Louisiana district attorney accused of raking in $2 million from traffic stops, violating ethics laws
WEST BATON ROUGE - A complaint filed against District Attorney Ricky Ward claims he has been illegally using traffic tickets to funnel millions of dollars into his office.
According to the formal complaint filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Ward has been allowing drivers to circumvent court by paying a $175 fee directly to the DA's office. The document goes on to claim that Ward has been hiring off-duty officers to create a 'dragnet' in Iberville, West Baton Rouge and Pointe Coupee Parishes in order to generate more funds. It says Ward's office has generated more than $2 million through the traffic ticket diversion program, which it characterizes as "payments for the dismissal of prosecutions."
The SPLC says this directly contradicts an interpretation of ethics laws handed down by the Louisiana Attorney General which says such practices are prohibited. The complaint cites the AG, saying such additional fees would be an abuse of authority. It also makes note of other district attorneys accused of similar practices, including Sam D'Aquilla of East and West Feliciana Parishes and Keith Stutes of Acadia, Lafayette and Vermilion Parishes.
The complaint asks that the state Board of Ethics conduct an investigation into the DA's practices and reaffirm that they are unlawful.
"The state deserves more from its elected district attorneys than this unethical scheme to generate profits through the threat of prosecution," the complaint states.
You can read the complaint in its entirety by clicking HERE.
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