Pas bon, Badon

by Walter Pierce

State Rep. Bobby Badon's off the hook on a technicality, but the public relations nightmare over his DWI continues.

The video of state Rep. Bobby Badon's OWI arrest in January 2010 has gone viral, thanks to The Advocate's public records request for it. In a story published Tuesday, The Advocatereveals that Badon "dropped the names of several high-ranking law enforcement officials, told the investigating trooper that I'm not just a regular citizen' and pleaded for a little leniency.'"

Composed and professional despite Badon's pleas, State Trooper James Lazard is shown pulling the Carencro Democrat over about 11:30 p.m. on Jan. 18, 2010. Lazard's narrative, also obtained by The Advocate, notes:

"Immediately upon coming into contact with Mr. Badon, I observed obvious signs of intoxication, which included the strong odor of alcoholic beverages emitting from his breath as he spoke with slurred speech, glassy bloodshot eyes, and unsure balance as he rocked back and forth," Lazard wrote in the report.

The newspaper submitted a public records request to State Police for a copy of the video after 15th Judicial District Judge Herman Clause ruled last week that there was no basis for Lazard's traffic stop that led to Badon's first-offense DWI charge. Clause agreed with Badon's defense that his wide left turn, which is what Lazard stopped him for, was in compliance with state law.

The ruling means all evidence gathered after the stop is inadmissible in court, the newspaper noted, including the breathalyzer test showing 0.125 percent.

The tape shows Badon, who admits he's been drinkin, asking several times for an escort home because his house is just down the street and says twice that he was out at a steak dinner with St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz, Bobby Dupre and Ray Bellow.

Early in the tape, when the officer asks him not to reach into his pocket, Badon says, "I was going to call my chief [Carencro Police Chief Carlos Stout], but I don't have to. I hope we can handle it diplomatically."

He then tells Lazard that he probably could not pass a field sobriety test. "We all kind of guilty of it," Badon says.

"In my situation it would be tough for me to have the news media on there," Badon tells Lazard.

The Advocate notes that Badon's attorney, Barry Sallinger, is not happy with the release of the tape. Read more on that here and view the video here.