view full story- Hillar Moore elected president of state DA group; BRAVE back-to-school event Saturday: Weekly Business Bulletin
Hillar Moore elected president of Louisiana District Attorneys Association
Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar C. Moore III has been elected president of the Louisiana District Attorneys Association. Moore is District Attorney in the 19th Judicial District of Louisiana in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Also elected were:
First Vice President J. Reed Walters, District Attorney (28th J.D., Jena)
Second Vice President S. Andrew Shealy, Assistant District Attorney (16th J.D., New Iberia)
James P. Lemoine, District Attorney (35th J.D., Colfax)
Charles A. Riddle III, District Attorney (12th J.D., Marksville)
Christopher Bowman, Assistant District Attorney (Orleans Parish, New Orleans)
H. Todd Nesom, District Attorney (33rd J.D., Oberlin)
Bradley R. Burget, District Attorney (7th J.D., Vidalia)
Don M. Burkett, District Attorney (11th J.D., Many)
Charles J. Ballay, District Attorney (25th J.D., Belle Chasse)
Ricky Babin, District Attorney (23rd J.D., Donaldsonville)
Michael C. Cassidy, District Attorney (31st J.D., Jennings)
John F. DeRosier, District Attorney (14th J.D., Lake Charles)
Robert L. Odinet, Assistant District Attorney (16th J.D., New Iberia)
Billy Clark, District Attorney Investigator (23rd J.D., Donaldsonville)
Paul D. Connick, Jr., District Attorney (24th J.D., Gretna)
The new officers begin their terms on Aug. 15.
BRAVE hosting CommUNITY Back-to-School event
On Saturday, August 8, Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination (BRAVE) will host a free day of fun to help youth of all ages prepare to return to school. This back-to-school festival will be held from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Family and Youth Service Center (FYSC), 1120 Government St.
Officials say the focus of the festival is to inform students and their parents about community resources at FYSC to help them achieve success in school and at home. The festival will include physical activities, games and crafts that use skills from the classroom to engage and educate students. Local law enforcement agencies will also be present to promote positive community and officer relations.
A Teen Summit will be held in the FYSC gymnasium from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for more age appropriate activities.
Free backpacks filled with school supplies will be given to the first 500 attendees who pre-register online and complete all activity stations at the event. Attendees also have the chance to win free door prizes, get community agency information and other resources.
Sending “revenge porn” can land you behind bars, new housing protections are being extended to domestic violence victims and enforcement of sea turtle protection laws is tightening as hundreds of new Louisiana laws take effect Saturday.
The provisions of more than 260 bills passed by state lawmakers earlier this year kick in Aug. 1. Many of the statute changes are modest adjustments to existing laws or govern arcane issues that will draw little public attention. Others are more sweeping in scope.
CRIME AND COURTS
Anyone who shares a nude or partially-nude cellphone picture or video without permission — often an attempt at public shaming called “revenge pornography” — will now face up to two years in jail and a fine reaching $10,000.
Laws already on the books made it a crime to send a nude image of someone under the age of 17. The new law criminalizing “nonconsensual disclosure of a private image” is aimed at protecting people who aren’t minors. Exceptions are included for police investigations and people who intentionally expose themselves in public.
In addition to creating new crimes, lawmakers also changed the terms used to describe some existing offenses.
Authorities have used “simple rape,” “forcible rape” and “aggravated rape” to describe the varying degrees of sexual assault charges. The new terms will be third-degree rape, second-degree rape and first-degree rape, after complaints that a term like “simple rape” was insulting to victims.
The laws also are changing for victims of domestic violence, to give them more freedom to break a lease to escape an abuser and to let landlords immediately evict those who are deemed abusers by the courts or a state welfare agency. In some narrow situations, landlords will be barred from evicting abuse victims.
SAFE HAVEN LAW
More information will be distributed to the public about Louisiana’s safe haven law that allows a parent to relinquish a baby up until they’re two months old.
The state social services department has to develop an annual and public information plan to increase awareness about the law. The new law spells out what the plan should contain and requires annual reporting to lawmakers about the effort.
Under the safe haven law, parents who are unable to care for a newborn can leave the child at any designated facility instead of abandoning the child in an unsafe environment. Louisiana’s designated facilities include any licensed hospital, public health unit, emergency medical service provider, medical clinic, fire or police station or pregnancy crisis center.
SHRIMP AND TURTLES
Shrimpers hope to boost their sales now that state wildlife officials will be able to enforce federal requirements for shrimp nets to include escape hatches for sea turtles. A 1987 enforcement ban is officially removed from the books Saturday.
All sea turtles found in U.S. waters are endangered or threatened. In the mid-1980s, when Louisiana’s law was passed, the federal rule requiring “turtle excluder devices” in shrimp trawls was new and contentious.
Supporters of removing the state enforcement ban said some big-box retailers boycotted Louisiana shrimp because they objected to the state restrictions and raised concerns about the state’s handling of protections for endangered sea turtles.
BOOSTED LITTER FINES
Littering fines are doubling, in a bid to help shrink Louisiana’s retirement debt.
Fines for simple littering will be $150 for a first offense and $1,000 for subsequent offenses. Fines for intentional littering will grow to anywhere from $500 to $2,500. Fines for improperly disposing of larger litter, like furniture and appliances, could reach up to $10,000.
The new money is earmarked to pay down the debt of the retirement system of the law enforcement agency that issues the litter citation.
Some police dogs help law enforcement officers by finding narcotics and tracking suspects. Professionally trained facility dogs help them by making it easier for sexually assaulted children to describe what happened to them during forensic interviews and while testifying in court against their abusers.
Join Tommy Beeson, the Terrebonne Parish District Attorney's Office Chief Investigator who has over 40 years of law enforcement experience, at the 2015 International Courthouse Dogs Conference in Seattle October 4-6 and learn how his partner Duvall has helped him investigate crimes against children and obtain convictions.
DA Fitzpatrick takes reins of national group, becomes 'voice of America's prosecutors'
Syracuse, NY -- Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick will take over leadership of the National District Attorney's Association during a swearing-in Monday in Chicago. Fitzpatrick will speak for district attorneys across the nation as president of the group, which calls itself the "voice of America's prosecutors." He'll control the association's business, preside over meetings and determine the group's agenda.
"I think it's a great honor for Syracuse and Onondaga County and New York," Fitzpatrick said. It'll promote what New York does right in fighting crime and help us learn from other states as to what we could do better, he said.
The longtime Republican DA, who is running unopposed for a seventh term in November, will be only the second New Yorker to lead the DA's association. The first one, William Murphy, of Staten Island, led the group in the 1980s, Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick said one of his priorities will be expanding a program that allows prosecutors to share expertise on DNA cases. Right now, the DA's association allows prosecutors to get help from about 25 experts in DNA evidence. That program could expand to experts in fingerprints, ballistics, and abusive head trauma, Fitzpatrick said.
That would combat what Fitzpatrick called the "cottage industry" of experts-for-hire who are paid by defendants to testify using "junk science." As an example, the DA cited a defense expert in Dr. Robert Neulander's murder trial whose record included botching a gunshot investigation and giving interviews to the National Enquirer tabloid.
Fitzpatrick also said he'd like to focus on wrongful convictions, encouraging other states to follow New York's lead for a "best practices" committee for prosecutions. The state DA's association, which Fitzpatrick has previously led, recently joined forces with the Innocence Project to push for new laws designed to adopt practices that reduce the risk of convictions due to mistaken identification or false confessions.
The DA said that his additional duties would not require significantly more travel. He already attends the group's three conferences a year. The position may require a few more trips to Washington D.C., but Fitzpatrick said he'd do "90 percent" of business by phone or e-mail. As it is already, travel will be paid for using the DA's office travel budget and drug forfeiture money, Fitzpatrick said. Historically he also uses campaign funds for dinners, golf and other activities on these trips.
When asked what types of topics he'd talk about as president of the DA's association, Fitzpatrick took a swipe at President Obama's recent pardon of 46 federal criminals. While he did not dispute Obama's authority to issue the pardons, Fitzpatrick questioned at least one pardon that he claimed set free a criminal known for bringing guns and drugs into an Alabama community. The DA acknowledged that some of the pardons might have been justified. (In addition, those criminals were prosecuted by U.S. attorneys, not prosecutors from ranks of the state district attorney's offices.)
Fitzpatrick also called the Democratic president "reluctant" to speak about victims' rights and violent crime.
The Onondaga County DA will be officially take over during a "passing of the gavel" ceremony during a DA's luncheon. His wife, Court of Claims Judge Diane Fitzpatrick, will swear him in.
He takes over from group president Mike Moore, a district attorney from South Dakota.