State Police Col. Davis’ legacy and credibility hinge on his appeal decision on former Lt. Sheldon Perkins’ DWI arrest.

LSP Col. Lamar Davis

On February 11, 2021, Louisiana State Police (LSP) Col. Lamar Davis gave a brief interview with WBRZ’s (Channel 2 in Baton Rouge) Chris Nakamoto.  In that interview, Davis stressed that LSP is a “great organization” and that, “we’re doing the right thing.”  We’ve broken out that short 14-second clip, so let’s take a quick look:

2/11/21:  LSP Col. Lamar Davis seeks to reassure the public regarding LSP.

Unless you’ve been a subscriber to this blog for a long time, you likely won’t know that its origin came as a result of its founder, Robert Burns, enduring almost-unimaginable corruption in the Louisiana auction industry, and with the Louisiana Auctioneer Licensing Board (LALB) in particular.

We’re not going to rehash any of that history, but suffice to say that, if you hire a Louisiana auctioneer, there’s at least a 15% – 20% chance you’re hiring a crook.  Further, we recently reported even the State of Louisiana is not exempt from such thievery.

In that feature, we provided the background of the “other” Jacob Brown, the former licensed auctioneer and member of the LALB who, no sooner did Gov. Edwards appoint him to the LALB did his administration then award Brown lucrative state contracts, whereupon Brown then commenced to almost immediately write the State of Louisiana approximately $180,000 in hot checks.

As we reported in the linked feature, Brown’s trial was scheduled for April 28, 2021, and we committed to letting our subscribers know how that turned out.  Well, it didn’t.

We tuned in to the scheduled court hearing via Zoom, but it never materialized.  We therefore called the judge’s office, and his office read to us handwritten notes of what transpired.  We have waited until there was an official minute entry in the EBRP Clerk of Court’s Office, however, to let our subscribers know just what went down.  Now seems as good of a time as any, so let us provide the minute entry in full at this time:

The matter came before the court for jury trial pursuant to previous assignment. The accused was present in court represented by Cynthia R. Manuel. Mr. Stuart Theriot, assistant DA, was present for the State of Louisiana. Bench conference. The court ordered one last continuance for trial date. The accused owes restitution. On joint motion of the State and the Defendant, the Court ordered that the matter be continued. The trial jury was fixed for 11/17/21 at 9:00 a.m. Notice was given to the accused in open court.

We’ve therefore marked our calendars for November 17, 2021 and will update everyone after that date.

Here’s something that is truly disturbing.  Even with all the historical corruption of the LALB, the one thing that body knew (knows) how to do was (is) to properly conduct administrative hearings.  Trust us, we have observed about 40 of them, and they do at least know what they’re doing in that regard.  We certainly can’t say the same for the Louisiana State Police Commission (LSPC).

First, the LALB appropriately hired an outside party (an Assistant Attorney General from that office) to serve as the judge.  They most certainly did not use the same attorney as served (and serves) as general counsel for the Board (Anna Dow).  Most times, that Assistant AG was either Lindsey Hunter or Madeline Carbonette.  In sharp contrast, the LSPC simply utilizes its own general counsel, Lenore Feeney (of the law firm Taylor Porter).  As we will demonstrate in this feature, Feeney is extremely passive and permits LSPC Chairman Simien to usurp her role.

When we published this feature regarding the LSPC, at its most recent meeting of May 13, 2021, overturning the desires of both former Col. Kevin Reeves and current Col. Lamar Davis for former Lt. Sheldon Perkins to be terminated as a result of his August 24, 2019 DWI arrest during which he was belligerent and had to be tased (not to mention his prior theft of evidence from the evidence vault two years prior to that incident), we stressed the fact that Davis has the liberty to do as former LSP Col. Mike Edmonson did (though Edmonson did so for the wrong reasons) and appeal the LSPC’s decision to the First Circuit Court of Appeals.  From the preceding Louisiana Voice feature:

 Edmonson took the matter up the line to the First Circuit Court of Appeal.

The First Circuit’s ruling of May 2, 2012:

  • After thorough review of the testimonial and video evidence herein…we find the decision of the commission is supported by substantial evidence.

Edmonson promptly applied for writs (appealed) to the Louisiana Supreme Court.

And what became of that?

The State Supreme Court simply declined to even consider the matter.

Now it’s over.

We also stated in that feature that it’s our firm opinion that LSPC Chairman Eulis Simien, Jr., provides the basis for an appeal by Davis (and, just as an aside, the two have sparred over Davis’ authority at a prior meeting).  If we were in Simien’s shoes, we’d say, “Okay, big boy.  Back up your statement,” and we’re about to do just that!

Before we demonstrate Davis’ basis for appeal, however, we want to make it crystal clear that LSP Chief of Staff Doug Cain and LSP Col. Lamar Davis both concurred with previous LSP Col. Kevin Reeves’ discipline of terminating Perkins.  Cain provided an excellent summation of that fact, so we begin by presenting his words:

LSP Chief of Staff Doug Cain sums up why he, former Col. Kevin Reeves, and Col. Lamar Davis believe Perkins should be terminated.

The most glaring example of Simien point-blank usurping the authority of Feeney and essentially letting it be known that he would serve as de facto judge over the proceedings (notwithstanding he is nothing more or nothing less than one member of the Commission) is when LSP Legal Counsel Michele Giroir objected to a question from LSPC Member Brian Crawford entailing whether other troopers were also involved in the theft of evidence ($400 ice chest and other equipment) from the evidence vault.  Rather than appropriately letting Feeney deal with the objection (as he should have) Simien chose to instead state, “I don’t think you can object to a Commission Member’s question, and I’ll overrule it if you can.”  Let’s take a look:

LSPC Chairman Simien thrusts himself into the role of de facto judge by indicating that LSP Legal Counsel Michele Giroir cannot object to a Commission Member’s question and that, “I’ll overrule it if you can.”

Now, Perkins sought to strategically deploy incidents, “brought out by different media outlets across the state,” and emphasizing that, “some of those incidents have very tragic endings.”  Once Perkins stated that, “the discipline, or lack of discipline, imposed on troopers in those incidents are not consistent with discipline imposed on me,” Giroir once again objected.

Who stepped right up to the plate to interject himself into the objection process?  Once again, it was Simien; furthermore, Simien failed miserably in making a ruling to sustain or overrule the objection.  Since he chose to improperly inject himself into the process, one would hope he would not botch the episode up as badly as any incident at any administrative hearing we at Sound Off Louisiana have ever witnessed.

As a result of Simien’s piss poor handling of a matter he had absolutely no business even interjecting himself into, Perkins, having been provided with no authoritative ruling whatsoever, wound up venturing right back on to the topic of other troopers’ discipline.  Predictably, Giroir objected again.

Finally, Feeney, who is by far the most passive “judge” we’ve ever witnessed (perhaps it’s a flaw of knowing her contract may hang in the balance which is why it is a horrendously-undesirable practice to deploy the Commission’s general counsel as judge in the first place), finally interjected herself into the controversy.

Performing almost as poorly as Simien, Feeney sought to “clarify” the matter.  Thereafter, Simien point-blank guided Perkins as the witness as to how he could introduce evidence entailing past disciplinary infractions of other troopers.

Perkins had every right to deploy an attorney and let that attorney argue his ability to introduce such evidence.  The fact that he did not deploy an attorney means that it is his responsibility to pose such arguments.  What Simien sought to do was to allow Perkins to represent himself pro se and also allow himself to serve as his de facto attorney from his Commission Chairmanship position.  To sum it up in one word, Simien’s actions in that regard were inexcusable!

The entire episode was one of the most disgraceful displays we’ve ever seen at any administrative hearing, and we have attended a ton of them.  Having said that, here’s the video so viewers can decide for themselves if they share our sentiments on the episode:

LSP Attorney Michele Giroir repeatedly objects to Perkins’ attempts to reference the dissimilarity of his discipline with that of other troopers, and Simien and Feeney make an absolute mockery of the handling of Giroir’s objections.

For our next illustration of LSPC impropriety in conducting administrative hearings, Simien and Feeney have to be deemed equally at fault.  Periodically, these two attorneys (Simien is a personal injury lawyer) engage in off-the-record pow-wows that are completely inappropriate during administrative hearings.

There should be no off-the-record discussions between the judge and the head of the adjudicating body (in this case the LSPC).  What is discussed off the record may well form the basis for an appeal by either party (the trooper or LSP), and conducting these little private pow-wows demonstrates reckless disregard for the whole process of conducting hearings under Louisiana’s Administrative Law statutes.

Whatever needs to be discussed between the referee (judge), Feeney in this case, and the head of the body, Simien in this case, needs to be conducted out in the open and recorded.  Let’s take a look at the pow-wow between Simien and Feeney during Perkins’ appeal hearing:

Simien and Feeney demonstrate reckless disregard for Administrative Law procedures for conducting hearings by routinely engaging in private pow-wows such as the one demonstrated above for the appeal hearing for Sheldon Perkins.

Now, at the end of the above pow-wow between Simien and Feeney, Simien seeks a motion from a Commission Member regarding whether or not LSP’s evidence of the video of Perkins’ arrest will even be viewed by the Commission!  That is NOT a joke!  Why was the pow-wow necessary?  Well, if Feeney has a modicum of intellect, she should have advised Simien that he had inappropriately interjected himself at the outset of the appeal hearing regarding whether or not the Commission should view the arrest video.

That video was LSP evidence which Giroir fully intended to be introduced and for the Commission to view.  It was Perkins’ responsibility to object if he so chose (and, ironically, he stated on the record that he had “no objection” to the introduction of the video as evidence by LSP), and Simien had absolutely no business whatsoever even suggesting that the Commission not view the video!  NONE!  Instead, like any good defense attorney would do (as Simien had no business serving as Perkins’ de facto attorney and advocate as he did throughout the hearing), Simien sought to keep the video out of evidence from the outset of the hearing.  Let’s take a look at him doing so and Giroir expressing her sentiments of Simien’s questioning in the following video:

Simien, inappropriately acting as Perkins’ de facto attorney, openly questions whether the LSPC needs to view video of Perkins’ arrest for DWI.

Now, as we pointed out in our main feature on the Perkins appeal hearing, after Simien engaged in the outrageous act of openly questioning whether LSP should even have need to play the video (a less-than-subtle effort to shield Perkins from its horrendously-bad content), Giroir is relegated to appealing to the LSPC Members’ willingness to view a video they had invested a considerable amount of time preparing and having ready for the hearing.

We want to point out that Simien’s concern over “Commissioners’ time” is absolutely incredible given that these same Commission members spent a considerable amount of time listening to and questioning an “expert” regarding ensuring that the written exam for becoming a Trooper has appropriate “sensitivity questions” and other related material, when these same Commissioners did absolutely nothing (at least not that we’ve been able to ascertain) to investigate absolutely massive levels of cheating that has transpired year after year via flash drives with the examination being passed around not only between Cadets enrolled in the Academy but also by their superiors and, in one instance, a publicly-touted and showered-with-praise Cadet who allegedly stole a hard copy of the exam to share with Cadet colleagues!

It’s absolutely incredible and virtually beyond comprehension that Simien would suddenly have concerns over “Commissioners’ time,” but again, we don’t believe for one second that was Simien’s motivation but rather one of his many inappropriate actions to ensure the Commission ruled to overturn Davis’ decision to uphold Reeves’ termination discipline imposed on Perkins.

As we reported, the resolution to Simien’s beyond-words inappropriate attempt to keep the video out of evidence entailing this hearing, was for Board Member Brian Crawford to propose a motion that any Commission Member could express a desire to view the video at any time.  Let’s take a moment to see Crawford’s motion:

Commission member Brian Crawford is left to deal with the train wreck that Simien created in questioning the need to view the arrest video, which is a matter that should have been resolved strictly between LSP, Perkins, and Feeney if LSP and Perkins could not agree upon the admissibility of the video.

Also, as we reported in the main Perkins feature linked above, had it not been for Commission Member Knapp meekly raising his hand at the end of the hearing and prior to the LSPC going into Executive Session, the LSPC would never have even viewed any portion of the video at all.

Furthermore, despite Giroir’s assurance (which she NEVER should have been essentially forced into making but for Simien’s beyond-absurd act), that LSP would present a condensed version which should “not exceed about 40 minutes,” the actual video shown to the Commission (and which we recorded) was only approximately 22 minutes.

As we mentioned regarding the Sheldon appeal hearing, we were absolutely flooded with angry reactions to the Commission’s decision to re-hire Perkins.  We got not one single communication of support for the Commission’s action but a flood of condemnation.

One such correspondence guided us to seek the full video which Giroir intended to show the LSPC because, as this individual explained, considerable interaction between Perkins and the two arresting officers transpired in between the two segments Giroir showed in order to appease Simien’s blatantly-inappropriate questioning of her need to present any part of the video at all.  After corresponding with this individual, on Monday, May 17, 2021 we made an LSP Public Records Request for the full video Giroir planned to show the Commission as evidence.  From our public records request:

I am expecting the length of that video to be considerably longer than the 21-minute segment(s)
shown to the commissioners since Chairman Simien expressed reservations about watching “an hour
and a half video,” and attorney Giroir indicated that, by fast forwarding to two sections that the
expected length to be presented to commissioners would be “around 40 minutes.”

Because the entirety of the video was planned to be introduced into evidence and displayed for all in
attendance, including me to videotape for Sound Off Louisiana viewers and subscribers, there should
be no question whatsoever that the entirety of that video is public record.

I will be happy to come into LSP’s facilities and provide a flash drive for the purpose of copying the
video onto that drive just as I did about 3 ½ years ago regarding LSP Trooper Philip Tagliarino’s
stopping of Andrew Arway for suspected DWI

Because there is no doubt as to the existence of this record and because of the known ease to
access it and make it available and because time is clearly of the essence in this matter, I am
respectfully requesting that the video referenced above be provided to me in a very expeditious
manner, and I look forward to a response to this request and for me coming in and obtaining the full
video as expeditiously as possible.

Now, the reason we placed “time is of the essence” regarding obtaining the video is that, while Col. Davis has every right to appeal the LSPC’s decision on Perkins to the First Circuit Court of Appeals (which we and tons of other folk, including current and past LSP Troopers, believe he should), is because his window for launching such an appeal is not infinite.  Nevertheless, here is the official LSP response to our request.  From that response:

you are hereby notified that the estimated time reasonably necessary for collection, review, and any necessary redaction of the documents which may be responsive to your request is forty-five (45) days.

Now, as anyone can plainly see, we offered to go to LSP’s offices and provide a thumb drive for copying the video (just as we’ve done in the past for another LSP matter) and be done in a matter of minutes.  Nevertheless, as demonstrated by the above canned latter which goes out with variations only in the number of days (and no adjustment for the fact the requested item is not even a document but rather a video), we’re told we’ll have to wait 45 days!  If LSP were a private company, let’s just say, for example purposes McDonald’s, this would be equivalent to going through the drive thru and ordering a simple quarter-pounder value meal with no variation (no holding of onions, etc.) and then being told by the cashier, “You need to pull over to the curb and we’ll have your meal out to you in about 3 1/2 hours!”

We believe the stalling is an effort for the full extent of the video not to be made available to the public if at all possible, and we all recently saw just how well that tactic worked out for LSP entailing Ronald Greene, huh?  At a minimum, it flies in the face of Davis’ public words of reassurance  as outlined in the first video above!  Nevertheless, we believe there is more than enough foundation for Davis to appeal the LSPC’s ruling on Perkins irrespective of the remainder of the arrest video being made available to the public for purposes of this feature.

Furthermore, should Davis feel a need to view the remainder of the damning video (assuming he hasn’t already) to finalize his decision regarding appeal, we’re willing to bet that, if he goes to Faye Morrison (author of the letter telling us to essentially hang tight for 45 days) seeking a flash drive with the video, we doubt she’s going to tell him, “I’ll get it to you in 45 days or so.” Make no mistake, once we get it, we’ll be examining it, and we’ll certainly be scrutinizing and reporting upon Davis’ decision of whether or not he appeals LSPC’s Perkins ruling irrespective of what the remaining as-yet-public-unseen segment of the video depicts.

Let us continue on with our critique of Simien’s performance.  In the following video, he baggers the witness (one of the arresting troopers) in stating that he did not answer Simien’s “very specific question” and demanding a “very specific answer:”

Simien badgers one of the arresting troopers on the witness stand by accusing him of not “answering my very specific question” with a “very specific answer.”

 The reality is that the witness answered a series of questions by Simien very specifically on the above one-minute video, and he was doing so again in his own way, but his statement was very, very damning toward Perkins.  Accordingly, and, again, as any good defense attorney would do (which Simien had no business whatsoever taking on that role for Perkins), Simien  interrupted the witness and badgered him in openly questioning the content of his answer and whether it conformed to Simien’s question.  What was needed was a judge to corral the self-appointed judge (Simien) for this matter and, regrettably, the only person in a position to do that was Feeney, who clearly had a vested interest in not pointing out Simien’s repeated inappropriate actions.

Now, in the above video, Simien all-but infers Perkins should, for some reason, be cut some slack because “people react differently” when inebriated.  Simien again chose to drive this point home with the other arresting trooper to reach the point that one gets the distinct impression that Simien has decided to place the two of them on trial rather than consider any valid basis for a Perkins appeal.  Let’s take a quick view:

Simien drives home his apparent belief that the arresting troopers should “give consideration to the level of (then Lt. Perkins’) intoxication.”

At a later time during the Cain testimony and at a point Giroir was driving home how violative Perkins’ actions were, Simien interrupts Giroir and Cain to, once again, essentially serve as a de facto attorney for Perkins and challenge Giroir’s line of questioning.  Let’s take a look:

Simien challenges Giroir’s line of questioning of LSP Lt. Col. and LSP Col. Lamar Davis’ Chief of Staff, Doug Cain.

We understand representing oneself.  Heck, Sound Off Louisiana founder Robert Burns went the pro se route for an entire trial complete with witnesses on April 9, 2014 (full court transcript available here for those who may be curious).  When he did so, however, the judge expected him to know courtroom procedure (made easier by the many courtroom cases Burns has attended as a member of the audience) and that he would be afforded no special treatment or “gentle guidance” from the Bench (Judge) simply because he’s not an attorney (even though the Judge referenced him as “counsel” on several occasions).  Simien had no business #1) inserting himself as a de facto attorney for Perkins and #2) inserting himself as a quasi judge overseeing the entire hearing.

One recently-retried trooper who corresponded with us immediately after the LSPC rendered the ruling reinstating Perkins said, “Robert, that LSPC has no credibility whatsoever after this, and I have no idea how they can get that credibility back after a disastrous ruling like this!”

LSP’s own credibility is in serious question given all of the recent highly-publicized international features depicting problematic behavior on the parts of multiple LSP troopers.  For now, Davis has LSP’s credibility hanging on by a thread; furthermore, we firmly believe that, if he fails to exercise his right of appeal of the Perkins ruling by the LSPC, he will have:  #1) eroded what little credibility LSP has left, #2) caused his reassuring words to the public depicted in the very first video of this feature to be totally hollow and have no substance whatsoever, and #3) blown to Hell his own credibility and cemented his legacy as just another LSP Colonel who merely permitted LSP corruption to continue right on down the corruption train track unabated.

The ball’s clearly in Col. Davis’ court!  We’ll see what he does with it!

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One thought on “State Police Col. Davis’ legacy and credibility hinge on his appeal decision on former Lt. Sheldon Perkins’ DWI arrest.”

  1. The only solution available is a consent decree with the Federal Government. Louisiana politics, as evidenced by the actions of the Louisiana State Police Commission, will continue to erode
    the little respect the agency has left. I can only imagine the morale of the good Troopers, and there are many who have to endure the slime of others on their badge. How can a trooper with an
    exceptional record and many years of exceptional service take orders from a leader like Sheldon Perkins? I can not grasp the reasoning by which the State Police Commission continues to
    lower the standards of the once-premier agency. When you can sit on a razor blade and swing your legs, that is the BOTTOM!!!

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