Former LSPC Member Calvin Braxton adds Louisiana State Police as defendant to his civil suit against LSTA alleging LSP has falsely accused him of murder.

LSP Lt. Col. Jay Oliphant, whom former LSPC Member Calvin Braxton has alleged in litigation filed on February 19, 2020 falsely accused Braxton of murder.

On July 13, 2017, Calvin Braxton, a then-member of the Louisiana State Police Commission (LSPC) was ambushed by Fox8’s Lee Zurik, who was obviously working solely with the Louisiana State Trooper’s Association (LSTA) upper brass who made no secret of their desire for Braxton to be removed from the LSPC.  Zurik confronted Braxton with cameras rolling with allegations that he tried to use his influence as an LSPC member to take retribution against an LSP Trooper who had arrested Braxton’s daughter in late 2015 for DWI.

On May 10, 2018, Braxton sued the LSTA and the author of an incident report, Jay Oliphant, indicating that the LSTA had fabricated virtually all of the incident report and, in so doing, falsely accused him of exerting such influence which, in turn, severely impacted his reputation thus buttressing his claim for defamation.

 On April 22, 2019, we provided our subscribers with an update on five LSP-related civil lawsuits.  That feature devoted about three minutes to recapping the then-current state of affairs entailing the Braxton litigation.  We now present a re-broadcast of just that short segment of the video of 4/22/19:


Burns updates subscribers on the status of Braxton’s civil lawsuit against the LSTA on 4/22/19.

Burns openly states on the video above that he would “gladly purchase tickets” to the depositions being conducted during the then-ongoing discovery proceedings entailing Braxton’s litigation.  Burns’ zeal was justified based upon an amendment to Braxton’s litigation in which LSP is being added as a defendant to Braxton’s suit.

What’s the basis of LSP being added as a defendant?  Well, that would be one of those discovery depositions Burns desperately wished he could sit in on that transpired on June 26, 2019 (only a mere 65 days after Burns expressed a yearning to attend the depositions) in which Lt. Col. Jay Oliphant admitted under oath that he “authored a publication on March 2, 2018” which Braxton asserts through pleadings “falsely accusing Petitioner of murder.”

The link above contains the full amendment to the petition; however, let’s make it simple for readers by placing below only the applicable sections of the litigation constituting the meat of the amendments (click on images below to enlarge):

The incident references Braxton’s girlfriend from, as the petition points out, “decades earlier.”  The incident was officially classified as a suicide.

Truth is an absolute defense to a defamation claim, so the burden now falls upon LSP to demonstrate that Braxton in fact committed murder since the agency has allegedly spread material indicating that he did.  That begs the question of whether Oliphant made any effort to strong-arm an LSP investigation into what he apparently deems to be a homicide (which appears to us to be based solely upon his own irrational insecurities and concerns).

Did Oliphant insist upon an investigation of a case closed decades ago as part of his mission?  Sound Off Louisiana has spoken with sources with integral knowledge of the situation and whom we deem to have a very high level of credibility regarding internal LSP matters.  Those sources have indicated that Oliphant made requests of LSP based apparently upon his own well-documented and widely publicized  (click on the update link for Oliphant’s inappropriate Facebook posts) fears and insecurities in that regard.  We were able to substantiate those sources’ information upon receiving Oliphant’s actual March 2, 2018 incident report. [Editor’s Note:  We have redacted the name of the young lady.]

As we pointed out in our feature regarding LSP Troopers’ concerns entailing what they consider rank nepotism regarding Col. Reeves’ son, Kaleb, obtaining a detective position far sooner than should ordinarily be the case, Reeves granted Oliphant not one, but two, promotions to now hold a highly-prestigious position of Lt. Colonel (second in command behind the Colonel himself).

What has become increasingly obvious to us is that, in order to qualify to be admitted into the upper brass of LSP, and that includes the Colonel on down, one must demonstrate a very high level of incompetence and renegade behavior.  That was certainly the case with former Col. Mike Edmonson and his chief lieutenant (whom many troopers tell us was the one actually running the whole show), Charlie Dupuy.

As for Col. Reeves:

1.  He was Oliphant’s supervisor at the time Oliphant drafted the original incident report regarding Braxton’s alleged intimidation,

2.  It’s now a near certainty that Gov. Edwards (much to the frustration of the LSTA which prompted them to get Zurik involved) sat on Oliphant’s incident report for over a year because he knew (just as Reeves obviously knew since he had to approve it) that it was a fabrication,

3.  The recent training academy fiasco,

4.  The haphazard implementation of pay raises that Trooper Coates has now established has transpired agency-wide,

When combined with many other recent LSP black eyes and the fact that Reeves obviously merely elevated his chief lieutenants to sky-high salaries (and we’ve heard reports they may have just gotten big pay boosts as Reeves may have as well, but we’ll have to pursue public records requests to substantiate that fact), so that they could retire with fat pensions (just as Reeves will), we firmly believe it’s time for Reeves to resign in disgrace!  His tenure as LSP Colonel can now officially be declared an absolutely unmitigated disaster!

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Gov. Edwards indicates he “has no problem” with Louisiana’s $50,000 jury trial threshold, so will Republican legislators have the guts to override a veto of a bill substantially lowering it?

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards as he takes a question on the $50,000 jury trial threshold from Sound Off Louisiana founder Robert Burns at the Baton Rouge Press Club meeting of Monday, March 2, 2020.

 

Last week, we reminded our subscribers of Gov. Edwards’ stand on Louisiana’s $50,000 civil jury trial threshold.  We did so knowing that Gov. Edwards would be the guest at today’s Baton Rouge Press Club (BRPC) meeting and we’d have the opportunity to ask him if his sentiments have changed.  At only 98 seconds, the video is short (especially by Sound Off Louisiana standards), so let’s take a look both at his historical statement and his current stand on that $50,000 threshold:


Sound Off Louisiana’s Robert Burns reminds Gov. Edwards of his stand on the $50,000 jury trial threshold from 4 1/2 years ago and asks him if his sentiments have changed.

As is obvious from the video, Gov. Edwards, though being somewhat vague and leaving a tad of wiggle room, really makes no secret of the fact he is virtually certain to veto any bill that substantially lowers the jury trial threshold.  Therefore, our advice to Republican legislators, who heard from voters across this state loud and clear in the 2019 elections that they are fed up with Louisiana’s judicial hell hole and its implications on their insurance rates, is to show some guts and get set to override Edwards’ veto!

For those legislators who are inclined to fail to override his veto, we’ll have a webpage specifically established (with photos) outlining exactly which Republicans lacked such conviction.  In fact, we are so supremely confident that Gov. Edwards will veto tort reform that we’ve already created a webpage to hold Republicans who fail to support an override of his veto accountable.

We even used one state representative whom we see as highly likely to vote “no” on an override as the guinea pig for the page (subscribers are invited to click on the preceding link to reveal the identity of said legislator).  If our guinea pig legislator opts to support an override of Gov. Edwards, we’ll be more than  happy to remove the entry as well as issue a public apology for our misguided prediction!

The bottom line, however, is that we are going to strive to make it easier for voters in those Republicans’ districts to be aware of their stand supporting the current out-of-control judicial system in Louisiana!

To see Gov. Edwards’ presentation in its entirety (including his plans to actively support diversionary legislation authored by Sen. Jay Luneau, D-Alexandria, which is the trial-lawyer backed initiatives to “reduce insurance premiums,”) CLICK HERE.  Note:  Edwards references Luneau’s legislation at the 14 minute mark of the video.

If you would like to be added to our Sound Off Louisiana email list to be notified of future posts, simply go to our home page and scroll to the bottom (mobile devices) or to the top of the right-hand column (desktops).  Supply your email address within the subscribe box.  You’ll then receive an automated email from Word Press, and all you have to do is click on the blue “confirm follow” bar contained within that email, and you’ll begin receiving great posts such as the preceding one above.

Given Louisiana’s job losses and out-migration under his watch, will Gov. Edwards back off statements that Louisiana’s $50,000 jury trial threshold is, “fair, reasonable, and strikes at the right balance”?

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards responds to a question on Louisiana’s $50,000 jury trial threshold posed by Sound Off Louisiana founder Robert Burns on October 31, 2015.

Soon after Sound Off Louisiana was founded (after a ton of persuasion by the late C. B. Forgotston for founder Robert Burns to do so), and back when almost nobody had a clue who we were, we produced a feature on October 31, 2015 which focused on the drastic differences regarding Louisiana’s $50,000 civil jury trial threshold between the two runoff candidates for Governor, then-State Rep. John Bel Edwards (D-Amite) and then-U. S. Sen. David Vitter (R-Metairie).

As we mentioned in the feature, we had to make use of technology to highlight those differences because then-candidate Edwards adamantly refused to attend a business-sponsored candidate forum at which he knew the question would be posed.  As a result, Burns merely asked Edwards (and the other candidates) the same question at a subsequent Baton Rouge Press Club (BRPC) meeting.

We’re about to provide a six-minute highlight of the video we aired back then because we think Edwards’ response to the question on that $50,000 jury trial threshold provides key insight into his true feelings and just how much of a battle State Sen. Kirk Talbot and State Rep. Raymond Garofalo face as they present stringent tort reform measures in the upcoming 2020 Louisiana Legislative Session:


Candidates Edwards and Vitter spar (though on separate occasions) about the topic of Louisiana’s $50,000 civil jury trial threshold and its significant adverse economic impacts (according to Vitter) or total lack thereof (according to Edwards).

In analyzing the preceding video, we’d like to make several points.  First, then-Sen. Vitter ran a campaign based upon a fundamental belief that Louisiana should facilitate each of its citizens having a fundamental right (presently afforded citizens of 36 other states) to insist upon a civil jury trial decided by his or her peers irrespective of the dollar amount involved.

Accordingly, Burns asked Edwards if he too thought Louisiana citizens should have that same right as citizens in 36 other states.

In Edwards’ response, which begins at the 3:34 mark of the video, he first expresses appreciation for the question.  Trust us, he was not the least bit appreciative, but he’s also very good at deploying platitudes in just such situations.

Next, Edwards, either genuinely or being sly, expressed an apparent  misunderstanding of the question in saying, “I don’t believe there’s a constitutional right to a trial by jury,” to which Burns replied, “I’m asking if you THINK citizens should have that right.”

Once Edwards was perfectly clear on the question, we believe he provided a totally honest and truthful one-word answer:  “No.”

At the 3:46 mark of the video, Edwards states his resolute belief that the present $50,000 jury trial threshold is, “fair, reasonable, and strikes at the right balance.”

He then went on to state his belief that Louisiana certainly wouldn’t want “$8,000 finder benders” being decided by jury.  Those words (assuming Edwards isn’t willing to back off of them) would indicate Edwards certainly doesn’t plan to sign any legislative initiative which contains a jury trial threshold anywhere near as low as $8,000!

To counter Edwards’ arguments (beyond the video of Vitter doing so very, very effectively above), we want to draw focus on just how a FAR, FAR less than “$8,000 fender bender” resulted in a $48,500 award.

To do so, we merely encourage everyone to see all of that material (complete with photo and documentation links) which is available at the link for that October 31, 2015 feature.  That material even includes a letter from State Farm Insurance stating its decision to settle the case is based at least in part by the judge who drew the case (19th JDC Judge Janice Clark).

The results of the 2019 Legislative races contained one crystal-clear message, and that is that the public, and the small business community and their families in particular, are fed up with the same system that Gov. Edwards describes as, “fair, reasonable, and strikes at the right balance.”

If Republican legislators fail to pass meaningful tort reform with teeth that dramatically transforms Louisiana’s present business-hostile environment, we fully expect those Republicans opposing such an initiative to experience an end to their political careers with that one vote.  If they do pass meaningful tort reform and Gov. Edwards vetoes it, then we likewise believe those Republicans failing to support a veto-override on the measure can also kiss their political futures goodbye!

It should be a REALLY, REALLY interesting upcoming 2020 Louisiana Legislative Session, and we at Sound Off Louisiana can’t wait for it to kick off!

If you would like to be added to our Sound Off Louisiana email list to be notified of future posts, simply go to our home page and scroll to the bottom (mobile devices) or to the top of the right-hand column (desktops).  Supply your email address within the subscribe box.  You’ll then receive an automated email from Word Press, and all you have to do is click on the blue “confirm follow” bar contained within that email, and you’ll begin receiving great posts such as the preceding one above.