Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Written by The Independent Staff
It was a textbook case of protecting and serving when The Advocate obtained and posted online video of the January 2010 traffic stop that resulted in a drunk driving charge against state Rep. Bobby Badon, D-Carencro — a charge that was recently thrown out on a technicality. On the one side you had a nervous, stammering, slurring-his-words Badon trying to protect his reputation and serve his own interests after being pulled over on his way home from a party. On the other was State Trooper James Lazard — composed and professional despite Badon’s name dropping and good-ole-boy appeals for deference to his status and “a little leniency.” Kudos to Lazard for standing his ground and following the law. And ditto to The Advocate for pursuing the public’s right to know.
The kayaker who spotted the body of 29-year-old Cory Sonnier in Lake Martin the morning of June 24 was undoubtedly shaken up by the discovery of an apparent homicide victim. But when The Daily Advertiser tried to interview the unfortunate witness, he didn’t decline because he was too disturbed by what he found; rather, he told the Lafayette daily that he was “instructed by police not to speak with the media.” Since the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case — and said sheriff’s office has been known in the past to give the same “instructions” to other witnesses when newsworthy crimes take place in its jurisdiction — presumably the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office was again the issuer of an illegal gag order. What’s not explained in the daily’s crime story is that no law enforcement agency can prohibit witnesses from talking for the sake of preserving an investigation. That’s thanks to a little protection known as the First Amendment, which specifically gives Americans the freedom to speak about almost anything to Uncle T-Bob, Maw-Maw Barbara, friends and even the media. Also included in the First Amendment is the added protection of a free press, though nowhere in the document did our Founding Fathers outline the importance of a police state. We kindly ask the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office to brush up on its high school civics or Google the term “Bill of Rights.”
Pity poor Washington. The little town that butters its bread with an interstate speed trap just can’t get its act together. The latest exhibit of incompetence came last week when it was learned that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is demanding the St. Landry Parish hamlet return more than $72,000 it was allocated following Hurricane Katrina for housing evacuees. Washington, it turns out, never provided the proper documentation demonstrating how it spent the money and, what’s more, it’s now been two years since the town was notified about the problem. This follows a recent revelation that Washington owes the state $200,000 for speeding tickets issued to motorists who were traveling less than 10 miles over the posted limit on I-49. While Washington Mayor Joseph Pitre, who is black, has suggested his town is the victim of a racially motivated conspiracy, we prefer to think of it as a karma.
A federal jury found attorney Daniel Stanford guilty Friday afternoon on eight of 13 counts for his role in the Curious Goods conspiracy.
Lafayette City-Court Judge Francie Bouillion has served on the bench for two decades since winning a special election to replace Judge Kaliste Saloom when he retired in 1994.
The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,575 rigs were exploring for oil and 338 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,776 active rigs.
A crew began erecting the 25-foot mini-wheel late morning Friday in anticipation of the evening’s Hottest Night of the Year party at the park.
Frances Boothe of Nunez, who also happens to be filmmaker Stephen Meaux’s grandmother, prepares a cool-weather fave.
The magazine's senior football writer also predicts a break-out year for Saints fourth-year running back Mark Ingram.
New Iberia colonial or Broussard traditional home
The LPSB is poised and ready to move forward with the termination of Pat Cooper following a discussion Thursday with the attorney hired for the investigation of the superintendent, but a decision of this magnitude should be left up to the new board seated in January, especially with three pro-investigation board members bailing out come the new year.
Fiery style for game day
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Gulf Coast ceremonies marking the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina have begun.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says there is little known about the effects of tiger prawns on indigenous Louisiana shrimp. But, officials say the reports they're seeking will help state biologists monitor the distribution of the prawns and determine the possible presence of spawning populations.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh rested his regulars and watched with delight as Ray Rice's backups ground out 214 yards rushing in a 22-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
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High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford awaits his fate in the Curious Goods conspiracy trial.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is set to put the kibosh on the legal ownership of monkeys trained to help the disabled, and the agency wants to know what you think.
A federal judge on Thursday asked lawyers battling over Louisiana's new, restrictive abortion law for an agreement that apparently could let clinics stay open — at least for a while — after the law takes effect Sept. 1.
Three bedroom Port Barre cottage or three bedroom historic district Opelousas home
No laboring for shoppers this holiday
It will be next month before Gov. Bobby Jindal will likely get a chance to change the membership of a South Louisiana flood board that is suing dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
An abortion rights organization wants a federal judge to block enforcement of Louisiana's new abortion law while its lawsuit to overturn the law makes its way through court.
Republican presidential prospects Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal are planning to speak at an Iowa Christian conservative event in September.
The attention surrounding Victor White III has spiked with the release of last week’s autopsy report, which has raised a number of serious questions about the night of his death and has put the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office under an increased wave of scrutiny as more national media outlets are jumping on the story, most recently seen on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show.
The Acadiana Center for the Arts and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority have announced a new artist stipend program, ArtSpark, designed to offer financial aid to local artists.
A group supporting taxpayer-funded private school tuition vouchers is appealing a federal judge's order that Louisiana must provide regular reports to federal officials on the state's voucher program.
The Discovery Channel has canceled reality TV star Will Hayden's popular "Sons of Guns" show after his arrest on an aggravated rape charge.
The LPSB will finally hear from the attorney it hired to investigate the superintendent at a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m.
Three bedroom traditional or two bedroom Victorian cottage