Archive for the ‘Louisiana’ Category

LaPlace Lawyer Indicted for Felony Theft and Forgery

July 25, 2013

A LaPlace lawyer has been indicted in connection with stealing more than $50,000 from multiple clients, one of them elderly, prosecutors said today.

Kerry D. Brown, 42, of 144 East Lakeview Drive, was indicted Monday by a St. John the Baptist Parish grand jury on one count of felony theft, one count of compounding a felony, and six counts of forgery.

An investigation by Louisiana State Police and the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel revealed that Brown, a personal injury attorney, represented clients from October 2010 to April 2011 in several automobile accidents, allegedly failing to notify clients of settlements and failing to give funds to clients who were owed money. Brown surrendered to Louisiana State Police in May 2012 after a warrant for his arrest was issued.

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LaPlace Lawyer Indicted for Felony Theft and Forgery

Partisan Judicial Elections and the Distorting Influence of Campaign Cash

October 30, 2012
Today the Center for American Progress released “Partisan Judicial Elections and the Distorting Influence of Campaign Cash,” showing that the eight states that still elect or nominate judicial candidates in partisan races—Alabama, Illinois, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia, Ohio, and Michigan—all rank among the top 10 in total judicial campaign contributions. As the amount of money has increased, these states have seen more divisiveness and partisanship reflected in the justices’ votes. The problem could be spreading, as state parties are now intervening at an unprecedented level in judicial races in two states—Montana and Florida—that have nonpartisan elections.

“As voters across the country go to the polls and are asked to vote for judges just like any other political candidate for president or the legislature, you have to stop and think about how it’s possible that judges can be impartial and fair to everyone if they are elected in partisan elections and funded by special interests,” said Andrew Blotky, Director of CAP’s Legal Progress Program.

Former Judge Joan Benge can practice law again, Supreme Court says

October 25, 2012

Former Judge Joan Benge, removed from the 24th Judicial District Court bench in Jefferson Parish because of a ruling she made in a personal injury lawsuit more than a decade ago, will be able to practice law again, the state Supreme Court decided Tuesday in closing what appears is the final chapter on her discipline. Justices barred Benge from practicing law for three years, but they applied it retroactively to February 2010, when she volunteered to suspend her license on an interim basis until the state Supreme Court could decide on the future of the profession she has had since 1991.

The ruling means that Benge, 55, of Kenner, should be able to resume practicing law in five months. She could not be reached immediately for comment Tuesday.
Only months after Benge was elected to the state bench in Jefferson Parish in 2001, she ruled in favor of the plaintiff, Philip Demma, who fabricated a claim that he cracked a tooth during a car accident in Metairie in 1998.

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Former Judge Joan Benge can practice law again, Supreme Court says

Funding for Louisiana’s Elder Unit Moves to Health Department

June 22, 2012

Some Louisiana lawmakers and most state Council on Aging officials celebrated during the session when legislation was defeated that would transfer the investigation of elderly abuse cases from the Governor’s Office of Elderly Affairs to the Department of Health and Hospitals.

But since the state budget transferred the funding and staffing for the investigations to the health department, the move has begun without the legislation authored by Sen. Sherri Smith Buffington, R-Keithville.

“With HB1 becoming law, elderly protective service functions from the Governor’s Office of Elderly Affairs will now be transferred to DHH,” said health department Secretary Bruce Greenstein.

“To be clear, this action does not merge GOEA and DHH, and it has no impact on Councils on Aging or Area Agencies on Aging,” he said. “This transfer consolidates adult and elderly protective services under one roof, eliminates duplicative services, more effectively leverages resources, and, most importantly, better serves vulnerable populations throughout the state.”

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Funding for La’s Elder Unit Moves to Health Department

Son of Former Judge Accused of Financial Exploitation of Grandmother’s Estate

May 16, 2012

A Louisiana man faces a felony charge after authorities said he illegally diverted money from his deceased grandmother’s estate for personal use.

William Ray Vance Jr., 49, has been charged with misapplication of fiduciary property of an amount between $20,000 and $100,000. That is a third-degree felony punishable by between two and 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Vance is the son of former judge Bill Vance, who served on the 10th Court of Appeals in Waco from 1991 to 2008. The elder Vance has also been Brazos County judge and worked as an assistant district attorney.

Court records show that William Vance Jr. was indicted by a Brazos County grand jury on April 26. He turned himself in to the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office on Monday, but posted $15,000 bail within an hour and was released.

His indictment alleges that he took money from the estate of Florene K. Grace through a scheme that lasted from February 2007 to February 2009. Details about how much money he allegedly took or how he used it were not included in the indictment, other than that it was “in a manner that involved substantial risk of loss of the property.”

But court documents indicate that Vance has been involved in a legal dispute with his mother, Carolyn Vance, for years. Carolyn Vance filed suit against her son in 2009, alleging that she owned 66 percent of a radio station in Nacogdoches that he operated. She said in the suit that her son failed to notify her that he received $725,000 from a “facilities modification agreement” for the radio station.

The suit also says that a disagreement arose between Vance and his mother over the ownership of the family’s radio company and complains that he was improperly named the executor of his grandmother’s will, of which Carolyn Vance was the sole beneficiary.

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Son of Former County Judge Allegedly Abused Grandmother’s Estate

LA: Seniors Speak Out Against Elderly Services Merger

April 22, 2012

Hundreds of senior citizens packed themselves into the state capitol to make their voices heard.

“We’re not broken! Don’t fix us,” Kitty Askew says. She was up at 5:00 in the morning to take a bus ride to Baton Rouge from Cameron Parish to protest against Senate Bill 690.

That bill looks to merge the Government’s Office of Elderly Affairs with the Department of Health and Hospitals’ Office of Aging and Adult Services. GOEA includes the Council on Aging.

“We’ve been on our own for all these years! We haven’t asked anybody for anything and now, they want to lump us in with everybody,” Askew says. “It’s not going to work.”

She and the many other people worry that merging the two agencies for the elderly will negatively impact the Council on Aging.

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Senior Citizens Speak Out Against Elderly Services Merger

>5 Years in Prison for Stealing Resident’s Wedding Ring

March 22, 2011

>A former Slidell nursing home worker who stole the wedding ring off the finger of an incapacitated resident must spend the next five years imprisoned, a St. Tammany Parish judge has decided.

Domenica Thomas, 42, pleaded guilty to charges of simple robbery and theft of assets from an aged person before state Judge Peter Garcia sentenced her Wednesday in Covington.

Simple robbery carries no more than seven years’ imprisonment and a possible fine. Depending on the value of what was stolen, theft of assets from an aged person can be punished by both a fine and up to 10 years in prison. Garcia gave Thomas a concurrent five years for each charge.

Thomas has also been accused of stealing from five other residents at the nursing home, and those cases are still pending, said Rick Wood, a spokesman for the parish District Attorney’s Office.

Thomas had been an aide at Greenbriar Nursing Home for about nine months before she went into a 71-year-old man’s room without permission on Jan. 4 this year. She gave him a glass of water, according to police, and snatched his ring and $10 from him before she left.

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Slidell Nursing Home Worker Gets 5 Years’ Prison for Stealing Resident’s Wedding Ring

>Impeached Federal Judge Has Law License Revoked

January 22, 2011

>U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr., who was impeached and removed from the Louisiana bench last month, resigned from practicing law, the state’s Supreme Court ruled.

Porteous, 64, is the eighth federal judge to be convicted by the U.S. Senate and removed from office through impeachment. He was convicted on four articles of impeachment by the Senate in December 2010 and barred from holding any federal office.

The Louisiana Supreme Court announced that it had granted Porteous’ request for resignation in lieu of discipline.

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Impeached Federal Judge Has Law License Revoked

See Also:
For Judges, Inconsistent Use of Ethics Rule is Evident

>Porteous Removed

December 12, 2010

>The Senate found U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr. guilty on four articles of impeachment Wednesday, removing him from his lifetime appointment to the federal bench in Louisiana and denying him his federal pension. Porteous, 63, sat in the well of the Senate as members cast their votes against him. He is just the eighth judge in American history to be removed from office by the Senate.

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Senate Removes Judge Thomas Porteous Jr. Following Impeachment Trial

‘Career Criminal’ Convicted of Bilking WWII Veteran

April 6, 2010

A Metairie woman convicted of bilking money from a World War II veteran who resided at the assisted living center where she worked pleaded guilty Tuesday to being a four-time felon and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Catina Brown, 37, was sentenced on the one-year anniversary of the death of Jack Gray, 90, a former Navy Seabee who participated in the 1945 Battle of Iwo Jima and who lost about $7,000 in the scheme that Brown and her son carried out, authorities said.

“It’s offensive to society, ” Judge Chuck Credo of the 24th Judicial District Court told Brown. “It’s offensive to me. It’s offensive to everybody, because the elderly need to be taken care of just like children.”

Gray was a resident of the Atrium at Lafreniere in Metairie, where Brown worked in sales and her son, Tyler Brown, 20, of Westwego, was a cook. They stole one of Gray’s personal checks and used the account and routing numbers to bilk the veteran, Assistant District Attorney George Wallace said. Gray discovered the thefts and reported them.

Within a week of the thefts that began in October 2008, Brown began spending, including purchasing a $450 ticket for a cruise out of Miami, said Wallace, adding that in Gray, Brown found “the goose that laid the golden egg.” Her banking records showed she also used Gray’s money for purchases ranging from $93 at Mr. Binky’s adult stores to pricey restaurant meals.

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Metairie Convicted of Bilking WWII Veteran Nets 20 Years as Career Criminal