JUNE 17 In this American Press post, Jim Beam talks about the high school diploma track that lets kids who aren't interested in university get what they want and need out of high school. The diplomas get kids ready for technical school, Beam explains, and then he goes on to give some of the numbers. Some of these numbers might really surprise people who think technical school is second best. And, Beam adds, a college diploma does not guarantee anybody a job.
JUNE 17 The Washington Post reports here that OSHA is going to investigate the explosion that occurred last week in Donaldsonville, shortly after the other fatal accident in Geismar. As soon as the site is safe, State Police will be pulling out of the Donaldsonville plant to make way for OSHA investigators, the story reports. (Hey, here's an idea: why don't they go a couple miles down the road and figure out what happened when that massive sinkhole started sucking up land.)
JUNE 17 Robert Mann writes about the LSU Board of Supervisors in this post, taking a look at the many ways board members have served Gov. Jindal and not their university or their students. The board members are esteemed members of their fields, but can't seem to do anything but say "yes" to Jindal, regardless of the cost to LSU, Mann opines.
Frank’s Casing Crew, now doing business as Frank’s International, will make its final appearance on ABiz’s list of the Top 50 Privately Held Companies in Acadiana this year, and once again, it will likely be at the top with more than $1 billion in annual revenues. The 75-year-old company specializing in tubular fabrication and installation services to the oil and gas industry plans to go public this year.
The defeat, or rather highjacking of House Bill 420 in the final days of this year's Legislative Session, say Reps. Vincent Pierre and Terry Landry, is the result of the propaganda spread by one unidentified local media outlet and an unnamed former state Representative, but nothing to do with the original legislation's lack of checks, balances or details.
He’s a singer. A songwriter. A piano man. A family man. He’s even got his own Wikipedia entry. He’s David Egan. And he knows ancient secrets about the monolithic stones of Stonehenge that he’s not willing to share.