Judge to rule on how Roper hearing will proceed
BATON ROUGE- State District Judge Michael Caldwell will make a decision Friday about whether to tell the Metro Council how a hearing regarding Parish Attorney Mary Roper will proceed.
Roper was placed on paid leave last week. The Metro Council was supposed to discuss whether to put her on leave that same week, but Judge Erwin ruled nothing could happen until her lawsuit is addressed. It happened as Roper filed a motion for contempt to block the council from holding a hearing about her employment.
"I believe in the system," Roper said. "I believe that we will get a fair shake and that's all that I'm looking for."
Roper is seeking documents and a list of witnesses that will testify at the hearing before the Metro Council. So far, Roper says neither her or her attorney Wade Shows have been presented with any of that information. Last week, Roper was locked out of the Office of the Parish Attorney and access to her email was shut off.
"I need to have access to emails," Roper said. "When I went on vacation, I always check email, take care of business when I'm not at the office. That's hampered my ability to function."
Metro Councilman Chandler Loupe believes the actions were appropriate.
"After the incident that happened where she went into the office, I wasn't present, threatening to sue employees, I think it was more than appropriate," Loupe said.
Today, Judge Caldwell said it's not typical for a court to determine how a Metro Council hearing will go. Caldwell is scheduled to issue his decision Friday.
Murphy Foster is representing the council. He wants the suit tossed.
"This action should be dismissed," Foster said. "They are asking the judge to do something that he can't do."
"We feel we do have a case," Roper's Attorney Wade Shows said. "A Judge will have to make that decision."
Roper came under fire after an audit was requested by Metro Councilman Chandler Loupe in 2009. Since then, her actions have been under the microscope. Some council members allege she has breached her duties. Recently, she sent a confidential software program to her husband, who works in parish government. Some council members believe she should not have done that.