Former Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal (right) and then-Iberia Parish Sheriff Deputy (and current Louisiana State Police Trooper) Scott Lopez (Photo Courtesy of Duane Fatherree/The Daily Iberian via AP File).
Well, we’ve always taken the approach that judges call it a “brief” for a reason, so we kept our Brief in Burns v. Davis short and sweet. We welcome anyone to read it if they so choose. Here are a few highlights:
The very use of the word “considered” in Ms. Holland’s letter to Petitioner is a direct admission that the matter is not a settled fact that the Letters are “not” public record but rather that LSP does not “consider” them public.
Petitioner emphasizes that Ms. Holland’s wording by using the word “considered” leaves no margin for interpretation about there being “doubt” as to whether they are public record or not. Clearly there is doubt, and use of the word “considered” clearly demonstrates that fact.
Accordingly, Petitioner asserts that Defendant’ s rationale for denying him access to the Letters of Counseling / Warning falls woefully short of what is required in Title Research, which specifically states that public records in Louisiana should always be
“construed liberally in favor of free and unrestricted access to the records, and that access can be denied only when a law, specifically, and unequivocally, provides otherwise …… Whenever there is doubt as to whether the public has the right of access to certain records, the doubt must be resolved in favor of the public’s right to see.” Title research Corp. v. Rausch, 450 So.2nd 933, 936 (La. 1984). [Bold emphasis is Petitioner’s]
Petitioner asserts that the public’s right to know (as supported by Title Research) vastly exceeds Trooper Lopez’ s “right to privacy,” and he further asserts that is particularly the case given recent events in Trooper Lopez’s career (i.e. being cited by LSP for failing
to turn on his body-worn camera on a June 14, 2021 incident and being cited for Conduct Unbecoming for his remarks to the St. Martin Parish Planning and Zoning Commission on January 6, 2022).
Therefore, Petitioner respectfully requests that this Honorable Court examine in-camera the Letters of Counseling / Warning which Defendant has been ordered to provide to this Honorable Court, and thereafter issue an Order granting the release of those Letters to the public. Petitioner will graciously appreciate any other pages of the large volume of redacted pages which Defendant will be submitting to this Honorable Court for in-camera inspection to be made public, but it is the Letters of Counseling / Warning that, as stated in his May 23, 2022 oral arguments before this Honorable Court, which he most desires.
We’re going to have several more features entailing Lopez to come out between now and the June 20, 2022 court hearing, but rest assured we’ll also update our subscribers and site visitors with the results of that court hearing transpiring in 17 days!
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