The Louisiana Supreme Court confirmed on Nov. 7 that it has denied Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope’s writ application, in essence ending his appeal of a district court decision holding him in criminal contempt of court for failing to comply with two public records requests from The Independent and then flaunting court orders meant to remedy that failure.
Information eventually obtained from those records showed that the city marshal colluded with the campaign of Scott Police Chief Chad Leger last year, using the resources of his office to benefit Leger’s unsuccessful bid for Lafayette Parish sheriff. Mark Garber, the target of what amounted to a smear job by Pope and Leger’s campaign manager, Joe Castille, went on to win the election and was sworn into office in July.
In August Pope was indicted on five felony counts by a Lafayette Parish grand jury and may be facing additional counts as the grand jury continues its investigation.
Back in March, Edwards found him in contempt of court in the civil case, sentencing him to 30 days of jail time, with all but seven days suspended, and ordering him to pay upwards of $100,000 in attorneys fees, court costs and penalties in the now year-long public records dispute.
Pope’s jail time can be served under house arrest. He was given four years of unsupervised probation, and if he violates his probation will serve the remaining 23 days of suspended imprisonment. The Independent expects the district court to set a status hearing any day now to establish the dates for house arrest and community service.
In his ruling, Edwards painted a picture of a law enforcement official who believed himself above the law by willfully failing to comply with the public records requests.
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