Legal Matters

Former LPD officer’s suspension upheld

Nolvey Stelly was disciplined in 2013 for failing to show up for a fitness-for-duty examination.

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal has upheld a former Lafayette Police Department lieutenant’s 15-day suspension meted out in 2013 for failing to obey orders.

Nolvey Stelly was disciplined in 2013, according to the appeals court’s opinion released Wednesday, for failing to show up for a fitness-for-duty examination in Baton Rouge, to which he was ordered to be transported by fellow officers from police headquarters in Lafayette.

According to the 3rd Circuit, Stelly “had been on extended sick leave with pay for a year due to job-related stress” when he was informed of the scheduled FFDE. The appellate opinion notes that Stelly was served with a conditional administrative leave notice issued by former Chief Jim Craft and informed of the date, time and means of transportation for the FFDE. The notice also outlined consequences for failing to follow the directive.

Later that same day, on Aug. 19, 2013, Stelly’s attorney sent an email to the city attorney saying Stelly wouldn’t be available for transport the next day because he was in Baton Rouge at the attorney’s office. Instead, the attorney wrote, Stelly would walk to the FFDE.

Craft was having none of it, directing the city attorney to email Stelly’s attorney and let them know they expected Stelly to be at police headquarters at 6:30 a.m. the next morning for the drive to the FFDE in Baton Rouge. Stelly was a no-show.

Less than a week later, Stelly was notified that he was under investigation, which led to the determination that he had violated policy. He was suspended 15 days, which the Lafayette Municipal Fire & Police Civil Service Board upheld. A district court judge also upheld Stelly’s suspension, which led to his appeal to the 3rd Circuit.

Joy Rabalais, an attorney for LCG, confirmed Wednesday afternoon that Stelly is no longer with the department: “He was terminated on December 30, 2013, and that matter is likewise up on appeal to the 15th JDC,” Rabalais says in an email.

Stelly was one of nine officers who, the same year he was terminated from the LPD, filed a civil rights lawsuit against the department and former Chief Craft alleging widespread corruption and retribution against officers who spoke out. That so-called “Serpico suit” was later dismissed.