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Pointe Coupee Sheriff's Office at odds with New Roads Mayor over juvenile prosecution

10 months 3 weeks 2 days ago June 28, 2016 Jun 28, 2016 Tuesday, June 28 2016 June 28, 2016 6:40 PM in News
Source: WBRZ

NEW ROADS- The Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff's Office is at odds with the Mayor of New Roads following a WBRZ Investigative Unit report earlier this month.

It centers around Mayor Robert Myer prosecuting juveniles in Mayor's court. Legal scholars and attorneys say that's against the law since juveniles must be prosecuted in juvenile courts or the district courts in their areas.

The Mayor says he sent juveniles to the jail for community service, but there's a problem. The jail says they would never allow juveniles in their facility as part of a community service.

"The first we heard of the story was when you broke the story," Captain and Warden of the Pointe Coupee Parish Jail Steve Juge said. "They did not come here."

In a council meeting on June 2nd, 2015, Myer said he sent a group of juveniles he prosecuted in mayor's court to the jail for part of their community service. Myer is not an attorney and he can't prosecute juveniles.

"I was not personally contacted by anyone from the Mayor's office," Juge said.

According to Juge, there are strict guidelines involving juveniles, and they are not allowed to do community service at the jail.

"Dealing with the inmates we have here, we wouldn't want kids around sexual predators or people charged with sex crimes," Juge said. "That would be a violation of the way you run prisons."

Earlier this month a story by the WBRZ Investigative Unit showed meeting minutes that were obtained from a council meeting last June.

"Mayor Myer reported that four juveniles and their parents appeared in mayor's court as a result of an incident involving a bike theft. The parents will make restitution and the kids will be taken to visit the detention center as their community service," the minutes read.

When we questioned Myer about this ten days ago, he initially had trouble remembering. About two minutes into the interview, he confirmed he routinely has juveniles come before him in Mayor's Court.

"We've had juveniles come to Mayor's court," Myer said.

Loyola Law Professor and Legal Scholar Dane Ciolino believes it's illegal.

"Mayors' courts have no juvenile jurisdiction," Ciolino said. "Louisiana Childrens' Code Art. 302, which establishes the juvenile jurisdiction of Louisiana's courts, does not include mayors' courts."

Coupled with a questionable prosecution, even the Sheriff's Office is distancing itself from the Mayor claiming he sent juveniles to the jail as a community service.

"We do not allow juveniles to come into our facility," Juge said.

The Investigative Unit reached out to Mayor Robert Myer today. He didn't return our calls.

Earlier this month, a law firm the Mayor hired in Baton Rouge said the Mayor has authority over all violations of municipal ordinances. When asked how that applies to juveniles, WBRZ never got an answer.

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