- Elliott Stonecipher
- Elliott Stonecipher
September 27, 2016
I write to personally and publicly express my appreciation to Judge Maurice Hicks. Known to many as “Maury,” he is a federal judge in the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, here in Shreveport. For the record … to the best of my knowledge and memory … I have not met him.
I also thank KTBS Television for green-lighting the exclusive news report by Gary Hines and Alana Quillen which details the Judge’s subject act.
The official record directly attests to Judge Hicks’ willingness to rule against local government when it offends law and justice.
Judge Hicks presided in the Court’s conviction of ex-Commissioner Michael Williams for official malfeasance. In 2012, our parish commission voted $100,000 to Williams for his “SWAG Nation” confection. Williams was caught hitting ATMs for personal spending cash from the “grant.”
In sentencing Williams, Judge Hicks ordered him to pay $8,584.68 in restitution to the “victim.” In this case, the Caddo Commission legally stands in that position, but officials there rejected restitution because the Commission, they averred, was not a victim.
As Judge Hicks corrected them …
… “The Caddo Parish Commission’s lack of due diligence, oversight and auditing of public funds is a disservice to every person in the parish of Caddo. … I’m trying to figure out how a victim can say, ‘I’m not a victim’ and be a public body having allocated up to $100,000, having its purse purloined by a commissioner. I find that disingenuous.”
Here is the KTBS story, with Judge Hicks’ comments in context.
When Scouring the Caddo Commission’s Malfeasance …
Since my research into Caddo Parish Commission corruption began a few years ago, Judge Hicks stands as only the second authority to publicly, specifically call-out the Commission for such behavior, specifically citing its disservice to parish taxpayers. (The other is the Louisiana Legislative Auditor.)
What the Judge witnessed – and ruled against – was the bizarre way in which the Caddo Commission majority (a) acts totally detached from the interests of we the people, and (b) sees the law and courts as nothing about which they should ever worry.
To them, the $100,000 given to Williams is “his,” not theirs or ours, and Commission doers therefore do not want any of “Williams’ money” back.
Let me be clear. The Caddo Commission consistently demonstrates how it is merely bemused if a court causes it any inconvenience. This is because …
… a Commission majority believes – literally – that they are morally entitled to public money … that they are owed our money. This majority rests assured that local and state law will be neutered for them as necessary.
That is precisely what is happening – right now – with the CPERS / self-pay scandal. In CPERS, the Commission openly, blatantly – proudly, we have learned – violated Louisiana law and our Constitution to hand themselves a garishly banned retirement benefit … the only such in Louisiana.
Why? Because a majority of them, truly and with devotion, could not care less about any such rules or restrictions.
Our Caddo Parish government-in-hiding – wealthy, prominent, self-anointed “leaders” – is in charge of the op whereby three local lawyers have been paid $125,000 and counting of our money to preserve for Commissioners their self-pay loot.
Why? Because, these kingpins must control the Commission. The Commission sits atop a Haynesville Shale windfall such “leaders” want to tap. Running the op to make sure Commissioners keep their CPERS and other self-pay heist is at the heart of their deal with that “devil.”
Thus, they cannot permit success in the pro bono lawsuit against the Commission by Whitney Pesnell and me. Out of the chute, Commissioners were adjudged to be protected against any attempt to recover public money they had taken. That and much else is on appeal in state courts.
Over in Judge Hicks’ judicial neighborhood, no appeals were necessary.
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