Posted: Mar 9, 2012 10:22 PM by Michael Shingleton
Updated: Mar 12, 2012 12:07 PM
BATON ROUGE - District Attorney Hillar Moore plans to fight juvenile court Judge Pam Johnson's decision to keep a 16-year-old accused of shooting Councilman Chandler Loupe's son in a juvenile detention center.
"Obviously we disagree. You know it's hard enough we have to fight the criminals and now having to fight the system on something that's really basic," Moore said.
It's a disagreement over which court should decide the fate of a teen, juvenile or adult. The 16-year-old is accused of shooting Councilman Chandler Loupe's son during what police say was a drug deal last month.
The law says the district attorney can try juveniles as adults if their charges meet certain criteria, which, in this case, they do. But Judge Johnson disagreed and ordered the defendant to stay in juvenile detention, which didn't sit well with the DA.
"This is standard stuff. We followed what the law told us to do and we're going to continue following the law. And our goal is to protect the public, and that's what we're going to do in this case," Moore said.
The teenager's attorney, Bruce Craft, filed a motion three weeks ago to keep the decision, to try the teen either as a juvenile or as a adult, in the hands of Judge Johnson.
"Her decision in my view is completely in line with what the law says," Craft said.
Craft said for years district attorney's statewide have used an outdated criminal case as the benchmark for how to transfer juveniles to adult courts through the eyes of higher courts. A decision, Craft said, that's rarely contested by defense attorneys, and he fully expects higher courts to rule.
"Today Judge Johnson agreed with my interpretation. Higher courts may agree with mine, or they may agree with the district attorney's interpretation. That's for them to decide at a later date, and we'll be making those arguements at a later time," Craft said.
District Attorney Hillar Moore plans to appeal the court's decision.
"We're going to do what we have to do, and we're going to file a writ and we'll eventually be back here in district court where this case should be," Moore said.