Baton Rouge, Louisiana
7 Day Forecast
Follow our weather team on social media

Continuance granted in legislator-councilman contempt hearing; case drags on

1 year 2 months 6 days ago Tuesday, May 09 2023 May 9, 2023 May 09, 2023 4:19 PM May 09, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ
Cleve Dunn

BATON ROUGE - A lawyer-legislator backing a bill that would change the power of the legislative continuance has been granted just that - a continuance in a case that's been dragging on for nearly two years.

Rep. Edmond Jordan represents Metro councilman Cleve Dunn who's involved in a property dispute with his neighbor. In March, Judge Beau Higginbotham granted neighbor Eugene Michelli about $57,000 in damages after Jordan and Dunn didn't show up to court - twice.

Jordan had filed for a legislative continuance hours before the hearing, requesting it be postponed due to the legislative session. It was denied. A contempt hearing for Jordan and Dunn was scheduled for March 23, then reassigned to April 26 after the parties in contempt did not show. After submitting another legislative continuance to the Louisiana Supreme Court, it's been granted. The writ says those dates fall within 30 days prior to the start or within the dates of the legislative session.

"What gets me is that he can draw up all of the writs but can't come to court," said Michelli, who fears this case will continue to drag on with no end.

"They didn't tell the Supreme Court that the judge waited eleven months and two weeks to recuse themselves, just another political stunt to drag this out," Michelli said.

Monday, HB 544 passed in committee with amendments. The bill essentially gives a lawyer-legislator an excuse to get out of court with no opposition.

Even though the continuance was granted, justices say that courts have an obligation to make sure cases are resolved in a timely fashion. Justice William Crain wrote a concurring opinion supported by Chief Judge John Weimer that says attorneys who serve in the legislature have time challenges which must be balanced with their obligations as lawyers.

"Every right can be waived, and no right should be abused. It has been said
that just because one may have a right to do something does not mean it is the right
thing to do," wrote Crain.

A judgement in the Michelli-Dunn case was officially signed by Higginbotham - but so has an appeal. For the appeal to move forward, Dunn has to furnish a bond for the $57,000 he was ordered to pay to Michelli in damages.

The contempt hearing has been rescheduled for Aug. 8.

More News

Desktop News

Click to open Continuous News in a sidebar that updates in real-time.
7 Days