Louisiana news briefs
Youngsville-Broussard continue annexation battle
LAFAYETTE (AP) — A state judge has declined to toss out a lawsuit filed by Youngsville to block an annexation by the neighboring city of Broussard.
Youngsville filed a lawsuit this year to contest Broussard’s annexation of a 40-foot-by-40-foot parcel.
Broussard officials argue the small tract, an island of sorts beyond the existing Broussard city limits, is needed for a sewer lift station to extend service to new commercial and residential developments, both inside and outside the city.
Youngsville counters the annexation is an effort by Broussard to claim a piece of property that will serve as a roadblock to make it more difficult for Youngsville to annex land in the area.
District Judge John Trahan ruling Monday that Youngsville can move forward with the lawsuit.
admits taking a bribe
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A former employee at Orleans Parish Criminal District Court has admitted that she accepted a $600 bribe in exchange for fixing a sentence for a criminal defendant.
Cassandra Johnson, 50, the former head of the court’s community service office, pleaded guilty Nov. 25 to filing a false public record and accepted two years of probation. By doing so, she avoided prison time and the far more serious charges she had faced.
The case against Johnson began in March when a convict, sentenced to 75 hours of community service for a crack-cocaine conviction, told police she had offered to erase his community-service requirement in exchange for $700.
The convict alerted police, and investigators listened in when he called Johnson, negotiated a lower fee of $600.
Trial postponed for man
in child rape case
LAFAYETTE — The felony trial for a 29-year-old Carencro man has been continued until next year.
Authorities say Conwell Cormier was indicted June 5 on charges of aggravated rape and intentionally exposing the victim to the AIDS virus. The victim was under the age of 5 years old when the alleged crime occurred.
Cormier’s trial was scheduled to begin Monday. State District Judge Marilyn Castle granted a motion from Cormier’s lawyer, Royale Colbert Jr., to continue the trial until April 28, 2014.
Cormier remains in custody at the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center on $500,000 bond.
LSU opens medical education center in B.R.
BATON ROUGE (AP) — LSU medical students training in Baton Rouge have a new, high-tech education site that university officials say will help expand graduate medical education in the city.
The new LSU Health Medical Education and Innovation Center is housed on the campus of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, which took over as the main site for LSU’s medical training programs in Baton Rouge when the university’s hospital was closed in April.
A ribbon cutting for the new facility was held Monday, with both Gov. Bobby Jindal and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne touting the center as the future of LSU’s physician training.
“The new facility will enrich the experience of students by giving them access to world-class health technology and live operating room experiences that are not offered anywhere else in our state,” Jindal said.
The four-story building includes simulation rooms that allow students to practice surgery and other medical procedures on high-tech mannequins. Operating rooms can be streamed live into classrooms. Students and faculty in Baton Rouge will be able to hold video conferences with classrooms in New Orleans.
Our Lady of the Lake paid for the new center as part of its deal with the state to take over health care services and medical training programs that had been performed at LSU’s Earl K. Long Medical Center.
Jindal has worked out contracts to privatize most of the LSU-run hospitals and clinics that care for the poor and uninsured and provide much of the state’s graduate medical education. Five privatization deals have taken effect, including the arrangement that shuttered EKL.
The privatization deal has boosted the number of medical residents and students training in Baton Rouge.
Port Allen council must name interim mayor by Sunday
PORT ALLEN (AP) — Time is winding down for the Port Allen City Council to appoint an interim mayor in the wake of Demetric Slaughter’s recall from office.
The council has until Sunday to appoint an interim mayor until a special election can be held, most likely in April. If the council can’t agree on an appointment, state law passes the decision to the governor.
After Slaughter vacated the office on Nov. 25, Mayor Pro Tem Ray Helen Lawrence assumed the mayoral duties until the interim mayor appointment is made.
Jury selection continues
in former ATC chief’s trial
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Jury selection continues in the fraud and aggravated identity theft trial of Murphy J. Painter, former commissioner of the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control.
Jury selection started Monday in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge James J. Brady, of Baton Rouge.
The 60-year-old Painter pleaded not guilty to all charges resulting from a joint FBI and Louisiana Office of Inspector General investigation, which began after the Gov. Bobby Jindal administration fired him in August 2010.
The indictment alleges Painter used confidential federal and state law enforcement databases for personal purposes. The identity theft charges stem from allegations that Painter sometimes used ATC employees’ computers for those database searches.
Guardsmen accused of stealing goggles, M-16 scopes
FARMERVILLE (AP) — Three Louisiana National Guardsmen have been arrested by Union Parish sheriff’s deputies and accused of stealing more than $13,000 worth of night vision goggles and scope systems for M-16 rifles.
Sheriff Dusty Gates said 33-year-old Justin Michael, of Farmerville, 22-year-old Kristopher Ryan Redding, of Sterlington, and 26-year-old Austin Brett Hiser, of Monroe, were arrested over the weekend and booked with felony theft.
It was unclear whether the men have attorneys.
Woman pleads not guilty to holding teen captive
LAKE CHARLES (AP) — A 30-year-old Lake Charles woman has pleaded not guilty in state district court to charges that she held a 14-year-old girl against her will for nearly a week.
Lacey Cheree Dronet is charged with molestation of a juvenile, second-degree kidnapping, drug distribution to a student and four counts of cruelty to a juvenile.
A jury trial date of March 17 was set Monday.
Authorities say Dronet allegedly beat the girl, forced her to perform sexual acts and forced her to take cocaine and methamphetamine.
The alleged incident happened between July 12 and July 18.