Lafayette City Marshal’s jail sentence delayed, attorney says

Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope takes a marshal's car to his March 24 hearing. (Photo Credit : Seth Dickerson, The Daily Advertiser)

(The Daily Advertiser) – Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope’s week-long jail sentence for contempt of court has been delayed until at least next Monday, his attorney said.

Kevin Stockstill, Pope’s attorney, said Monday that the length of Pope’s unsupervised probation — the remainder of his term in office — is illegal.

Stockstill filed a notice to take a writ of appeal for Edwards’ ruling, but the initial stay of execution of the seven-day incarceration was denied. Pope posted an appeal bond that will stay the sentence until it is heard by a judge with the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.

“It is our intention to appeal this conviction,” Stockstill said.

The ruling comes after The Independent sued Pope to get emails that eventually proved correspondence between he and a political consultant for former Lafayette Parish Sheriff candidate Scott Police Chief Chad Leger. The consultant, Joe Castille, allegedly wrote the text of a press conference on illegal immigration Pope gave Oct. 7. Castille allegedly wrote cue cards for Pope, as well as notes for a Oct. 8 KPEL interview on immigration.

In the conference, Pope accused now-Sheriff-elect Mark Garber, then a worker’s compensation attorney, of encouraging illegal immigrants in an interview with a Honduran news station to come to the U.S. to file worker’s compensation claims. In the same press conference, Pope griped about a supposed policy at the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center barring local law enforcement agencies from booking illegal immigrants.

LPCC Director of Corrections Rob Reardon said no such policy exists, and that the parish is in full compliance with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement policies.

These emails and others were received and sent from Pope’s @lafayettela.gov email address and are considered public record under Louisiana public records law. The Independent contends that Pope intentionally attempted to obstruct the newspaper from seeing them by failing to hand them over despite the courts giving the city marshal multiple opportunities to complete the records request in full.

Edwards sentenced Pope Thursday to spend 30 days in jail with all but seven suspended,  to serve 173 hours of community service instructing others on public records law, and to pay The Independent’s attorney fees, as well as fines totaling around $100,000.

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