Pt. 2: Honest Caddoans Take Our Case and Hope to a Higher Court
January 7, 2017 … 10:34 P.M.
A three-judge, 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal panel will convene Wednesday to hear oral arguments in my March 2015 lawsuit against the Caddo Parish Commission. Its ruling will be issued later.
This is an appeal by my pro bono lawsuit partner, Whitney Pesnell, of a December 21, 2015, “Judgment” by Caddo District Judge Ramon Lafitte.
At issue are “Exceptions” to my lawsuit argued by Commission lawyers. (Though they are working against the public interest, we have already paid them some $140,000.)
The Exceptions – a legal tool used to whittle away parts of a lawsuit – effectively neuter mine. Guilty Commissioners can then get away with corruption spanning more than two decades, and a lot of taxpayer money.
Left to stand, the lower court ruling is more a political manifesto than process of law … merely more detestable political muck.
In fact, all of this is – to the Commission – about only two things:
(a) preserving all corruption proceeds harvested over more than 20 years, and
(b) forcing taxpayers to pay their lawyers.
That is it. That is all it ever has been.
In their pursuit, the lower court first had to grant all five Exceptions … as it did.
So, we now petition the appellate court to reverse all five.
Mr. Pesnell’s 32-page brief to the appellate judges uses “only” the law to protect us from its intended perversion.
“The Caddo Commission is not a juridical person and lacks the procedural capacity to sue or be sued.”
The Commission’s arrogance and underhandedness show from the jump. As many local attorneys have shared, this assertion is outrageous on its face. Of course the Commission may be sued!
Mr. Pesnell lists ten easily available cases in which the Commission was plaintiff or defendant, with two argued before this same Court:
– Debrow v. Caddo Parish Commission, 2015
– Chesapeake Operating, Inc. v. City of Shreveport and Caddo Parish Commission, 2015
– Romero v. Caddo Parish Commission, LA 2nd CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEAL, 2013
– Scott v. Caddo Parish Commission, 2011
– Henderson v. Union Pacific Railroad, Et Al, 2006
– Claddie Savage d/b/a Piney Woods Game Club, Et Al v. Steve Prator, Sheriff of Caddo Parish / Caddo Parish Commission
– King v. Caddo Parish Commission, 1998
– Parochial Employees Retirement System (PERS) v. Caddo Parish Commission, 1996
– Total Minatome Corp. v. Parish of Caddo (Caddo Parish Commission), 1993
– Sellers v. Caddo Parish Commission, LA 2nd CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEAL, 1987
“Stonecipher does not have standing or the right to assert and maintain the claims … unless he can demonstrate he has some special or particular interest.”
Mr. Pesnell: “Louisiana courts, like the courts in virtually every other state, have consistently found and held that a citizen and taxpayer like Stonecipher does NOT have to demonstrate that he has a special or particular interest which is separate or distinct from the general public.”
To corrupt public officials, no one has “standing” to fight them. I was born here. I have lived here over 60 years. I pay (very high) taxes here. I spent two years researching – rooting out – Commission corruption. I work for free. That is my “standing.”
“Stonecipher is asserting claims against Commissioners in connection with ‘official actions taken by the Commissioners in the course and scope of their official status as members of the Commission.'”
Commissioners cannot be sued for doing their jobs as officials. I sued them individually. The reason is put by Mr. Pesnell this way: This lawsuit concerns “ultra vires” actions by Commissioners … literally, “outside or beyond the purview and scope of the Commissioners’ lawful powers and authority.”
In other words, ILLEGAL acts are not and cannot be “official” acts. Commissioners never foresaw being sued individually.
“Stonecipher has no (cause of action) against the Parish Administrator and Director of Finance for (taxpayer) reimbursement, repayment, and/or return of the funds and/or monies” at issue.
Once again, this is to block taxpayer recovery of the Commission’s looting.
Mr. Pesnell explains in great detail how these officials control all processes of “return, reimbursement and/or repayment of the Parish funds or monies at issue in this proceeding.”
“Stonecipher does not have the necessary standing or right to seek or obtain a mandatory injunction, an order of restitution, or a judgment, order, or decree … which directs (Commission officials) to return, reimburse, or repay the Parish the funds and monies which have been diverted, misappropriated, transferred, contributed, and/or paid by the Parish to, for or on behalf of the Commissioners.”
This time, Mr. Pesnell writes five legal pages which expansively detail just how erroneous – in law and precedent – is this Exception.
We must remember: the fix has long been in on this.
Not one single official of criminal law – local, state or federal – has ever publicly acknowledged any of this happened. Not one.
So honest citizens are left with only civil law remedies … a system and process ugly, destructive, lengthy, costly and easily manipulated by self-anointed “leaders” who aid and abet corrupt officials.
Even so, Whitney Pesnell and I – with considerable public support – are taking our best shot.
© 2016 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED