The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal has sided with a lower court, the City-Parish Council and the civil service board regarding the 2012 termination of Corporal Scott Poiencot, who was among a group of disgruntled Lafayette Police Department officers filing a federal suit against former Chief Jim Craft and the city alleging widespread corruption.
The 3rd Circuit opinion reveals that Poiencot in 2012 had been the subject of three separate Internal Affairs investigations regarding his alleged release to local media of confidential documents and a secret recording of a conversation between a fellow officer and higher-ranking member of the department, as well as Poiencot’s refusal to submit to a polygraph related to the other investigations.
Poiencot’s cloak-and-dagger activities within the department became part of what was known in local media reports as the “Serpico Suit” against LPD — referencing the real case and subsequent movie starring Al Pacino about a New York City Police officer who attacks corruption within the NYPD. Poiencot’s termination was unanimously upheld by the Lafayette Municipal Fire & Police Civil Service Board and City-Parish Council as well as by District Judge Laurie Hulin of the 15th Judicial District in Lafayette.
Poiencot and several other disgruntled officers eventually filed a federal suit against Craft and the city — a case that was dismantled by former U.S. District Judge Richard Haik, who questioned the officers’ attorneys in court in a 2014 hearing. Courtroom witnesses to the hearing told The Independent at the time that it was an embarrassing unraveling of the officers’ case against the PD and city.
As The Independent reported shortly after the hearing:
For all six of the remaining plaintiffs in the case - including Kane Marceaux, Scott Poiencot, Greg Cormier, Gabe Thompson, Nolvey Stelly and Uletom Hewitt - Haik went one by one, listing the allegations made by each and demanding proof from their attorneys. For each of their six clients, [the plaintiffs’ attorneys] were left nearly speechless, and with no facts in hand to prove their claims of corruption, Haik’s response for each of the six was the same: Case dismissed.
Read the 3rd Circuit opinion issued Wednesday by clicking here.