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.
newsy bits for the fam
Festival International de Louisiane is right around the corner — April 23-27 — and IND Monthly’s second annual Fest fIND contest is along for the ride.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
Georgia-based fried chicken chain would go up against Raising Cane’s, Chick-fil-A and others (like the Popeyes near its proposed location).
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The perfect color for Easter Sunday
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
A Scott businessman has pleaded guilty to failing to report a conspiracy to award Opelousas Housing Authority construction bids to his company.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
Egg-citing ideas for sharing at family gatherings
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday, April 15, 2014:
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.
Now that lawmakers have shot down efforts to cap annual interest rates for payday loans, supporters for stricter regulations of the storefront lenders are rallying behind another strategy.
The Appropriations Committee held public testimony day, letting people talk about what they like or don't like about Gov. Bobby Jindal's budget recommendations for the 2014-15 fiscal year that begins July 1.
Court-appointed examiner says Lafayette businessman was “effectively on both sides” of transactions, opens door for legal action against him.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Lafayette-based insurance broker/risk management group bought by Florida firm for undisclosed sum; principals Landry and Harris continue to run local operations.
Lafayette police are investigating the death of a 21-year-old woman whose body was found early Sunday in a drainage ditch in Girard Park.
Former Grant parish District Attorney Ed Tarpley says he's running for the U.S. House seat currently held by Republican Vance McAllister of Swartz.
Louisiana-Lafayette got strong starting pitching and timely hitting to hold off Arkansas-Little Rock 6-3 in Sun Belt Conference baseball in Lafayette, La.
The life and legacy of Dave Perkins will be commemorated with a special INDesign Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the 2014 event on April 24.
Easy crafts in time for Easter
The Cane Fire Film Series presents “The Great Flood” on Monday, April 14, at the AcA.