27 July 2007

pineville, la. city government continues to thumb its nose at louisiana law

heres the latest on the city of pineville, louisiana public records request for the city of pineville chief of staff rich dupree's emails...

for those of you interested and following the ongoing saga of pineville's scandalous utter contempt for and disregard of louisiana law -- you probably remember our post from 23 july 2007 in which we documented mr. lynton hester's request to view mr. rich dupree's (already separated) emails, which according to pineville's attorney and federal court judge wannabe: jimmy "the wizard" faircloth in a letter to local attorney gregory aymond just seventeen days ago (10 july 2007) to inform mr. aymond that "the city of pineville has completed its review of the e-mails at issue and divided them into categories in accord with judge swent's ruling and our jointly submitted judgment." see mr. faircloth's actual letter here.

well, earlier this evening mr. hester said that he had received no response whatsoever from city of pineville, public records custodian ellen melancon, despite ms. melancon being statutorily bound to contact mr. hester by today. mr. hester said that according to the united states postal service certified mail return card, a mr. wayne dauzat signed for receipt of his public records request on tuesday 24 july 2007. mr hester told wst... that around 3:45 pm today he telephoned ms. melancon's office and was told that she wasnt in but would return his call. additionally, mr. hester obtained ms. melancon's email address and emailed her. he received no response to his telephone call or email.

louisiana law at RS 44:32 D requires that:

In any case in which a record is requested and a question is raised by the custodian of the record as to whether it is a public record, such custodian shall within three days, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays, of the receipt of the request, in writing for such record, notify in writing the person making such request of his determination and the reasons therefor. Such written notification shall contain a reference to the basis under law which the custodian has determined exempts a record, or any part thereof, from inspection, copying, or reproduction.
louisiana's attorney general charles foti, on his website, has a section reserved just for public records laws see "publications: public records laws". ag foti, in plain easy to understand terminology explains the laws governing citizens public records requests and the public body's duty in fulfilling these requests. one can only deduce that city of pineville, louisiana governmental officers together with its lawyers consider themselves to be above the law.

city of pineville and their attorneys werent totally idle today. they did find the time to prepare and file the following motion. this motion attempts to quash gregory aymonds appeal of ninth judicial court judge f. rae swent's 24 may 2007 judgement.

first of all this judgment was prepared by mr. faircloth and he is the one that labeled it a "partial judgement". however, a clear reading of that judgment shows that it was final except for the issue that if mr. aymond wants to see those emails that require lawyer comment then they would come back into court.

under what must be mr. faircloth's convoluted logic, if mr. aymond never wanted to come back into court to see those emails this judgment would never be final and therefore could never be appealed! additionally, the code of civil procedure la ccp article 1911 provides "an appeal may be taken from a final judgment under article 1915 (a) without the judgment being so designated" so it doesnt matter what mr. faircloth labels his judgment. additionally, you see from mr. faircloths motion that he cites three third circuit court of appeal cases to support his position: smit land & marine, inc. v whc, inc. [11 page .pdf] and fix v rogan [6 page .pdf] and luther v turner. [6 page .pdf] all three of these cases deal with motions for partial summary judgments and not with a case such as city of pineville versus gregory aymond which actually had a trial on the merits. its clear that mr. faircloth is just pulling another scam.

one other thing that the local attorneys might find interesting enough to keep in mind if they find themselves on opposite sides of mr. faircloth, is that under uniform rules of district courts, rule 9.9(a) requires a memoranda of fact and law to be filed and served with legal motions. there was no memoranda of fact and law. the local lawyers (judges too) might also find it interesting that mr. faircloth doesnt seem to take the court rules very seriously either. so next time you dont feel like following the court rules, please feel free to cite this motion.

anyway, all judge swent has to do is simply designate this now to be a final judgment and allow mr. aymond's appeal to go forward. this motion of mr. faircloth's is simply a delay tactic that will do nothing but cost the citizens of pineville more legal fees and court costs in the attempt to shield mr. dupree's emails. besides, even should judge swent agree with mr.faircloth that would mean that mr. aymond could seek an supervisory writ instead of an appeal.

what is clear is that pineville does not have any intentions of complying with the law. it is also clear that the local news media needs to step in and report this and be proactive for citizens rights such as the advocate did.

reportedly, next week pineville mayor fields is going to get sworn in as the president of the louisiana municipal association. we wonder if mayor fields is going to teach the municipal association on how to avoid complying with the states laws at least as they apply to public records?

when this is all over who will submit a public records request and find out how much the city of pineville has squandered in legal fees? will it be you? and will pineville bother to comply?

stay tuned...

see also
central la politics blog
the rumor mill from pineville
and also
cenla tidbits
  • rich dupree emails
  • pineville city attorney litigates for casino slot machine scam
  • pineville mayor address public records lawsuit
  • judge swent waffles on pineville public records lawsuit
  • city of pineville v gregory aymond
  • greg aymond - rich dupree .mp3s
  • tony snowjob & white house press corps agree: bloggers suck!