Home  >  Page 2

LOUISIANA’S 2017 CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM PACKAGE

Louisiana holds the unfortunate title of having the highest incarceration rate per capita in the world.¹  Being the number one incarcerator takes a toll on the state’s resources; Louisiana spent $625 million on adult corrections in 2017.²  With the hope of shedding that ranking and its associated costs, the Louisiana legislature passed a sweeping criminal justice reform package, which Governor John Bel Edwards signed into law.  The amended criminal laws aim to decrease our prison population and government spending, primarily by:

  • Reducing sentences and probationary periods for certain crimes
  • Easing eligibility requirements for drug court, reentry programs, probation, or suspension of sentence
  • Reducing sentencing enhancements for habitual offenders
  • Changing the calculation of “good time” credit for prisoners

Sentencing Guidelines

The justice reform package changed the sentencing guidelines for many non-violent felonies.³  Several of the maximum sentences were reduced and some mandatory minimum sentences were eliminated.  A few examples:

  • The mandatory minimum sentence for “Felon in possession of a firearm” was reduced from 10 years to 5 years.
  • “Money laundering” more than $100,000 was reduced from a 5 – 99 year sentence to 2 – 50 years.
  • The maximum sentence for “Unauthorized use of a motor vehicle” was reduced from 10 years to 2 years.
  • Simple arson no longer has a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years, with a new sentencing range of 0 – 15 years.

Louisiana’s “Theft” statute bases the severity of punishment on the value of the property stolen. The new law adjusted the dollar value ranges, making some of the penalties more lenient.⁸  For example, a theft under $750 formerly resulted in a zero to six month sentence (misdemeanor) and anything more than that amount was a felony.  Now, the misdemeanor/theft threshold has been raised to $1,000.  Other similar statutes that use this dollar amount threshold followed the same pattern: issuing worthless checks, residential contractor fraud10, access device fraud11, and organized retail theft12, to name a few.

Probation, “Good Time,” and Parole

The changes to the criminal code expanded the ability of judges to suspend a sentence for certain crimes, placing the defendant on probation rather than in prison.13  Defendants charged with drug-related crimes are now eligible for substance abuse probation programs.  Also, entry into the drug division probation program was expanded to permit defendants charged with a crime of violence, as long as the crime was not against a family member or dating partner and does not carry a maximum sentence over 10 years.

Inmates will now earn “good time” more easily, which is a way for them to earn credit toward an earlier release from prison.  For non-violent and non-sex offenses, the new changes increase “good time” to a rate of 13 days for every 7 served, or an extra 130 days annually shaved off their sentence.  Certain inmates can reduce their prison time by participating in educational programs, drug programs, and work programs.

The new law changes the time the defendant must serve prior to becoming eligible for parole. Now, for non-violent crimes and non-sex offense crimes, defendants are parole eligible once 25 percent of their sentence has been served, including those sentenced as a non violent habitual offender.  Upon a first conviction for a crime of violence, a defendant with no prior sex crime convictions will be eligible for parole once 65 percent of the sentence is served.

Sentencing Enhancements for Habitual Offenders

Due to Louisiana’s habitual offender statute, a defendant convicted of a felony can receive a significantly enhanced sentence if they have a prior felony conviction.  Those enhancements are no longer quite as harsh.14  The mandatory minimum sentences have been reduced.  Also, for certain felonies, the “cleansing period” has been shortened from 10 years to 5 years.  The “cleansing period” means that after a certain amount of time has passed, prosecutors can no longer use a defendant’s previous convictions against him.

Conclusion

This article is merely a brief overview of what Louisiana’s criminal justice reform package entails.  The changes made to our criminal statutes were vast, but also highly specific depending on the crime. The date when certain aspects begin to take effect and to whom they apply will also vary person to person.  If you believe these changes may affect the charges you or a loved one face, or if they may affect your sentence or probation, do not hesitate to contact the Cazayoux Ewing Law Firm.  As former federal prosecutors, these experienced attorneys understand the nuances of the changes to our criminal law and will provide you with a tailored analysis of your situation.

 


[1] http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/05/louisiana_incarceration_rate.html

[2] http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/mar/16/louisiana-has-the-highest-incarceration-rate-in-th/

[3] Act 281/S.B. 220, 2017 Regular Session – http://www.legis.la.gov/Legis/ViewDocument.aspx?d=1051860

[4] (La. R.S. 14:95.1) – http://www.legis.la.gov/Legis/Law.aspx?d=78740

[5] (La. R.S. 14:230) – http://www.legis.la.gov/Legis/Law.aspx?d=78382

[6] (La. R.S. 14:68.4) – http://www.legis.la.gov/Legis/Law.aspx?d=78631

[7] (La. R.S. 14:52) – http://www.legis.la.gov/Legis/Law.aspx?d=78556

[8] (La. R.S. 14:67) – http://www.legis.la.gov/Legis/Law.aspx?d=78605

[9]  (La. R.S. 14:71) – http://www.legis.la.gov/Legis/Law.aspx?d=78645

[10] (La. R.S. 14:202.1) – http://www.legis.la.gov/Legis/Law.aspx?d=508538

[11] (La. R.S. 14:70.4) – http://www.legis.la.gov/Legis/Law.aspx?d=78642

[12] (La. R.S. 14:67.25) – http://www.legis.la.gov/Legis/Law.aspx?d=451833

[13] Act 280/S.B. 139, 2017 Regular Session – http://www.legis.la.gov/Legis/ViewDocument.aspx?d=1051859

[14] Act 282/S.B. 221, 2017 Regular Session – http://www.legis.la.gov/Legis/ViewDocument.aspx?d=1051861

 


Alexa and Uber Take the Stand: Your Data as a Witness

Silicon Valley’s amazing technology has made our lives easier. Voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa can tell us the weather, play our favorite music on command, and add grocery items to our shopping lists. With the tap of a button, we can catch a ride using the Uber app. Countless other products offer similar conveniences and provide greater simplicity to our lives. However, this added convenience comes with strings attached.

By using these products, we generate vast amounts of data. These giant tech companies store that information to improve their products (and their targeted advertising). This data is increasingly entering the crosshairs of law enforcement to investigate and prosecute crimes. By putting enough pieces of your digital footprint together, law enforcement can generate a pretty complete picture of a person’s life.

Law enforcement is relying more and more on digital evidence because of how enlightening (or incriminating) this information can be. Warrants for a cell phone search are commonplace in today’s world, but as Silicon Valley develops newer products, law enforcement sees additional opportunities to gather evidence.

Recently, police in Arkansas turned their sights on an Amazon Echo smart speaker found in a murder suspect’s home. The Amazon Echo has a built-in microphone that is always listening, waiting for the user to issue a command. According to Amazon, the speaker only starts recording once it hears “Alexa.” Amazon stores the recorded commands or questions that follow in a database to improve its voice-recognition accuracy.

Police issued Amazon a search warrant for any data the speaker may have recorded on the night of the murder. Since a judge signed off on the warrant, Amazon became the last line of defense against turning over the data. Amazon refused to grant the request, citing the privacy concerns of its customers.

The murder suspect ultimately granted Amazon his consent to provide the data, moving the resolution of this legal showdown to another day. While Amazon was likely more concerned about future customer’s fear of losing their privacy, the takeaway is that this data may be easily obtainable if the company possessing it complies with the request.

The focus of this case was past data already recorded and stored, but something to consider is the possibility of tapping into the Amazon Echo’s microphone in real time. Law enforcement can obtain judicial authorization for a wiretap of a suspect’s electronic communications. Any internet-connected smart device with a microphone can theoretically be remotely activated without the user knowing, creating a bugging device. On a scarier note, hackers have demonstrated the ability to do this with ease. The average citizen probably has nothing to worry about, but public figures, politicians, journalists, etc. may want to weigh whether the convenience of these devices is worth the privacy risks they pose.

Another recent target of law enforcement has been data generated by Uber riders and drivers. Just as in the Amazon case, a judge approved the subpoena for these records. The likely trend will be that judges grant these requests with regularity. One can imagine these records being requested in a divorce or custody proceeding, revealing a spouse’s habitual Uber rides from the bar or to his or her paramour’s house.

Technology will continue to progress and tech companies will continue to vacuum up more and more data about our daily lives. It’s possible we may never be able to delete that data, or only with varying degrees of difficulty. When enjoying the conveniences of Silicon Valley technology, it must always be assumed a detailed trail will be left behind.


Protecting the Rights of Home Care Workers

Home care workers play a vital role in the lives of many elderly and disabled patients. While these workers are labeled by a number of different job titles, they all work to provide those in need with the fundamental services to increase their quality of life. But as home care workers serve and protect their patients, they should be mindful to protect their own rights and interests under federal and state labor laws.

Home care workers — and most workers in the United States generally — are provided certain minimum wage and overtime protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA. The FLSA is a federal law that enacted comprehensive protections dealing with employment and labor issues and also standardized the 40-hour workweek.

As home care workers are increasingly required to travel to and from patients, and draft and handle reports and paperwork away from the job site, home care workers should ensure that their rights under the FLSA are being protected. Particularly, if a home care worker handles paperwork or charting that is required or necessary for the job — even away from the job site or patient’s home — they are generally entitled to be compensated by their employer. To add, travel time between job sites or patient homes generally is compensable.

An employer’s failure to provide compensation, including applicable overtime pay, to home care workers for these qualified activities is a serious violation of federal law. Ultimately, the home care worker has the right to sue their employer or to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor asking the Department to investigate the alleged noncompliance. This could result in the employer paying back wages to the home care worker and other fines.

If you believe that your employer has not fulfilled its legal obligations under the Federal Labor Standards Act or that you are not being compensated what you are owed, a qualified attorney can help you receive the money you deserve.

This article is intended for information only and should not be considered legal advice.


The Top 3 Questions We Heard at “Lawyers in Libraries”

Lane Ewing of the Cazayoux Ewing Law Firm recently volunteered at Louisiana State Bar Association’s “Lawyers in Libraries,” an event in which lawyers seek to help the public become aware of options available to them when they cannot afford an attorney. As a part of Louisiana’s “National Celebrate Pro Bono Week,” the program is designed to deliver information about pro bono attorneys through the city’s public libraries.

People are given the opportunity to ask a legal question and get a brief response and advice on where to seek more information to solve their problem.

Typical questions include:

  • How do I get the title for my deceased parents’ home transferred to their heirs?
  • How do I protect my elderly parent from identity theft or telephone scams?
  • Is it necessary for me to draft a will to ensure my children are cared for in case something happens to me?

While fifteen minutes is usually not enough time to solve a complex legal issue, most who participate in the program are surprised to hear that there are clinics that offer free or reduced rate services.  Volunteers and the Legal Education & Assistance Program work to provide online and print resources that are available to the public year-round. Click here to read more about this important event.


Fraud inevitably follows disasters, so authorities in Texas, Florida prepare for post-storm scams

Original Post: The Washington Post on September 8, 2017 by Tom Jackman

Amid each natural disaster such as Hurricane Harvey, there are inspiring tales of rescues and generosity and hope. And invariably, those are followed by tales of scams and frauds and storm survivors revictimized by those looking to capitalize on the relief system. The problem has become so bad that, after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Justice Department established the National Center for Disaster Fraud, which receives hundreds of calls every month even when a cataclysm such as Harvey or the Deepwater Horizon oil spill isn’t occurring.

And now the calls are starting to roll in from Houston. Unscrupulous repair and removal contractors. Robo-calls about phony insurance schemes. FEMA “inspectors” charging for their services. The Texas attorney general’s office said Thursday that it has received more than 3,200 complaints about scams, fraud and price gouging since Aug. 25, for things such as $99 for a case of water. In Baton Rouge, where the National Disaster Fraud Center is located, the number of fraud reports went from 79 the week before Hurricane Harvey to 425 in the week after the storm hit, center director and U.S. Attorney Corey R. Amundson said.

“It’s a cascade of crime,” said Walt Green, Amundson’s predecessor as U.S. attorney in central Louisiana and head of the fraud center for the last four years. “Houston, and now Florida, this is not over in weeks or months. We’re talking a decade-plus.” He said before he stepped down earlier this year that the center received a call from a woman who was being pursued by the IRS for not paying taxes on her Katrina relief benefits from 12 years ago — which she had never sought or received.

In Houston, Amundson and the Justice Department last week formed a working group of various federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to specifically target crime related to Hurricane Harvey, with support from the fraud center, which serves as a national clearinghouse for fraud reports. In addition, “we’ve talked with Florida” as Hurricane Irma approaches, Amundson said in an interview. “We’re coordinating already. But the first priority of the Justice Department right now is to keep folks safe.”

Green said there were some predictable phases to disaster-related crime, often launched by “disaster chasers” — people who target disaster relief money or donations intended for charity. The national fraud center can sometimes detect repeat violators with its 12-year-old database of shady activity. Green said charity fraud is often the first to occur, with false websites set up to collect donations. When the National Weather Service releases its list of storm names each year, he said, people buy up domain sites such as “Irma Relief” or “Help Harvey” in hopes of fooling well-intentioned donors.

Investigators found 5,000 questionable Katrina-related websites after that storm, Green said, and not just from the area of the disaster, but nationwide. While Katrina was still slamming into Louisiana, a man in Florida launched “AirKatrina.com” claiming he was a private pilot performing rescues and needed money for fuel. He wrote that he saw people huddled on roofs and that “I will hear these screams for the rest of my life.” He was nowhere near Louisiana, but he raised $40,000 in two days, authorities said.

“The charity fraud danger period is right now” for Houston, Amundson said. “That’s usually for a couple more weeks.”

FEMA reported last week that scammers were also using robo-calls to tell people their flood insurance premiums were past due and they had to send money immediately or see their policies canceled. “That is pure fraud,” said Roy E. Wright of the National Flood Insurance Program of FEMA. “You should only be taking information from trusted sources.”

As the storm passes, contractors swoop in to clean up debris, take down trees and perform other clean-up tasks. Some will take money and simply disappear. Some will have FEMA benefits signed over to them. Some will actually do the work. Experts said victims can only tread carefully, do their homework, and hope they don’t get fleeced.

The next phase of disaster relief brings the largest amount of fraud — requests for relief payments for damages. Individuals who weren’t affected file claims. Businesses that weren’t near the disaster file false claims. Some fraudsters work hard to get their money, said Don Cazayoux, also a former U.S. attorney and director of the fraud center. “They would create really good false invoices,” Cazayoux said, “with false employee manifests, W-9 [tax forms]. You’ve got to really dig sometimes to figure it out.”

He said scammers would also steal the identities of actual victims and file for their relief funds before the victims did. “Identity theft is one of the most common forms” of fraud, Cazayoux said. From Katrina, more than 1,400 federal fraud prosecutions were launched, as well as untold numbers of state prosecutions. State attorneys general, particularly in New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy and in Texas now, have become more aggressive in fighting disaster fraud, Cazayoux said.

“Unfortunately,” Cazayoux said, “the best and worst comes out in national disasters.”

Because states have become aware of the lengths that scammers will go to for money, Green said, they have taken more time to investigate their legitimacy, and longer to pay benefits. He said relief recipients from Superstorm Sandy in 2012 sometimes had to wait 18 months or more, but that the investigations ensured that fewer phony claims were paid.

New Jersey authorities are still aggressively prosecuting fraud cases connected to Sandy relief. The state attorney general has filed 102 criminal cases and county prosecutors have filed another 95 cases, attorney general spokesman Peter Aseltine said. Among the more egregious examples were a man who posed as a Red Cross worker, collecting payments from storm victims on false promises of providing them with housing or automobiles, and a car dealer who sold Sandy-damaged vehicles to unsuspecting customers.

And then there’s the public corruption that accompanies the rebuilding phase of a disaster, as government officials steer contracts or equipment to friends, or themselves. In Louisiana, Amundson prosecuted a Shreveport area fire chief, Donovon R. McMullen Jr., who conspired to steal and sell more than $1 million worth of defibrillators shipped to the area for distribution in New Orleans after Katrina hit. When McMullen found out he was being investigated by the FBI, he tried to have one of his co-conspirators killed, court records show. McMullen was sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison.

Gradually, the word spread that fraud enforcement was happening after Katrina. Around New Orleans, the Red Cross had distributed payments to supposed victims. But soon, money started coming back. “We got between $1 million and $1.5 million returned to the Red Cross by people who got money,” Amundson said. “They started seeing prosecutions, and they gave the money back.”

If you suspect fraud connected to a natural disaster, you can call the National Center for Disaster Fraud at 866-720-5721, or email the organization at disaster@leo.gov. The center serves as a national clearinghouse and refers cases to the proper law enforcement agency anywhere in the country.


Fighting Fraud Following Disaster: What to Watch out for

The waters recede, the winds calm, the storm passes. Finally, power returns to homes and neighborhoods, and the cleanup begins.

But as community members come together during the days following the storm to rebuild their city, clean up their parks, and feed their neighbors, scammers wait in the wings.  

The rush to provide aid to those in need following a disaster creates an ideal environment for fraudsters.  According to a report in The Washington Post, “In Baton Rouge, where the National Disaster Fraud Center is located, the number of fraud reports went from 79 the week before Hurricane Harvey to 425 in the week after the storm hit,” center director and U.S. Attorney Corey R. Amundson said.

One such fraud is the too-familiar business practice of price gouging. In fact, following Hurricane Harvey, Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton told CNBC of “reports of $99 cases of water, doubling and tripling of hotel room prices.”

Similarly, in the recent wake of Hurricane Irma, Floridians took to social media to complain about various airlines escalating their flight prices thousands of dollars for those trying to evacuate before the storm hit. Florida Attorney General, Pam Bondi, Bondi told The New York Times that Floridians logged more than 7,000 price-gouging complaints with her office.

Most states have laws against these unscrupulous practices, resulting in stiff penalties with high fines.

Other immediate fraud practices that may impact storm survivors:

  • The Better Business Bureau warns – beware of unlicensed contractors looking to rip-off homeowners.
  • Be on the lookout for robocalls. According to NPR, some reports from Florida claim that callers are posing as insurance agents demanding immediate payment for continuation of policies.
  • Watch out for charity scammers. Seemingly well-meaning people set up fake GoFundMe donation accounts to rake in money for themselves. Instead, if you wish donate to victims, find a reputable organization that can put your money to work.

Finally, following a declaration of a state of emergency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a federal agency dedicated to helping individuals, businesses, and communities recover and rebuild following a natural disaster, may step in. Unfortunately, according to The Washington Post, this phase of recovery often “brings the largest amount of fraud.”

According to Don Cazayoux, Cazayoux Ewing Law Firm Partner and former U.S. attorney and director of the National Disaster Fraud Center, “Scammers will often steal the identities of others who were actually affected by the disaster, file a claim for relief and divert the funds to themselves instead of the person who actually needs the assistance.”  

And because of the increased cases of identity fraud, federal agencies are “more aggressive in fighting disaster fraud related to identity theft,” Cazayoux said.  These cases often bring stiffer penalties including mandatory minimum sentences.  

People should be vigilant of price gouging, identity theft, and scammers.  If you feel that you are a victim of a scam, you should contact the National Disaster Fraud Center hotline at 866-720-5721 or email disaster@leo.gov.  


Public Corruption Crimes: Charges You Can’t Afford

For most people, the term “public corruption” probably conjures up images of pinstriped politicians in a dimly-lit, smoke-filled room, exchanging promises in exchange for money (more commonly referred to as “bribes”). But public corruption encompasses a broad array of activities, including fraud, bribery and racketeering to name a few, which ultimately pose a threat to our security or way of life. Thus, Congress has passed many statutes to punish and deter corruption of public officials.[1]

And while understanding these statutes is essential to understanding your duties and responsibilities as a person of public trust or as a person or organization that regularly deals with public officials, because the laws are so complex, it is fundamental that you consult with knowledgeable and experienced defense attorneys to protect your rights and interests as well.

Generally, most public corruption crimes are prosecuted by U. S. attorneys’ offices and the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section. These offices are armed with a wide net to catch—and ultimately charge—both high-profile defendants (like members of Congress and governors) and more innocuous, career-level government or public employees. Courts have broadly construed the title of “public official” to include: an agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF)[2]; a postal employee who had the responsibility of ensuring that bulk mail had the appropriate charge[3]; and a Private in the Army[4]. Thus, it is critical that all public officials and employees remain cognizant of both ethical and legal “red lines.”

Closer to home, recently the Attorney General for the state of Louisiana, Jeff Landry, “has vowed to make ending public corruption a priority statewide as part of his new Administration and to work closely with the FBI and other officials on these efforts moving forward.” And true to word, most recently is the guilty plea of former Homer Mayor on charges of malfeasance, the arrest of former Angola Mayor for misuse of public funds, arrest of former manager of Lafayette non-profit apartment complex for theft of public funds, the arrest of former Pointe Coupee Parish sheriff’s deputy for payroll fraud, and the arrest of former coroner for East Feliciana Parish for conspiracy. According to Attorney General Landry’s website (https://www.ag.state.la.us/Corruption), all aforementioned arrests, charges and indictments have occurred since March 2017. Convictions would mean possible job loss, restitution, probation and/or imprisonment.

While public corruption charges carry significant legal implications, they may also cause a very serious and damaging impact to your reputation as a public servant or politician; therefore, it is imperative that you have experienced and professional advocates on your side to defend your rights.

 

This article is intended for information only and should not be considered legal advice.

[1] Ashley Kircher et. al., Public Corruption, 45 Am. Crim. L. Rev. 825, 826 (2008).

[2] United States v. Gjieli, 717 F.2d 968 (6th Cir. 1983) (holding that an ATF agent was within the statutory definition of “public official” even though he did not have the ability to carry out the target action of the bribe).

[3] United States v. Gelb, 881 F.2d 1155 (2d Cir. 1989) (holding that a postal worker that was responsible for ensuring that bulk mail had the appropriate postage was a “public official” within the meaning of the federal bribery statute).

[4] United States. v. Kidd, 734 F.2d 409 (9th Cir. 1984) (dismissing defendant’s argument that Army Private was not a “public official” because she was an enlisted soldier, rather than an officer).


Queen For a Day: The Risks of Proffer Agreements

A “Proffer agreement,” more informally known as “queen-for-a-day” agreement, is a routine tool used in federal criminal practice.[1] However, before you decide to enter into a proffer agreement with the government, you should take a careful look at some of the hidden pitfalls and perils associated with these agreements and weigh your options carefully.

What exactly is a proffer agreement?

A proffer agreement is a written agreement between federal prosecutors and an individual (usually the target of an investigation or a defendant), in which the individual agrees to provide information to the prosecution at an informal debriefing (also known as a “proffer session”). In return, the government promises not to use the proffer statements against the individual at any subsequent trial.[2] However, if the individual lies during a proffer session, the government may offer those statements against him or her. More about this “impeachment” catch is discussed below. Often times, the government also reserves the right to use the information to further its investigation.

Typically, it’s understood that one enters into a proffer agreement with the hope that it will later lead to an immunity agreement or plea bargain if the government is satisfied with the information provided.

What are the risks associated with proffer agreements?

Proffer agreements carry with them unique and inherent risks that require serious consideration. Because proffer agreements are not formal immunity agreements or plea bargains, they do not offer the same protections if the government decides to act on the information turned over to them. While the government may not use proffer session statements against the individual in its case-in-chief, the government can use the information provided to follow leads and conduct further investigation. If those leads and further investigations lead to new evidence, the new evidence can be used to indict and convict the individual who gave the information in the proffer session[3]—a particularly dangerous pitfall.

Additionally, as previously mentioned, nearly all proffer agreements contain clauses that allow the government to use false or misleading statements made during proffer sessions for impeachment purposes (that is, to discredit the witness’s testimony). Thus, if any part of the testimony or information provided during a proffer session is deemed to be misleading or outright untruthful, the entire proffer agreement can be admitted against you at trial. This can put you and your defense in an uncomfortably compromised position, all in an effort to keep the damaging proffer statements away from the ears and eyes of the jury.

What factors should you consider before entering into a proffer agreement?

Whether you should ultimately enter into a proffer agreement is not a light decision. However, some factors to consider in making the decision include:

  • Likelihood of indictment;
  • Strength of defense;
  • Willingness to disclose the whole truth;
  • Timing;
  • Financial ability; and
  • Effect of an indictment.[4]

Ultimately, the decision to proffer or not is up to you, but it should not be made without the assistance of a qualified and experienced white collar criminal defense attorney. If you have been contacted by a law enforcement agency about an interview, a qualified white collar criminal defense attorney can help you decide if entering into a proffer agreement is a good option.

 

[1] Richard B. Zabel, James J. Benjamin Jr., ‘Queen for A Day’ or ‘Courtesan for A Day’: The Sixth Amendment Limits to Proffer Agreements, 15 White-Collar Crime Rep. 1 (2001).

[2] Id.

[3] Proffer Agreement Law and Legal Definition, USLegal, Inc., https://definitions.uslegal.com/p/proffer-agreement/.

[4] Kenneth C. Picking, The Risks and Benefits of Proffer Agreements in Parallel Proceedings, A.B.A., April 4, 2012, http://apps.americanbar.org/litigation/committees/criminal/email/winter2012/winter2012-0402-risks-benefits-proffer-agreements-parallel-proceedings.html.


Cazayoux Ewing Represents Case Against the Federal Government


Original post: Louisiana Record on March 10, 2017 by Michael Abella

LAFAYETTE – A Lafayette Parish resident alleges she was injured in a motor vehicle accident with a federal employee.

Crystal Gerard filed a complaint on March 3 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Lafayette Division against the United States of America alleging that the government entity failed to perform its obligations.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that on Jan. 29, 2015, she filed a Federal Tort Claim Act claim against defendant due to an injury she allegedly sustained in a vehicular accident caused by Robert Bannon, an employee of defendant’s Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. As a result of the accident, she alleges she has suffered physical and mental pain, lost wages and medical expenses.

The plaintiff holds United States of America responsible because on Sept. 26, 2016, the Office of the General Counsel for the Department of Agriculture allegedly denied to pay her claim.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks judgment against defendant in an amount which is just and reasonable in the premises, plus interest, all costs of these proceedings and all other relief that may be just and equitable. She is represented by Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. and J. Lane Ewing Jr. of Cazayoux Ewing LLC in Baton Rouge and Yul D. Lorio and Kevin P. Tauzin of Tauzin & Lorio, Attorney at Law in Lafayette.

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Lafayette Division Case number 6:17-cv-00348


Best Practices with Email Policies

Remember the 2014 movie “The Interview”? Not so much the movie itself but the fact that hackers apparently unhappy with the comedic film’s unflattering portrayal of North Korea retaliated by breaking into film distributor Sony Corp.’s email servers and releasing embarrassing private messages.

The case was such a public relations and electronic security nightmare that it marked a shift in the mindset over corporate email systems. While inboxes provide a convenient filing cabinet, maybe it’s not such a good idea to keep messages over the long term.

Ironically, many U.S. companies have had policies that require email deletion after a certain period. Those policies typically were established to protect businesses in legal cases. Yet companies often rely on employees’ voluntary compliance without any sufficient checks on whether messages are actually handled in accordance with policy – a worst-case scenario.

What is your email policy, and how do you ensure it passes legal muster? It’s too late to decide after you learn of an investigation. At that point, deleting even what seems like a mundane message can escalate into obstruction of justice charges.

The Cazayoux Ewing law firm has expertise with helping clients establish email policies that offer maximum protection while meeting legal requirements. With former federal prosecutors Don Cazayoux, Lane Ewing and Stan Lemelle, our staff can provide invaluable assistance.

This article is intended for information only and should not be considered legal advice.

Our Locations

Cazayoux Ewing Law Firm
257 Maximillian St
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Phone: (225) 650-7400
Fax: (225) 650-7401
Directions

Cazayoux Ewing Law Firm
143 East Main St
New Roads, LA 70760
Phone: (225) 638-3276
Fax: (225) 638-8319
Directions

You Talk, We Listen