Critiques of the Judiciary
Defending the Right to Free Speech THE NEED FOR CONSTANT VIGILANCE
Anyone who would investigate the activities of public officials and publish critical reports should be mindful of the possible retribution they may suffer at the hands of those officials. This is illustrated by the angry reaction of Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Jerry Larpenter when he learned that the ExposeDAT blog had associated him with the owner of a Houma, La. brokerage firm that employed his wife and received fees for public business that did not go through the public bid process.
The Sheriff's response was immediate and Draconian. Suspecting the involvement of Houma Police Officer Wayne Anderson, he arranged to obtain a search warrant and ordered his deputies to search Anderson's home and seize computers and other devices that could be used to communicate with the Internet (See video). Only through the determined efforts of Anderson and his wife, coupled with the expertise of dedicated, civil rights-minded attorneys was Anderson's 1st Amendment right to criticize public officials successfully defended. However, whether the Sheriff or other involved Terrebonne Parish officials will ever be held to account for trampling the free speech rights of the Andersons is still an open question.
Terrebonne Corruption CaseTerrebonne Sheriff raids house to expose 'ExposeDAT' anti-corruption blogKATIE MOORE and DAVID HAMMERAugust 3, 2016
HOUMA, La. Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's deputies raided a home Tuesday in hopes of uncovering who is behind an anti-corruption blog aimed at Sheriff Jerry Larpenter and other local politicians.
"ExposeDAT" [http://exposedat.in/wp/] is a blog, claiming to be "Terrebonne Parish's Underground Watchdog," that started publishing short articles about politicians and their business dealings in June.
The first post titled, "Black Man and a Noose," outlined a civil rights lawsuit filed against a company owned by now-Parish President Gordon ["Gordy"] Dove called VACCO, Inc.
Subsequent articles have called into question business dealings and relationships of other top Terrebonne Parish officials, including Sheriff Larpenter and District Attorney Joseph Waitz, Jr.
Tuesday, sheriff's deputies executed a search warrant on a home in Houma, seizing computers and cell phones, alleging the blog's author committed criminal defamation against the parish's new insurance agent, Tony Alford.
The home belonged to Houma Police Officer Wayne Anderson. He denies having any involvement in ExposeDAT. Deputies took two laptop computers, one of which belonged to his children, and five cell phones.
Anderson is a long-time police officer, formerly serving as a Terrebonne Parish deputy and a New Orleans Police officer.
"I'm not sure if they believe Mr. Anderson is actually the author of such work," said Matthew Ory, Anderson's attorney.
The search of Anderson's home was one of three warrants executed in the Sheriff's attempts to expose ExposeDAT, according to Larpenter.
The other two were for computer and Facebook account information.
ExposeDAT's Facebook page was created by an account using the pseudonym John Turner.
While Anderson denies any involvement in the blog, even if he did create it, legal experts agree it would very likely be protected speech under the 1st Amendment.
Attorney Mary Ellen Roy said the U.S. Supreme Court has found Louisiana's criminal defamation statute unconstitutional when it is used "…to punish public expression and publication concerning public officials, public figures and private individuals who are engaged in public affairs."
Sheriff Larpenter and Alford were pictured together in a Tweet featured on ExposeDAT's most recent post three days ago.
When Larpenter was asked whether there is a conflict in him investigating an alleged crime involving himself, he replied, "If you're gonna lie about me and make it under a fictitious name, I'm gonna come after you."
He went on to say that once he finished investigating the blog, he would turn the case over to District Attorney Waitz to determine if Waitz wanted to prosecute it or "hand it off." Waitz is also featured on ExposeDAT.
"When we're talking about speech directed at matters of public interest questioning the activities of a public official, that is constitutionally protected speech of the highest order, and prosecutions for that sort of public comment are extraordinary," said Loyola Law Professor Dane Ciolino.
Even though legal scholars say a successful criminal prosecution for defamation is unlikely, the fallout from the investigation is already causing problems for Anderson.
Houma Police Chief Dana Coleman suspended Anderson from the force indefinitely, placing him on paid administrative leave. Anderson's attorney says he has not yet received paperwork on the suspension, but that they were told the chief alleges Anderson didn't uphold the law and committed conduct unbecoming an officer.
Chief Coleman didn't respond to a call seeking comment on Anderson's suspension.
Larpenter maintains his deputies have probable cause to conduct the investigation and that it was enough to secure the three warrants.
The one they used to search Anderson's home was signed Tuesday by Judge Randall Bethancourt, who was not serving as the on-duty judge for criminal cases that day.
Houma attorney Jerri Smitko often represents police officers, and Anderson called her when the raid on his home was being carried out Tuesday.
She said she immediately called Judge Bethancourt to try and keep deputies from searching Anderson's computers and phones until they could have a hearing on the legitimacy of the warrant.
The Judge issued a stay and ordered that the evidence be secured by the Terrebonne Parish Clerk of Court until a contradictory hearing could be held. A date and time for that hearing has not yet been scheduled.Copyright 2016, WWL-TV
From: Katie Moore and David Hammer, "Terrebonne Corruption Case; Terrebonne Sheriff raids house to expose 'ExposeDAT' anti-corruption blog "WWL-TV, August 3, 2016, http://www.wwltv.com/news/local/terrebonne-sheriff-raids-house-to-expose-esposedat-anti-corruption-blog-1/28691240, accessed 09/02/2016. Reprinted in accordance with the "fair use" provision of Title 17 U.S.C.
§ 107for a non-profit educational purpose.
Terrebonne judge stands by search warrant to unmask online commenterDAVID HAMMERAugust 5, 2016
HOUMA, La. A Terrebonne Parish judge on Friday stood by his decision to authorize the sheriff's office to seize a Houma police officer's computers earlier this week under the theory they were used to post a blog that may have defamed the sheriff.
Sheriff Jerry Larpenter's deputies raided the home of Houma Police Officer Wayne Anderson on Tuesday. Judge Randall Bethancourt approved the search warrant based on a complaint from Tony Alford, an insurance agent whose firms broker coverage for both the sheriff's office and the Terrebonne Parish government.
In an affidavit supporting the warrant, Alford complains that a website called ExposeDAT and a Facebook page under the fictitious name John Turner defamed him and his business: Alford, Staples, Lapeyre & Robichaux. He contested a claim on the Facebook page that Larpenter continued to pay broker fees to Alford even as the sheriff's wife, Priscilla, makes a six-figure salary running Alford's office. Alford said the sheriff's brokerage contract is with a firm owned by his business partner, Christian Lapeyre, but he admitted that as Lapeyre's partner, he does share in the proceeds.
"I think that right there acknowledges that if he was a beneficiary of it, then he was a part of that contract and certainly, again, individuals in the community should be able to question that," said Anderson's attorney, David Ardoin.
Ardoin argued that Bethancourt made a mistake approving the warrant because the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled the state's criminal defamation statute unconstitutional as it relates to comments about public officials or private individuals engaged in public affairs.
But Bethancourt said he had to stay within the "four corners" of the warrant and affidavit and said he couldn't tell if Alford was a public official. Frustrated, Ardoin pointed out that Alford is on the Levee Board, but what's relevant is that the comments in the complaint were about public affairs and should be protected speech.
Bethancourt countered that Louisiana's criminal defamation statute is "pretty broad" and said he would allow the state to "take a look-see at these computers that might have defamatory statements on them."
Bethancourt also said the matter pertains to Jennifer Goulas, who is Anderson's wife, but no information was given about her involvement.
Bethancourt granted a stay for 15 days so Anderson's attorneys could appeal to a higher court. Attorney Jerri Smitko, who also represents Anderson, said she and Ardoin plan to file a malicious prosecution complaint in federal court.
The sheriff's office was represented at the hearing by the Attorney General's office because Terrebonne Parish District Attorney Joseph Waitz Jr. was also mentioned in the blog. Assistant Attorney General Barry Milligan said the affidavit, once approved by Bethancourt, is presumed valid and speaks for itself.
Legal experts have called the raid on a critic's home by the sheriff's office "extraordinary" and a likely violation of the First Amendment right to free speech and the Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful search and seizure.
Larpenter has defended his decision in blunt terms.
"If you're gonna lie about me and make it under a fictitious name, I'm gonna come after you," Larpenter told WWL-TV earlier this week.
The posts and comments that prompted the sheriff to take such extraordinary action were published on the website ExposeDAT.in/wp.
Some of the anonymous posts note the connections between Larpenter's wife and Alford, and point out that Alford just lined up new insurance coverage for the parish government without going through a public bid process and without an authorizing ordinance that the parish attorney has said is required.
Alford owns multiple businesses with Parish President Gordon ["Gordy"] Dove, who, the parish acknowledges, engaged Alford as the parish's new insurance agent-of-record without any public bid.
Dove told WWL-TV that he is considering suing whoever posted the website, in part because it mentions his daughter, who is married to an assistant district attorney. He also defended the hiring of Alford because his insurance agency is local and would replace an out-of-parish consulting firm.
The parish president said mistakes may have been made in failing to pass an ordinance and sign a contract for Alford to serve as the parish's agent of record, but he said if necessary that would be rectified at the next parish council meeting.
Dove, a former state legislator, said public officials should be able to use the criminal defamation statute.
Loyola Law Professor and ethics attorney Dane Ciolino said the various contracts discussed on the ExposeDAT site raise questions under state ethics laws.
"Those contracts should be examined. And the notion that search warrants are issuing and the house of a media commentator is being searched for the content of speech posted on a public website is absolutely extraordinary," Ciolino said. "It's amazing we're having this conversation in Louisiana rather than in Iran."
After the raid, Houma Police Chief Dana Coleman suspended Anderson from the force indefinitely, placing him on paid administrative leave.
Another of Anderson's attorneys, Matthew Ory, says he has not yet received paperwork on the suspension, but that they were told Coleman alleges Anderson didn't uphold the law and committed conduct unbecoming an officer.
Smitko said that it's common knowledge the defamation law is unconstitutional, yet authorities are using it to "trample" on the rights of a man she called a "good police officer and a decent citizen."
"When the very statute that's relied upon in this search warrant is unconstitutional in these circumstances, how can you have probable cause?" she asked.Copyright 2016, WWL-TV
From: David Hammer, "Terrebonne judge stands by search warrant to unmask online commenter,"WWL-TV, August 5, 2016, http://www.wwltv.com/mb/news/local/terrebonne-judge-stands-by-search-warrant-to-unmask-online-commenter/288554567, accessed 09/05/2016. Reprinted in accordance with the "fair use" provision of Title 17 U.S.C.
§ 107for a non-profit educational purpose.
Video adapted from WWL-TV, August 3, 2016, http://www.wwltv.com/news/local/terrebonne-sheriff-raids-house-to-expose-esposedat-anti-corruption-blog-1/286912409, accessed 09/02/2016, and August 25, 2016, http://www.wwltv.com/news/local/lafourche-terrebonne/court-rules-search-warrant-in-terrebonne-sheriff-case-unconstitutional/308367610, accessed 09/04/2016. Reproduced in accordance with the "fair use" provision of Title 17 U.S.C.
§ 107for a non-profit educational purpose.
Court rules search warrant in Terrebonne blog case unconstitutionalKATIE MOORE and DAVID HAMMERAugust 25, 2016
BATON ROUGE A state court of appeal quashed a search warrant executed by Terrebonne Sheriff Jerry Larpenter earlier this month in an effort to unmask an
anti-corruptionblogger who questioned some public contracts.
Eyewitness News broke the story on the ExposeDAT search.
The First Circuit Court of Appeal found that Larpenter's use of Louisiana's criminal defamation law to get the warrant was unconstitutional because the "supposed victim" in the case is a public official.
"That statute has been declared unconstitutional by both the United States Supreme Court and the Louisiana Supreme Court as it applies to public expression and publication concerning public officials, public figures and private individuals engaged in public affairs," the three-judge panel wrote in their unanimous ruling.
When a state judge in Terrebonne Parish upheld the warrant earlier this month, he was told the person claiming defamation was a public official, but he said that because the sheriff's application for the warrant didn't say that, he didn't know it to be true.
Larpenter declined to comment through his attorney Thursday.
Insurance broker and Terrebonne Parish Levee and Conservation District President Tony Alford filed the criminal complaint with the sheriff's office about ExposeDAT, spurring the investigation.
Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's deputies raided the home of a Houma police officer Tuesday, Aug. 2, in hopes of uncovering who was behind an anti-corruption blog questioning public contracts involving Larpenter and other local politicians. They had been led to that home because earlier search warrants showed the ExposeDAT website and an associated Facebook page were built from Internet addresses registered there.
"ExposeDAT" is a blog claiming to be "Terrebonne Parish's Underground Watchdog" that started publishing short articles about politicians and their business dealings in June.
Articles on ExposeDAT have called into question business dealings and relationships of other top Terrebonne Parish officials, including Parish President Gordon ["Gordy"] Dove Sr. and District Attorney Joseph Waitz Jr.
On Aug. 2, sheriff's deputies executed a search warrant on the home of Houma Police Officer Wayne Anderson seizing computers and cell phones, alleging the blog's author committed criminal defamation against the parish's new insurance agent, Tony Alford.
Alford's insurance agency already had a contract to write insurance policies for Larpenter's sheriff's office, and Alford employs Larpenter's wife, Priscilla.
Anderson denied having any involvement in ExposeDAT. Deputies took two laptop computers, one of which belonged to Anderson's children, and five cell phones.
Anderson is a long-time police officer who formerly served as a Terrebonne Parish deputy and a New Orleans police officer.
"I'm not sure if they believe Mr. Anderson is actually the author of such work," said Matthew Ory, Anderson's attorney, the day after the search. After Anderson challenged the search warrant's constitutionality, Anderson's wife, Jennifer, was added to the case.
Because of the constitutional right to free speech about public affairs, the appellate court in Baton Rouge said the "search warrant lacks probable cause because the conduct complained of is not a criminally actionable offense."
The appellate ruling is a strong rebuke of state district Judge Randall Bethancourt in Terrebonne Parish, who signed off on the warrant and then ignored Anderson's attorneys' arguments about the Supreme Court rulings, defending the sheriff's right to at least "have a look-see" at the computers under the criminal defamation statute.
"We are elated that the 1st Circuit has done justice in this matter," said one of those attorneys, Jerri Smitko. "And we are especially thankful that they issued a ruling so quickly considering they have been severely impacted by the flood. I think that speaks to the seriousness and the importance of the issue that was presented to them."
Loyola Law Professor Dane Ciolino originally told WWL-TV on Aug. 3 that the ExposeDAT blogger's comments about public affairs was protected speech under the 1st Amendment, and the raid was likely unconstitutional.
But Larpenter later went on local Houma TV station HTV and told talk-show host Martin Folse that the criminal defamation law was not unconstitutional. He criticized Ciolino on the show, saying, "Now, if this so-called professor they got out of whatever college he's from, and you know, I hate to criticize anybody, but apparently he didn't look at the West criminal code book to find out there is a statute in Louisiana you can go by criminally."
Ciolino never said the statute didn't exist, he just said it wasn't constitutional the way Larpenter was applying it. Ciolino reacted to the ruling from the appeals court by saying it couldn't have been clearer, and the case could prove costly for the sheriff's office if the Anderson's file a federal civil rights lawsuit.
The Terrebonne Parish Clerk of Court said last week that the evidence seized has been securely kept in her office and that no one had asked to see it since the court issued a stay on the examination of the evidence.
District Attorney Waitz recused his office from handling the case. Sheriff's office attorney Bill Dodd said Larpenter has also recused himself from the case, although his office is listed as the plaintiff in the matter before the appellate court. A representative from the Louisiana Attorney General's Office handled the arguments in the initial hearing about whether there was probable cause to issue the warrant.
The Attorney General's Office did not immediately get back to WWL-TV on whether they plan to appeal the 1st Circuit decision to the Louisiana Supreme Court.Copyright 2016, WWL-TV
From: Katie Moore and David Hammer, "Court rules search warrant in Terrebonne blog case unconstitutional," WWL-TV, August 25, 2016, http://www.wwltv.com/news/local/lafourche-terrebonne/court-rules-search-warrant-in-terrebonne-sheriff-case-unconstitutional/308367610, accessed 09/04/2016. Reprinted in accordance with the "fair use" provision of Title 17 U.S.C.
§ 107for a non-profit educational purpose.
Appeals court declares ExposeDAT search warrant unconstitutionalBRIDGET MIREAugust 25, 2016
The Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal on Thursday declared unconstitutional a search warrant that led to the Aug. 2 raid of a Houma Police officer's home as part of an investigation into an anti-corruption website.
The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's Office searched Wayne Anderson's home on St. Francis Street while looking into a defamation complaint by the parish's insurance agent, Tony Alford, over the blog ExposeDAT. State District Judge Randy Bethancourt signed the search warrant and upheld his authorization in an Aug. 5 hearing.
ExposeDAT began publishing articles about local public figures including Sheriff Jerry Larpenter, Parish President Gordon "Gordy" Dove and District Attorney Joe Waitz Jr. and their business dealings in late June. The website can be viewed at http://exposedat.in/wp/.
Someone using the pseudonym John Turner created the blog. Anderson, a former Terrebonne sheriff's deputy, denies involvement.
Houma attorney Jerri Smitko and Thibodaux attorneys David Ardoin and Matthew Ory are representing Anderson and his wife, Jennifer. They believe the website falls under the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
"The 1st Circuit basically said what we've been saying, that the criminal statute they used is unconstitutional whenever it deals with public figures or matters of public concern," Smitko said. "There's no crime. It's unconstitutional, so the affidavit's no good. They reversed the trial court's decision and granted our motion to quash the search warrant."
'JUSTICE HAS PREVAILED'
Alford's firms broker coverage for the Sheriff's Office and parish government.
He contested a claim that Larpenter continued to pay broker fees to him even as the sheriff's wife, Priscilla, makes a six-figure salary running Alford's office. Alford said the sheriff's brokerage contract is with a firm owned by his business partner, Christian Lapeyre, but he acknowledged that as Lapeyre's partner, he does share in the proceeds.
The ExposeDAT website also says Alford lined up new insurance coverage for the parish government without going through a public bid process and without an authorizing ordinance that the parish attorney has said is required.
Smitko said the appellate court agreed that Alford, as president of the Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District, is a public figure.
"Justice has prevailed," she said. "It sends a message to those involved that they cannot violate citizens' rights with impunity, and hopefully it will make the citizens of our parish less fearful about speaking out against matters of public concern."
She said the Andersons may seek damages for the search, which included the seizure of laptop computers and cellphones. The devices were held in the Clerk of Court's Office during the investigation.
Larpenter said Thursday evening that he hadn't seen the 1st Circuit's ruling and would wait to comment after he'd seen it.
Alford said he's accepted the 1st Circuit's ruling.
"That's what they thought, and we have to live with that ruling," he said. "That's why we have a court system. We're moving on right now."
THROUGH THE PROCESS
In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan that a state cannot award damages to public officials for defamation related to their official conduct unless they can prove "actual malice." In other words, the person who made the statement must have known it was false and exercised reckless disregard for its truthfulness.
That same year, the high court issued a similar ruling in Garrison v. Louisiana.
The Andersons were never charged with a crime. Houma Police Chief Dana Coleman said Wayne Anderson was placed on paid administrative leave for the investigation but returned to work earlier this month.
Smitko and Ardoin filed a lawsuit Aug. 10 in federal court in New Orleans, with Larpenter the only defendant named.
The attorneys asked U.S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey to keep the Sheriff's Office from continuing the investigation and to have the agency return the Andersons' property. They pointed out that Anderson couldn't work details while on leave, affecting his income, and that the investigation harmed his reputation.
Houma attorney Bill Dodd, who provides general counsel for the Sheriff's Office, said the agency withdrew from the criminal matter the day of Bethancourt's hearing.
On Aug. 16, Zainey cited the 1971 U.S. Supreme Court case Younger v. Harris in his reasons for denying Smitko and Ardoin's requests. The high court ruled in that case that a federal court cannot consider constitutional issues while a criminal case is pending in the same matter in state court.
Zainey also pointed out that Bethancourt's authorization of the search was at the center of the complaint, yet the Houma judge was not listed in the lawsuit. He found no legal error on Larpenter's part.
The state Attorney General's Office is handling the case after Waitz recused himself. Representatives did not immediately get back to WWL-TV on whether they plan to appeal the 1st Circuit's decision to the Louisiana Supreme Court.Copyright 2016, HoumaToday.com
From: Bridget Mire, "Appeals court declares ExposeDAT search warrant unconstitutional," HoumaToday.com, August 25, 2016, http://www.houmatoday.com/article/20160825/HURBLOG/160829790/0/, accessed 09/05/2016. WWL-TV contributed to this report. Staff Writer Bridget Mire can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Reprinted in accordance with the "fair use" provision of Title 17 U.S.C.
§ 107for a non-profit educational purpose.
'Anti-corruption' website lawsuit widensBRIDGET MIREDecember 31, 2016
Terrebonne Parish President Gordy Dove and the parish's insurance agent, Tony Alford, have been added to a federal lawsuit alleging they and Sheriff Jerry Larpenter conspired to deprive a Houma couple of constitutional rights while investigating a self-described
The Sheriff's Office searched Houma Police officer Wayne Anderson's home Aug. 2 while looking into a defamation complaint by Alford over the blog ExposeDAT. Sheriff's Office attorney Bill Dodd has said an IP address led investigators to Anderson's home.
ExposeDAT began publishing articles July 2 about local public figures' business and personal relationships. The website is no longer online, and there have been no posts to the ExposeDAT Facebook page since July 31.
Attorneys for Anderson and his wife, Jennifer, filed a lawsuit Aug. 10 in New Orleans, with Larpenter the only defendant named. They now also name the Sheriff's Office, Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government and the Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District. Alford is president of the district's Board of Commissioners.
The amended lawsuit refers to an ExposeDAT article alleging Dove awarded the insurance contract to Alford to make up for bad debt Alford had guaranteed to pay for a defunct company he and Dove previously owned. The article also claimed Alford's company brokered coverage for the Sheriff's Office because the sheriff's wife, Priscilla, works for Alford's office.
"The defendants conspired together to initiate unjustified and factually and legally baseless criminal proceedings against the plaintiffs," the lawsuit says. "The defendants lacked probable cause and/or any viable legal justification to initiate the said proceedings. The defendants acted maliciously and as a consequence of these actions, the plaintiffs suffered deprivation of their liberties and have sustained damages."
Alford praised the work Dove and Larpenter have done for the parish and said he's also done community service.
"When people come at you like this, it's just ridiculous," he said. "These crazy people obviously have a lot of time on their hands to do things like they do, and it's not going to throw me off course. I'm going to continue to do what I'm doing. Everything we do is straight-up and forward. ... It's craziness, but you kind of have to let it roll off your back and move forward."
"It is frivolous, baseless and very irresponsible to file this type of lawsuit that makes absolutely no sense," he said. "It's one of the most ridiculous lawsuits I've ever seen filed. It's a waste of time and money. We take it like every other lawsuit. We will file an answer and move forward with it."
Someone using the pseudonym John Turner created the blog, but the lawsuit seems to imply Wayne or Jennifer Anderson was responsible. It says Larpenter, Dove and Alford "conspired together to injure, oppress, threaten and intimidate the author (plaintiff) of the website."
Anderson, a former Terrebonne sheriff's deputy, and his wife were never charged with a crime. However, he was placed on paid administrative leave for the investigation, leaving him unable to work details.
The lawsuit claims Dove told Synergy Bank's board of directors he was going to shut down ExposeDAT and have subpoenas issued. It also says Anderson was read his rights and stripped of his badge, weapon, law enforcement commission card and police car in front of neighbors who had gathered around the scene of the raid.
In addition, the lawsuit refers to an anonymous letter that referenced criminal charges against Jennifer Anderson dating as far back as 2003. She pleaded guilty to fraud and theft, and that information was broadcast on HTV.
The lawsuit claims the Sheriff's Office conducted an "unjustified and perhaps illegal" records search and outlined Jennifer Anderson's charges. It says the publication of that information hurt her reputation and caused her to lose her job.
State District Judge Randy Bethancourt signed a warrant for the raid of the Andersons' home and upheld his authorization in an Aug. 5 hearing. The Sheriff's Office seized laptop computers and cellphones in the search, but they were not examined.
U.S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey on Aug. 16 denied the plaintiffs' requests to keep the Sheriff's Office from continuing the investigation and have the agency return the seized property. The Louisiana 1st Circuit Court of Appeal on Aug. 25 declared the search warrant unconstitutional.
Zainey on Sept. 12 dismissed Thibodaux attorneys David Ardoin and Matthew Ory from representing the plaintiffs at their request. New Orleans attorney Conrad Williams III replaced them Oct. 6, joining Houma attorney Jerri Smitko.
U.S. District Judge Lance Africk is now presiding over the case after Zainey recused himself because his son works for Williams' law firm.
Larpenter said the defendants may end up filing their own lawsuits.
"This is all politically motivated," he said. "Somebody's got an agenda. I believe we will prevail in the end."Copyright 2016, GateHouse Media, LLC
From: Bridget Mire, "'Anti-corruption' website lawsuit widens," Daily Comet, December 31, 2016, http://www.dailycomet.com/news/20161231/anti-corruption-website-lawsuit-widens, accessed 01/25/2017. Staff Writer Bridget Mire can be reached at email@example.com. Reprinted in accordance with the "fair use" provision of Title 17 U.S.C.
§ 107for a non-profit educational purpose.
- Michael Gorman, "Ironies abound in fight over website," Houmatoday.com, September 2, 2016, Editorial, http://www.houmatoday.com/article/20160902/OPINION01/160909997/, accessed 09/05/2016.
- Dawn Geske, "First Amendment rights at center of police officer's lawsuit for blog comments," The Louisiana Record, January 24, 2017, http://louisianarecord.com/stories/511075941-first-amendment-rights-at-center-of-police-officer-s-lawsuit-for-blog-comments, accessed 01/25/2017.
Anderson v. Larpenter, Civil Action No. 16-13733
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
Judge Jay C. Zainey*
- COMPLAINT (FILED AUG. 10, 2016)
- MOTION AND MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF RESTRAINING ORDER
- MOTION AND MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
- ORDER AND REASONS (BOTH MOTIONS DENIED)
- AMENDED COMPLAINT (ADDS NEW DEFENDANTS AND CHARGES)
*Judge Zainey recused himself on Oct. 4, 2016, after the Andersons hired the Williams Law Group of New Orleans to represent them, creating a personal conflict of interest. His replacement was U.S. District Judge Lance M. Africk.
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