La Salle Parish DA Speaks

CBS Newsaffiliate WAFB in Baton Rouge made available the below statement issued Friday by LaSalle District Attorney Reed Walters:

I begin this statement by saying that it has been my long-standing policy to not make statements about pending cases. I am further restrained by ethical considerations that are designed to protect defendants from prejudice as a result of public remarks made by a prosecutor. However, because of the massive amount of misinformation that has been reported concerning the recent conviction obtained in the so-called “Jena Six” matter, and for my concern for the residents of LaSalle Parish, I have decided to issue the following statement. This statement is designed to correct the major misrepresentations of fact and is carefully designed to comply with the rules of professional conduct.

At this time, I cannot address every factual misrepresentation made concerning this matter. The following statement will address those that I consider to be major inaccuracies. Because of the ongoing nature of these matters and the ethical restraints of Rule 3.6 of the Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct, I will not be able to make any further statement at this time.

No. 1: Noose Incident at Jena High School

The noose incident at Jena High School occurred in August, 2006. This incident was very thoroughly investigated by the United States Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana who concluded that the facts did not constitute an offense that should be prosecuted under federal law. I researched state law and came to the conclusion that there is no state criminal statute prohibiting the conduct. I could not prosecute the perpetrators without an applicable statute. This is an issue that may be appropriate for Legislative consideration.

The incident which led to the charges resulting in the conviction of Mr. Mychal Bell took place December, 2006. At no time during the investigation of the incident or at the trial was any evidence presented connecting the two events. There has been no evidence presented to me that the victim in this case had any connection to the perpetrators of the noose incident.

No. 2: An Attack – Not a Schoolyard Fight

It has been repeatedly reported that this incident was just a schoolyard fight. The evidence showed that the victim was “sucker-punched” and knocked immediately unconscious before being stomped and kicked. There was no credible evidence before or during the trial that the victim had provoked the attack by word or gesture. The evidence showed that this was an attack, not a fight. It was prosecuted as such. At no time during the consideration to prosecute or the prosecution of this matter did anyone’s race enter into any decision that was made. It would be a fruitless waste of time considering something that would have no effect on the presentation of evidence or be admissible in a court of law.

I realize that there have been numerous requests of me to give more details and a more thorough statement delving into this matter. However, because of the ethical considerations that I must abide by, I cannot make any further statement at this time.

Published in: on September 15, 2007 at 1:51 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Has La Salle DA ever actually openly and willingly admitted to racism or problems of youths aggravating minorities in this century or ever??

  2. very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

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