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Officers told not to arrest mental patients

4 years ago August 19, 2011 Aug 19, 2011 Friday, August 19 2011 Friday, August 19, 2011 5:29:42 PM CDT in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Stephanie Ryan

JACKSON - Marshals in Jackson are trying to figure out how to handle arrests on the grounds of the Eastern Louisiana Mental Health System, after an arrest for attempted rape.

Joseph Picou, 52, was arrested Wednesday for attempted forcible rape after officers said he tried to rape a nurse at a group home. Marshal Robert Sanders says he was asked the next day to write summons instead of arrest people on the grounds of the facility. Sanders said he will continue to make arrests for offenses like attempted rape, because summons would leave alleged attackers in the same group home with victims until their court date, which could be months later.

District Attorney Sam D'Aquila said he did ask Sanders to write summons. He says medicines and special accomodations make it too expensive to house mental patients in parish jails, but agrees citations should be written only for smaller offenses.

A representative from the system told News 2 off camera she wants officers to arrest violent offenders, but not offenders who could be housed at the institution.

There will be a meeting Tuesday with marshals, D'Aquila and system administrators to straighten out the disagreement.

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