Hymel Davis & Petersen – Attorneys and Counselors at Law
Call Today
View Our Practice Areas

Baton Rouge Criminal Law Blog

$90,000 award for no-knock raid on wrong house affirmed

Knocking on the wrong door can be embarrassing, but when the police knock on the wrong door, embarrassment does not adequately describe the reaction of the people who live in the house. When a sheriff's office SWAT team executed a no-knock warrant on the wrong house in Labadieville in 2013, the result was an award of $90,000 in damages to the family whose home was wrongly entered. The award was recently affirmed by a Louisiana appellate court.

The state police obtained a search warrant in connection with the investigation of drug crimes that entitled it to enter a home without knocking or otherwise alerting the occupants. The warrant was signed by a judge and contained the address of the house that police intended to search. Unfortunately, the Assumption Parish Sheriff's SWAT team executed the warrant using a verbal description of the target residence as "the second house on the right," which was the wrong house. After police forced their way into the home, they hand-cuffed the two adults and four children. The father testified that he was afraid that burglars had entered his home and that he thought they intended to murder him, his wife and his children. The raid was halted when one of the officers recognized the father as a personal acquaintance and realized that police had entered the wrong house.

Athletic director at private school charged with child sex crimes

The administration of a private school in Grand Coteau professed surprise when a member of its administration was arrested and charged with a number of felonies arising out of his alleged efforts to make and distribute sexual images of children. The man served as both the school's athletic director and basketball coach. He was charged with attempted production of sexual abuse images and videos of children, indecent behavior with a juvenile and computer-aided solicitation of a minor.

According to the Louisiana Attorney General's office, the investigation was begun by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Louisiana law enforcement agencies became involved when the Texas DPS asked for assistance from the Cyber Crime Unit of the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation. All in all, four law enforcement agencies participated in the investigation: the Cyber Crime Unit, the Texas DPS, Homeland Security and the St. Landry Sheriff's Office.

Finance manager charged with forgery and theft in truck sale

The finance manager of an auto dealership in Monroe, Louisiana, was charged with forgery and theft in connection with a scheme to steal down payments from customers. These alleged white collar crimes came to light when a customer attempted to obtain the registration, license plate and payment booklet for a vehicle she purchased.

According to the police affidavits used to obtain search warrants, in January of 2017, the customer wrote a check for $10,000 to the dealership as the down payment. During the next several months, the woman repeatedly contacted the dealership to obtain papers for the vehicle.

Traffic stop leads to discovery of $825,000 stash of heroin

Routine Louisiana traffic stops commonly involve little more than the issuance of a ticket for speeding or some other traffic law. Occasionally, traffic stops result in an arrest for DUI. On rare occasions, traffic stops can lead to further investigations and an arrest for a more serious crime.

A recent traffic stop in Calcasieu Parish led to the arrest of a man and a woman on multiple weapons and drug charges. The traffic stop occurred on I-10. Deputies discovered $72,600 in the car. The driver was arrested and booked on a money laundering charge.

Two arrested for possession of child pornography

Possession of pornographic images of children under the age of 13 is an especially serious crime. Most such crimes are treated as felonies, and the penalties can be very severe for persons who are repeat offenders or registered sex offenders. Two recent arrests of registered sex offenders by the Louisiana State Cyber Crimes Unit demonstrate the potential consequences of collecting and possessing child pornography.

One of the suspects was charged with 500 counts of possessing sexual abuse images and videos of children under the age of 13. The suspect is currently on probation after having been previously convicted of similar crimes. If the man is convicted of the current charges, his prior history of similar conduct means that he could serve up to 40 years in prison and be assessed a fine of up to $75,000.

Rape conviction reversed after 45 years in prison

The conviction of a man for rape was recently reversed after a district judge reviewed the record of his criminal trial. The man was released from prison after serving 45 years. The case provides a powerful example of how prosecutors can exceed their powers and how criminal charges based on weak evidence can result in the imprisonment of an innocent person.

In October 1971, the defendant was charged with abducting and raping a woman outside a Baton Rouge hospital. The victim's testimony was the only evidence linking the defendant to the crime, and the woman even questioned the reliability of her own identification. The woman told police that she thought the man who raped her was taller than the defendant and had a rougher voice. The defendant asserted that he was innocent, but he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Robbery suspect arrested 5 days after release from prison

Louisiana's legislature has been revising the state's criminal law system in order to shed the state's informal title as the "incarceration capital of the world. One of the central features of the legislative program is the reduction in prison sentences and shortening of incarceration periods for convicted criminals. Critics of these changes were given another argument when a convict given early release under the new laws was arrested on suspicion of two felonies five days after his discharge from prison.

The suspect had been imprisoned after being convicted for auto theft. His sentence was reduced (although no one seems certain of the length of the reduction) under the new laws. Five days after his release, he was arrested for allegedly attempting to rob two construction workers at gunpoint.

Prostitution sting leads to 57 arrests in Shreveport

The Shreveport Police Department announced that 57 persons had been arrested in connection with what the department called the "Slick John" sting operation. The sting operation was conducted by the vice department of the Shreveport police, the Bossier City Police Department, the Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office, the FBI and several other law enforcement agencies.

The sting, named using the slang term for men who use prostitutes, resulted in a variety of criminal charges, most of which were lodged against men charging them with soliciting prostitution. The ages of the suspects ranged from 19 to 66. Only a few women were arrested, but the exact number was not disclosed. A missing juvenile was also found during the sting.

Brother and sister charged with three murders

On October 18, 2017, officers from the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office discovered three bodies in two different locations. After what police officers described as a "very intense investigation," a brother and sister from Alexandria, Louisiana have been charged with several felonies in connection with the alleged murders.

According to police, their investigation began when they received a call about a woman's body lying in Monroe Street in Alexandria. Police were able to identify a suspect by the end of the day, and he was arrested near the crime scene after attempting to evade police. Police are alleging that he stabbed the woman several times before he threw her from his car. The man's sister was arrested shortly thereafter, and both have been incarcerated at the Rapides Parish Detention Center.

Shooting deaths mar Grambling homecoming

College homecoming celebrations often involve wild partying. Unfortunately, the partying became fatal as Grambling State in Monroe, Louisiana, celebrated its homecoming. According to police, two men were allegedly shot and killed by a third man, who is now the principal suspect in the incident. If captured, the suspect will undoubtedly face serious criminal charges.

According to the police account of the incident, the three men became involved in an altercation in a room in one of the nearby dormitories. The fight escalated and spilled into the courtyard in front of the dorms. One of the men allegedly shot the other two and immediately fled the scene. One of the dead men was a student at Grambling, and the other was alleged to have been a childhood friend but not a student at the school. His presence on the campus was unexplained.