Louisiana sheriff really, really hates criticism


Louisiana has always been known for more than its fair share of official corruption, as the New Orleans Times-Picayune noted back in January 2015:

Louisiana is, by one measure, the most corrupt state in the country, reports statistics blog FiveThirtyEight.

The state has had more politicians convicted in federal court than any other in the modern era, when counted as a share of total population.

The study underpinning the report sought to measure corruption by counting up federal convictions between 1976 and 2010. Louisiana had 960 over that stretch, about 25 per year. That works out to about 2 convictions for every 10,000 residents, the highest per-capita rate in the country.

In terms of the absolute number politicians sent to the clink, New York takes the crown.

As the piece points out, measuring only federal corruption convictions doesn’t capture the whole picture. What about prosecutions in state court, such as the one launched against former Orleans Parish juvenile judge Yolanda King?

There is no central tracking of such prosecutions, so it would be a nightmare to tally them across the country, but it would be interesting to see how Louisiana stacks up against other states on a more holistic statistical measure.

While the Pelican State was listed as the most corrupt state based on indictments per capita, two other non-state jurisdictions topped the list in terms of corrupt officialdom: Washington D.C. and Chicago. Oregon was rated the least corrupt jurisdiction.

And now comes word that allegations of corruption in one Louisiana  parish [county in most of the rest of the country] brought out quick retribution from the long arm of the law.

From the Intercept:

After a watchdog blog repeatedly linked him and other local officials to  corruption and fraud, the Sheriff of Terrebone Parish in Louisiana on Tuesday sent six deputies to raid a police officer’s home to seize computers and other electronic devices.

Sheriff Jerry Larpenter’s deputies submitted affidavits alleging criminal defamation against the anonymous author of the ExposeDAT blog, and obtained search warrants to seize evidence in the officer’s house and from Facebook.

The officer, Wayne Anderson, works for the police department of Houma, the county seat of Terrebone Parish — and according to New Orleans’ WWL-TV, formerly worked as a Terrebone Sheriff’s deputy.

Anderson was placed on paid leave about an hour and a half after the raid on his house, Jerri Smitko, one of his attorneys, told The Intercept. She said that he has not yet been officially notified about why.

Smitko said Anderson denies that he is the author of ExposeDat.

But free speech advocates say the blogger — whoever he or she is — is protected by the First Amendment.

“The law is very clear that somebody in their private capacity, on private time, on their own equipment, has a First Amendment right to post about things of public concern,” Marjorie Esman, director of the ACLU of Louisiana, told The Intercept.

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