M. L. Lloyd III, who was pronounced dead on April 1, 2008 upon arrival at the hospital after being subjected to a severe two-day “whipping” for allegedly stealing an ice cream bar the preceding day, March 31, 2008.
We’re going to do our best to keep this post as succinct as we possibly can but still do our best to portray the circus-like atmosphere which transpired in 19th JDC Judge Don Johnson’s courtroom entailing the lead-up to the hearing which we reported upon late yesterday (August 10, 2022) evening.
Sound Off Louisiana founder Robert Burns showed up at around 9:30 a.m. this morning for an anticipated 10 am “Preliminary Injunction / Request for Video Pre-Trial Scheduling.” He was taken aback when he encountered a packed courtroom with a full slate of jurors in the jury box, approximately eight (8) attorneys at the main attorney tables, and boxes upon boxes upon boxes of evidence taking up all of the first two rows of the right side of the courtroom (plus a printer all set up in the very back set to print out even more materials which may be needed for trial). That’s not to mention a video screen all set up facing the jury and other media to accommodate remote testimony.
It was obvious Burns was walking in on an active civil trial as evidenced by an attorney questioning a witness, and so he wondered if he had inadvertently entered Judge Ron Johnson’s courtroom since he and his twin brother, Don, are located right across the hallway from one another. Burns therefore exited to double-check that he was in fact in the correct courtroom, and we was, so he took a seat where they were more plentiful (i.e. the left side of the courtroom).
Burns was fairly convinced that the hearing had been called off but opted to remain a while just to be safe. Soon, another gentleman entered the courtroom and sat in the row right in front of Burns (his first name is Jeffrey, sorry we failed to get his last name). Burns saw him looking over papers and easily recognized them as being filed by pro se litigants Belinda Parker-Brown, Errol Victor (Sr.), and Dr. Zena D. Crenshaw-Logal, so he whispered, “Excuse me, sir. Are you here for the Errol Victor matter?” Jeffrey responded, “Yes, I am.” Burns then inquired, “Do you know if it’s going to transpire?” His response was, “I have no idea.”
Burns then alerted him to the fact that Judge Johnson had noticed Crenshaw-Logal enter the main Zoom video conference, and he asked if her interest was in the ongoing civil matter being tried. It was soon thereafter that Judge Johnson made note of the fact Crenshaw-Logal, who is on vacation in Massachusetts, was entering the Zoom Court remote room for the “10:00 a.m. hearing,” and he instructed for her to be directed to the “Chambers meeting room” where his staff attorney, Jawhay King, would make arrangements. Johnson indicated that the matter, “may need to be reset.” With that, Jeffrey (again, sorry, we didn’t catch his last name) sought the attention of two other AG attorneys, and, as they would say in a petition, upon information and belief, were Jacqueline Wilson and Rachael Dunaway, the two attorneys who drafted AG Jeff Landry’s Preliminary Injunction Opposition Memorandum, for them to have a pow-wow out in the hallway so he could relay what Burns had indicated.
After a few minutes, all three Assistant AG attorneys returned, and the entire courtroom then listened to an approximate 30-40 minute audio deposition of the ongoing civil trial.
If anyone is curious, as the best Burns could surmise, that civil trial entails a lawsuit in which underage drinking transpired wherein one young underage lady had a serious accident at 12:45 a.m. and who, though initially cooperative when being transported by air med to OLOL, later at 3:12 a.m. became, “extremely combative, completely uncooperative, shouting at the LSP Trooper and all of the medical staff.” What we surmise that the lawsuit entails (and we are speculating) is a claim against a drug manufacturer that she became addicted to opioids once she began taking them for her pains related to the accident. We know one thing: the jury looked tired, and Judge Johnson did indicate that they’d been at it for “a week and a half.”
At any rate, at around 10:40 a.m. or so, Judge Johnson ordered a recess for that civil trial in order to take up the 10:00 a.m. hearing. Present (via Zoom) were Crenshaw-Logal, Parker-Brown, Errol Victor, Sr. (in orange jump suit), and New Orleans Attorney Robert Jenkins (who can be seen at the 1:23 mark of this video), who was seated to Victor’s left at the correctional facility. Present (Live) were Louisiana Assistant AGs Wilson, Dunaway, and Jeffrey (again, we apologize for not obtaining his last name).
Parker-Brown sought to have a question answered as to whether a number of “court watchers” whom she’d invited to the hearing would be admitted, and the court reporter, Susan Lee, explained that they would gain entrance once all of the attorneys were seated and the matter was underway.
The Assistant AGs objected to Jenkins making any arguments since he is not enrolled as Counsel. Johnson had to get clarification from Jenkins as to exactly what his role in the matter was. Jenkins explained that he was only in an advisory capacity to Victor. Johnson then indicated that Jenkins would be permitted to confer with Victor but would not be permitted to address the Court.
Judge Johnson sought an opening statement from the plaintiffs and requested that only one plaintiff speak to present the arguments. Crenshaw-Logal, a former Indiana attorney suspended in 2004 and who has never sought reinstatement, took on that role, and she mainly stressed that the Temporary Restraining Order (which Judge Johnson said he denied, but we believe Crenshaw-Logal correctly said was “unclear” what had been done with the Restraining Order with it appearing to us that it was granted) is now “moot,” as is the request for a Preliminary Injunction.
Crenshaw-Logal then stressed the need for, “you know, six to nine months to conduct discovery on this matter.” She emphasized that the case essentially entails, “whether double jeopardy transpired or not.”
The Assistant AGs (led primarily by Wilson, who along with Dunaway, represented Ad Hoc Judge Dennis Waldron) then argued that the Attorney General’s Office filed a plethora of exceptions the evening before [Sidebar: they weren’t on the system when we checked at around 2:00 p.m.] (res judicata, subject matter jurisdiction, peremptory exception of no right of action, absolute immunity) and stressed that Judge Waldron has, “a number of extremely strong defenses,” and further stressed that Waldron has yet to be properly served.
Judge Johnson wrapped things up by indicating that, “from this point forward, the litigation will proceed as an ordinary petition…….” after which he set all of the Attorney General’s Exceptions for hearing on Monday, August 29, 2022 at 10 a.m.
Somebody will have to get awfully busy drafting Opposition Memorandums for all those exceptions since they should be due a minimum of eight (8) days prior to the August 29, 2022 hearing.
One of the key reasons we strongly support cameras in courtrooms (even if just forcing courts to provide mandatory live stream via Zoom with no prohibitions whatsoever on viewers being able to make video recordings of the proceedings) is because we believe the citizens of Louisiana are entitled to see these type of
courtroom three-ring-circus proceedings.
We will be there for the August 29, 2022 exception hearing, but common sense dictates that they are going to be granted unless District Judge Don Johnson has no ability whatsoever to properly adjudicate what seems to be an incredibly cut-and-dry matter (see Federal Judge’s ruling from last night’s post which should make it abundantly clear that no double jeopardy transpired in this matter).
We conclude this feature by emphasizing that, going forward, any feature we do on this subject will always have M. L. Lloyd III’s photo as the lead caption because we want to make sure that he isn’t lost in people’s minds with all of these legal filings and legal
courtroom circus arguments.
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