Officer influenced victim in photo lineup choice
LAFAYETTE — The city of Breaux Bridge has settled a federal lawsuit filed by a man arrested in an armed robbery after police allegedly influenced the victim on which person to pick out of a photo lineup, according to court filings.
Stephan M. Barker had been arrested in the investigation of a 2010 robbery at Russell’s Food Mart on Rees Street in Breaux Bridge.
Prosecutors later dismissed charges against Barker after questions arose about Breaux Bridge Police Officer Raymond J. Calais’ investigation.
Calais has since resigned from the department and pleaded no contest last year to charges of perjury and malfeasance in office for allegedly lying about his role in leading the victim to identify Barker.
A judge sentenced the former officer to five years probation and 200 hours of community service.
The lawsuit has been settled, according to court filings this month, but Barker’s attorney, James Domengeaux, could not be reached for comment Thursday for details about the settlement, and the Breaux Bridge Police Department’s administrative offices were closed Thursday.
Domengeaux said in an interview last year that Barker had two alibi witness and that a search of the man’s apartment revealed no evidence linking him to the armed robbery.
“He had never been arrested in his life before this,” Domengeaux said at the time. “… You never think that this can happen in the United States, but this could have been another example of a person who goes to the penitentiary for a crime he never committed.”
When dismissing the robbery charge against Barker last year, prosecutors said they could not proceed with the case because the tainted photo lineup was the only evidence against him.
The issue of the photo lineup arose during pretrial hearings in Barker’s case after Calais testified that the store manager had stopped by the police station and accidentally saw detectives interviewing Barker before being shown his picture in a photo lineup.
The judge summoned the store manager for his version of events, and he testified that it was not happenstance — Calais had actually picked him up from the store, took him to the police station and then told him to watch Barker being interrogated before showing the manager a photo lineup with Barker’s picture in it.