CLINTON — District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla said he will meet with East Feliciana Parish sheriff’s officials Monday in an attempt to speed the flow of deputies’ reports to his office for criminal prosecution.
The issue came to light last week when Lamonica Sanders, of Baker, complained bitterly after D’Aquilla reduced a charge against a man accused of striking her son, Jacobie Sanders, with his fist and breaking her son’s jaw.
Sheriff’s deputies booked Keidrick D. Johnson, 21, on May 29 on one count of simple battery resulting from a May 19 incident at a wedding attended by both Johnson and Jacobie Sanders, also 21.
D’Aquilla said his office received reports on Johnson’s arrest and booking, appearance bond record and criminal history, but never received the investigating deputy’s narrative report or any witness statements to explain what transpired during the confrontation.
The district attorney also faxed a copy of a “paperwork request” form his office keeps on its cases. The form says an employee asked the Sheriff’s Office on June 26 for “victim’s statement and reports” and an investigator for D’Aquilla asked on July 2 for the “full report.”
When Johnson appeared in court to answer the charges on July 10, D’Aquilla said, the prosecution had few options because he did not have the full details of the case.
He said he allowed Johnson, who gave both Pineville and Baker addresses, to plead guilty to a reduced charge of disturbing the peace by fighting.
Twentieth Judicial District Judge William G. Carmichael sentenced Johnson to serve 90 days in the parish jail, suspended the jail term, placed him on supervised probation for a year, fined him $50 and ordered him to pay $690.82 in restitution to Sanders.
When Lamonica Sanders confronted him after court on July 10, D’Aquilla said, he had eight cases pending that day for which he lacked the reports needed to prosecute the defendants.
Sheriff’s Maj. Bob King said Friday he plans to meet with D’Aquilla on Monday to find out what reports the district attorney is not receiving and “what the problems are.”
“We’re going to work it out,” King said.
D’Aquilla said he has not had a similar problem with reports done by sheriff’s detectives on major felony cases.
Lamonica Sanders said Johnson struck her son without provocation, apparently over a past dispute involving a girl.
Because her son’s jaw was broken, she contends Johnson should have been prosecuted on a count of second-degree battery, a felony.
Sanders also complained that D’Aquilla told her, “I don’t care if your son was killed. If I don’t have a report, I can’t do anything.”
D’Aquilla denied saying he “didn’t care” if her son was killed.
“What I said was, ‘Even if your son was killed, I can’t do anything without the reports,’ ” D’Aquilla said.
He also said when defendants show up for court, it is not fair for them to have to come back another day because his office is not prepared to move forward with the prosecution.