Criminal defense turns into civil rights lawsuits

Louisiana readers may be shocked to hear of a case in which it is alleged that respected members of the Washington Parish community are accused of using their positions of power to take advantage of one local man. The case began with the man in need of criminal defense against accusations of intimidating a witness, simple battery and obstruction of justice. Now, however, some of the accusers are themselves facing a federal civil rights suit.

The story begins with a man who agreed to act as a process server for a family member in an effort to make a quick $50. The man being served was a former police officer, and the papers were related to a brutality lawsuit. The former officer was approached outside of a courthouse, and the transfer of documents took place. However, multiple witnesses claimed that the process server slapped the papers into the chest of the former officer, and acted to intimidate and harass him using violence and force. The process server has a prior felony conviction connected to drugs, and the maximum sentence for the two felony charges carries a sentence of 20 years each, leaving the man in fear of being sent to prison.

The case may have taken a very ugly turn had the man's family not filmed the entire incident using two cell phones. That footage showed an envelope passing between the two men with absolutely no physical contact or struggle. That evidence led to the charges against the man being dropped, as attention turned to those who appear to have given false statements about the incident.

The man who served papers to a former Louisiana police officer is relieved that he will no longer be in need of a criminal defense in the matter, even though he has lost considerable time and money fighting the case. As for those who claimed that he acted with violence, they are now facing a civil rights lawsuit. As the case moves forward, it serves as an example of the importance of having a solid defense strategy in place that can make use of all relevant evidence and testimony.

Source: wwltv.com, "Charges crumble after cell phone video uncovered", Mike Perlstein, Feb. 25, 2015

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