Did LHS star Josh Wiltz get a free pass or were school officials and his coach really in the dark about the circumstances surrounding his late February arrest on drug and weapons charges? Just how hard did school officials work to find more information about his arrest? These are questions many people in Lafayette would like answered.
The one certainty: the LHS Might Lions will make their Top 28 debut Thursday without the starting senior, who Tuesday was suspended from the team for the remainder of the season. It was Wiltz who scored the winning basket against Destrehan last Friday, Feb. 29, sending his team to this week's Top 28 in the Cajundome.
LHS Principal Patrick Leonard says he found out about the arrest on Tuesday, Feb. 26, and has been trying to obtain more information but got no cooperation from the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Department. "There was an effort to get the arrest report," Leonard says, explaining that his school resource officer called the sheriff's department, "and we were unable to obtain it."
The initial incident report, which contains information like the location of the arrest and who was arrested, along with an affidavit that includes probable cause and a synopsis of the incident, are both public record, says Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Department spokesman Lt. Craig Stansbury. The affidavit would not be public record if it contained sensitive information that could jeapordize the case, like witness names or the names of juveniles, he says. In this case, both the initial incident report and affidavit were made public to local media. "My question to [Leonard] is who did they ask?" Stansbury says. "He didn't ask me."
On Monday of this week, Leonard did receive more information on the arrest of 18-year-old Wiltz, who was charged with illegal use of weapons, possession of marijuana, illegal use of a controlled drug and illegal carrying of a weapon. The principal initially decided to suspend Wiltz from the team through Thursday, meaning he would have missed the first Top 28 playoff game but would have been back in the action if the team had won. However, when additional details surfaced Tuesday, Leonard suspended the player for the remainder of the season. Leonard declined to disclose how the new information surfaced on Monday afternoon but says he received more details on the arrest Tuesday from Superintendent Burnell Lemoine. (The LHS principal would not say when his resource officer first contacted the sheriff's department, but he maintains that to this day he has not been able to get the information directly from the department.)
Stansbury says the sheriff's department identified three suspicious vehicles, one of which was driven by Wiltz, who gave the sheriff's deputy permission to search the vehicle, where a weapon was found. A small amount of marijuana was found on Wiltz.
Wiltz was booked and released and allowed to continue playing on the team, even starting the game against Destrehan. School officials initially told local media that he was being disciplined but did not give specifics.
According to the school policy, student athletes are to be suspended from competition if they are caught using or possessing drugs, alcohol or tobacco; fighting, stealing, lying, having false identification, forging, cheating, vandalizing or have trouble with the police. Leonard says the policy stipulates that all disciplinary action should be "reasonable and based upon specific circumstances and facts" as determined by the school's administration. "I didn't have any circumstances or facts to review," he says. "It took that long to get the facts."
New menu items ready for the Lenten season
The Cane Fire Film Series screens “MaidenTrip” on Monday, March 10, at the AcA.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The vibe of the tribe done modern
The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Friday that initial claims rose to 2,125 from the previous week's total of 1,964. There were 2,887 initial claims during the comparable week in 2013.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 07, 2014:
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
She’s the daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, but she’s been a gifted artist in her own right for three decades, and she’s coming to Lafayette.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Prepare yourselves for sun
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
Due to the chaos of Mardi Gras and the weather, the entry deadline for this year's INDesign Awards has been extended by one week.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
Queen Evangline and King Gabriel ruled Tuesday night
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
IND Style does Gabriel
Newsy bits for the fam
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.