St. Landry Parish School Board member requests dismissal of charges again

Quincy Richard
Quincy Richard

St. Landry Parish School Board member Quincy Richard Sr. is trying again to have his federal bribery charge tossed.

Richard, accused of soliciting $5,000 in exchange for his vote for a superintendent candidate, argued in court papers filed this week that federal prosecutors don’t have the authority to pursue a case involving a bribe for a job with a parish school board — charges that might more appropriately be brought in state court.

Federal prosecutors have yet to respond, and no court date has been set for the motion to dismiss the case.

Richard made a similar attempt earlier this year to have the case thrown out over technical questions over federal jurisdiction, but U.S. District Judge Richard Haik denied the earlier request.

Richard’s recent request for dismissal comes a few weeks after his co-defendant, former board member John Miller, pleaded guilty to a bribery charge in a deal that called for him to immediately resign and to cooperate with federal prosecutors.

Richard and Miller were accused last year of asking superintendent candidate Joseph Cassimere for $5,000 each in return for their votes to give him the job.

Cassimere went to federal authorities, who then videotaped and audiotaped a meeting at the Quarters Restaurant and Casino in Opelousas where Richard and Miller allegedly accepted the bribe money, according to court filings from prosecutors.

FBI agents confronted the men as they left the casino “with their vote payoff in hand,” according to the court filings.

The School Board ultimately selected a different superintendent candidate, Edward Brown.

In an unrelated case, a state judge in June ordered that Richard be removed from office for a felony conviction on a filing false records charge from 2004, but Richard has been allowed to keep his School Board seat while appealing his removal.

The charge arose out of an investigation into the buying of grades and degrees at Southern University.

Richard was a School Board member at the time of his 2004 conviction and stepped down as part of his plea agreement.

He regained the School Board seat in a 2006 election and was re-elected in 2010.

Convicted felons are generally prohibited from holding office, but the enforcement of that constitutional prohibition depends of someone formally challenging a candidate.

Richard’s 2004 conviction did not re-emerge as an issue until St. Landry Parish District Attorney Earl Taylor filed a petition to remove Richard earlier this year after someone filed a complaint questioning whether he could legally hold office as a convicted felon.