Mar 292013
 

One of the indirect but important topics of the book “Louisiana v. Vincent Simmons – Frame-up in Avoyelles Parish” is the scanty health system in the USA – especially for the poor, of course. The wealthy can afford anything anytime anywhere. At the first sight, the health system has nothing to do with the criminal justice system, but it does – indirectly. Example: contraception. Do American minors (age 14 – 18 or 20) have access to “the pill” for free as those in Germany, for instance? What do desperate underage pregnant girls who cannot afford an abortion or are afraid of telling their parents? Sometimes, claiming they were raped seems to be a way out of the “embarrassing” and difficult situation. However, that is usually where the true nightmare begins for all parties: the alleged rape victim and the falsely accused.

Current District Attorney of Avoyelles Parish (Louisiana) and former state legislator, Charles A. Riddle, speaks up for medicaid expansion and healthcare in this YouTube video of March 21, 2013, uploaded by Louisiana Forward.

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Aug 302012
 

prison tower

Louisiana State Penitentiary tower.

Once again, a hurricane dominates the happening in Louisiana. Seven years after Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Isaac causes prison inmate evacuations in Orleans, Terrebonne and St. Bernard parishes. Crowded correctional facilities as the Louisiana State Penitentiary get even more crowded. Pardon hearings and weekend visitations are cancelled. See the news from the Louisiana Department of Corrections.

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Aug 232012
 

Justice

Vincent Simmons has been fighting for an evidentiary hearing for decades. He filed an application for rehearing pro se on May 17, 2011, with the Court of Appeal (Third Circuit) in Lake Charles, Louisiana. (Case number: CW 11-00608) The court did not consider the application and explained the denial of October 13, 2011, almost two months later in writing:

“An application for rehearing from a ruling denying a writ application is not permitted pursuant to Uniform Rules—Courts of Appeal, Rule 2–18.7. Furthermore, this court cannot consider arguments and evidence which have not been presented to the trial court.” (See the Opinion)
According to that Rule (page 24 of 42), a rehearing is considered when the court either “granted a writ application on the merits,” “dismissed an appeal,” or “ruled on the merits of an appeal.”

On August 22, 2012, the Supreme Court of Louisiana denied Vincent Simmons’ Writ Application:

2012-KH-0247 STATE EX REL. VINCENT SIMMONS v. STATE OF LOUISIANA (Parish of Avoyelles)
KNOLL, J., recused.

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Jul 282011
 

Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards

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

The State of Louisiana has executed 15 of 28 individuals sentenced to death under Governor Edwin W. Edwards since 1976 — 13 by electrocution and 2 by lethal injection.

Edwin Edwards himself has recently finished an 8+ year term in federal prison for a corruption conviction and still claims that he was merely guilty of arrogance.

If Edwards actually does know the pain, damage, and what it means to be imprisoned for a crime one did not commit, would it not be a good thing for him to use his popularity and powerful connections to help free those in Louisiana’s penal system who can prove their innocence, but are repeatedly denied their constitutional rights in court?

Vincent Simmons is a native from Edwards’ home parish and one of those who are not just serving a few years, but decades, life without the benefit of parole, pardon or suspension of sentence, or even a death sentence in prison — wrongfully convicted.

Edwards and his third wife may be the stars of a new TV show soon. Nothing specific is known. However, a reality television show about the struggle of innocent prisoners would not only be entertaining, interesting and educational, it might be constructive and improve the injustice system. What you say, Mr. Edwards? Are you ready to step on your political friends’ toes?

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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?

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Jul 132011
 

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 12, 2011

 

Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against Louisiana Alleging Violations of the National Voter Registration Act

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against the state of Louisiana and a number of Louisiana state agencies and officials alleging that the state has violated its obligations under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).

The complaint, filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, alleges that Louisiana has violated the NVRA by failing to provide voter registration services at offices providing public assistance and serving persons with disabilities in Louisiana.   Specifically, the complaint alleges that Louisiana officials have not routinely offered voter registration forms, assistance and services to the state’s eligible citizens who apply, recertify or provide a change address for public assistance or disability services, or benefits.

“The voting process begins with registration. Therefore, it is essential that all citizens have unfettered access to voter registration opportunities,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.   “The department is committed to enforcing the National Voter Registration Act so that neither income nor disability status stands in the way of equal voter registration opportunities for all citizens.”

The lawsuit seeks a court order declaring that the defendants have failed comply with the requirements of Section 7 of the NVRA, and requiring Louisiana to take all necessary steps to come into compliance with federal law.   The suit seeks to require Louisiana to effectively publicize the required voter registration opportunities and provide the court with a remedial plan that will ensure future compliance.  

Congress enacted the NVRA in 1993 in part to enhance citizen participation in elections by making voter registration opportunities readily available and accessible to the largest possible segment of the American public.  In addition to requiring that voter registration be offered at motor vehicle offices and by mail, the NVRA also mandates that states offer voter registration through agencies that provide essential services to citizens with disabilities and low income citizens.   Congress found that if it did not require states to offer voter registration at public assistance and disability services agencies, it would exclude a large segment of American citizens from having convenient opportunities to participate in our democracy.  

More information about the NVRA and other federal voting laws is available on the Department of Justice website at www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/ .   Complaints about discriminatory voting practices may be reported to the Voting Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division at 1-800-253-3931.

Source: www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/July/11-crt-908.html

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Jul 052011
 

Louisiana’s legislators have enacted 402 new laws. Twenty-nine of them concern the legal and penal system in particular.

House Bill (HB) 5/ Act 24 authorizes sheriffs and deputy sheriffs with at least 16 years of active service to purchase their service firearms upon retirement.

House Bill (HB) 55/ Act 26  prohibits certain sex offenders from using or accessing social networking websites, chat rooms, and peer-to-peer networks.

House Bill (HB) 187/ Act 30 exempts sex offenders from provision that provides, without charge, state identification cards to persons of certain age.

Senate Bill (SB) 18/ Act 41 provides relative to the chief of police in the town of Simmesport. (8/15/11)

House Bill (HB) 131/ Act 74 amends the crime of failure to register to include the failure to comply with sex offender drivers’ license and state identification card requirements.

House Bill (HB) 216/ Act 83 amends provisions of law regarding probable cause determinations.

House Bill (HB) 235/ Act 87 provides that the 24-hour stay following mistrial applies to writ application for review by all courts with appellate jurisdiction.

House Bill (HB) 264/ Act 91 creates the crime of unlawful production, manufacturing, distribution, or possession of law enforcement badges.

Senate Bill (SB) 202/ Act 153 provides relative to the membership, duties and operations of the parole board and pardon board.

House Bill (HB) 14/ Act 159 provides relative to the carrying of weapons by federal judges.

House Bill (HB) 72/ Act 161 provides for the training of all chiefs of police.

House Bill (HB) 106/ Act 168 Requires reporting from providers of home incarceration or electronic monitoring services to DPS&C.

House Bill (HB) 414/ Act 186 revises and consolidates statutes providing for the diminution of sentence.

House Bill (HB) 111/ Act 218 provides with respect to court-ordered probation supervision fees.

House Bill (HB) 121/ Act 219 increases probation and parole fees by ten dollars.

House Bill (HB) 122/ Act 220 provides for the imposition of a fee to defray the cost of presentence investigations.

House Bill (HB) 116/ Act 250 prohibits the destruction of biological evidence collected pursuant to the investigation of certain criminal offenses.

House Bill (HB) 129/ Act 252 provides the La. Supreme Court Committee on Bar Admissions with access to criminal history information of bar examination applicants.

House Bill (HB) 138/ Act 253 provides with respect to eligibility for parole consideration for certain elderly inmates.

House Bill (HB) 285/ Act 262 increases the amount of monetary compensation for wrongful convictions.

House Bill (HB) 374/ Act 282  provides relative to the powers granted to elected police chiefs in municipalities governed by the Lawrason Act.

House Bill (HB) 392/ Act 283 provides with respect to criminal background checks for persons seeking employment.

House Bill (HB) 401/ Act 284 increases penalties for domestic abuse battery.

House Bill (HB) 416/ Act 285 amends timing of parole eligibility for certain offenders.

Senate Bill (SB) 182/ Act 312 prohibits any offender sentenced to the legal custody of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections to establish an account on any Internet-based social networking website. (8/15/11)

Senate Bill (SB) 232/ Act 318 provides for registry and notification by sex offenders and a sexual assault task force.

House Bill (HB) 305/ Act 349 provides for the reduction of a defendant’s sentence for substantial assistance in an investigation.

House Bill (HB) 353/ Act 366 provides for a uniform fines and costs assessment form for criminal cases.

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May 242011
 

GULFPORT, MISSISSIPPI: Sonya Lynn Nelson (September 18, 1966 – July 13, 2009), formerly of Alexandria, Louisiana, was the younger step-sister of Vincent Simmons’ alleged rape victims. Nelson (42) suffered a fatal gunshot wound to her abdomen in her rented room while struggling over a gun with her landlord Larry Dean Slagle (then 71) two years ago. Two shots went off on that Monday night. One of them struck the tenant.

The media has not disclosed whose weapon it was. I personally think that, depending on whose pistol it was, the story looks different.

Slagle called police around 8:30 P.M. Nelson died at Memorial Hospital in Gulfport, Mississippi, on that same night. Justice Court Judge Gene Dedeaux ordered Slagle held without bond at the Harrison County Adult Detention Center, reported the Sun Herald on July 15, 2009.

Assistant District Attorney Chris Fisher told the Sun Herald that the altercation between Nelson and Slagle had been about the cost of electricity. The defendant’s version is that it was an accident. Fisher corroborates his theory of murder with the statement, “In the 911 tape, you could hear her dying declaration. She was screaming he was lying.”

The prosecutor charged Slagle with murder. Because the jury believed Slagle had not shot Nelson deliberately, Circuit Judge Larry Bourgeois sentenced Larry Dean Slagle to 20 years for manslaughter and suspended half of the penalty on Thursday, May 19, 2011. Slagle has to serve ten years in prison.

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May 122011
 

Vincent Simmons’ hometown is Mansura, Louisiana. It is known for a traditional event beyond Louisiana’s borders.  As every year, the annual Cochon de Lait (“milk-fed pig”) festival takes place on the second weekend of May – also this time again. It begins today (May 12, 2011) and lasts until Sunday, May 15, 2011.

Cochon de Lait is a delecacy of the French cuisine that former long term Sheriff Fabius Odell “Potch” Didier (a key figure in Simmons’ case) loved to serve his guests on special occasions. A few weeks old milk-fed pigs are roasted for thirty-eight hours over slow fire before they are ready to be dished.

A commemorative plaque in the town that some of Napoleon’s ex-soldiers named after Mansura, Egypt, reads, “Mansura – incorporated 1860. Long recognized for its culinary artistry in the preparation of Cochon de Lait. The 1960 Louisiana Legislature officially designated Mansura “La Capitale de Cochon de Lait” in honor of its Centennial Year.”

The schedule of the event is available at cochondelaitfestival.com .

“Cochon De Lait” slideshow by gwapo39.

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May 102011
 

Emergency for Louisiana_May 2011

Emergency for Louisiana in May 2011

On May 6, 2011, the President of the United States of America declared emergency for Louisiana due to the threat of a flood disaster that might equal the catastrophe of 1927 when “the Mississippi River remained at flood stage for a record 153 days.” .

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that federal aid has been made available to the State of Louisiana to supplement state and local response efforts in the area struck by flooding beginning on April 25, 2011, and continuing.

Affected are the parishes of Avoyelles, Ascension, Assumption, Catahoula, Concordia, East Carroll, Iberia, Iberville, LaSalle, Madison, Pointe Coupee, East Baton Rouge, St. Charles, St. James, St. John, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, Tensas, Terrebonne, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana (where the Mississippi River surrounds the Angola Prison on three sides).

THREE VIDEOS:

http://youtu.be/qYqGF227GkU Video by Christianna Garrett, May 7, 2011


Slideshow by Charles Addison Riddle, III, whose grandfather was the Red Cross Chairman during the great flood of 1927.

http://youtu.be/McjgSp9zlfQ Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 (CNN film)

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