Louisiana news briefs
Can grand jury testimony ever be used in trial?
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Louisiana Supreme Court will hear a case this month about whether grand jury testimony may ever be used as trial evidence.
It’s the appeal of Eric “Tooti” Ross, who was convicted three years ago of shooting Albert McClebb 14 times.
Prosecutors used Conrad Jackson’s grand jury testimony after he recanted it, telling the trial jury that he saw nothing.
He told the grand jury that he had known both McClebb and Ross since they were children, and knew Ross was one of the gunmen who shot McClebb. “I looked him dead in the face,” he told grand jurors.
He was severely beaten in jail sometime after his grand jury appearance.
The state 4th Circuit Court of Appeal overturned Ross’s conviction last year, ruling that the judge should not have let prosecutors give jurors a transcript of Conrad’s grand jury testimony.
The Supreme Court will decide whether Ross gets a new trial or remains in Angola for the rest of his life.
The Louisiana Constitution requires everyone person involved in a grand jury proceeding to keep witness testimony secret, to protect the integrity of the proceedings, the identity of witnesses and the reputation of those who are investigated and cleared.
Terrebonne jail turns chilly
after 1 of 2 heaters fail
HOUMA (AP) — As an arctic deep freeze takes over the Deep South, Terrebonne Parish inmates are getting extra blankets because of a broken heater.
Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Jerry Larpenter said temperatures in the jail were between 60 and 65 degrees. He says one of the jail’s two heaters broke in late December.
Larpenter says the Terrebonne Parish Council is expected to approve about $59,000 today for two new heaters, which will be installed as soon as possible.
He says “there’s no inhumane treatment,” and inmates all are getting extra blankets.
Deputies shoot, kill man
who attacks after killing
METAIRIE (AP) — Jefferson Parish sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a 29-year-old man who attacked them with a knife after stabbing his 26-year-old girlfriend to death, a sheriff’s office spokesman said Sunday.
Noah Scott died late Saturday at the home where he lived with his parents, and Jessica Broussard was killed earlier in a neighbor’s front yard, said Col. John Fortunato.
He said deputies were called about 10:25 p.m. by a man who said he and his wife were in the front of their house when a woman ran across the street, yelling “He’s trying to stab me! He’s trying to stab me! He’s trying to stab me!”
Within seconds, he said, a man caught up with her and repeatedly stabbed her.
Lafayette’s University Hospital restoring services
LAFAYETTE (AP) — Since Lafayette General Health took over operations of the former University Medical Center six months ago, once-shuttered patient services are being restored and more changes are in the works for 2014.
Lafayette General Health took over operations of the public hospital in June as part of a $15.8 million lease agreement with LSU. The facility was renamed University Hospital & Clinics.
Jared Stark, CEO of University Hospital & Clinics, said plans to improve the hospital and restore services that were previously eliminated or reduced by state budget cuts are on track at the privately managed facility.
Stark says the hospital also reopened its pediatric clinic in early December, earlier than anticipated due to preparations by staff and clinic physicians.
doing $4M efficiency study
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration is paying an outside contractor $4 million to help it find ways to make state government more efficient.
The governor’s top budget adviser, Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols, announced the contract award Friday, saying the consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal has been chosen to do the work.
Nichols says she expects the efficiencies to be identified by the consulting firm to drum up savings for the state that “far exceed” the contract cost.
Alvarez & Marsal is being asked to look at health and human services, transportation, public safety, revenue, debt collection, facility management and other general management and financial issues for the state, with a goal of saving tax dollars.
Nichols’ office says the firm already has started its work.
Meeting in B.R. to focus
on fresh-water diversions
BATON ROUGE (AP) — The first meeting of a panel looking into river diversion proposals for coastal restoration is scheduled for Wednesday in Baton Rouge.
The Expert Panel on Diversion Planning and Implementation will meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Capital Park Welcome Center, 702 N. River Road. A public comment period begins at 4 p.m.
The Water Institute of the Gulf is hosting the meeting.
Presentations will include background on use of fresh-water diversion in restoration and uncertainties in long-term planning.
More information is available online at www.thewaterinstitute.org.
Police say iPad pictures lead to arrest of hotel employee
METARIE (AP) — Police say self-taken pictures on an Apple iPad have led to the arrest of Metairie hotel employee.
A guest inadvertently left the device at hotel last weekend.
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office says the owner began receiving “selfies,” or self-taken photographs, of another woman through a photo-sharing application on her iPhone.
The iPad’s owner also received photos of the stranger’s family members.
Investigators took the pictures to the hotel, where managers identified the woman in the photos as a housekeeper.
They arrested her on an outstanding warrant and possession of stolen property.
Although they had a suspect, the sheriff’s office didn’t recover the device. Investigators say the suspect told them that her boyfriend tossed it into a canal once he learned it was stolen.
From The Associated Press.