30 December 2007

new attorney general opinion could spell some relief for alexandrians; trouble for councilmen charles frederick smith and roosevelt johnson

according to today's baton rouge morning advocate, louisiana state attorney general charles foti released an opinion on friday 28 december 2007:


Politics Notebook for December 30, 2007
Advocate Capitol News Bureau
Published: Dec 30, 2007 - Page: 1B

Ruling could affect state legislators

Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti Jr. released an opinion Friday stating that legislators cannot hold a position in a sheriff’s office, even if that position is appointed or part time.

Anne Dunn, director of House Legislative Services, requested the opinion, but said she could not divulge for which legislator she requested the information.

Foti wrote in his opinion that state law prohibits elected officials from holding another elective office, a full-time appointed office, or employment in state government or a political subdivision of state government.

However, the attorney general concluded that holding even a part-time appointed position in a sheriff’s office is prohibited because the Louisiana Constitution states that no one holding office in one of the three branches of government shall exercise power belonging to either of the other branches. emphasis ours

According to the opinion, a legislator is considered a part of the government’s legislative branch and a deputy sheriff, who is given the same authority granted by law as a sheriff, is a constitutional officer who serves in the judicial branch.
alexandria city councilmen charles frederick smith and roosevelt johnson are both employed by the rapides parish sheriff's office. although, the complete opinion hasnt yet been posted to the attorney general's opinion page we've long held that its patently unfair, immoral even, for councilmen smith and johnson (and anyone else similarily situated) to sit upon the city council authoring and passing ordinances that could fall under the purview of a law enforcement organization that they also hold an office in.

take the so called 'baggy pants' ordinance for example. councilman charles frederick smith authored that ordinance. councilman johnson voted for it as well. now how do we know that they arent using their positions as councilmen to pass criminal or civil violation ordinances against their enemies or people that they dont like so that they can then turn around and enforce it in their positions as law enforcement officers. in other words you cant be a cop and at the same time write the laws that you are going to enforce. it's just not right.

perhaps this attorney general opinion addresses this...time will tell.

central la politics blog has more - see link.