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2015 Baton Rouge Attorney Profiles
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Inspector General responds to complaints about Bobby Jindal

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City on Friday, May 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has been advised to avoid issuing some politically-charged statements through his taxpayer-funded office, following complaints over a press release the governor’s office sent out this week calling U.S. Sen. Rand Paul “unsuited to be Commander-in-Chief.” State law prohibits the use of public resources to “urge any elector to… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge man uses ax to get control of police cruiser, arrested in Port Allen after short chase, police report

Deandre J. Trahan

An ax-wielding man attacked a Baton Rouge police officer Thursday night, injuring the officer before stealing his police unit and fleeing, authorities said. Police soon tracked the stolen vehicle to West Baton Rouge Parish, where spike strips helped lead to the capture of Deandre James Trahan, Baton Rouge police said. Trahan, 41, crashed the stolen… Continue reading →

Unrestrained Texas man dies in Pointe Coupee crash

A Texas man not wearing a seatbelt was killed in a two-vehicle crash in Pointe Coupee parish Friday morning, according to the Louisiana State Police. Devin R. Freeman, 21, of Roscoe, Texas, suffered fatal injuries around 2 a.m. after the 2011 Toyota Camry he was driving struck the rear of an 18-wheeler driven by 47-year-old Derrick L.… Continue reading →

Darren Sharper admits drugging women for rape in federal guilty plea in New Orleans court

FILE - In this April 18, 2014 file photo, former NFL football All-Pro safety Darren Sharper appears in Superior Court in Los Angeles. Rape charges have been filed in Las Vegas against former NFL safety Darren Sharper, who already faces sexual assault charges in Los Angeles, New Orleans and the Phoenix area. Sharpers Las Vegas attorney, David Chesnoff, appeared Friday, March 20, 2015,  before a Las Vegas judge on two sexual assault charges involving two women in January 2014. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

Darren Sharper, who won glory and a Super Bowl ring roaming the Saints’ defensive backfield during the team’s lone championship season, admitted in federal court in New Orleans on Friday that he spent much of his early retirement drugging women while intending to rape them. The former All-Pro safety pleaded guilty to three counts in… Continue reading →

WBRZ-TV reporter arrested, accused of interfering with an investigation and intimidating an officer

Brett Buffington, 27, of 11959 Nicholson Drive, was booked on counts of interfering with an officer and intimidating a public official.

A comment made by a WBRZ-TV reporter resulted in his arrest early Thursday morning after he was issued a criminal summons for interfering with a law enforcement investigation, a Baton Rouge police report says. Brett Buffington, 27, of 11959 Nicholson Drive, was booked on counts of interfering with an officer and intimidating a public official. According… Continue reading →

St. George organizers turn in 4,630 more signatures, but will it be enough?

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- From left to right, East Baton Rouge Registrar of Voters administrative coordinator Patricia Fugler and administrative assistant Aimee Pourciau stamp stacks of  signatured petitions delivered by happy City of St. George supporters including movement founder Norman Browning, Josh Hoffpauir, Lionel Rainey and Dustin Yates, Thursday at the Registrar's  Office at City Hall. The count was 4,630 new signatures requesting a vote on the proposed creation of the City of St. George, from what is presently part of Baton Rouge. Better Together coalition members also delivered 810 signatures to the office, from persons seeking to withdraw their previous requests for a vote on the matter.

All anyone knows is that it’s going to be close. Two opposing groups dropped off signatures to the East Baton Rouge Parish Registrar of Voters Office Thursday — one trying to clinch a vote to create the city of St. George and the other trying to stop that vote from happening. First came… Continue reading →

AgCenter drills into olive oil

LSU AgCenter researchers are taking a long look at the feasibility of growing olives in Louisiana, where mild winters a major key to commercial production. LSU and a few other southern colleges are working with olive trees, which need cold temperatures above freezing in order to flower in the spring.… Continue reading →

With new bill, Louisiana businesses would get major tax break but cost state nearly $1 billion over time

Louisiana businesses would get a major tax break under legislation passed by the House Thursday, only a week after House members approved a state budget that would make businesses pay more. House Bill 828 phases out the corporate franchise tax over five years. The measure, approved 69-33, would cost the… Continue reading →

Ascension Parish rescinds ban on animal rescue organization; group again has full access to shelter

Advocate staff file photo by ADAM LAU -- Ascension Parish Animal Shelter

Companion Animal Rescue of Ascension has been granted full access once again to the Ascension Parish Animal Shelter after a Thursday morning meeting between the organization and parish officials. The rescue group, which finds foster and adoptive homes for cats and dogs, had been banned from the shelter since May 18 when parish officials deemed… Continue reading →

Review: From Mexican standards to unique twists, Cabo’s Grill serves it up right

Advocate photo by GEORGE MORRIS -- The brisket tacos at Cabo's were acceptable, but nothing special.

We’re not snobs about chain restaurants, because they wouldn’t become chains unless people liked the original restaurant’s fare. But we still like a stand-alone restaurant that adds its own flair to familiar dishes. So it is with Cabo’s Grill in Zachary. Not everything we tried there was a home run — the baseball analogy is appropriate because… Continue reading →

Special report: New lower seam baseball has given LSU, college baseball a home run power surge

LSU's Chris Chinea (26) hits an RBI-single as Nebraska catcher Tanner Lubach reaches for the pitch during the first inning of an NCAA college baseball game Sunday, March 8, 2015, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) ORG XMIT: TXDP107

“You can pucker up,” Lyn Rollins says on the broadcast, “and kiss that baby goodbye.” By the time the words left Rollins’ mouth, Danny Zardon’s home run had just — and we do mean just — cleared the left field wall at Alex Box Stadium. In fact, the solo shot didn’t even make it to the… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Ironic Bobby Jindal uses Louisiana to defend Rand Paul rant; when was last time he worried about us?

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks during his prayer rally, "The Response", at LSU's Pete Maravich Assembly Center, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Baton Rouge.

Did Gov. Bobby Jindal cross a line when he issued a gubernatorial news release claiming that Rand Paul — one of many, many politicians standing between him and the Republican Party’s next presidential nomination — is “unsuited to be Commander-In-Chief” because he blamed Republicans for the rise of Islamic State militants?… Continue reading →

Southern University trims its president-chancellor candidate list down to three

Pictured from left, Ivory Toldson, Ray Belton and Barrett Hatches

A White House official specializing in historically black colleges, a health care CEO and a campus chancellor make up the diverse group in the running to become the Southern University System’s new president and chancellor. A search committee tasked with finding the HBCU system’s next leader held interviews for several hours in a Baton Rouge hotel on… Continue reading →

Residents of street in Zachary subdivision evacuated after underground gas line ruptures

Some residents of a Zachary subdivision were evacuated Thursday after an underground gas line ruptured. Residents who live on the street where the line ruptured in High Plains Crossing subdivision off Highway 64 were evacuated, said Casey Rayborn Hicks, an East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman. Zachary Fire Department, Baton Rouge Hazmat and the East… Continue reading →

Livingston Parish Council to take up proposed raises for justices of the peace, constables

Livingston Parish justices of the peace and constables will receive their first salary bump in a decade if an ordinance introduced Thursday receives Parish Council approval next month. The council unanimously supported introducing the measure, which would increase each official’s pay from $325 to $500 per month, effective June 1. The officials… Continue reading →

Louisiana House approves construction spending plan

The House on Thursday approved a construction spending plan that includes $330 million more in projects than dollars available. The measure, House Bill 2, won House approval 99-0. It next faces action in the Senate. Most of the discussion focused on amendments aimed at adding even more projects to the list, including a failed bid to… Continue reading →

Gonzales police seek man in check fraud scheme

Alton Francewar

Gonzales police are looking for a man who made six company checks out to himself and cashed them in different municipalities, for a total of about $9,000, Detective Sgt. Steven Nethken, of the Gonzales Police Department, said. Alton Francewar Jr., 34, whose last known address was 48414 Whiskey Lane, Tickfaw, cashed one check worth $980 in… Continue reading →

Proposals would boost fees on Louisiana drivers, car buyers

Louisiana’s motorists could be hit with $79 million in fee hikes if budget-balancing proposals under consideration by state legislators become law. Senators have attached a $60 million annual fee increase on two measures — House Bills 445 and 833 — that would have drivers paying $50 more in title fees when they buy… Continue reading →

Federal funds used to get Common Core into states, influence classroom instruction, former U.S. Department of Education official testifies

The U.S. Department of Education coerced Louisiana and dozens of other states into adopting Common Core academic standards and assessments by dangling grant money in front of them, a former department official testified Thursday in Baton Rouge federal court. “They have mightily influenced instruction in the classroom,” Williamson Evers, now an education policy expert, said of… Continue reading →

Cellcontrol expands driver-safety efforts through Transunion

Cellcontrol, a Baton Rouge high-tech company at the Louisiana Technology Park on Florida Boulevard, is expanding its driver-safety efforts by partnering with credit-reporting giant TransUnion. Cellcontrol, formed in 2009, develops and markets technology that blocks cellphone use by people behind the wheel of a car or truck. “TransUnion will provide sales and marketing to the (property-and-casualty)… Continue reading →

Justice Dept. looking at some of Baton Rouge-based Amedisys’ hospice operations in Massachusetts

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating some of Baton Rouge-based home nursing giant Amedisys Inc.’s hospice operations in Massachusetts. The company reported Thursday that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts had subpoenaed records for 53 hospice patients. Amedisys received the subpoena on May 21. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also requested documents related to the company’s hospice… Continue reading →

Statements by private investigator in DWI bribery investigation can be used by prosecutors during trial, judge rules

A private investigator accused of helping set up a DWI bribery scheme in the 15th Judicial District Attorney’s Office has lost his fight to keep statements he gave to federal agents out of his trial. U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Foote, in a decision made public Thursday, ruled that prosecutors can use Robert Williamson’s statements in his… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge man accused of molesting teenager

East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputies on Thursday arrested a 46-year-old man accused of molesting a teenager in March. Robert Lance Wilson was booked into Parish Prison on counts of aggravated crimes against nature and molestation of a juvenile, according to a Sheriff’s Office report. The victim told deputies that in March, Wilson drove her… Continue reading →

Dozens of stolen guns recovered during search of Tangipahoa Parish home, Sheriff’s Office reported

Patrick Heyer

Six people were arrested after an investigation into dozens of stolen guns also turned up multiple drug offenses, the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office reported Thursday. Deputies were called to a home on La. 445 in Robert on Tuesday where burglars made off with 25 firearms, lawn equipment, tools and other property, the Sheriff’s Office reported in… Continue reading →

Louisiana equal pay measure dies in House committee at hands of business-friendly House committee

The legislative drive for equal pay protection in Louisiana law died Thursday at the hands of a business-friendly House committee. The House Labor and Industrial Relations Committee voted 8-5 against sending the Senate-passed measure to the House floor. Louisiana now ranks 49th in the U.S. when it comes to employees receiving the same pay for the… Continue reading →

Louisiana House -- against Governor Bobby Jindal -- approves bill sending nearly $85M more in public school aid

Without debate, the Louisiana House approved legislation Thursday that would increase state aid for public schools by nearly $85 million. The vote was 100-0. The legislation, House Concurrent Resolution 18, next faces action in the state Senate. The measure would fulfill the request submitted in March by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.… Continue reading →

Traffic stop ends with seizure of $800,000 in cash, couple taken into custody, the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office reports

Tangipahoa deputies seized approximately $800,000 during a Tuesday night traffic stop on Interstate 12, the Sheriff’s Office has announced. Sgt. Tommy Ferrand was using a radar gun on the side of the highway near Robert about 11 p.m. when he clocked a speeding Ford F-150 truck and pulled over the driver, 41-year-old Frederick Brown, of Houston,… Continue reading →

PSC Chairman calls report misleading; other commissioners open to ban

Clyde Holloway

Though some Public Service Commission members are open to limits on their campaign contributions, the chief regulator of the state’s utility companies called a report alleging improper influence on the commission inaccurate and dubbed its consumer-group authors “left-wing militants.” The New Orleans-based Alliance for Affordable Energy issued a report Tuesday supporting its call for a… Continue reading →