UPDATE - Appeals court denies Marshal Pope’s request to stay hearing

by Christiaan Mader

The court will determine the extent and nature of Pope's contempt tomorrow after all, whether the city marshal likes it or not.

Photo by Robin May

Not 10 minutes after reporting that City Marshal Brian Pope had filed a request to stay tomorrow's contempt hearing, the Third Circuit Court of Appeal denied the request.

With the latest ruling, the March 22 contempt hearing will proceed as scheduled on March 22 at 10 a.m. The district court is expected to determine the nature of contempt — civil or criminal — and assess penalties accordingly.

The dispute concerns The IND’s attempts to obtain public records that would later demonstrate the marshal abused his office for political purposes by collaborating with the Chad Leger for sheriff campaign on an Oct. 7 press conference attacking Leger’s opponent.

In a memo filed by IND attorney Gary McGoffin late this afternoon, The IND suggested several remedies to what the newspaper argues are three separate contempt violations — a violation of his duty as custodian of public record, a violation of a mandamus order that he fulfill that duty and a violation of an injunction against withholding any requested records.

In light of 190 legal days passed without Pope fully satisfying The IND's outstanding public records requests, The IND has suggested that the court order the city marshal to complete 190 hours of litter abatement to remedy his violation of a mandamus order, 190 hours of community service in the form of presentations on the custodial duty of public officials in the production of records for his violation of the public records statute and 190 hours of suspended jail time for his violation of an injunction against withholding records.

Pope is already on the hook for penalties, costs and fees stemming from a January ruling in the ongoing public records dispute, totaling in excess of $80,000. The marshal has appealed that January ruling, filing a security bond covering that amount. He could motion to consolidate his suspensive appeal of that ruling with an appeal of whatever judgment comes out of tomorrow's hearing.