Jul 102013

Judge Benjamin C. Bennett, Jr.

District Judge Benjamin C. Bennett, Jr. (1987-1990)

Judge Benjamin Clyde Bennett, Jr. passed away at his residence in Marksville on Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at the age of 88. He was the judge who presided at the Avoyelles Parish District Court and denied Vincent Simmons’ Application for a Writ of Mandamus in 1988, in which the prisoner had requested a copy of his arrest report.

His son, Judge William Joseph Bennett, is alleged to have been the sentencing judge in Simmons’ case, according to defense lawyer Laurie White’s review of the pre-parole report. The true trial judge was Judge Earl Edwards, who died in 1998 at the age of 90.

Judge Benjamin C. Bennett’s second son, John Taylor Bennett, also is a lawyer. He partnered with retired District Attorney Charles A. Riddle, Jr. (the father of current District Attorney Charles A. Riddle, III) who had previously practiced with “Eddie” Knoll (Simmons’ prosecutor).

Go to the obituary here.


Jul 272011

Governor of Louisiana Edwin W. Edwards

Governor of Louisiana Edwin W. Edwards, United States Congress image
Courtesy U.S. federal government

He is a native of Marksville (Avoyelles Parish), Democrat, was Louisiana’s first Roman Catholic governor (1972-1976, 1976-1980, 1984-1988, 1992-1996), signed Louisiana’s Constitution of 1974, is labeled as “crook”, “gambler” and “womanizer,” and he served a federal prison term from 2002 until 2011 for a corruption conviction involving riverboat casino licenses.

As Vincent Simmons, Edwards has maintained his innocence from the start. Even officially political opponents as David C. Treen and J. Bennett Johnston, Jr. believe Edwards was railroaded. They asked U.S. President George W. Bush to pardon him in 2007, but Republican Bush denied the then 80-year-old early release on pardon.

As his late friend “Potch” Didier, former long-term sheriff of Avoyelles Parish, Edwards always was ahead of his time. After the Civil Rights Movement, many women and most African-Americans did not vote for conservative candidates. The “Cajun King,” as Edwards also was called, was a minority-friendly politician. The people of Louisiana elected the charismatic Avoyellean with lots of wit four times as governor and made him an undefeated record holder.

Even now, the convicted and released white collar criminal still has many supporters and connections. Edwards indicated to the media that he feels he is more popular today than before his conviction due to him taking the injustice in his case like a man.

No doubt, Edwin Edwards has returned to society with a bang as though he wanted to announce his comeback with a “Now-more-than-ever” attitude. Leo Honeycutt, an award winning journalist and author, wrote Edwin Edwards’ newest biography when the federal inmate was still confined. Trina Grimes Scott (32) of Alexandria, Louisiana, read the book, wrote and visited Edwards (83) in prison. Both will marry this Friday before Edwards’ 84th birthday on August 7, 2011.

Edwin Edwards has a Facebook page and his (third) soon-to-be-wife posts much about her life with him on the social network platform. The 16-year-governor is in the spotlight again. The couple attends public events, tours the state promoting his biography, and might participate in a reality television show in the near future.

Edwin Edwards is a retired lawyer and politician, but he never seems to quit being an entertainer. How far is he going for publicity?

Jun 042011

Why is law not a subject in school as, for instance, a nation’s official language, math, and history? We have to obey the law, but we are not taught the law. We have duties and rights, but we frequently do not know them. The science of law is still a closed book to the majority of all people worldwide. The internet is a great library and one can look up laws online, but who does it?

I served as a witness in civil court a few days ago. When I attended the hearing, the judge said to one of the parties that it is not a court’s or its staff’s job to inform people about the law. He was right. But who teaches us what we are supposed to know? Nobody asked this question. Everyone present probably understood that there are lawyers to consult.

Of course, one could boost legal businesses by running to law firms each time one wants to inquire about technicalities. But who can afford that? Would it not be better to learn the basics about our legal system in school – before the first students drop out? They, in particular, will very likely not be able to pay an attorney’s hourly wage in the future.

Time limitations to file this and that in court, and how to file it “correctly,” i.e. according to the law, is essential to know. Because, if you are right but not paying attention to the technicalities or “rules,” most judges will hold your ignorance against you and deny your cause. That is the paradox.

The judge agreed that the gap between the law and humane justice or morals can be very big, but he explained that his job is to apply the law. Bureaucracy complicates a lot at times, and it does not always make sense, let alone justice.


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)